Indigenous Learning In School Curriculum To Be Expanded In Province

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TORONTO: Working with Indigenous partners, Elders, Knowledge Holders and education stakeholders, the Ontario government has announced a plan to expand First Nation, Métis and Inuit content and learning in the elementary curriculum.

The province announced that these changes will further strengthen mandatory learning on residential schools and foster greater understanding within the province’s education system of the intergenerational legacy borne by Indigenous families.

This work builds on Ontario’s first phase of curriculum revisions in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, which were implemented in 2018.

In addition, in 2021-22, the ministry is providing $23.96 million in Indigenous Education funding to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit students as part of a broader government commitment to reconciliation.

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, made the announcement at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto joined by Traditional Knowledge Keeper Vivian Roy, James Marsden, Chiefs of Ontario Education Portfolio Holder and Anishinabek Nation Southeast Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief, and Joanne Meyer, Chief Operating Officer of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

The Ontario government’s work will ensure that First Nation, Métis and Inuit perspectives are reflected throughout the province’s curriculum.

Currently, the province’s curriculum includes mandatory learning in Social Studies, Grades 4-6, and History in Grades 7, 8, and 10, including mandatory learning on residential schools in Grades 8 and 10, introduced in 2018.

The Ministry of Education announced a commitment to complete the full spectrum of learning across this elementary curriculum, addressing the current gap in Grades 1 and 3 by September 2023.

This timeline and the curriculum development process is being co-developed with Indigenous partners. Ministers Lecce and Rickford outlined Ontario’s education plan to strengthen Indigenous learning through a meaningful co-development process with Indigenous partners, Elders and Knowledge Holders, including:

• Mandatory Indigenous-focused learning added to the Social Studies, Grades 1-3 curriculum, including exploring opportunities for new learning on:

◦ The role of family and resilience in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and nations

◦ First Nations, Métis and Inuit historical and contemporary realities

◦ Indigenous peoples’ interrelationship and connection with the land

Residential Schools ◦ The residential school system and the reclamation and revitalization of identity, language, culture and community connections.

“We are committed to recognizing the contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities and nations to our province and country while learning their histories and cultures,” said Minister Lecce.

In addition, the Ministry of Education approved sustainable, multi-year funding agreements for an investment of $3.19 million over three years to strengthen existing partnerships with the Chiefs of Ontario and First Nation Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs).

The Métis Nation of Ontario is also receiving $850,000 in 2021- 22 towards collaborating with school board administrators and educators in the learning of Métis knowledge and the integration of this knowledge into Indigenous education programs. 

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