Royal Vale School's hallways and classrooms were full of orange t-shirts on Friday September 29. That is because the school's Truth and Reconciliation Committee prepared age appropriate videos for all grades (K-11) that were shown in every classroom Friday morning.
All classes were provided with Every Child Matters stickers so that the entire Royal Vale community could show its solidarity with the victims and Survivors or residential schools. Across all grade levels and subjects, and throughout the week, different activities ranging from art activities, reading comprehensions, interactive Google maps, library installations, learning stations and classroom discussions helped students understand the historical events of residential schools as well as the ongoing impacts they have on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.
The RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee installed a new Survivors’ Flag alongside their existing installation recognizing the Royal Vale community’s ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. The Survivors’ Flag was created by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation in collaboration with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Survivor’s of residential schools. The flag contains many symbolic elements pertaining to Survivors as well as wider Indigenous culture. It is the goal of the RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee to use each of these symbolic elements as a theme to guide their learning each year as the school continues to mark Truth and Reconciliation Week as well as Orange Shirt Day. Their larger project, which they are currently working on, is collaborating with an Indigenous artist and students to create a mural based on these symbolic elements in a multi-year art project.
In addition, RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee and Royal Vale staff will also be engaging in their own professional development on the topic of residential schools. Specifically, they plan to look at how teachers can help achieve the Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on the topic of education and how to deal with hard questions by embracing a culture of humility.
The RVS Truth and Reconciliation Committee are very thankful for the support of the administration, staff, and entire Royal Vale community for embracing Truth and Reconciliation Week. It is the Committee’s hope that as the community continues to be open to learning about our past, that Truth and Reconciliation Week will also be a time to think critically about the injustices Indigenous people face today that prevent reconciliation and also be a celebration of the vibrant cultures that exist today all across Canada.