On the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which wrapped up last June, some schools are scrambling to get the history of residential schools into curriculum this year.
For many, it’s important school children across the country learn about the impacts of the abuse that took place in residential schools after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on June 2. Including the impacts of residential schools in lessons is one of the many calls to action from the TRC’s report.
Schools — particularly in northern Canada —already include lessons on this dark part of the country’s history in the classroom. Others will be teaching these lessons for the first time this fall, and others still have to wait. Provinces are moving at different speeds.
Charlene Bearhead, the education lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Commission, told CBC News that there’s some hesitation and resistance to putting new curricula in place.
It’s not that provinces or teachers are ignorant or don’t believe it’s important, she said.
"It's that they're uncomfortable, that they're nervous, that they feel that they're not well prepared if they feel they don't have that background," Bearhead said.
There’s a lack of understanding between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people in Canada, she added. Hopefully bringing more of the country’s history that has affected Indigenous people will help to break down the stereotypes that exist.
Have any of your classes ever taught about the history of residential schools in Canada?