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Students, staff in N.B. work together to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Week

Melanie Doucet is doing her part to make sure her students are well-educated and fully engaged for Truth and Reconciliation Week.

The grade 7 and 8 teacher at Birchmount School in Moncton, N.B. said staff have been doing activities that centre reconciliation with the children all week long.

"Every day we do the land acknowledgment, O’ Canada in Mi'kmaw," said Doucet.

"We did a fire Tuesday, we did a fire with the culture lead of our school. So he explained why the fire ceremonies are important to First Nations culture."

Doucet also helped create the school’s impressive dream catcher display in the main hall by the office.

Dream catchers are used to protect people from nightmares and evil spirits and they are a symbol of First Nations culture that shows pride in their heritage.

Doucet and a fellow teacher from the Listuguj First Nation worked with a group of students from grades 4 through 8 to make ten dream catchers.

Annie Russell and Melanie Doucet in the reconciliation garden at Birchmount School in Moncton, N.B. (CTV Atlantic/Derek Haggett)."It was a team effort," she said. "They were really proud."

The K-8 school will hold an assembly Friday to explain the significance of Truth and Reconciliation Day and go for a walk with an Every Child Matters flag.

After that, the students will bring paper cut-out hands to their reconciliation food forest to plant as a way of showing support and solidarity with the first nations community.

Doucet said the kids have really embraced the events and activities of the week.

"We have a lot of newcomers, so this year I had a lot who wanted me to explain the orange shirt, what is the significance of the colour. So we just explained it was more of a significance of taking away somebody's culture," said Doucet.

Grade 7 student Annie Russell said the kids have done multiple projects in English and art class.

"The kids in my class love learning about it. They think that it's really interesting and they have a lot of sympathy for the people who went through it," said Russell.

"Every Dream Matters" is pictured in Mi'kmaw, English and French inside Birchmount School in Moncton, N.B. (CTV Atlantic)Other schools in the Anglophone East School District have painted their entrance ways orange with white flowers to recognize the week.

District superintendent Randy MacLEAN sent a message to staff last week saying Truth and Reconciliation Week is dedicated to fostering inclusivity, understanding, and respect.

"Truth and Reconciliation Week provides an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, acknowledge the impacts of the residential school system, and work together towards reconciliation," stated MacLEAN in the message.

The message has really resonated with 11-year-old Russell.

"I think that it was really horrible what those people did and it makes me very sad when I hear about it," said Russell. Top Stories

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