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News Release: FMPSD ​Ready to Observe First Ever National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

News Release: FMPSD ​Ready to Observe First Ever National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

(Fort McMurray, AB, September 20, 2021) Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) is ready to observe the first ever National Day of Truth & Reconciliation (TRC) on September 30, 2021. The goal of the day is to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. It is also a federal stat holiday, which will see all 16 schools and Division Office closed. FMPSD is one of the first divisions in the region to recognize the day, and modify our school-year calendar to reflect the change at the June Board of Trustees meeting. All of our schools will observe Orange Shirt Day and National TRC events on September 29. Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange that day.

The idea of having such a day was one of the 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report, which was released in June 2015. The day itself was officially created on June 3 this year, when Bill C-5 was passed by both houses of Parliament.

Julia McDougall, Indigenous Student Services Cultural Teacher, FMPSD appreciates the Division for its proactive approach in making TRC a reality. 

“FMPSD has been proactive when it comes to TRC. We took a group of high school students during the National TRC event in Edmonton in March 2015. The students were moved with the stories they heard. FMPSD began this school year with a focus on TRC, and Indigenous Education. We have an Elders’ Council launched this summer, which was introduced to the entire system at our annual Welcome Back event last month before school started.”

“People at this point can no longer claim ignorance. Information about the experience within the residential schools is now available to anyone who wants to know about it. I am happy that FMPSD has events and awareness happening at each of their schools, added McDougall.”

Jennifer Turner, Superintendent, FMPSD, highlighted the importance of Indigenous Education and TRC at FMPSD.

“We were fortunate to kick off this academic year with Randy Marten of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. He shared insights into steps that have supported his path forward, and how drumming and attending ceremonies helped him find his roots. Following his talk, we highlighted opportunities, resources, and lessons that are available to staff for their students. Learning through action is the best education, and through our Elders’ Council, land-based camps, Indigenous teachers, and many in-school Indigenous programs, we are taking action and learning together to make Truth & Reconciliation a reality,” she said.

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Consultant         

Fort McMurray Public School Division