Stories are powerful- they foster learning and can be catalysts for change. Over the past several weeks, our Junior School girls have been reading a number of stories about the traumatic impact residential schools have had on Indigenous people across our country. Last week at Junior School e-ssembly, they shared their learnings with each other and with our very special friend and guest Geraldine Govender, a Moose Cree Elder, and Director of Language and Cultural Programs at the Indigenous Health Research Development Program. Geraldine has been a wonderful partner and friend for many years, having come to St. Clement’s along with her son and granddaughter over the years. Many SCS students and staff, myself included, have also been blessed to spend time together with Geraldine and other Moose Cree community members in Moose Factory over the past ten years.
Our SCS community has had the great good fortune to have the opportunity to listen to, and learn from, stories from Geraldine and many others from Moose Factory. Geraldine reinforced that while not every family was touched by the residential school experience directly, we all collectively have a responsibility to heed the stories of others and work together to make things better.
On Wednesday, St. Clement’s School came together at our full school e-ssembly for Orange Shirt Day to recognize the harm that residential schools inflicted on Indigenous communities across the country, and to honour the victims and the survivors who had their language, culture, and families stolen from them. While e-ssembly is one event and Orange Shirt Day, just one day, the learning our community is doing is ongoing and, in so many ways, is enabled by stories.
As Geraldine emphasized this past week, “We all have our stories; we must use our gifts from our ancestors to work, support, care, and love each other. I believe that we can reach something good, together.”