Williams Lake Indian Band elder Mary Thomas shares her residential school survivor story during a School District 27 Orange Shirt Day celebration in Williams Lake’s Boitanio Park Friday. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

B.C. Grade 8 student pens letter to premier on residential schools

Terrace teen writes current school curriculum underplays past violations of basic human rights

Dear Editor,

Open letter to Premier John Horgan and Minister of Education Rob Fleming:

My name is Ethan Campbell, I am a fourteen-year-old eighth grade student from Terrace in northern British Columbia. Today was a day of realization for me. Today was the day I realized how morally confused this country really is. We fight for peace and the future but we choose to ignore the past.

Today I watched the film Indian Horse. I personally believe that it shines a new light onto the extent of what we did to Indigenous people in residential schools. It is absolutely disgraceful that we do not properly educate our youth about the gross misdoings of our past.

The story follows the story of a man named Saul Indian Horse and what he went through in these “schools”. Nothing we can do will change the past. We can never take back what we did no matter how much we wish we could. I feel as though it should be mandatory that every student in Canada view the film in class and discus the topic.

The information we are given in the school curriculum, as it stands, is not enough if we want the people of our future to be aware of basic human rights and to know how to treat one and other as equals. We need this to happen in order to be a stronger province and country. We can’t ignore it any longer. Let’s start a conversation.

I have given a copy of this letter to my principal in hopes that we can have a school wide screening of the film. I have also given a copy to my local newspaper.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Ethan Campbell

Skeena Middle School

Terrace, B.C.

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