Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler has issued the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit Studies curriculum launch in Thunder Bay today:
“We are disappointed that the province has walked back its commitment to the curriculum by offering it as elective courses instead of making it mandatory per the TRC Calls to Action.
“We are also perplexed at how a provincial education curriculum aimed at truth-sharing and improving relations with Indigenous peoples can be launched without our full involvement. First Nations are not stakeholders; we are rights-holders and Treaty partners. Any relationship must be built on this relationship, yet this government has left out most of the important voices. We will accept the offer by the minister to meet in June but she has to be prepared to make significant adjustments if this is going to work.”
Truth-sharing and education on the Indian residential school experience is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Recommendation 62 calls for mandatory provincial education curriculum for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, which was supported by the previous government.
The Ford government got off to a poor start on the development of the curriculum when it suddenly cancelled last year’s TRC 2018 curriculum summer writing sessions. The TRC project was designed to enhance Ontario’s education curriculum with school boards working with Indigenous community partners to provide opportunities for teachers and students to learn about our shared history.