News & Events

September 24, 2018

Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters

Over the past few years, the students and staff at NWSS have recognized Orange Shirt Day as one way in which to honour the survivors of Canada’s residential school system and to educate ourselves about the impact and dark legacy of residential schools and their place in Canadian history.  2018 Orange Shirt Day falls on a Sunday and therefore, this year, we will devote the week of Sept 24-29 to focus a significant portion of our learning exploring Indigenous worldviews, identity, and the message of hope embedded in Orange Shirt Day.

It is important to note that the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Indigenous Perspectives are embedded in BC’s redesigned curriculum. Inherent in the First Peoples Principles of Learning is the concept and philosophy of the interconnectedness of life and learning within daily life.  The conversations that we know will take place in our classrooms, hallways and, undoubtedly, in many of your homes, are opportunities for all of us to  join the movement towards Reconciliation.

While we are focussing conversations on Reconciliation throughout this week, the work will continue throughout the year and into the foreseeable future. In the words of Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “education got us into this mess and education will get us out.”  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established in 2008 and completed its work in 2015. A summary of the commission’s findings can be found here:

Here is a sample of the work that is happening this week as part of NWSS’ first RECONCILIATION WEEK.

Monday Sept 24   

Blocks B and C. Brad Marsden :  “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Brad Marsden is a Residential School Counsellor and Facilitator. Brad will share his knowledge of the history of Residential Schools and generate an understanding of the Intergenerational impact. This will be an interactive workshop where participants will develop a more accurate understanding of why Native people see, think, feel and behave the way they do.

Block D  – Our story: The healing journey of two Residential School Survivors

The purpose of this presentation is to allow Elders to share their first hand experiences as ‘survivors’ of the Indian residential school system. Forced to attend the Saint Mary‘s Catholic school in Mission, BC, Cyril Pierre and Joe Ginger endured tremendous loss of freedom and many years of physical, mental and sexual abuse. These experiences shaped not only their personal and cultural identity but their long term relationships with family and community.

Tuesday Sept 25

Block A

“Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children” is a unique theatrical presentation. In a dark theatre, to the steady beat of a drum, Dallas tells a startling and thought provoking scary tale of a girl who is ostracized by kids in her own community. The purpose of this presentation is to create awareness, especially among non-Indigenous audiences, about the inter-generational impact of Indian residential schools. Using the ancient tradition of storytelling, Aboriginal speaker Dallas Yellowfly blends his live narrative with modern multimedia to create intrigue on a controversial subject.

Wednesday Sept 26

Block B – Dave Seaweed – Douglas College Aboriginal Student Services

Douglas College strives to create a safe, inclusive environment for all students, staff and faculty. Meet Dave Seaweed and learn about the importance of Aborignal Student Services in post-secondary education in general, and Douglas College in particular.

Block C – CERA.

CERA –  Communities Embracing Restorative Action

CERA’s mission  is to enhance the quality of justice in the communities through restorative measures that attempt to repair the harm caused by crime, resolve conflict, and restore balance in relationships. CERA believes the current justice system does not adequately meet the needs of the person causing harm, the person harmed, or the community at large. We believe in the potential of everyone to be law-abiding and contributing citizens, and respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Thursday – Sept 27

Blocks A and B – Geering Up –  inSTEM

GEERing Up! is a group of UBC Engineering students who volunteer to  provide youth with the opportunity to investigate engineering, science, and technology. inSTEM starts with the
premise that elements of STEM are intrinsic to Indigenous ways of knowing and day-today life of Indigenous peoples.

Block C

Book talks: Members of NWSS staff will recommend their favourite Authentic First Nations books in a variety of genres.

Friday Sept 28 – NWSS’ Orange Shirt Day

A and B – M’Girl

M’Girl is a ensemble of Indigenous women. These sessions will be about story and song.  Story:  In our healing and in our cultural practice, our songs hold the teachings of our relationship with land and water.  (A Cree/Anishnaabe trickster story that relates to all our responsibilities to land/water ) When we speak on Reconciliation it is about reconciling with what we (as First Nations) have lost and to give space to our Indigenous knowledge as it relates to healing, and laughter that helps hone our intentions to living a good life

C and D – Day of Reconciliation Assembly

School-wide assembly with various speakers and performers. Chief Rhonda Larrabee , NWSS Choir, Brad Marsden, John Tyler

Saturday Sept 29

EdCamp New West – Engage Indigenous Perspectives.  All Welcome – students, educators, community members.

An edcamp is a participant driven conference commonly referred to as an “un-conference.”

Register here to join educators and students in the dialogue.