Siwal Si’wes (Our Forefathers’ Teachings) Aboriginal Education Department

Prompted by the TRC’s 94 calls to action, a school board trustee, Randy Cairns, asked our Elders and Survivors if they would be willing to share their stories of St. Mary’s Indian Residential school in Mission BC, to ensure that the Truth be made available to the wider community. After two years of meetings, our Elders did just that. They took District staff, Mayor and council, RCMP top brass, our local Member of Parliament and community members to St. Mary’s and shared their Truth.  This experiential learning was paramount in shifting some misperceptions and biases of many of the attendees.

One by one, our Elders also agreed to be filmed and recorded to ensure that their stories of Truth will live on forever. We then gathered educational leaders to create a digital resource entitled that outlined our Elders’ “4 Big ideas” Pre-contact, Residential schools, Reconciliation, and Worldviews.

Throughout this process we consulted and worked alongside our thriving and vibrant Indigenous communities. We were also honoured to work alongside Gwen Point, and Sto:lo Nation to ensure that we were providing authentic materials and following appropriate protocols.

The truth was then coming to light from a number of avenues, and from places that have not always had the spotlight, providing a richer narrative from which to draw from. We are now able to share this gift from our Elders with our District staff, parents, but most importantly for our students.

We can now provide them with a richer and more truthful narrative so that they may bring about the social change needed to ensure that we all live up to the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Please visit


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