Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Students learn about Indigenous history and answering God’s call for justice and healing.
Friday is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and we are grateful for several opportunities at Nanaimo Christian School this week to learn about and walk the road toward reconciliation.
What does it look like to equip our students to "live Biblically" (part of our school’s mission) when we look through the lens of reconciliation?
Paul described the idea of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18 saying that God "gave us the ministry of reconciliation." This ministry is part of our mission. We will make mistakes, but our constant ministry is to restore relationships – whether they are with our Indigenous brothers and sisters or with classmates.
It’s been a meaningful week of Truth & Reconciliation chapels and activities at NCS, truly a time of learning about and reflecting on stories of Indigenous children who were taken from their families to residential schools. On Friday there is no school as we recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; students are encouraged to join the events planned in Nanaimo.
Orange Shirt Day* was Thursday, when all students and staff wore orange to honour those impacted by the generational trauma of residential schools. It is a symbol of acknowledgement and reconciliation. Thank you to William Good, a Coast Salish artist who is also an NCS grandparent and designed our orange shirts. We're blessed that he and his family are part of our NCS community.
Here are some of the other activities happening in each division at NCS this week:
High School & Middle School
In chapel we hosted Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School’s singing group, which was led by an NCS parent and an NCS grad who both work at the Indigenous school. The Cowichan Tzuniqua Dancers also performed during chapel, sharing a welcome song, remembrance song, thank you song, and friendship song where NCS students joined them in a dance. Performers encouraged our students to listen with an open heart and create a world of justice, love, respect and equality where every child matters. Sharing traditional cultural practices would not have been allowed in residential schools. Grade 8 student ambassadors presented the student singers with blank journals as a thank you gift. Watch vocal clip. Watch dancing clip.
This week the K-2 students read Shi-Shi Etko and discussed the importance of memories and how they shape us. The 3-5's read When I was Eight and Not My Girl and talked about how memories of home and connection to home supported the main character through her time away at residential school. All elementary students wrote a response to the story on an orange heart, which was displayed in the hallway. In chapel we read the book When We Were Alone and talked about how our memories shape our identity, and how residential schools interrupted memories, therefore altering identity.
Our orange shirts were designed by William Good, a Coast Salish artist who is also an NCS grandparent. We're blessed that he and his family are part of our NCS community!
* Why we wear orange shirts
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’s account of losing her shiny new orange shirt 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. Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for Indigenous peoples, local governments, schools and community agencies to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. (Read more: www.orangeshirtday.org)