Sir William Osler raises funds for reconciliationJanuary 16, 2023 News Story
École Sir William Osler School students are answering the call.
In September, Sir William Osler teacher Robert Rozière and his Grade 2 class held a bake sale to raise funds for an organization that promotes the 94 Calls to Action recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The commission was established in 2008 to document the lasting impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous people.
The bake sale took place on Sept. 27 and 28 and raised $490. The students chose to donate the proceeds to Circles for Reconciliation, a Winnipeg/Toronto-based organization that aims to establish “trusting, meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples” according to its website.
The students also made cards, which are posted at circlesforreconciliation.ca.
“How sweet and thoughtful that their teacher, parents and all involved thought of reconciliation. They sent cards that had messages in their own handwriting,” said Circles for Reconciliation on its website.
“It is wonderful to know that this generation is learning about the history and the terrible legacy of residential schools that our First Nations, Inuit and Métis people had to endure. Not all survived.”
To achieve its objective, Circles for Reconciliation creates small gatherings of ten people to participate in discussion circles led by trained facilitators.
Its website states that “Every circle needs five Indigenous and five non-Indigenous participants. Relationships are built by equal voices.”
Circles for Reconciliation board member Ingrid Dowan and Winnipeg advisory committee member Grace Schedler visited Sir William Osler on Jan. 11 to thank the students for the donation and cards.
Sir William Osler principal Dominique Ostermann said the students offered their visitors a gift of tobacco and words of encouragement. Dowan and Schedler talked about their lives, where they grew up, the residential school experience, and how the students can continue to contribute to reconciliation. They also gifted the classroom a talking stick and taught the class a few words in the Cree language.
“At Sir William Osler, acknowledging the truth allows the healing to take place,” Ostermann said. “It allows us to share not only as a school, but as a society and Canada as a whole, how can we reconcile those parts of our history that aren’t so great and that can no longer be kept hidden in the dark. Facing difficult truths helps us on our paths towards reconciliation.”
“Together, we can create empathy and understanding. This knowledge helps us understand each other and restore relationships. We learn from the mistakes of the past and we create a greater understanding of the ongoing issues today. We believe it’s that understanding that will create the necessary change for tomorrow.”