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Touching ceremony as Red Deer students pay tribute to military veterans leading up to Remembrance Day

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From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School students paid respect to Canadian veterans, by participating in “No Stone Left Alone” at the Red Deer Cemetery.  At a short Remembrance Day ceremony, students placed poppies on veterans’ graves.  Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer attended.
The ‘No Stone Left Alone’ program provides students of all ages with the opportunity to engage in the act of remembrance in a way that is authentic, meaningful and powerful. For our children, most of whom have grown up in a time and place of peace, it helps to expand their understanding of war, loss, peace and hope. By placing poppies on the graves of the courageous men and women who fought for our country, our students can see the real impact that war has, and can reaffirm their commitment to maintaining peace in our world,” said Humanities Lead Teacher, Jessica Maloughney at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
The No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation is dedicated to honouring and remembering Canada’s veterans. Their unique ceremony provides students and youth with an authentic experience that creates knowledge, understanding and appreciation of those who serve and of the sacrifice of Canada’s fallen.
“I hope that by participating in ‘No Stone Left Alone’ students will have that opportunity to deepen their understanding of why participating in Remembrance Day matters. I think this opportunity will help students make a personal connection and/or allow them to honour their family members that have served or are currently serving,” said Teacher Dana Blair, at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School.
For more information, please visit https://www.nostoneleftalone.ca/

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Student artwork represents Orange Shirt Day

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From OrangeShirtDay.org

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013… The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. 

From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

Deneen Hawryszko, a Grade 8 student at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School, will be a symbol for this year’s Orange Shirt Day. Every year on September 30, students and staff from across the division recognize Orange Shirt Day to show a collective commitment to ensuring that every child matters.

“We put out a division-wide call for artwork at the beginning of June to give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of what Orange Shirt Day is all about. As we work towards reconciliation, our goal for students is to give them the opportunity to reflect on the journey of survivors and their families of residential schools and that every child matters. This helps create and foster a sense of belonging in our schools,” said Coordinator Selena Frizzley at First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Support Team.

Here is Deneen Hawryszko’s explanation of her artwork:

“Originally I wanted the child to be looking at their ancestors, as Indigenous people go through generational trauma from the residential schools, colonization and mass murder of their people and culture. Though since there was a chance of it being on a shirt I reconsidered and did some more research. I found the bear was a sign of strength and the symbol inside of it represented protection. The circle the bear is inside also is a symbol of the moon, which represents many things like protection and grandmother moon, who is the leader of feminine life, which is a nod to the missing and murdered indigenous women today.”

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Alberta

Orange Shirt Day – Acknowledging the Lasting Legacy of the Canadian Residential School System

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The year 2020 marks the 24th anniversary of the final closure of the last operating Canadian residential school, located in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, in the year 1996. 

Originally established in the late 1800’s, more than 130 residential schools operated across Canada for over 120 years. During this time, more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into the schools (1). 

Jointly operated by the Government of Canada and religious organizations across the nation, the residential school system was a violent and corrupt approach towards the total assimilation of Indigenous children and the ultimate erasure of Indigenous culture. The methods used by the schools to pursue this goal, as officially documented by the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CTRC), were abhorrent acts of violence and humiliation against children that would raise a legacy of trauma and pain spanning generations. 

The exact number of children who died during their time at the residential schools remains unclear, but is estimated to be greater than 6000 (2). The CTRC documents that many students succumbed to disease and malnourishment exacerbated by abysmal living conditions, while others died as a result of abuse. Records show many children perished in fires when a number of schools burned down over the years, and others died by suicide, or while trying to escape (3).  

“Children were abused, physically and sexually, and they died in numbers that would not have been tolerated in any school system in the country, or in the world.” Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (4)

Since the final closure of the residential schools in 1996, steps towards national reconciliation – such as the launch of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 – have been based in the acknowledgement and commemoration of the painful legacy of the schools across Canada. The documentation, preservation and dissemination of the residential school experience as told by the survivors is essential to understanding and accepting the implications of this dark and extensive period in Canadian history. 

Among many ongoing discussions and dedications to the survivors and victims of the Canadian residential Schools, Orange Shirt Day is an annual recognition of the ongoing pursuit of reconciliation and affirmation in Canada. 

Orange Shirt Day was born in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013 as a legacy of the St. Joseph Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion. The project was founded by former student Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins in an effort to bring together those whose lives had been negatively impacted by the schools. Specifically, “Events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honor the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation” (5).

Orange Shirt Day was founded as a result of the St. Joseph project, when former student and spokesperson for the Reunion group, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, shared the experience of her first day at the residential school, “when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl” (6).  

September 30th was chosen as the annual Orange Shirt Day to coincide with the returning school year, and to commemorate the time of year in which children were originally taken from their homes to attend the residential schools. 

On September 30, 2019, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) hosted a ceremony in honor of Orange Shirt Day at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. A list commemorating the names of 2,800 Indigenous children who died while attending the residential schools was presented on a 50-metre-long-ceremonial cloth. This ceremony represented an important first step, according to the NCTR, however, there is still a long way to go towards the proper recognition and memorialization of all who were lost to the schools. 

Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has continued to foster ongoing investigation and dialogue surrounding the history and lasting legacy of the residential school system within the Canadian historical landscape. It is a public call to listen, share, and remember those who suffered and now carry the lasting wounds of the government mandated Canadian residential school system, as well as those who never returned home at all. 

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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october, 2020

sat03oct9:30 am4:30 pmCharity Checkstop9:30 am - 4:30 pm MST Taylor Drive, North of 32 ST, South of 43 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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