Classes discussed reconciliation, tying in Canada’s discriminatory policies that students had learned in their humanities studies. Photo supplied

Classes discussed reconciliation, tying in Canada’s discriminatory policies that students had learned in their humanities studies. Photo supplied

Comox Valley students take part in ‘ReconciliACTION’

Lake Trail students are the only youth in district this year involved with a YLR event

Senior middle school students at Lake Trail engaged in a half-day session Wednesday, Dec. 2 to explore the importance of ‘ReconciliACTION’ to deepen their understanding and discussions at a personal level and within the context of the school and greater community.

Reconciliation through Education is an ongoing project in Comox Valley Schools and takes on many different forms, whether in the classroom, throughout a school or across the district, and includes cultural events, art and literature projects and lessons embedded in the curriculum such as humanities or social studies. ReconciliACTION is a term used to describe tangible activities to reconcile with the past and build respect among one another.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Schools first district in Canada to sign all schools

One activity is the Youth Leading Reconciliation (YLR) conference, an annual event that began with one B.C. school district in 2016 and has grown to include many more districts nation-wide. Comox Valley Schools is now in its third year participating in the movement among youth that was born from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and its 94 calls to action.

The size and magnitude of YLR in the district have varied from year to year. Whether hosting a large district-wide conference in 2018 with more than 120 participants, or a small-scale contingent of 10 students traveling to Nanaimo for a more intimate regional setting, each opportunity is geared for youth to receive hands-on learning experiences. The intent is always in keeping with the goal of the board of education’s strategic priorities plan to embed the TRC recommendations throughout the district.

This school year, Jeannine Lindsay, a former Indigenous support work nearing completion of her education degree at Vancouver Island University, and Lelaina Jules, Indigenous education curriculum support teacher, created and delivered a scaled-back COVID-19 safe approach for a YLR session to students.

With the assistance of her Indigenous support workers, Lindsay led the 20 students of Dawnn Thorson and Will Bakker’s classes through a discussion on reconciliation, tying in Canada’s discriminatory policies that students had learned in their humanities studies.

“We are really only at the beginning stages of reconciliation. What is reconciliation? What could it look like and how can students fit into that story,” Lindsay said. “Part of that is being an ally, not only to Indigenous people but to people in general.”

Due to the heaviness of the subject, Lindsay was mindful to focus on bridging the gap between the nation’s history and the feeling of shame, to becoming more inclusive of one another. YLR aims to inspire youth to take action, which can be as simple as being allies through a show of respect, by honouring the past and to be willing to let others share their story. In other words, action through empathy.

“We all share this heavy history, but we can all learn about it and that is a part of reconciliation,” Lindsay said. “We all have the ability to be an ally. We all have an ability to work toward reconciliation.”

“These weren’t good things. We need to do something about it,” Grade 9 student Kadence Klassen said. “To me when I hear ‘ally,’ I think of a companion, someone who is close and someone who trusts you. At my home, we sit around the dinner table and have conversations about these things, what we learned and what we can do to change.”

Using ReconciliACTION as a catalyst for meaningful conversation, students partnered into small groups to discuss examples of inclusiveness they see in schools and the community. Their list identified several examples to improve relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people including Orange Shirt Day, the traditional territorial welcome and acknowledgment, and art exhibits that celebrate Indigenous language, culture and history such as Public Place/Sacred Space, an exhibit currently on display at Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Lake Trail students are the only youth in the district this year to participate in a YLR-organized event, a session that was planned specifically to coincide with other school districts’ activities this time of year around ReconciliAction. In partnership with Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Lelaina Jules was able to secure funding to offer a workshop locally.

Indigenous reconcilliation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lake Trail students are the only youth in the district this year to participate in a YLR-organized event. Photo supplied

Lake Trail students are the only youth in the district this year to participate in a YLR-organized event. Photo supplied

Reconciliation through Education is an ongoing project in Comox Valley Schools. Photo supplied

Reconciliation through Education is an ongoing project in Comox Valley Schools. Photo supplied

Just Posted

Tidal Café owners Blythe and Kurt Reimer (left) and Toscano’s head chef and general manager Tristan Taylor have been sharing deck space to help both businesses during the expanded COVID public health order restrictions that ban indoor dining. Photo by Terry Farrell
Neighbouring Comox restaurants share patios for mutual benefit during COVID restrictions

Two restaurants in Comox are working together to help ease the burden… Continue reading

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

John Ludlow is making leis for sale for $20 each, with all proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Celebrating kindness, joy and helping others on Lei Day

Ludlow is making leis for sale with proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society

Cumberland is finalizing its tax rate bylaw for the year, which will see a 4.93 per cent increase. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland moving ahead on 4.93 tax hike

Residential rates’ hike was less than projected during planning stages

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Most Read