Lilyanna Hodson / Staff Reporter
On September 30 2021, the first National Truth and Reconciliation day took place. This was to honour the tragic history of the lost children that were in Residential schools. As well as to celebrate the survivors. It was talked about with students, and there was a day off of public schools, as well as work for some. Events had taken place to celebrate the survivors, and their families.
Indigenous Children were taken away from their families, and were forced into Residential schools. The children experienced physical, mental, and sexual abuse by staff. They lived in poor housing that threatened their safety. Many died from disease, and others committed suicide. They weren’t aloud to speak their own language, and had to give up on their Cultural practices. As well as anything else that had to do with the indigenous way of life. They’re goal was to “kill the Indian in the child” in 1920. The mistake of Residential schools is a big part of Canadian history.
Truth and Reconciliation day was approved by parliament. After Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc discovered and confirmed, roughly 200 burial sites located. In which were most likely children, they were located where formal Residential schools had been. Orange shirt day had also taken place September 30th. In which is also directed to remembering and respecting, those who survived the residential schools. and who didn’t. Orange shirt day came from the experience of “Phyllis Webstad” from the “ Stswecem Xgat’tem First Nation.” After she wore her orange shirt to school and had gotten it taken from her. This is now seen as a symbol of taking away culture, self esteem, and freedom.
I have interviewed grade 10 students. Asking questions, and discussing their opinions on Natural Truth and Reconsideration day. “ Do you think we should be in school on Reconciliation day or home?” Student Karina Tsoy responded with “Yes then students have the opportunity to go to events outside of school, and reflect and accept what happened on their own time.” This answer was a big part of what the other students I interviewed had said. Being in school, would mean only your peers could see that you care. In school, events and or activities are limited. Outside of school, you can celebrate and show you care with people of all ages. As well as listen to real story’s, from people who might have experienced residential schools.
I then asked “Do you think people are doing too little to acknowledge what happened or too much?” Student Parnia Hp had the response of “A lot of adults barely know about the situation, because there’s not enough talk and education on it as there should be.” Currently for children, learning about the history of Residential schools is mandatory in Canada. But this only became mandatory in Ontario 2019. There for adults who have grown up in Canada, and went to school here. Most likely only have a split image of what went down. There should be more education on this topic for adults. This would make people of all ages, have a full understanding of Natural Truth and Reconciliation day.
The students I’ve interviewed, all have strong opinions on Residential schools. They think that it’s necessary to have a day in the year, “ Natural Truth and Reconciliation day.” For a day of learning. And to show respect and to celebrate the indigenous communities, As well as the lost children of residential schools. It’s safe to say this Holliday is a good idea and should be here to stay.