The First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
was held on September 30, 2021. This day was established to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. While the school was closed for the day, students, staff and families recognized the day in their own ways.
Mr. Duncan Brice, Co-Director of Athletics at our Senior School, used the day as an opportunity to decompress and recognize the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. He hiked with his family hiked to the top of PKOLS
(Mount Douglas) and read and shared the history and stories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people that lived in this territory.
“It was a beautifly reflective experience,” he said.
Some students choose to read literature from Indigenious writers, including Arav Ishwarlall ’26.
“I read some First Nation books to learn about their stories at residential schools and their homes,” he said. “The day was important to be able to recognize the hardships, and what we can do to make it better, and also not to repeat those mistakes we made.”
Delaney How ’24 used the day to educate herself and family about why the day was created.
“To me, personally, it was really nice and I got to learn more about what the day means. I took it as a day to learn more, which was really nice and I educated my parents more on it,” said Delaney.
For Ibrahim Khurram ’25 he took the day to reflect on the many speeches that he listened to from Idigenious sources.
“I mostly listened to speeches from Indigenious people, and I think they were very inspirational,” he said. “They were on different topics, like what reconciliation is and why it is important.”
Selena McElroy ’27 and her family went to an event downtown and listened to residential school survivor stories.
“There were a lot of people and I learned that a lot of people do care about this, and way more people are now educating themselves,” she said. “It was important for me too because I learned more about it, and I’m part of that group that is learning more about Indigenious history and reconciliation.”
Leading up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, many GNS students had the chance to listen to Indigenious Educator James Taylor. On Wednesday, September 29, he spent time talking to students from Grades 4 to 12 on various topics and performing traditional songs.
Kate Nielson ’32, said she liked to learn about the different cultures, and how they used storytelling and songs.
“I thought it was really cool how he used different kinds of songs with special drums to represent different things, and how each of the individual First Nations had special spirit animals—I found that really fascinating,” she said.
Some of the students at the Pemberton Woods Campus had heard Mr. Taylor speak before, and said it’s always an educational experience whenever he visits.
“Even though I’ve heard a lot of what he says in the past, there is always something more, there is always more we can do,” said Analee Obrocea ’24. “It’s always interesting to be able to hear every aspect of what he says. Also, he’s such a great person and speaker, it’s great to have him here.”