Kamloops-Thompson school board has approved a recommendation to adopt a special, district-wide day for recognizing Aboriginal people.
The Day of Sucwetwecw (pronounced suk-went-wa) will be held on April 7, 2014, with the goal of fostering greater cultural and historical understanding of Secwepemc and other Aborginal people in the district.
Trustees unanimously approved the event at their last meeting prior to the start of the school year on Sept. 3.
District superintendent Terry Sullivan said the idea originated with the social justice committee of the Kamloops Thompson Teachers Association in a proposal to the First Nations Advisory Council. From there it was endorsed in spring by the First Nations Education Council.
“I think they really want it to be a day that is positive and celebrated in an age-appropriate way on an appropriate day,” Sullivan said.
Some of the key objectives are to:
* Create a day that would provide an opportunity to reconcile with First Nations/Aboriginal people through respect and acknowledgement.
* Provide an opportunity for teachers to prepare lessons so that students can engage in recognizing and better understanding the Secwepemc peoples, and the contributions of all Aborginal people to Canada.
* Develop lessons, activities and themes in age-appropriate form.
“It will also be a day when we talk about some of the negative in the past as well, but the council wants to stress the positive,” Sullivan said.
National Aboriginal Awareness Day, which bears a similar purpose, has always presented a challenge for the district since it takes place June 21, he noted. Late in the school year, it’s difficult to pull students out of classes for special events.
The district plans to review the event to determine whether to make it an annual affair.