Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

UCSD Board Hosts Truth and Reconciliation Commission Gathering

 

Knowledge keepers who spoke at the event. From left: Dion Metcalfe (Inuit), Bernard Nelson (Oji-Cree), Tammy Nelson (Oji-Cree), Frances Derouchie (Ojibway), David Jock (Mohawk), Archie Martin (Metis), Pierrette Martin (Metis), T.J. Point (Metis), Danka Brewer (Algonquin), and Bill Montgomery (Haida).

The Upper Canada District School Board hosted a special Indigenous gathering May 11th, 2017 as part of efforts to discuss reconciliation and provide opportunities for learning, openness and conversations. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission +2 Gathering, which was also called the Reflection and Renewal event. The event took place at the Bridgewood Public School in Cornwall, Ontario. Their main goal is to renew our commitment to the process of reconciliation as envisioned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The event started off with the Thanksgiving address, and remarks by Director of Education Stephen Silwa. There were several knowledge keepers in attendance that also spoke and shared songs and dances with the students in attendance. The students enjoyed participating in the traditional dances. There was also a shirt garden in front of the podium, which included little paper shirts that the students were given. The students were asked to write down what reconciliation meant to them.

Bill Montgomery speaking to the students at the UCSD Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Another goal of the event is educate the students in the real history of Canada and its native people. At the end of the event one of the knowledge keepers presented a Bentwood Box to the school who will host the event next year. The Bentwood Box is a sacred item to tribes out west. They use the box to store items of the deceased, and sometimes the deceased themselves.

It is obvious that the knowledge keepers made an impact on the educators as well as the students in attendance. The history of our people has been well known to our own for as long as residential schools have been in existence. Now, the government has made an effort to educate the rest of Canada on its past mistakes. Although nothing can ever make up for the pain that residential schools has caused, there is a comfort in knowing that it is no longer Canada's dirty little secret.

 

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