It will be an orange wave in the halls of Grand Erie schools next Monday (September 30), as the board recognizes Orange Shirt Day to educate and raise awareness of the residential school system, and the continuing impact it has on Indigenous communities.
For classes in the Brantford area, programming at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Orange Shirt Day is bringing speakers and workshops geared to students in Grades 5 and up, with the goal of fostering more meaningful connections to the Indigenous roots of Canada. Students from Tollgate Technological Skills Centre will be taking advantage of the opportunity to deepen their understanding on the site of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.
“Initiatives like these are a great way for students and educators to get outside of the classroom and engage with the wider community,” said Sabrina Sawyer, Indigenous Education Lead for Grand Erie. “The Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School is within Grand Erie’s boundaries, and providing opportunities to learn about our collective history and develop understanding in our community is crucial to Grand Erie’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.”
Last year, Grand Erie’s Indigenous Education team worked with community partners including the Woodland Cultural Centre, Six Nations of the Grand River, and Mississaugas of the Credit, to develop a resource for educators on the history of residential schools. Written and published by TC2, the Critical Thinking Consortium, the resource was made available to schools. The resource has facilitated meaningful learning and engaged students in critical thinking, with the goal of allowing students to examine what led to this point in history, while sparking discussion and planning on where to go next. The resource is available here.
Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan includes Equity as one of six indicators to guide the work of realizing Success for Every Student, and promotes practices that help students, families, and staff feel safe, welcomed, and included.