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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On Friday, September 29th, Hugh Boyd organized an activity in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (which this year fell on Saturday, September 30th).

The activity was planned and led by a group of teachers (Mr. Taylor, Ms. Lekakis, Mr. Van Vugt and Ms. Leung) as well as members of the Social Justice 12 class.  We were also very fortunate to have Indigenous Learning Consultant, Ms. Sheila Maracle, who led the school through drumming and a song in memory of the children who lost their lives in the Residential School System in Canada.

At the beginning of class, students from the Social Justice class led us through a land acknowledgement and then Ms. Maracle discussed the protocols for the event.  Teachers were asked to have students think about the Residential School system and write a message to someone who lost their life while in school on an Orange Silhouette t-shirt.

Outside the Library was a display in memory of those who lost their lives and students were called down by class to pass the display including the 94 Calls to Action and drumming before going outside to the field.  Once on the field, our students assembled in a concentric circle and Ms. Maracle led the school through the Coast Salish Anthem followed by a moment of silence.

Once the ceremony ended, students were asked to place their Orange Silhouette t-shirts in a box that Ms. Maracle took to pay respects to the spirits.

At Hugh Boyd, we are committed to making Truth and Reconciliation efforts to help raise awareness and create a better, more equitable future.  We need to thank the Social Justice 12 class, Ms. Maracle and the team of teachers who worked so hard at creating this very important and impactful activity.

The good news is, we can see through the results of our Student Learning Surveys, our students say they ARE learning about Indigenous peoples, cultures, languages, and principles. To the several questions on the topic, we have seen a steady rise (between 5-17% increase) in the number of students replying “Most/All of the Time” to the questions “At school, do you participate in any ongoing Indigenous programs or activities?” (increase of ~6%), “At school, do you participate in any Indigenous celebrations or activities” (increase of ~8%), “At school, are you being taught about local First Nations?” (increase of ~9%), “At school, are you being taught the local First Nations’ languages?” (increase of ~6%) and “At school, are you being taught about Indigenous Peoples in Canada?” (increase of ~12%)

We can also cite the increased enrolment in new courses offered at Hugh Boyd.  We currently enroll four sections of English First Peoples 12 (106 students). This is a new course, created in response to the Ministry mandate of all students graduating this year being required to take a course in BC First Nations and all our Grade 12 students are enrolled in this class. We have also seen a sharp increase in our enrollment numbers for BC First Peoples 12. We have run this course with only 7-9 students in the class in previous years, but this school year have two sections BC First Peoples 12, enrolling 47 students.

We were very proud of the activity created and offered at Hugh Boyd in relation to the September 30th National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, and we are also pleased to see our students enrolling in courses that help them learn more about the history of Canada and some of the content specific to Indigenous Peoples.

Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2023