GECDSB signs new Indigenous protocol

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon December 12, 2017 17:12

By Todd Shearon

The GECDSB signed a new protocol agreement Dec. 11 to implement Indigenous culture in their curriculum.

In an effort to protect and enhance Indigenous culture in public schools, the agreement states the GECDSB will hire more Indigenous staff, offer Indigenous language classes and reflect more Indigenous people and history in the curriculum.

Northwood Public School teacher and former high school history teacher John Flynn attended the discussions because he has a knowledge of the history of First Nations people and their place in Canadian history.

“But I want to learn more,” said Flynn. “Especially from the perspective of a First Nations person and how they feel about the history.”

Flynn says he wants to learn how things are changing and what things they hope to have changed in the future.

The protocol has been developed over months of work with Indigenous leaders and families.

According to school board officials, more than 400 students have self-identified as First Nations, Inuit or Metis within the school district.

The actual number is likely higher because not everyone identifies.

Alexandra Way works for the Government of Canada as a coordinator for Project Naming. The project enables Indigenous people to engage in the identification of photographs from Library and Archives Canada.

She thinks the addition to the curriculum is a good move.

“It’s an important step towards reconciliation and a direct response to the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action,” said Way.

According to Way, we know how little today’s adults are informed about our own country’s history and our own country’s present.

“For so long we have been taught that Indigenous people ‘were’ this or that, and have ignored the fact they’re still here, still an important part of our society,” said Way. “The children today are our future leaders, teachers, decision makers and just all around citizens. Better awareness about the past and current state of Indigenous cultures and people will help our future citizens respect and have consideration for one another.”

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon December 12, 2017 17:12

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