NCS honoured Canada's Indigenous children (now adults) who were taken far away from their families and placed in residential schools.
Each year on September 30 NCS recognizes Orange Shirt Day to honour the Indigenous children taken from their families and placed in residential schools from 1880 until as recently as 1996. We recognize the impact the residential school system had on children's sense of self-esteem and well being, and we join schools across Canada in affirming our commitment to ensure that Every Child Matters.
Today several classes read the book When We Were Alone, a powerful conversation between a granddaughter and grandmother remembering residential schools and explaining why she acts the way she does now. Other classes read Phyllis’ Orange Shirt, the book about the woman for whom the day is named.
In classrooms today, after reading one of these books, teachers led discussions about how it would’ve felt to be one of the children being taken to a residential school. Older students also discussed the things that were done to erase cultural identity and the lasting impact.
Here are a few highlights of the day's activities:
Mrs. Taylor's grade 1/2 class passed a feather around a talking circle and each child took a turn reflecting on the feelings of Indigenous children being taken from their families.
In Mrs. Morin's grade 3/4 class each student designed an orange shirt with a message of hope and encouragement.
Miss Johansson’s grade 5 class brainstormed on sticky notes about what children might have been feeling during this time. Then they did a prayer walk, looking at the words on their notes posted around the classroom and asked God for healing for those who are still dealing with the trauma of these events.
Several students and all of the NCS staff wore orange shirts. Many staff wore shirts with the hummingbird image designed by Snuneymuxw First Nations artist and NCS community grandparent, Mr. William Good, who has so generously allowed us to use it.