The Surrey School District is committed to truth & reconciliation.
Surrey Schools fulfills its vision for learning on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and other Coast Salish Peoples. Our role as a school district on unceded territory means that in all of our actions, we must foreground our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. True reconciliation and respect for Indigenous peoples means going beyond equity and inclusion and instead acknowledging the history and legacies of colonialism and taking stock of the ways individual and collective actions in our schools work to continue those trends or reverse them. Canada’s actions in establishing, continuing, and defending the residential school system caused serious harm to Indigenous people. As British Columbia commits to fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our district reaffirms its commitments to both truth reconciliation as a means to address any systemic discrimination or inequities.
In Surrey, these commitments mean consistently acknowledging the land we are on, and paying the due respect to those Indigenous peoples who are its original inhabitants. By acknowledging whose land we are on, we not only give proper recognition to Indigenous peoples, but we enter into a framework for dialogue and growth in the relationship between Indigenous peoples and settlers, which emphasizes Indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination. The right to self-determination means that Indigenous students have a right to see their histories taught accurately to all students. It means that Indigenous students have a right to have their experiences and practices reflected in the school curriculum. It means that they have a right to social, cultural, and emotional support systems. It means that schools must equip all students with the tools for “intercultural understanding, empathy and respect,” and all teachers with the training they need to accomplish that goal. Now and in the future, the district affirms our commitment to truth and reconciliation across our vision for learning.