Throughout September, this committee accomplished multiple initiatives designed to educate the student body about Indigenous rights and issues. Morning announcements, a guest speaker, and, to end the month off, a flag-raising ceremony were all part of a well-coordinated effort to spread awareness.
Morning announcements included frequent information sessions surrounding Indigenous perspectives and calls to action. Slides throughout the school portrayed additional facts on which the student body had the opportunity to reflect on as they went about their day. On September 23rd, Kim Wheatley (an Anishinaabe Ojibway Grandmother) held a virtual session for the entire school where students learned the importance of land acknowledgments, the stepping stones to reconciliation, and how all Greenwood staff and students can be allies to the Indigenous community.
The entire month culminated in National Truth and Reconciliation day on September 30th. All students were encouraged to wear an orange shirt and participate in a series of class discussions/activities about reconciliation and Indigenous leaders. During the lunch break, an “Every Child Matters” flag-raising ceremony and a moment of silence gave students the opportunity to honour the children who lost their identities and, in many cases, lives due to the Residential School System.
The DEI committee worked diligently to provide accurate and accessible information to the student body. “We wanted to encourage students to reflect on how they can reconcile as well as individual ways students can support indigenous communities,” Maurya Shah ‘22, Teagan Millar ‘22, and Erin Stewart ‘22, the DEI executives, commented. The DEI committee conducted the majority of research through Indigenous websites and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to understand some authentic Indigenous perspectives.
Although September has ended, reconciliation will continue at Greenwood. The school has promised to present the land acknowledgment every morning to remind students of the Indigenous land we stand on. The DEI committee is hoping to emphasize certain Indigenous businesses throughout the year which students can potentially support monetarily. Reconciliation is not just a month but a state of mind students must always carry with them.
When asked what they were most proud of during this month, the DEI executives responded, “the valuable discussions, the flag raising, and the (subsequent) moment of silence. All the little moments that added up.”