Many students at Madawaska Valley District High School will be wearing orange on Friday, as the school recognizes The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
A large map, showing locations of different First Nations groups, will be on display. It will also show the locations of past residential schools where many Indigenous children were taken to and, in many cases, died.
Jody Sernoskie, who teaches Indigenous-themed courses at the Barry’s Bay-based high school, says today’s students are learning more about the wrongs of Canada’s past and how reconciliation must take place, even if it’s an emotional subject to approach.
“We’re on this journey of reconciliation together; Indigenous people and settlers’ descendants,” she says. “But the work of reconciliation is really the responsibility of people like me, who are the descendants of settlers.”
“The Indigenous people did nothing wrong; they have nothing to atone for. We need to listen and to learn and we need to ask what is needed and respond to those requests.”
While schools are recognizing the day on Friday, Truth and Reconciliation Day is actually on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Events will be taking place across the country to recognize survivors, and those who never returned home, from residential schools. The orange shirts are to recognize the “Every Child Matters” concept.
A few of those events are south of here.
Ahead of the day, North Hastings High’s School’s Wolf Pack student group is hosting a screening of the film Bones of Crows. It’s at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Bancroft-based school.
For admission, the Wolf Pack is accepting donations to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society. The sale of popcorn and drinks will help the Wolf Pack fund future events.
Also, the Algonquin Inodewiziwin Cultural Circle is hosting an Orange Shirt Day Celebration” on Saturday. It’s from 10 a.m. to noon at the centre, at the Highway 62-and-127 intersection in Maynooth.
And the Art Gallery of Bancroft will host a ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday. It’s to close out Gallery’s September exhibit, which was called Truth and featured the work of Indigenous artists.