June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples.
Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
This year, the recent discovery of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School forms part of the background of this important day. As a Division, we want to acknowledge the day and also recognize this terrible event by speaking with our students about the residential schools that are part of the history of this country with our students.
St. Paul Education students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 will view a short introduction and traditional honour song by Clifford Cardinal, who was recently appointed as Cultural Advisor for the division. They will also view a recording of the book When We Were Alone, read by the author, and complete a short, grade-appropriate lesson activity with their teacher. Parents who wish to preview the book can do so at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv6uX0a91dM
The accompanying Parent/Teacher Guide can also be downloaded from the following website: https://www.portageandmainpress.com/free-products/parentteacher-guide-for-when-we-were-alone/
St. Paul Education students in Grades 6 to 12 will view a short introduction, honour song, prayer, and statement by Clifford Cardinal, who was recently appointed as Cultural Advisor for the Division.
Individual schools have also organized a variety of special activities for their students.