The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is offering residential school survivors the opportunity to take part in online educations sessions.

Fulfilling the Promises: Treaty Right to Education for Indian Residential School Survivors; has been offering virtual zoom online sessions since the start of February.

Amy Seesequasis, director of public education for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner explained the online sessions are four hours long and are free of charge.

The sessions cover a range of topics including increasing awareness of the history and legacy of the residential school system along with the impact it had on people and communities.

“We also want to at the same time, (to) highlight stories of resilience and triumph,” said Seesequasis.

Seesequasis said they are also hoping the sessions will help foster healing in communities and families.

The online sessions are set to go twice a month. Each session has different facilitators, offering a range of perspectives including pre-contact history and treaty history. There will also be residential school survivors sharing their stories. Councilors and elder supports are made available for people who take part.

While survivors and their family members are the main people who the treaty commissioner’s office are trying to engage, Seesequasis said people working in certain areas have asked and been allowed to take part.

“We have allowed individuals to register who work directly with survivors and their families, so whether that’s a health support worker, correctional worker, there’s been different people we’ve allowed the opportunity to participate,” she said.

Seesequasis said their most recent virtual session saw 72 people take part. She added there has been lots of positive feedback, with many people appreciating the range of perspectives available.

In the past the Office of the Treaty Commissioner has offered other educational programs, but they were not like this current program which is targeted to survivors and their families with an aim to foster healing.

“This is something that’s new to us,” said Seesequasis.

People interested in taking part in a session are asked to go online or on social media where they can find information. The next session is set for March 3.

(Photo Courtesy of Office of the Treaty Commissioner Facebook Page)