Orange Shirt Day 2021

Orange Shirt Day 2021
Posted on 09/30/2021
Orange Shirt Day 2021

Today is Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The HPSD Indigenous Education Team is working with schools and students to honour and recognize the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The High Prairie School Division’s Indigenous Education Team has been organizing events leading up to the day as well as division-wide events that have taken place to further knowledge and understanding of residential schools in Canada.

 

The horror of residential schools, their cultural genocide, and their involvement in the countless loss of children’s lives are not what schools should be. Schools should be places that are welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe. Planned activities will recognize the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools.

 

Prior to September 30, schools across the Division have been taking part in learning exercises about residential schools as part of our ongoing commitment to truth and reconciliation. HPSD students in Grades 7-12 are participating in a design challenge for next year’s HPSD orange shirts. Students have been participating in read-alouds about residential schools, including the widely popular My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith. Students and their families are encouraged to check out some of the amazing books (and audiobooks) available on Sora, the reading app free to all HPSD students and staff. Titles to check out include:

-Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith

-The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

-Secret Path by Gord Downie

 

Schools across High Prairie School Division will be taking part in a number of planned activities today. In addition to wearing orange shirts in recognition of Orange Shirt Day, which is a legacy project to open global conversation on the residential school system and the ongoing process of truth and reconciliation, schools have planned memorial walks and memorial fires. The memorial fires will be held at schools on September 30 and will have Firekeepers tending the fires throughout the day. Students will be writing messages on paper that will be placed into the fire during the day. These may be messages of hope, of anger, of sadness. Messages to survivors or to those who did not come home. They may be messages to loved ones or to those who they’ve never met.

 

For additional information on residential schools and truth and reconciliation, go to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website, nctr.ca.

 

In the coming year, we will be consulting with our school communities to inform decisions about our future school year calendars, inclusive of operations on September 30. While the plan for this school year was to keep September 30 as both an operational and instructional day, future calendars will reflect the information collected from ongoing community engagement. 

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