Way̓ iskʷists Colleen Hannah kn̓ syilx uł suya̓pix. Kn̓ sx̣ʷq̓y̓am iʔ xaʔtu̓s Indigenous Education kl̓ SD 48 Sea to Sky.
I am of mixed ancestry as Syilx from the Okanagan Indian band and Scottish from East Whitburn and I am the new director of instruction for the Sea to Sky School District, which is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw and St’a̓tyemc.
Truth and Reconciliation, what does it mean to me? There are few Indigenous people who can not name at least one family member who had to attend residential school.
Truth and Reconciliation comes with mixed emotions. Optimism about the call to action and truths that are being taught and learned.
However, 150 years of residential schools that only closed in the 1990s and the impact it has on the Indigenous people of Canada is overwhelming. The loss continues as our communities rise to learn our languages and ways and lands that we come from. Nearly one in 50 residential school students did not return to their families. Those that did return lost so much, and that has impacted future generations.
Truth and Reconciliation is just a step in telling the true history of Canada and one reminder of our colonial past and the family members who survived, but also to remember those who did not return.
Now is the time for everyone to take action and learn more about truth and reconciliation, and do their part. As the honourable Murray Sinclair said, “Education got us into this mess, and education will get us out of it.”
Colleen Hannah is the Sea to Sky School District’s newly appointed director of Instruction for Indigenous Education.