Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre

Fall 2017

Joining the Orange Shirt Day movement

Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre staff and students wearing their orange shirts during weekly soup lunch

Staff and students in the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre take part in Orange Shirt Day

In 1973, six-year-old Phyllis Jack of the Dog Creek First Nation started school at the St. Joseph Mission residential school in Williams Lake, BC. Before leaving for school, her grandmother took her to a local store to buy a new outfit. Phyllis chose a bright orange shirt with laces on the front; she was as excited about starting school and as she was proud of her new shirt.

When she arrived at St. Joseph, Phyllis, like the other children, was immediately stripped of her possessions, including her clothing. She never wore the orange shirt again.

In 2013, the Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters campaign was launched on September 30 in British Columbia to help bring awareness to the pain and suffering that the residential school system forced upon First Nations children across Canada.

This was the first year that students and staff in the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre participated and they used the orange shirts to start conversations with other members of the campus community about the history of residential schools and the reconciliation movement.

Celebrating the creation of a new ceremonial space

Firekeeper Al lights a fire to mark the ground to be broken for the new ceremonial fire

St. Paul's staff and students joined Firekeeper Al to bless the ground where the new ceremonial fire will be located

With the help of many supportive donors, a ceremonial fire ground has been constructed at St. Paul's near the banks of the Laurel Creek. This new space was identified as a need several years ago but it took some time to get the funding in place.

The construction was completed in conjunction with the new Green Wing expansion project and the new space will be available for use in the Spring of 2018. 

14th Annual Traditional Pow Wow a huge success

The weather was perfect and the location in Waterloo Park was ideal for a large turnout for the 14th Annual Pow Wow. 

Below are some of our favourite pictures from the day.

Drummers dressed in regalia

Dancer in  brightly colored regalia

Hoop dancer with audience in the background

Hoop dancer in brightly coloured regalia with audience in background

Master of ceremonies poses with group of dignitaries

Photos by Kristi Boulton