Hamilton teachers prod Queens Park for aboriginal curriculum materials

HAMILTON – News out of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board indicates a shift in mainstream education regarding the importance of Onkwehonwe perspectives of politics and the environment.

The Hamilton board is urging Ontario to explain and facilitate better understanding of issues, and the history of Canada’s troubled relationship with First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.

The Board voted unanimously last week to draft a letter to Education Minister Liz Sandals encouraging her office to begin word with First Nations educators and communities to create a curriculum for that purpose.

They were following the lead of Halton’s public school board seeking the same recommendations to begin immediately.

“We’ve got some incredible teachers and staff that are already making a difference on First Nations and the history of First Nations and creating greater awareness,” Flamborough trustee Penny Deathe told the Hamilton Mountain News.

“I just feel that the ministry needs to make sure that it’s in our regular history curriculum so that there’s more information, more understanding of our First Nations.”

Board Chair Todd White says, “We want to make it part of our curriculum so all students will have an understanding of aboriginal affairs and how that links into everyday life. It would also provide supports for self-identified students, but also bridge that gap.”

There are 391 board students who self-identified as being aboriginal in a Hamilton Board survey last year, although that number is likely higher because some students are reluctant to self-identify.

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