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Year-End Message from the Chief Superintendent
While June is an exciting final month of learning together, it has also been a heavy month of truth in Canada. The discovery of 215 children found buried at Kamloops Indian Residential School was quickly been followed by the discovery of other unmarked graves at now defunct residential schools across Canada. As mentioned in our last administrator message, students feel strongly about this news and have responded by wearing orange, expressing their feelings through art, and communicating a desire to learn and know more.During June, Canada's National Indigenous History Month, EMJ students and staff have actively worked to renew our commitment towards developing our own foundational knowledge about residential schools. As with all learning, teachers are thoughtful that our conversations are developmentally appropriate and respectful of the personal connections many our students and families hold in their hearts.Thomas King has taught us, “The truth about stories is, that's all we are". With this in mind, story continues to bring us together to guide EMJ's Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and develop our shared capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy and respect. June has been a time for EMJ students to learn through story to honor Canada's Indigenous History in different ways.Grade one students have been learning about the history of story and understanding the importance of oral storytelling. They are developing understanding about why stories are told many times and that stories themselves are meant to teach. Students continue to reflect on the lessons they learn from Indigenous stories shared orally, within favourite picture books, episodes from the animated series Wapos Bay, and through throat singing and art. One student shared, “I learned I can't just think about me… I need to think about everyone." Grade six students continue their regular Song of the Week analysis, looking closely at the lyrics from different songs. Most recently they have engaged in deep reading of the lyrics from the song “The Stranger" by Gord Downie. Students reflected on what the words mean to them and annotated the song lyrics, sharing thoughtful inferences helping them think about the lasting impact of residential schools in deep and meaningful ways. Grade four students also spent time this month looking at stories expressed through song and art. The song “WE WON'T FORGET YOU" written, recorded and filmed with students from Sk'elep School of Excellence in Kamloops, British Columbia brought messages of truth and hope into their classroom conversations. These examples are just a brief window into the learning that is part of EMJ's Commitment to Action for Truth and Reconciliation. We continue our collective commitment towards developing understanding of and taking actionable steps recommended in the The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action. We will be recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, June 21 and Aboriginal Awareness Week in Calgary from June 21 – 25 as we commit to walking this path, in and through stories, together.