“Our Treaty Partners have not always respected the treaty relationship between us. The imposition of residential schools damaged the relationship between us. We feel that one of the primary avenues through which this relationship can be repaired is by properly funding education systems that are under our control and design. The Crown has a fiduciary duty, obligation and responsibility to provide unencumbered funding that allows Maskwacis to educate our children in our own ways.”
MESC School flags were lowered on Saturday, May 29th, at 8:00pm and raised on Monday, June 7, 2021 at 7:00pm. This represents one hour of remembrance for each of the 215 children found at the site of the former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C.
We can measure time, but we cannot measure loss. We solemnly remember and honour those who have been impacted through the tragedy of Indian Residential Schools by working every day to ensure today’s generation of students holds their traditions close to their hearts.
It is with this in mind that MESC continues to enact on our treaty right to education to make MESC schools our own. MESC is grateful for the contributions and support of students, parents, guardians, teachers, educators, school leadership, education partners, and Maskwacîsak for supporting a vision for Awasisak and Oskayak that is built around the foundational values of Îyinîw Mâmitonehicikan, Nehiyaw Pimâtisiwin, Nehiyawewin, and Wâhkôhtowin.
MESC is committed to a balanced education, and in doing so, the Learning Services branch is developing a local curriculum that will shift the educational opportunities and outcomes for Maskwacisak. This curriculum will be reflective, respectful, and inclusive of the true and complete history, contributions, experiences, and perspectives of families and Residential Schools survivors and generations across our Nations.
Along with our local curriculum, MESC also recognizes the importance of mental health and wellness for students. MESC Student Services branch has developed and implemented workshops on trauma informed practices for all school staff to ensure that the wellness of our students is priority. MESC also has a counselling program that consists of 16 full time counsellors that are highly skilled in providing therapeutic support for all students. Along with this, there are two Student and Family Support Workers that support students and families in a holistic way, within the school, community, and home environment.
As we continue to heal from the heartbreaking discovery in Kamloops, and in the spirit of wahkohtowin, it is our collective responsibility to support one another for the benefit of Maskwacis Awasisak and Oskayak today and in the future.
Below is a list of a few of the activities that occurred in various MESC schools to honor the memory of the children found at the site of the former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC:
- Lowered school flags to half mast.
- Students and staff wore orange shirts to school.
- Held a moment of silence during virtual school assemblies.
- Provided support to students and staff that may have been triggered by this event.
- Planted lilies as a representation of appreciation to be able to practice our language, culture and ceremonies in our schools.
- Some schools made pins out of miniature moccasins.