At the Delta School District, the Indigenous Education department’s mandate is to ensure the success of all students with Indigenous ancestry and to bring Indigenous culture and history to all learners across grades K-12.
Included in the teachings from the Indigenous Education team are the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. There are four Calls to Action that relate specifically to the education sector and many others that pertain to all organizations in Canada. The report asks all Canadians to be a part of this journey.
The start of the 2022-2023 school year has been exceptionally busy for the Indigenous Education Department. Along with the busy school year start up, the Indigenous Education Department held a ceremony on Friday to ‘wake up’ the district’s new Journey canoe, Wave Warrior, and launched its inaugural journey. The canoe will be used as part of a student leadership program to introduce canoe culture, strengthen identity, build community and foster reconciliation.
The next big initiative for the team is a full day youth leadership gathering, Creating a Path Forward: Indigenous Youth Gathering, for Grade 10-12 students with Indigenous ancestry. This conference is taking place at East Delta Hall with approximately 50 students on Thursday, September 29, the day before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On this day, the students will hear from the Keynote Speaker Len Pierre, Katzie First Nation, participate in cultural activities and plan for leadership events to support their own development as leaders as well as support younger students in the district. This program will allow participants to earn volunteer hours as well as credits to support language and culture. Following this gathering, students in the district will be invited to meet regularly with members of the Indigenous Education team to engage in cultural teachings and leadership opportunities.
“As we have done for the past two years, we are continuing our partnership with Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) to offer a satellite educational program (K-12) at the TFN Youth Centre. We will also continue to host regular district family gatherings via Zoom or in person with a focus on First Nations and Metis cultural teachings,” said Diane Jubinville, District Vice Principal, Indigenous Education. “We are also continuing our weekly Land Acknowledgments via Zoom every Monday morning. On average, we now have close to 1,000 students and staff joining us each week.”
“As we approach the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is important to remember the words of Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, who stated that education provides one of the greatest hopes for repairing cultural attitudes, redressing the legacy of Residential Schools and advancing the process of Reconciliation,” said Diane Jubinville. “All week, we’ve been encouraging students and staff to wear orange to witness and honour the healing journey of the residential school survivors and their families. But our work continues year-round as we are committed to helping students and staff continue their important journey towards Reconciliation.”
Article written for the Delta Optimist and published on September 29: https://www.delta-optimist.com/local-news/indigenous-education-team-engaging-in-cultural-teachings-5883008