Editor’s note: This report was submitted to us by Jeff Myck, Social 10-1 Teacher, Tofield School, Alberta.
31 students from Tofield School attended the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Education Day on Thursday, March 27 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.
The day was filled with information explaining to students the plight of those who attended Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Students listened and engaged in the sessions on “Stereotypes of Aboriginal Peoples” and a round-table talk with “Intergenerational Survivors of Residential Schools”. Some perceptions and comments from my grade 10 social studies class are mentioned below in postcards that are being sent to survivors. Tiles were also created as a gesture of reconciliation (see attached photos).
Dear survivor …
“I’m sorry you had to undergo those difficulties in the residential school. In my opinion the native culture is rich and beautiful, so I’m sorry you lost part of it in the school.” – KK
“I learned there is a lot of things to respect in the Aboriginal culture. I am sorry to what happened to your people at the residential schools. I hope we can get past it and make Canada a strong country.” – JR
“Before attending the TRC conference I never realized the tragedy and cruelty of residential schools. It shocks me how much pain and torture you were forced through. I promise to share my new acquired knowledge and to help bring hope for the future.” – KH
“The past few weeks in social class, we have been learning about residential schools. I would like to apologize for the awful things that you were forced to go through. We attended the TRC event, and afterwards I went home and told my family about everything that I learned, and I plan to continue sharing my knowledge. I hope you are doing well now.” – KM
“I have learned about your history and all the pain you went through. I wish that the past could be undone. Knowing that is not possible, I hope that we can work together to provide healing.” – Your friend, MI
“I was already aware of the issue on residential schools. However, I still attended the TRC education presentation to show my respect for those who had been affected. It’s the least I can do, so I will make a promise to raise awareness, teach and acknowledge those who are uneducated on the topic (in a peaceful way). May our hearts be with you.” – BW