Clearview and ATA Honours First Nations by Wearing Orange
Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for teachers, students, parents, and other community members to don an orange shirt and open up a discussion on all aspects of residential schools.
In a shared initiative with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), Clearview Public Schools participated in the Orange Shirt Campaign Every Child Matters on Friday, September 30, 2016. School staff, students, and central office staff wore orange shirts to show respect and reconciliation for those First Nations impacted by residential schools.
Clearview Public Schools has made honouring First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) students and culture part of their strategic priorities this year, including most recently with the Board of Trustees approving Policy 105 “Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Environments”. Under the new policy FNMI students, with all our students in our communities, belong and need to feel safe in Clearview Public Schools.
“Clearview Public Schools’ staff, students, and central services are wearing orange t-shirts today to recognize the history of the Canadian Residential Schools System and the impact of the past government policy on First Nations," said Director of Inclusive Learning Grant Gosse. “Clearview has over 150 students self-identified as FMNI, and we continue to help and support the success of our students.”
Every Child Matters remembers the experiences of former students of First Nation Residential Schools and is a commitment to ongoing reconciliation in Canada. Originating in British Columbia, this is the third year the campaign will be running in BC and other parts of Canada, and the first coordinated effort to celebrate the campaign in Alberta.
Three years ago, Williams Lake, British Columbia hosted a memorial event for the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) School. Former students were given a chance to share their memories from their time with one student, Phyllis, telling the story of having her brand new orange shirt taken away on her first day of residential school. The poignancy of her tale has inspired schools in British Columbia, and across Canada, to put on orange shirts of their own to celebrate reconciliation in their own communities.
Local ATA President Corey van Zandbergen said, “The Clearview Local of the ATA is proud to have jointly recognized the importance of the discussion around residential schools and the contributions FNMI students and culture make to our lives and society. By joining the campaign this year, Clearview teachers look to advance these discussions within our division, schools and classrooms, with all of our students and the communities in which we live and work.”
Click HERE to watch a video of Phyllis’s story.
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