Trends in My Field
Dirk Messier’s article in the Canadian Press talks about the Aboriginal focus in the new BC Provincial Education’s curriculum where by all learners from kindergarten to grade 12 will learn about the dark secret of Canada’s history toward the First Peoples of the land. Students will learn about residential schools, the impact of colonialism, Truth and Reconciliation, and the road to healing.
My field of employment is in the public education system. There are many trends I see in my school district from technology, academies, international students, and the new provincial curriculum in elementary and secondary.
I will focus on the new curriculum from K-9 which will be fully implemented in 2016/17 school year. One part of the new curriculum is Aboriginal content embedded, or as I like to call it woven, into the all subjects. I am pleased to see this since very little Aboriginal history was covered in the history books or taught to all learners. With the Federal government’s apology in 2008 to Aboriginal people and especially survivors of residential schools, today’s learners will be getting the untold history of the First Peoples of Canada. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee has put out 94 recommendations to redress the wrong doings of Aboriginal People. http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890
My school district has taken it one step further and has hired a full-time Aboriginal Vice-Principal to bring new curriculum, resources and materials to teachers to help them with the new content. Schools are also embracing the new curriculum with some schools hosting TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Committee) events, bringing elders into classrooms, inviting Aboriginal Support Workers in, participating in the Blanket Exercise (http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/blanket-exercise) and implementing and embracing the goals set out in the District’s Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (http://www.deltasd.bc.ca/files/1812__AEEA_Final.pdf).
One thing the article didn’t mention was the impact the Indian Act has had on Aboriginal People in Canada and how it is still affecting my people today. I do know that teachers are touching on this in classrooms for I have seen first hand the incredible work they are doing relaying this information to their students.
It is a start to correcting history and bringing the untold stories to the forefront where they deserve to be.
This curriculum has a personal connection to me. My mother is a residential school survivor. My grandfather, grandmother and many extended family members were also in residential school. Some survived to tell their story and some didn’t. As part of my job, I tell their stories so that their voice will not be forgotten.