St. Albert students will get a day off this September to recognize the legacy of Canada’s residential school system.
St. Albert Public and Greater St. Albert Catholic school trustees put out a joint statement Sept. 2 saying they will close their schools and division offices Sept. 30 in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The federal government established this new statutory holiday in June with the passage of Bill C-5. The holiday is meant to honour Indigenous survivors of residential schools and their communities and ensure the commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remained part of the reconciliation process.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for the creation of such a holiday back in 2015 as part of its 94 Calls to Action.
St. Albert Public board chair Glenys Edwards said this day is an opportunity to recognize the trauma inflicted by residential schools and boost student understanding of Indigenous values and history.
“This isn’t just a holiday,” GSACRD board chair Noreen Radford emphasized.
“This is a time for staff and students and families to actually read the Calls to Action and perhaps learn a bit more of the history of our Indigenous peoples.”
GSACRD and St. Albert Public officials said students will learn about Canada’s Indigenous history in the lead-up to the 30th and will celebrate Orange Shirt Day (which falls on the 30th) earlier in the week.
Both districts rearranged their calendars to ensure students and staff would not miss out on instruction and training time.