Roots of reconciliation

Last Friday I attended the roots of reconciliation project celebration at Lakes District Secondary School.

Last Friday I attended the roots of reconciliation project celebration at Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS).

Sometimes I wish I had been a LDSS student because that school continues to impress me.

All I was expecting last Friday was the unveiling of a statue that represents their roots of reconciliation project. I certainly was not expecting to witness such a powerful, moving, well-planned and meaningful ceremony.

I was genuinely moved (as most people in there were), and it certainly made me proud to be living in the Lakes District and to see that our school has been engaged in such a powerful project.

For those of you that don’t know, the roots of reconciliation project started soon after a report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was released last year.

The report culminated a six-year examination of residential schools where more than 6750 survivors and witnesses from across the country were heard. Among the calls for action in the report, the commissioners highlighted the role of education in reconciliation and called for the development of age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools.

Why is this project so important? Because for several decades, Canadians were not told the truth; they were not aware of the horrors that took place in residential schools.

Many First Nations students were forcefully separated from their families; they were physically and emotionally abused; they could not speak their own language and many died as a result of the poor conditions of some of the schools.

Although the last residential school was closed about 20 years ago, the consequences are still seen to this day as the trauma from the despicable abuse was often passed from generation to generation. The lack of understanding and knowledge of what had happened led to different forms of racism and intolerance.

Understanding exactly what happened in residential schools helps all of us to be more empathetic, to have a deeper understanding of the challenges that First Nations face today, and it helps us find more meaningful ways to address those challenges.

Despite the negativity of residential schools, the ceremony last Friday was all about a chance to connect with each other and heal. Students wearing roots of reconciliation T-shirts greeted guests with their upbeat energy as people arrived at the ceremony. The stage of the multipurpose room had a First Nations theme and was beautifully decorated.

People felt welcomed and embraced as students offered water to First Nations elders, and later brought them gifts. Artistic performances helped people absorb the powerful message of the ceremony. It was hard not to feel moved once you realized how much love and effort was put into this project.

During the ceremony, some students shared how residential schools have impacted their families. A representative from each of the six First Nations groups in the area also shared their own stories. Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam said he was almost sent to a residential school, but thanks to a family member who stood by him and helped him run away, he avoided this possibly traumatic experience. Many of his friends weren’t as lucky.

Residential schools have impacted many people in our area in some form or another. The eagle statue unveiled last Friday represents the ability to fly above the intolerance and ignorance of residential schools. By acknowledging this dark chapter of the Canadian history, and by telling the truth, we can help people heal.

We all felt their pain last Friday. And we stood together.

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

First farmer's market Burns Lake 2021. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Community Market 2021 begins in Burns Lake

Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce’s community market, which has received… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read