Reinstate project to update Ontario curriculum with Indigenous content!
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Ontario's Ministry of Education has cancelled a project to update provincial curriculum documents with Indigenous content. One of the sessions involved was revising curriculum in response to Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
We ask Lisa Thompson, the Ontario Education Minister, to reinstate updating the Ontario curriculum with Indigenous content.
Our previous government committed in 2016 to update course content at the elementary and secondary levels — including social studies, history, geography and civics — to teach all students about the legacy of residential schools.
"The residential school system operated from the 1880s into the closing decades of the 20th century. The system forcibly separated children from their families for extended periods of time and forbade them to acknowledge their Aboriginal heritage and culture or to speak their own languages. Children were severely punished if these, among other, strict rules were broken. Former students of residential schools have spoken of horrendous abuse at the hands of residential school staff: physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.
Residential schools systematically undermined Aboriginal culture across Canada and disrupted families for generations, severing the ties through which Aboriginal culture is taught and sustained, and contributing to a general loss of language and culture. Because they were removed from their families, many students grew up without experiencing a nurturing family life and without the knowledge and skills to raise their own families. The devastating effects of the residential schools are far-reaching and continue to have significant impact on Aboriginal communities.
Because the government’s and the churches’ intent was to eradicate all aspects of Aboriginal culture in these young people and interrupt its transmission from one generation to the next, the residential school system is commonly considered a form of cultural genocide."
"Although the new government of Premier Doug Ford says it did not order the cancellation, a statement from Education Minister Lisa Thompson suggests the move was made by the bureaucracy to cut costs.
The statement confirms the ministry cancelled three curriculum writing sessions, including those on: TRC curriculum revisions, American Sign Language, and Indigenous languages in kindergarten.
NDP attacks 'damaging' move:
The move is "a damaging step backwards on the road to reconciliation," said a representative from the Ontario NDP, now the Official Opposition party.
"The curriculum in Ontario's public schools is outdated, and we simply have to do better for our children," said Peggy Sattler, the MPP for London West who was re-elected in the June election.
"Teachers, educators and families have been clear that they support bringing Indigenous education into the classroom, and are right to be alarmed if this is the approach the Ford government plans to take. "
"I'm extremely disappointed," said Shy-Anne Bartlett, an Ojibway language expert who had travelled from Nipigon to Toronto for the curriculum writing project.
"I was super excited to be part of this team because it is such a pivotal point in our history, to be able to move forward," Bartlett said in an interview with CBC News. "It was my chance to be part of something that is historically relevant, not just for Ontario, but for Canada and also for our children."
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