A group of St. Charles College students participated in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Walk hosted by N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre on Sept. 28, 2023. This walk of commemoration honoured residential school survivors and those who did not make it home. Students heard from elder Nokomis Martina and dignitaries from Sudbury. Local author Waub Rice and his family shared life teachings and thoughts on reconciliation. It was a wonderful day of sharing and learning!
We are very pleased to present the Director of Education’s Annual Report for the 2021-2022 school year.
We thank our Board of Trustees, Senior Administration, staff, students, families, volunteers, community partners, and our parishes for their continued support and commitment to Sudbury Catholic. Together we are providing a caring, progressive, high quality Catholic school system that is nurturing our students – mind, body, and spirit.
A Robinson Huron Treaty delegation led by Ogimaa (Chief) Nootchtai, Ogimaa Toulouse, and Ogimaa Pawis was hosted at St. Benedict C.S.S and St. Charles College in honour of Treaty Recognition Week. The theme was “Restoring the Balance – Treaty Talks with Tomorrow’s Leaders”. At this gathering, Grade 6 students from St. James School, Holy Cross School, and St. Francis School had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the Robinson Huron Treaty with the Chiefs. Ultimately, students and staff walked away with a greater perspective on the importance of treaties and treaty relationships and some prizes! Chi-miigwetch! We are incredibly appreciative of the fantastic visit and educational opportunity.
At Sudbury Catholic Schools, we are called to strengthen our faith-based, inclusive, and equitable community. In preparation for Treaties Recognition Week – an annual commemoration which will be honoured on November 6-12th, 2022, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board community is participating in learning opportunities that teach and uphold the importance of treaty rights and relationships to both indigenous and non indigenous communities.
What is Treaties Recognition Week?
In 2016, Ontario passed legislation declaring the first week of November as Treaties Recognition Week. This annual event honours the importance of treaties and helps students and residents of Ontario learn more about treaty rights and relationships.
We look forward to honouring Treaties Recognition Week at Sudbury Catholic Schools every year, and 2022 is no exception. In Ontario, treaties are as much a part of today as when they were first created. They are living documents and legally binding agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities and relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments. Furthermore, we also acknowledge that Indigenous Nations had Treaty Agreements with one another before Europeans arrived, and that treaty-making itself, precedes North American settlement.
Whether Indigenous or not, treaties matter to everyone in Canada; we are all Treaty People. They represent a mutual commitment to building a prosperous future for everybody and Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are responsible for knowing and upholding Treaty obligations. In between the personal activities being planned by our schools, we’re pleased to share that Sudbury Catholic’s Indigenous Education team has curated resources and materials to help students, staff, and community members commemorate this important week. A summary of these resources is provided below.
Resources for 2022 Treaties Education Week
Robinson Huron Waasiidamaagewin – Virtual Presentations
It is our pleasure to share that the Robinson Huron Waasiidamaagewin is offering virtual presentations during Treaty Week. Their website contains event agendas that identify the variety of virtual presentations that will be offered throughout each day. To access these resources, visit the Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin Treaty Week resource page.
The Government of Ontario
In addition to online presentations, Sudbury Catholic Schools have been provided with a wide range of video resources suitable for different grade levels to provide students with an opportunity to hear from Indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers. In these activities, students will learn about treaties and their importance in an age-appropriate way that’s flexible for teachers’ lesson planning. This opportunity allows Indigenous speakers to share their knowledge about the importance of treaties, treaty relationships and rights in Ontario.
The Government of Ontario has also supplied a number of teaching resources that can expand upon this topic. This includes a Treaties in Ontario infographic (PDF), which shows the number of treaties in Ontario, the regions they cover and the populations within treaty areas.
Videos: Indigenous Voices on Treaties
Treaties in Ontario Infographic
Treaty Teaching & Learning Resources
On Friday, October 14th, 2022, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board is inviting students and staff from all sites to increase their civic responsibility by participating in a fall fundraiser that gives back to the local green space!
SCDSB Leaves of Change will recognize climate change during the changing season, as well as provide a teaching opportunity for Indigenous Education and caring for Shkagamik Kwe (mother earth). On this day, students/staff are encouraged to wear fall colours (red, yellow, orange, green, purple, and/or brown) and donate a toonie, where possible, to support the continued efforts of the Junction Creek Stewardship Community in Sudbury. The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee is an integral part of the Greater Sudbury community, working to improve the health of the unique urban waterway that connects us all and to promote the livability and value of our natural environment.
The goal of the fundraiser is to help our community engage in civic and environmental responsibility by bringing attention to climate change and how we can protect the earth for future generations. Throughout the day and the month of October, students and staff are encouraged to make more sustainable efforts. This includes cleaning green spaces by picking up trash and litter, recycling, using a water bottle, etc.
October is also where we honour Binaakwe Giizis – Moon of Falling Leaves. As this event is taking place during Binaakwe Giizis – it also serves as an educational opportunity to understand, acknowledge and respect Indigenous perspectives on caring for Mother Earth (Shkagamik Kwe).
Why Are We Doing This?
As a school board, it is our responsibility to create opportunities to teach the importance of protecting the earth for future generations. Environmental degradation affects the health and well-being of all peoples of North America and the world in many ways. For instance, industrial contamination and disruption of wildlife habitats combine to reduce the supply and purity of clean drinking water, traditional foods, and medicines. In addition, environmental degradation erodes the quality of life dependent on the purity of the land, water, flora and fauna. Further, this disruption greatly affects Indigenous peoples culture, languages, spiritual health, and well-being along with the life of all living things. By participating in this fundraiser, we help our community engage in volunteerism and create hope through environmental restoration.
Infographic – 8 Ways to Be More Green at School
Infographic – 8 Ways to Be More Green at Work
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board joined Boards across the province to recognize, learn about and commemorate the legacy of residential schools during the week of September 26-30, 2022.
Throughout our board, we are committed to supporting Indigenous voices, learning what we do not know, and implementing the Calls to Action. Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022 is a free national program provided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and is open to all schools across Canada. This year, the theme of the week was ‘Remembering the Children’. Schools across the Board participated in the program throughout the week as they learned about the history of the residential school system and memorialized the children that were lost. Activities featured pre-recorded videos and live question-and-answer sessions.
In addition, students and staff were invited to attend the Truth, Resiliency and Hope event planned by the Indigenous Community Collective at Bell Park. The event commemorated survivors of Residential Schools and acknowledged their unwavering resiliency. The event began with a sunrise ceremony and opening remarks followed by a play entitled Debwewin (Truth) and a short video screening.
All Board students and staff were also invited and encouraged to wear Orange Shirts on September 30 in honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In addition, schools also completed their own activities, events, and teachings throughout the week. Examples of school-based activities included:
- Grade 3 French Immersion class at St. James School participated in a collaborative art project to honour Orange Shirt Day.
- Kindergarten classes at Holy Trinity School welcomed Indigenous Support Workers into their classrooms to discuss the importance of Truth and Reconciliation and learn about the four sacred medicines.
- Marymount Academy students designed orange shirts to wear and honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
- St. Benedict C.S.S created a visual display that was made available to staff and students throughout the week. The display included information about Truth and Reconciliation, powerful stories and artwork contributed by students.
“As a system, we continue to find ways to honour and acknowledge Truth and Reconciliation and respond to the Calls of Action. We recognize that reconciliation is not something that can be achieved in one hour, one day, or one week. Rather, we focus on rebuilding relationships with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples and communities daily. The Board supports opportunities for our staff and students to come together in support of intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
Please see the following video produced by the Board highlighting the various activities:
Further information about Truth and Reconciliation Week provided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation can be found at the following link: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/
Further information about the Board’s plan for Truth and Reconciliation can be found at the following link: https://www.sudburycatholicschools.ca/indigenous-education/indigenous-education/
At Sudbury Catholic Schools, we are called to strengthen our faith-based, inclusive, and equitable community. This year, our community has been working hard in preparation for the 2022 Truth and Reconciliation Week – a five-day commemoration taking place from Monday, September 26th to Friday, September 30th. In between the personal activities being planned by our schools, we’re pleased to share that Sudbury Catholic’s Indigenous Education team has curated resources and materials to help students, staff, and community members commemorate this important week!
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Activities
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation offers a series of opportunities for classrooms to participate in events throughout the week of September 26 to September 30. More information and registration links can be found at: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) was created as part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The NCTR is the foundation for ongoing learning and research. Survivors, their families, educators, researchers, and the public can examine the residential school system to foster reconciliation and healing.
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION WEEK 2022 is a national program open to all schools across Canada. The theme of this year’s week is Remembering the Children. Students will learn about the residential school system’s history and memorialize the lost children. Several Sudbury Catholic schools will participate in activities and educational sessions planned by the NCTR.
- This year includes an expanded program with age-appropriate material for students in Grades 1 through 12.
- Days 1 to 3 features pre-recorded videos and a live Q & A session. On September 30, students can view a live televised broadcast for Orange Shirt Day from their classrooms.
- All sessions will be held virtually on Hubilo.
Nelson Professional Learning series also offers educators the opportunity to deepen their knowledge through a series of free webinars entitled The Whole Truth About Residential Schools. This series is about learning and teaching the history of Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
Truth, Resiliency and Hope Event
Schools are invited to attend the Truth, Resiliency and Hope event planned by the Indigenous Community Collective. This event is occurring at Bell Park in Sudbury on September 30. At this gathering, attendees can commemorate survivors of Residential schools and acknowledge their resiliency. The event will begin with a sunrise ceremony and opening remarks. Later, a play entitled Debwewin (Truth) and a short video screening will premiere, and the event will finish with a Q & A session.
Indigenous Community Collective – NDTR Event Poster
Walk for Reconciliation
Board members at the Central Board Office are invited to attend the Walk for Reconciliation on September 30, 2022. This joint community event begins at N’Swakamok Friendship Centre (110 Elm Street). The group will then walk together to Bell Park, where they will attend the opening of the Truth, Resiliency and Hope event.
Orange Shirt Day in Honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
On September 30, we will join schools across Canada to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada. We are reminded that Orange Shirt Day also offers an opportunity to honour and pray for those who never made it home. Our schools are encouraged to post to social media and utilize the hangtags #orangeshirtday and #sudburycdsb to allow our board to see these activities in action.
In addition to the activities listed on this post, we recognize that each of our schools will be finding unique and creative ways to observe and honour this time. These events and activities may differ, but support is always provided. As we are reminded that this can be a difficult topic for many students, staff and families and should be taught with deep respect. For those who require support, there is help available through these contacts below:
Health Support Information:
If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419
A New Summer Program Running from July 11-29th for Indigenous Youth at Sudbury Catholic Focuses on Building Traditional Knowledge in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
This summer, Indigenous students from Sudbury Catholic Schools will participate in an exciting program as they participate in a new Earth-Based Learning course. This course is a unique summer program involving an exciting partnership with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Great Lakes Cultural Camps, Akinoomoshin Inc and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
The Board revealed the new program in the spring and were ecstatic to see the high level of interest. In only a matter of weeks, the program, which is the first of its kind for Sudbury Catholic District School Board, quickly filled up with eager participants.
Taking place in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, the course was offered for Indigenous students moving from grade 8 to grade 9 and grade 9 moving to grade 10. Students will attend the sacred grounds every Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for an educational experience that provides special opportunities to explore and strengthen Anishinaabe identity through cultural place-based learning, allowing students to earn a high school credit while learning from the land.
To help celebrate and honour the program’s official start last Monday, we provide a glimpse into the instructive hands-on learning activities students have participated in during their first week!
WEEK 1 ACTIVITIES
Monday & Tuesday
On days 1 and 2 of the Earth-Based Learning Program, students helped to build the teaching lodge, harvest and clean sweet grass, and also enjoyed taking time to connect to the Earth. Students were also taught a brief account of the community’s story and the area they are learning. This fantastic lesson was presented by anishinaabemwid, Lorney Bob.
On day 3, Earth-Based Learning students took the water at Bell Park to complete their swim tests. All students completed their tests successfully and will be ready for the upcoming activities taking place over the next few weeks.
On day 4, students had fun learning about the sustainable harvesting of materials. Taking what they learned into practice, students then had the opportunity to make their own wiigwas basket. Wiigwaas is the anishinaabemowin word for birch bark, a textile traditionally used to make baskets, canoes, shelters, etc.
On day 5, students took advantage of the beautiful weather and set off on a hike to Pigeon Mountain. The group was accompanied by Lornie Bob and Papa Art Petahtegoose, who shared stories along the way, making for an even richer learning experience. On their trek, students visited the spring water, spent time reflecting, and enjoyed lunch as they admired the breathtaking natural scenery. It was a great trip and the perfect end to the program’s first week!
“Our goal is to help students build relationships with the land, the water and each other. We are ecstatic we can provide this meaningful opportunity as it supports earth-based learning and shares traditional knowledge and practices that each of these students will value and carry with them throughout their lives. We already see students’ developing connections and coming out of their shells. Chi miigwech to the community and all those supporting our young learners. We look forward to continuing to follow their journeys as they form meaningful bonds with their environment and discover and connect themselves to the Earth.” – Ginette Toivenen, Indigenous Education Lead for Sudbury Catholic District School Board
The course is designed to spark curiosity and create awareness of stewardship initiatives in the Great Lakes, Anishinaabe Food Systems, practices and kendaasowin (learning) on the land. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the social, cultural, economic, and political developments of First Nations, Metis and Inuit individuals and communities. The learning will include history from precontact to the present day through a hands-on approach to learning. This will be a land-based opportunity that will encourage fun and laughter throughout the learning.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board aspires that this program will help students form greater connections to the land while nurturing spirituality and values in an environment where they can share traditional knowledge. We look forward to seeing this program in action over the following weeks and wish our students the best of luck and fun in their learning!
To see what other activities are happening, check out our SCDSB Indigenous Education Facebook page!
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board joins communities across Canada in honouring and praying for the 215 Indigenous children whose bodies were discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk-emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory.
To honour their lives, flags at all SCDSB schools and board buildings will be lowered for nine days (May 31-June 8) – a total of 215 hours to represent each of the 215 children. As a sign of our collective mourning, the Board will also be participating in the National moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. today as we honour and acknowledge the children who never returned home.
“Today, we honour the lives of the 215 Indigenous children who will not be coming home. It is a heartbreaking tragedy and while there are no words to truly express the deep mourning those impacted are experiencing, we humbly offer our prayers that they and their families will find healing. We also acknowledge the pain and trauma this brings to all Indigenous peoples across the country, and we recognize the need for ongoing truth and reconciliation. May God continue to watch over the 215 souls and their families,” said Michael Bellmore, Chair of the Board of the Trustees for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
“All Sudbury Catholic District School Boards schools and facilities are standing in solidarity with communities across Canada in honouring the 215 Indigenous children. While it is indeed an unspeakable tragedy, we send continued prayers and healing to all those affected and to the Indigenous communities in the Sudbury area and across the country. We have lowered all flags for 215 hours and will join the National moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. As a system, we are also wearing orange shirts on Wednesday, June 2 and will unite in a collective prayer service as a reminder that every child matters,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
Staff and students throughout the Sudbury Catholic District School Board joined hundreds of others across Canada by participating in Orange Shirt Day on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
By wearing orange shirts, we recognize the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well-being and it serves as a symbol of our commitment to reconciliation. Since it began in 2013, the phrase “Every Child Matters” has been used as part of the movement to recognize the value of every child and for communities to come together.
“The Sudbury Catholic District School Board firmly believes that every child matters and as such we will continue to honour Orange Shirt Day year after year,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education. “We are committed to Truth and Reconciliation and we strive to find opportunities for our staff and students to come together in support of intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.”