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Survivors' Flag to be raised at SD48 schools to honour Indigenous survivors

Sea to Sky District observes Orange Shirt Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in the lead-up to Sept. 30.
Survivors Flag 3(1)
The Survivors' Flag will be raised at every Sea to Sky school district site this week, leading up to National Truth and Reconciliation Day. 
 Photo by Jon Perez /

Sea to Sky schools are gearing up for Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

A spokesperson for School District 48 says the district has a "longstanding commitment to supporting Indigenous education and has wholeheartedly taken on many reconciliation initiatives."

One of these initiatives is raising the Survivors' Flag at every Sea to Sky school district site this week, leading up to National Truth and Reconciliation Day. 

"In response to the uncovering of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Residential School in May 2021, SD48 joined the nation in lowering Canadian flags to half-mast," said Jenn Morris, spokesperson for the Sea to Sky school district in an emailed statement.

"After consulting with local Indigenous communities and with the Board of Education's full support, we have kept flags at half-mast until the Survivors' Flag could be raised district-wide in honour of Indigenous survivors and their families, and as a symbol of our ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation."

The flag is also being raised this week on federal, provincial and municipal buildings across Canada.

It was raised in a Monday ceremony at the British Columbia legislature in Victoria.

Morris added the school district is "very grateful" for everyone's continued support and patience in waiting for all the poles to be installed across the Sea to Sky corridor.

"We're excited to announce that flagpoles are now in place at all SD48 sites, allowing us to raise the Survivors' Flag," she said.

The orange and white flag was created by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in partnership with survivors of residential schools and national Indigenous organizations to honour those who did not return.

Each element represents something special to survivors. For example, depicted are ancestors, children, cedar branches and more.

In preparation for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, schools throughout the district will host flag-raising ceremonies this week in consultation with local Indigenous communities.

Morris added these ceremonies will include discussions, drumming, singing, dancing, additional organized activities, and the participation of Elders and cultural workers.

Following flag-raising ceremonies, the Canadian flag will be raised from half-mast. 

Morris also said that, as always, students, staff, and families are encouraged to wear orange in honour of survivors, those who never returned, and the enduring impact of residential schools.

Families are encouraged to check out their school's newsletters for more details on how their school recognizes Truth and Reconciliation.

For more information about the Survivors' Flag, please visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation's website.