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FORT ST. JOHN, BC- A grade six class at Anne Roberts Young elementary school took extra steps in honouring National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by engaging students in a blanket activity.
Pat Jansen, Indigenous Education Program district principal, said each blanket represented a piece of Canada, known as part of Turtle Island in Indigenous culture.
“The students are on their own traditional lands, and they experience how the land was slowly taken away, and how their life had changed because of that,” said Jansen.
“A lot of Indigenous culture changed because of the displacement.”
Students moved through history, taking turns reading from scrolls with information on a variety of topics, such as the veteran act, treaties, residential schools, and Shannon’s Dream.
The activity also included artifacts representing Indigenous culture.
Students were grateful for the experience and left the activity with a better understanding of the meaning of truth and reconciliation.
The class’s teacher, Jason English, believes implementing these types of activities into the curriculum is a powerful way to send the message of truth and reconciliation.
“I don’t think students in the past had the opportunity to see the history in black and white in harsh terms and how sad it was to see how people were treated,” said English.
“I think the hands-on stuff, learning as the blankets are removed and the students are put into residential schools, my students can empathize with that.”
Jansen said although it’s not always an easy topic, it’s important for children to learn the history of the land they live on.
“It can be emotionally triggering, and it’s disheartening, but it also leaves the kids with a sense of reconciliation,” said Jansen.
“As a people, it’s important that we understand where we came from. If you understand where you came from, then you understand where you’re going.”
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation takes place this Friday, September 30th.
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