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Public schools adding Indigenous teachings ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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While there will be no classes for students across the region on September 30th to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Grande Prairie Public School Division says students will still be getting an education about the Indigenous community.

The teachings will be tied to Orange Shirt Day and happen a day earlier. Orange Shirt Day would traditionally take place September 30th to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada.

Superintendent Sandy McDonald says the decision was made by members of the Grande Prairie Public School Division board at their most recent meeting.

“They want to see the topic of Truth and Reconciliation and residential schools discussed in our classrooms on September 29th. Our Indigenous Program Coordinator and her team are putting together some speaking notes and activities and things like that for our teachers to use for our students.”

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McDonald suggests that the participation of schools, teachers, and students across the region in Orange Shirt Day is already very high.

“It’s something that our schools were always eager to participate in because it’s a way to tell that story, and involve our students who are from a generation who did not live through that, to involve them in that history,” he says.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, marked for the first time as a statutory holiday for all federal employees, will also be honoured by the City of Grande Prairie, Peace Wapiti Public School Division, and Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools.

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