Letter to Ford gvt. to update Indigenous content in school curriculum


June 21, 2021, Indigenous Peoples Day

 

The ARM Chapter 12 Executive marks Indigenous Peoples Day this year by calling on the Provincial Government to update the Indigenous content in the Ontario curriculum. The letter below may be used as a template for individual members to send to members of the Ford cabinet or their local MPP. The letter is provided by Climatefast with the following statement:

On this Indigenous People’s Day, we at ClimateFast honour the courage of Indigenous people across Turtle Island. We recognize their leadership in defending their lands, their waters, their lives, and the lives of so many living beings against white supremacy and the ongoing colonial violence of extractive capitalism. We believe that upholding Indigenous rights is central to climate justice and action on the climate crisis.

 

We also recognize the grievous harms that the Canadian government and Canadian settlers have inflicted on Indigenous communities. In particular, after the discovery of the mass grave at Kamloops, we are thinking of all the Indigenous children who suffered and lost their lives in residential schools. We know there will be more discoveries. We support all efforts to address these crimes and redress these wrongs.

 

As part of this work, we want our government to do a better job of educating non-Indigenous people about Indigenous cultures and Indigenous experiences of colonialism. In 2016, the Ontario government under Kathleen Wynne committed to updating the Ontario curriculum to include more Indigenous perspectives and Indigenous history. Unfortunately this planned review was cancelled by the Ford government. We are therefore asking our members to write to Minister Lecce requesting that he reinstate the review.

 

You are welcome to use the template below. Please cc your own MPP and the leaders of Ontario’s political parties.

 

 

Dear Minister Lecce,
In 2018, your government cancelled a plan to update the Ontario curriculum with Indigenous content. In light of the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of the former residential school in Kamloops, I am writing to ask that your government reverse this decision and reinstate the plan.
The education of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students about Indigenous history and experience was central to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is incumbent on your government to uphold these recommendations – now more than ever.
Indigenous students in Ontario deserve to have their history told, their voices heard, their stories honored and their cultures recognized and respected. This is necessary to their health and well-being and to the health and well-being of their families and communities.
Non-Indigenous students need to better understand the history of Indigenous people, their experiences of colonization, and the history of residential schools in particular. Deepening their understanding of Indigenous cultures and knowledges is also necessary to the urgent task of combating anti-Indigenous racism and fostering respect.
It is certain that more graves at residential schools will be uncovered and more stories of abuse and mistreatment will be brought to light. We must not turn away. One way in which your government can honor the children who died in those residential schools is to ensure that students in our schools today know about them. It is only through directly confronting the truth of the injustices of the past that we can hope to address the continuing injustices that Indigenous people face in our present. Education is crucial to this work. Please reinstate the plan to update Ontario’s curriculum with Indigenous content.
Sincerely,
Name
Address

 

 

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