Reconciliation began a very long time ago for Brandy Lekakis. Her parents helped her learn about Coast Salish culture and brought her up with conversations about Indigenous people across the country. She was appalled that all Canadians did not know about the Indian Residential School system. She “dreamed of a day when this crime would be revealed to Canadians, and we could work together to right the wrongs.”
For Lekakis, reconciliation means working together and having meaningful communication with Indigenous leaders and communities about issues that affect all Canadians. It also “means a place at the political table for Indigenous people, an effective Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, economic success and infrastructures in Indigenous communities, an education system that contains Indigenous language, culture, context and perspectives for all Canadian learners.”
As an educator, Lekakis feels it’s been an enormous gift to be able to teach her students about the Indigenous people of Canada. She has found great interest from students to learn more not only about the Indian Residential School system, but also about Indigenous languages, cultures, histories,and worldviews.
Lekakis has been instrumental in putting together Delview Secondary School’s Annual Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Delta, BC. This is a full day focused on reconciliation and the history and legacy of Residential Schools where students, elders and intergenerational Survivors participate in a number of powerful interactive activities. In May 2015, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador of Reconciliation Canada, was invited to deliver a keynote speech to Delview students on this significant day.
Planning has already begun for the Third Annual Day of Truth and Reconciliation, and Lekakis looks forward to continue working with First Nations communities to create curriculum specific to Indigenous perspectives.
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