Message to SRCE Families, Staff and School Communities Regarding National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters; Truth and Reconciliation Week; Treaty Day and Mi'kmaq History Month

September 23, 2021

Good Afternoon SRCE Families, Staff and School Communities:

I would like to share information with you on several important upcoming observances and how the SRCE will be honouring them:

  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Thursday, September 30, 2021
  • Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters, Wednesday, September 29, 2021
  • Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 27 to October 1, 2021
  • Treaty Day, Friday, October 1, 2021; and the launch of Mi’kmaq History Month

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Thursday, September 30, 2021

As you may be aware, on Friday, September 3, 2021, the Province of Nova Scotia announced it will recognize September 30 annually as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As a result, provincial government offices, public schools and regulated childcare will be closed, while some other public services will maintain a level of service.

All Nova Scotians are asked to find ways to acknowledge this day, to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors and their families and communities, and ensure public remembrance of our shared history and the generational harm caused by residential schools remains a vital part of the reconciliation process.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation provides an important learning opportunity for all of us in the education system to take time to pause and reflect; and have important conversations about Canada’s history of residential schools, including here in Nova Scotia.

The recent heartbreaking tragedy of the remains of children found at several residential school sites also reminds us of the lasting legacy of residential schools and the systemic efforts to eliminate the language, culture and value of Indigenous peoples. It is imperative we work to address systemic racism in our society and continue on the path of Reconciliation through Treaty Education.

Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters in the SRCE will be held on Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The SRCE invites students, parents/guardians, families, staff, volunteers and community partners to join in honouring Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, and every day. Let’s all come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope by wearing orange on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

As the website, www.orangeshirtday.org points out, Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, British Columbia in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis' story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. The annual Orange Shirt Day held on September 30 opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. This date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools. This day is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. The day promotes discussion that all Canadians can tune into and use to create bridges with each other for reconciliation. It is a day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those who have been affected. It is a day to show that Every Child Matters, even if they are currently an adult. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

Did You Know?

  • Over 150,000 First Nation Students attended the residential schools in Canada.
  • Approximately 1,500 Mi’kmaw children attended the Shubenacadie School.
  • It is estimated that 6,000 children never made it back from those schools.

Teaching and Learning in Classrooms during Truth and Reconciliation Week (September 27 to October 1, 2021) and Throughout the Year

We must ensure we continue to educate about this part of our history, to increase our efforts to realize the promise of Inclusive Education, and work together affirming survivors, their families and recognizing the generational harm caused by residential schools.

SRCE staff will be facilitating conversations about residential schools in our classrooms with a particular focus on truth and reconciliation through Treaty Education.

Treaty Education allows for each grade level to learn about Mi’kmaw history, treaties, relationships, culture, ways of knowing and reconciliation. These teachings are woven into the curriculum of every grade level throughout the school year.

Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month

October 1 is Treaty Day and marks the beginning of Mi’kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia. Throughout the year, and especially in October, teachers incorporate a variety of educational activities in their classroom instruction to highlight the connection of our past to today and how this information shapes our understanding of our shared history. In addition, schools organize activities to enhance Treaty Education.

Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own understanding of the important history, culture, contributions, achievements and traditions of Mi’kmaw communities.

In the spirit of peace, friendship and reconciliation, the Strait Regional Centre for Education invites everyone to share in the celebration of Mi’kmaq History Month 2021.

What can we do?

The SRCE encourages you to join us, and act towards honouring the truth:

Where can I access support?

If you are having a difficult time as you learn more, there are supports available including:

  • SRCE school counsellors, school psychologists, teachers, school administrators and SchoolsPlus staff are a few of the supports available for our children and youth.
    • Please contact your respective school administration and/or school counsellor.
    • SchoolsPlus staff are also available to support children, youth and families and help you access mental health supports and other services you may need.
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).
    • Children and youth may text TALK to 686868
    • Adults may text WELLNESS to 741741
  • National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
  • Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society: 1-800-721-0066
  • Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Centre: 1-855-379-2099

We Are All Treaty People. Every Child Matters.

Wela’lin / Thank you,

Paul Landry
Regional Executive Director of Education

Strait Regional Centre for Education
304 Pitt Street, Unit 2
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2T9
902-625-2191/1-800-650-4448; 902-625-2281 (fax)

srce@srce.ca / www.srce.ca
Follow SRCE on Twitter @SRCE_NS