Truth and Reconciliation

The Stargazer News

Truth & Reconciliation: A Learning Journey

Nov. 2, 2022, was a historical day for HNMCS as we embarked on our Truth and Reconciliation Learning Journey. It was a day that we listened to residential school tragedies from the honourable guest Chief/Gimaa R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN). Gimaa R. Stacey Laforme is the elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) and he travelled from Hagersville, Ontario to be with us. This was his first visit to HNMCS. This will always be a day for us to remember.

We began our learning journey by watching a residential school survivor story narrated by Louise Longclaws. Following, the honourable guest Gimaa Laforme shared with us the pain and suffering of Indigenous peoples in Canada. He shared a touching poem that he composed called “Reconciliation.” The poem was set to music by the Barenaked Ladies Kevin Hearn and Josh Finlayson. We watched the video in silence as his messages of the lost children brought sadness to all. His words captivated our school community.

Our next speaker, Sister MaryAnne from the Felician Sisters, spoke about her own life experience and stated that Holy Name students were blessed to begin learning truths about Canada’s history that were left out of our school curriculum. She said that though she grew up next to the Cold Lake First Nations Reserve in Northern Alberta, she was unaware of the impact of colonialism. Her words, “Today, we are using some of those prayers and practices that were condemned in the past and are that much richer for them. She emphasized that diversity is a strength and not a threat. "We have much to learn from one another", she continued.

Ms. Nicoletti, who was the event lead, had commissioned an authentic Indigenous BC artist, Peter Wayne Gong to create a bentwood box for HNMCS to honour the lost children of the residential schools. The bentwood box is engraved with an eagle, an ancestral face and children’s hands. The inscription reads, “The ancestors watch as the eagle calls and reaches out to the lost children that never came home.”

The bentwood box will be special symbol to remind us of our Indigenous Canadian heritage, and we will annually place something in it as we continue our journey of growth together. For this year, Ms. Nicoletti placed the HNMCS school photograph from the Orange Day event to symbolise our commitment to Truth & Reconciliation.

The students of HNMCS had written prayers, and messages of hope, love and strength on paper hands that were traced by them. These were arranged on a tree and presented to Gimaa Laforme. A selected few were read to Gimaa Laforme and placed on his thank-you card for him to remember us.

Ms. Morrone, Ms. Rebello and the SS Choir eloquently performed 'Receive the Power' to conclude the assembly. Ms. Hughes-Grant thanked Gimaa Laforme for honouring us with his presence and he in turn invited all of us as his special guests to attend the annual Pow Wow at the MCFN reserve in the summer of 2023.