March 8, 2017
The Truth and Reconciliation Assemblies held on Tuesday March 7 were a wonderful culmination and celebration of the work that the staff and students of WGSS have undertaken over the past year to learn, understand and celebrate our Aboriginal history, culture and communities. Over the past year, our students have been learning a great deal about our Aboriginal history, especially around the impact of Residential Schools on our First Nations people. This has occurred through classroom instruction, our Orange Shirt Day assemblies back in September, and the recent classroom presentations involving the Project of Heart Canoe display in our library. At Tuesday’s assemblies, Mike Morgan, District Principal of Aboriginal Learning, delivered an inspiring, interactive presentation to our students regarding Truth and Reconciliation and the importance of the work that still needs to be done in this area. As well, we were very fortunate to have Michael and Kevin Kelly Gabriel from the Kwantlen First Nation speak to our students about their own family’s experience with Residential Schools. The students were also treated to traditional Aboriginal drumming from many of our district Aboriginal workers. Finally, the ceremony culminated with the unveiling of the WGSS Longhouse Project, a collaborative venture involving five of our staff members. Over the past year, Ms. Norman, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Halabourda, Ms. Shogren, and Una Moyer, our Aboriginal Support Worker, have used the district’s Collaboration time to plan, design, develop and build this longhouse, which symbolizes Walnut Grove’s commitment to carrying on with the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The longhouse will be mounted permanently in our school courtyard along with the district Truth and Reconciliation plaque, as a daily reminder of the need to continue the work that has been started over the past year. Una and a few of our Aboriginal students unveiled the plaque and spoke to the meaning of the artwork and symbols that are represented on the longhouse. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this project and our Truth and Reconciliation Assemblies a success!