Oliver, B.C. students paint teepee in honour of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Click to play video: 'Oliver Students paint honour Indigenous Peoples’ Day'
Oliver Students paint honour Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Oliver elementary school students were given the opportunity on Wednesday to place their handprints on a tipi canvas. The event was organized by a local society in honour of Indigenous Peoples’ Day next week. Taya Fast reports. – Jun 14, 2023

Over 100 students from Oliver and Osoyoos, B.C., were invited to paint a teepee in honour of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Wednesday’s event was a part of the We Will Recover Society’s Unbroken Together initiative, an opportunity for the community to come together on a path to recovery, resistance and reconciliation.

“The trauma that the Indigenous children and families suffered was horrible and those impacts are still very obvious today and we need to work with our Indigenous community and support one another,” said We Will Recover Society executive director Lori Vrebosch.

“What this teepee represents, is what we can achieve when we work together and raise awareness and actual truth and reconciliation.”

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On Wednesday students from Oliver Elementary, Tuk El Nuit, and Sen’Pok’Chin were given the opportunity to leave an orange handprint on the teepee  canvas

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The public was also invited to participate in the painting however organizers say it was important for them to first involve local students.

“Our goal is 500 hands because we believe that Oliver and Osoyoos and this community care deeply about recovery and reconciliation,” said Vrebosch.

“The significance and having the children paint is that the orange hand represents the children who were taken into residential schools through the awful history that Canada has and how we treated our Indigenous people.”

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Helen Gallagher, School District 53 Teacher of Indigenous Education, said she feels a lot of pride in seeing her students participate in the event.

“They are learning about the true history of the residential schools of Canada, and what has happened to some of their ancestors. And being aware of who they are and where they come from, which is really important for them,” said Gallagher.

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“A lot of pride – the kids become more aware of what is going on and become more respectful to not only themselves but to their elders and community.”

Once the teepee is finished, We Will Recover plans to raise it throughout the South Okanagan on significant days, and at significant events and celebrations.

“When this teepee is completed in its entirety, we will have a teepee transfer ceremony and blessing and we will raise the teepee for the first time on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, June 21, followed by Canada Day in Osoyoos at the Nk’Mip campground,” said Vrebosh.

“Then there will be other important days where we’ll also raise the teepee, for example, International Overdose Awareness Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.”

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