Spring Park School to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation all week
'They're just so eager to learn'
Students at Charlottetown's Spring Park Elementary are taking part in a week of activities to commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The new federal statutory holiday is in remembrance of residential schools and how their legacy has affected Indigenous communities.
On Monday, students at Spring Park heard traditional Mi'kmaq stories, learned dances and watched a drum circle.
Mi'kmaw author and provincial poet-laureate Julie Pellissier-Lush led the activities.
"They're just so eager to learn how to say hello in Mi'kmaw, they're so eager to learn how to sing a song in Mi'kmaw and to learn a dance … this is the age they'll just soak it in and bring it home," she said.
To go along with stories, dance and song are lessons about residential schools.
"We have to face the truth, the children came already hearing the truth in the media of these children in unmarked graves on residential sites," said teacher Tracy-Anne Manning.
"And so we're deciding to do our reconciliation through just honouring that culture."
Indigenous students at the school were given recognition. They helped with the event and shared what the day means to them.
Layla Sark is one of the students who helped organize the event.
"I feel like they're finally realizing what they did," Sark said. "We're pretty much the same as them, we just speak a different language."
Indigenous teachings to continue
Another Indigenous student, Hayden Curry, said it's difficult hearing the stories and learning the history.
"I really do feel bad because maybe some of those people could have been my ancestors too," he said. "I just don't feel like Canada should have done that to those little children."
Staff said Indigenous lessons will continue throughout the year as well.