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FORT ST. JOHN, BC – Students at Robert Ogilvie Elementary School honoured Truth and Reconciliation Day by engaging in traditional Indigenous activities on Thursday.
The day’s events were arranged by the school’s Indigenous youth care worker, Fawn Wightman, of Gitxsan First Nation’s Gitanmaax reservation in Hazelton, BC.
A school-wide assembly started with two students giving a land acknowledgment, followed by guest performances.
Students listened as North Pine’s Bailey and Leah Gauvin-Mayes, members of Onion Lake Cree Nation, sang the national anthem in Cree.
Following the national anthem Wightmans daughter, Raelyn Wright, also of Gitxsan First Nation, drummed while singing the Women’s Warrior Song.
The song was originally written by Lil’wat First Nation elder Martina Pierre for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
After the assembly, the students headed outside and joined hands in a round dance around a tipi built by a school youth care worker and his father.
The school’s principal, Jerelyn Orcutt, said the students are receiving the concept of truth and reconciliation well.
“Almost a third of our students are Indigenous,” said Orcutt.
“Some of them have different amounts of knowledge about their own culture and this is a really good time to remember, but also to celebrate their culture.”
Students also had the option to head inside for some soup and Bannock, prepared by Wightman with the help of Parent Advisory Council members.
Vice Principal Denise Bragg believes events like this are a good way to give students a different approach to understanding Canadian history.
It is very important that we honour this part of our Canadian history,” said Bragg.
“It is part of our curriculum, and we are doing our best year by year to keep adding to the curriculum and teaching students about this part of our history.”
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation takes place on Friday, September 30th.
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