ST. PAUL - A week ahead of the Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, St. Paul Education has decided to shift its approach to how it will honour the day.
Previously, the school division had decided it would give students the day off, and use the date as a day for professional development for staff. Following discussions within the division's FNMI committee, which includes staff members from across the division and newly appointed cultural advisor Clifford Cardinal, the board of trustees has agreed to honour the day as a day off for staff too.
The topic was brought forward at a Sept. 22 board meeting. Superintendent Glen Brodziak stated that upon reflection, he was presenting a new plan to the board for the newly established holiday.
The day should provide an opportunity for "quiet reflection" or give people the opportunity to participate in community events that may be taking place, said Brodziak. It's a day to "honour those who were lost."
Call to Action #80 in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action document states: "We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process."
This new approach better reflects the call to action, heard the board.
Trustee Lorne Young, who was part of the committee meeting, said there was a strong consensus that the day should be used for "personal reflection."
A motion to approve the new recommendation was carried.
Brodziak noted that work will continue to take place to educate and honour those who attended residential schools.
"All throughout the year, this is our journey," he said.