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Blog: Friday, June 4th, 2021

Reflections Over The Last Week

I have struggled this past week to process my thoughts and emotions regarding the horrific truths coming out of the Kamloops Residential School. This appalling tragedy is a difficult reminder for survivors of residential schools and their families, and a reminder of the hurt and intergenerational trauma they have endured. This hurt and trauma affects families within our own school community.

Throughout my own K-12 and post secondary education, I was never taught about the intentional government policies designed to eliminate Indigenous culture. It was not until well into my adulthood, as an educator and non-Indigenous person, that my personal learning journey began. While the truths and learning can be uncomfortable, it is the role of educators to teach the current generation of learners the things many of us were not taught. 

Our staff at Upper Sumas Elementary have been, and remain committed to, teaching and celebrating Indigenous learnings and culture throughout the school year.  

This past week our students paid tribute to the 215 children who never returned home, through the sharing of stories (there are many beautiful, age-appropriate picture books that teach about residential schools), class discussions, and the decoration of feathers to represent the children.

I invite parents to continue these conversations at home as a family. If you are looking for ways to talk to your child but do not know where to start, see the video link below for some guidance on how to start.

Talking to kids about Residential Schools

My heart, thought and sympathies go out to the survivors, families and Indigenous communities.

With Care,

Erica Hopkins