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Correlieu Secondary commemorates school year with Indigenous themed yearbook

425 copies were printed
April Kopetski, Diane Hanes, Casey Fisher, Riley Wight, Sabrina Jackson, Baillie Jackson, Kayden Jackson, Chandra Lawlor, Keri Osha and Xage Sande of Correlieu Secondary are proud of their school’s Indigenous-themed yearbook. (Photo submitted)

School’s out for summer and Correlieu Secondary School students will be able to reminisce the past year with an Indigenous-themed yearbook.

Over 400 copies of the yearbook acknowledging the traditional territories of the Lhtako Dené Nation and Southern Dakelh Nations were printed.

Amongst the pages filled with student and class photos is Indigenous art and acknowledgments to the remains of the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, missing and murdered women and girls, Black Lives Matter and the Métis scrip system.

There is also a personal pledge of reconciliation beside a map of the Nazko, Lhtako Dené, Lhoosk’uz Dené and ?Esdilagh Nations.

Teacher David Reeves said it is the school’s first Indigenous-themed yearbook by students.

“We have always had a few Indigenous pages specifically for school groups, but it has never been the entire theme of the book, and I’m not aware of any other high school yearbook that’s had that Indigenous focus as their yearbook theme.”

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Students began working on the yearbook at the beginning of the school year, and after the first semester wrapped up, a select few would continue to put in long hours to make sure it would be available before the last day of classes.

As more potential remains and unmarked graves have been found at residential school sites across Canada, Reeves said they believed there was a need for an Indigenous-themed yearbook.

“It was just the right time to focus on those kinds of issues and have it be part of what we’re doing here at the school and what we can hopefully embrace as a culture in the school for reconciliation and acknowledgment and moving forward into this new world where we have this massive issue that has basically been left on the back burner and needs to be dealt with,” Reeves added.

“It just seemed right.”

Events shared in the yearbook include photos at Correlieu of Orange Shirt Day, Pink Shirt Day and White Shirt Day, a day of activism against gender-based violence. There are also photos from Skirt Day, which was inspired by a group of male students in Montreal protesting their school’s dress code.

Indigenous support workers Keri Osha and Maureen Bunnah actively supported students with yearbook content.

“I’m very proud of what the kids did,” Reeves of the Indigenous-themed yearbook. “They did a fabulous job.”

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