In response to the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School, School District 71 has embarked on a number of actions to share grief and demonstrate a commitment to reconciliation.
Every school in our school district has committed to participate in the National Legacy School Program (Downie Wenjack Fund). Over the past two years, the district has seen many projects that focus on educating students around the history of residential schools in our country and committing to ReconcilliACTIONs to express their support.
This week, this commitment was amplified as the district responded to the news from Kamloops by taking part in many acts of support for the many Indigenous families and communities affected.
Schools have been tying 215 orange ribbons to school fences, colouring 215 feathers orange and displaying them prominently in the schools, painting 215 orange rocks and placing them in school gardens, reading and studying The Secret Path by Gord Downie and other Indigenous publications, and having age-appropriate discussions with students regarding residential schools, reconciliation, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. The District has also welcomed its Ni’noxsola (Elders in Residence) back into many of our schools to provide their calming presence with students and staff.
“It is greatest hope that this tragic discovery becomes a catalyst to move us forward on our path to meaningful action and true reconciliation. Our thoughts go out to all our Indigenous families at this time,” says a statement from the school district.