Above: Members of Grand Erie's senior administration team stand together for Orange Shirt Day.

Learning is a Focus for Truth and Reconciliation Week in Grand Erie

Grand Erie District School Board is getting ready to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on September 30 by ensuring schools have what they need to support Indigenous-focused learning for all students during Truth and Reconciliation Week (Sept. 27 - Oct. 1) and throughout the school year.

"Providing opportunities to learn about our collective histories and recognize the intergenerational trauma that has resulted from Canada's residential school system is crucial to the process of reconciliation," said JoAnna Roberto, Director of Education for Grand Erie. "Grand Erie remains committed to respond to Calls to Action 62 and 63 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and ensuring that the experiences and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is embedded in the work we do."

Above: Grand Erie Trustees unite to show support for Truth and Reconciliation Week.

In preparation for this week, Grand Erie's Indigenous Education team has curated and packaged kits containing books, lesson plans and other resources to enhance classroom learning. The age-appropriate contents cover topics such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Treaty rights, environmental teachings, “Rock Your Mocs” activities, as well as resources to highlight days of significance during the school year. A new cultural kit will be distributed each month to schools across the district.

"The aim of the kits is to facilitate meaningful reconciliation and empower all of us to be a part of this critical process," said Robin Staats, Principal Leader of Indigenous Education and Equity in Grand Erie. "They deal with challenging, complex, and painful events that have shaped the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, and by bringing these issues to light in the classroom, we move beyond history and towards the responsibilities we have today and for future generations." 

Above: Curated Grand Erie Cultural Kits containing books, lesson plans and other resources to enhance classroom learning have been sent out this week to Grand Erie schools.

In classrooms, integrating the histories and achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples remains a priority. A mandatory Grade 11 English course focused on Indigenous authors is in its third year. A widely offered Grade 10 course, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, conveys the dynamic and diverse histories of Indigenous peoples to inform critical thinking of current issues and events.

Grand Erie students and staff will be wearing orange on September 30, and participating in events such Orange Shirt Day walk-a-thons aimed at raising awareness and fostering discussion.

Soon, the board will begin a public consultation process looking into renaming Ryerson Heights Elementary School in west Brantford, to formally recognize that the legacy of Egerton Ryerson does not align with Grand Erie values.

Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan includes Belonging as one of its collective priorities to support an equitable, inclusive and responsive environment for each learner.  

More News