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Orange Shirt Day at PWSD schools – Every Child Matters New

Schools within Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) will reflect on the legacy of residential schools at Orange Shirt Day events this week. The events will take place in advance of this year's official observance, which falls on Saturday, September 30.

The Orange Shirt Day Campaign – Every Child Matters – originated in British Columbia to remember the experiences of former students of Indian Residential Schools and is a commitment to ongoing reconciliation in Canada. The campaign grew out of Phyllis Webstad's account of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the St. Joseph Mission in Williams Lake, BC. The awareness campaign is an opportunity to continue the discussion on all aspects of residential schools.

Last Friday, PWSD teachers and principals participated in a district-wide professional development day dedicated to the Indigenous Education Initiative, a partnership between PWSD and the University of Calgary's Werklund School of Education. The sessions focused on understanding the Truth and Reconciliation: Calls to Action and the coming changes to curriculum, addressed key aspects of Ethical Relationality, and provided opportunities for participants to engage and work with colleagues.

The following schools will host Orange Shirt Day events:

DateSchoolEvent Details
Thursday, September 28R. W. Zahara Public SchoolStudents and staff will wear orange and attend the FNMI School Tour presentation at 9:00 a.m., followed by an event hosted by staff and the student leadership group.
 Wembley Elementary SchoolStaff and students will wear orange on September 28. During the week, school FNMI Liaison Worker Bonnie Belcourt will read First Nations stories to students. 
Friday, September 29Bezanson SchoolStudents and staff will wear orange, and teachers will partner with Community School Liaison Worker Amanda Allen in discussions and activities.
 Helen E. Taylor SchoolGrades 5-9 students and staff will wear orange shirts.
 Hythe Regional SchoolStudents will wear orange shirts. A reconciliation ceremony honouring those affected by residential schools will take place in the gym at 12:40 p.m.
 Peace Wapiti AcademyStaff will wear orange shirts and start the day by sharing Phyllis Webstad's story with students. The French Immersion class will hear her story in French.
 Ridgevalley SchoolGrades 2-4 students will wear orange and learn about the significance of the event in Social Studies classes.
 Rycroft SchoolStudents and staff will wear orange shirts and attend FNMI School Tour presentations in the school gym at 12:45 p.m. for Grades 1-4, and at 2:00 p.m. for Grades 5- 8. Parents and family members are welcome to attend.
 Savanna SchoolAssembly in the gym at 1:45 p.m., featuring a presentation by Grade 11 student and Duke of Edinburgh International Award silver medallist Moira McRann.
 Woking SchoolStudents and staff will wear orange.

Members of the media who are interested in attending events should R.S.V.P to angelasears@pwsd76.ab.ca. Visitors must check in at the school office upon arrival. For more information about Orange Shirt Day, visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org.

Photo captions:
1. Hythe Regional School hosted its first Orange Shirt Day event in September 2016.
2. Staff and students at Peace Wapiti Academy are pictured wearing orange during the school's 2016 Orange Shirt Day event.


Sears, Angela9/25/2017 1:05 PM25 Sep, 2017
Cree musician returning for FNMI school tour

Ten Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) schools will welcome Cree musician Jason Chamakese during the First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) school tour on September 25-29, 2017. Darrell Willier, FNMI Education Coordinator at PWSD, who organizes the tours, says this will be Mr. Chamakese's fourth visit to PWSD and students and staff are in for a treat that they will remember for a very long time.

"The goal of the FNMI school tour is twofold," adds Mr. Willier. "FNMI students identify with the positive role models from a cultural perspective, and the guests help to break down negative stereotypes that may still exist regarding FNMI people."

Hailing from the Pelican Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Mr. Chamakese began playing the traditional flute nearly 15 years ago.

"I am very much looking forward to visiting once again," says Mr. Chamakese. "I hope to instill a positive message of open-mindedness through the music and stories I share. I want my listeners to feel as though they have learned something positive about First Nations culture that moves them forward in their interactions with people of all cultures."

Mr. Chamakese performed at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with a Saskatchewan-based dance troupe selected to represent the province's First Nations people. Initially, the troupe was scheduled to perform four shows at the Four Host Nations Pavilion; however, another show was added to accommodate the demand. In 2013, he and fellow musician Robert Gladue were invited to perform at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and remained there an extra week on a three-show tour through the countryside towns of Rothesay, Oban, and Dunoon.

Mr. Chamakese will offer morning and afternoon presentations at the following PWSD schools:

UPDATE, SEPT. 21, 2017, 9:45 A.M.: Changes to the schedule are indicated in red below. 

Monday, September 25
9:30 a.m. at Harry Balfour School, Grande Prairie
1:00 p.m. at Hythe Regional School

Tuesday, September 26
10:20 a.m. at Wembley Elementary School
12:15 p.m.
at Helen E. Taylor School, Wembley

Wednesday, September 27
9:15 a.m. at Clairmont Community School
1:00 p.m. at Bezanson School

Thursday, September 28
9:00 a.m. at R.W. Zahara Public School, Sexsmith
1:00 p.m. at Eaglesham School

Friday, September 29
10:30 a.m. at Spirit River Regional Academy
12:45 p.m. at Rycroft School

Photo Caption: Jason Chamakese, a traditional Cree flutist, will present his musical and inspirational message to ten PWSD schools during the week of September 25-29, 2017.


Sears, Angela9/21/2017 9:47 AM21 Sep, 2017
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Sears, Angela9/21/2017 8:46 AM21 Sep, 2017