Canada: Indigenous education, history and culture promoted

published 22 June 2015 updated 1 July 2015

National Aboriginal Day has prompted Canada’s education unions affiliated to Education International to shore up their commitment to promoting indigenous educational and cultural issues across the country.

CTF: educational resources developed with Indigenous national organisations

On 19 June, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) invited all students and teachers to make use of educational programs, initiatives and resources as a tool through which to achieve the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report.

The CTF President Dianne Woloschuk underlined that “reconciliation can only happen together – with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working hand in hand,” adding that partnerships in education are “at the root of reconciliation” and are key to “a brighter national future.

The CTF is currently working with four national Indigenous organisations, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the pursuit of quality education for all, and worked with them on two educational resource projects.

The first resource, Speak Truth to Power Canada, Defenders for Human Rights, includes lesson plans related to human rights defenders in Canada, will be launched at the CTF Annual General Meeting on 17 July.

The second resource, entitled Truth and Reconciliation: What is it About?, will represent the voices of the thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students who took part in discussions during the Commission’s mandate.

As part of CTF’s ongoing work on Aboriginal education, the CTF is also planning to conduct a survey later this year on teachers’ perspectives on Aboriginal education in Canadian public schools.

CAUT: recognition of Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to Canadian educational system, communities, and country

In its statement on National Aboriginal Day, 21 June, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) acknowledges “the tremendous contributions of Aboriginal peoples to our universities and colleges, our academic staff associations, our communities, and our country”.

The CAUT goes on reminding that, as documented by the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to acknowledge the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people and the need for continued healing, many pressing issues need to be addressed: access to clean drinking water, high unemployment rates for Aboriginal youth, the lack of educational opportunities, the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system, disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal women, and the high incarceration rates of Aboriginal people.

The CAUT also urged governments in Canada to adopt the recommendations of the Commission, and remains committed to being an active partner with Aboriginal peoples and communities to address past wrongs and improve lives.

EI Congress: Caucus to raise awareness on Indigenous issues

The Canadian National Aboriginal Day and the above mentioned educational resources will be underlined during the Unite in Diversity — Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus at the EI 7th World Congress, to be held on 19 July in Ottawa, Canada. Dr. Rainey Gaywish, Assistant Professor and CAUT Equality Committee Member, will be keynote speaker at this Caucus.