Journey of Truth and Reconciliation
The Journey of Truth and Reconciliation in Edmonton Catholic Schools
The Elders tell us that the longest journey is from the head to the heart. Historically, the programs of Edmonton Catholic Schools (ECSD) have been grounded in showing respect, kindness, and heart to the Indigenous peoples of Edmonton. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action did not mark the beginning of ECSD support for Indigenous peoples. We have a long history of working towards building stronger relationships in our community rooted in sharing the truth of Canada’s historical treatment of Indigenous peoples. Foundations such as the Council of Elders, Indigenous Learning Services, and the Nehiyaw Pimatisiwin Cree Language and Culture Programs were well established long before the Division’s participation in the formal work of the TRC in March 2014. Since that time, each of our schools and departments have participated in activities designed to create an emotional connection between the truth of Canada’s history and the desire to foster reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and build stronger and healthier communities; in other words, taking action to connect the head (what we know) with the heart (what we feel).
Edmonton Catholic Schools success in meeting the needs of Indigenous students is undeniable. School programming has grown from a program in one school to an elementary/junior high school offering Indigenous programming at Ben Calf Robe School, then to five Division sites offering a Nehiyaw Pimatisiwin Cree Language and Culture program, to having FNMI Graduation Coaches in four junior highs and six high schools, along with every school developing an action plan that meets the individual needs of their Indigenous students. This work happens because of the commitment to serving students that exists at all levels of our Division.
The story that is shared on these pages is a work in progress as the journey to Truth and Reconciliation is the journey of a lifetime...