Add Colonization and Indigenous History to the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum

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Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Education Stephen Leece, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, President of the Canadian School Board Administration Laurie French, Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller,  Council of Ontario Directors of Education:

There were a total of 139 Residential Schools established in Canada starting in the 1830s, with the last one closing in 1996. Over 150,000 indigenous children were stolen from their homes and forced to attend these schools that were run by the Canadian Government and Christian/Catholic churches of Canada. In these schools, these children were malnourished, forced into labour and abused emotionally, physically and sexually. Thousands of children died in these schools. There have been 6,000 recorded deaths, but who knows how many have not been recorded. The United Nations calls this disturbing part of Canadian history a cultural GENOCIDE. Every single Canadian learns about the holocaust in grade school, so why do so few learn about the true horrors that happened in our own country? 

Residential schools were one of the many disturbing things that came out of the Indian Act, a law that is still in place today. The Indian Act is a Canadian act of Parliament that concerns registered Indians, their bands, and the system of Indian reserves. When established, the point of this act was to force assimilation upon indigenous peoples in Canada, ripping us away from our culture. If we did not follow the strict rules we were placed under, we would go to jail or lose our status. 

This is an extremely brief overview of what has happened to Indigenous peoples in Canada, but it should not be brief. All Canadians need to learn about what happened to our First Nations, Inuit and Metis people because it is still happening today. The effects of residential schools still haunt our communities.  Residential schools are a DIRECT cause of the health issues seen in Indigenous populations today. We are all affected by this. Our communities have been hurting for years. So why do we not teach this to Canadian citizens? 

This petition demands that Colonization and Indigenous History become a mandatory course in the Ontario Ministry of Education School Curriculum. Nearly 50% of Canadians never learned about the history of Canadian colonialism in schools, which must be addressed in order to end systemic racism against Canada’s Indigenous population. As Ontarians, there is an opportunity to pave the way for other provinces and territories by making Indigenous teachings a mandatory component of the Ontario school curriculum.

Canadians pride themselves on being a caring country that accepts all cultures, yet our first people were not accepted. By making a quick google search, you can see that in many cases, we are still not accepted.  There needs to be a change and education can be the first step to change. 



Tory Shklanka, Indigenous student at Brock University

Kiara Kalenuik, Indigenous Student at Brock University

Ryanne Logan, Indigenous Student at Brock University

Kian Rego, Student at Brock University 

Kahlan Woodhouse, Student at Brock University

Brock CHYS Association