President’s Message – Fall 2019

Indigenous Education

As I write this, we are getting close to Orange Shirt Day (September 30) and I have been reflecting upon the necessity of such a day and how it is the perfect example of why the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association is committed to improving Indigenous Education.

As Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has said, “Education is what got us here, and education is what will get us out.”

At OPSBA, we believe that it is our moral, and educational obligation to follow through on the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation report, specifically #62 and #63. We believe that through education we will move towards a Canada where the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is founded on mutual respect. We made Indigenous Education a priority of our organization a few years ago and we continue to support our members in their work toward reconciliation in a number of ways.

The Indigenous Trustees’ Council (ITC) of OPSBA is an important aspect of that work. The Council provides advice on matters pertaining to First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Education programming, curricula, training and resourcing and facilitates partnerships with FNMI organizations. They advise OPSBA but they also provide necessary advice to the Ministry when necessary. We know that we have, working at that table, qualified and dedicated trustees who bring to our organization the needed insights to further reconciliation. I am pleased that Chief Elaine Johnston, Chair of the ITC, is sharing her thoughts with us in this edition of Education Today.

You will also find a column from Indigenous Student Trustee Chiara Kennedy in this edition. All of our Student Trustees provide incredible input into the working life of School Boards and we are pleased that we are able to share the words of Chiara on what boards need to do for Truth and Reconciliation in Ontario. I am very proud to say that each year, more and more school boards are making a permanent position on their board of trustees for Indigenous Student Trustees. So perhaps we will be able to hear from others in future editions.

As with every edition, it would not be possible without the contributions from our member school boards from across Ontario.

Thank you for taking the time to read Education Today, and I hope you find this edition will provide you with valuable information about Indigenous Education in Ontario today.

Cathy Abraham

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