Prepare our Young People for the Future – Niigaan Sinclair

THUNDER BAY – Matawa First Nations are celebrating education and planning and working toward a better future at the Matawa Education Conference in Thunder Bay.

Community leaders and educators from across Matawa communities gathered at the Valhalla Inn for workshops and to gain valuable experience.

On Wednesday, the conference keynote speaker Niigaan Sinclair shared a message on how educators can help prepare young people for the future.

“It’s the call to action #63”, said Sinclair, referring to the Truth and Reconciliation Report’s recommendations.

63. We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including:

  1. Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools.

  2. Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.

  3. Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.

  4. Identifying teacher-training needs relating to the above.

Sinclair also noted that TRC Call to Action #62 was key as well.

62. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:

  1. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.

  2. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.

  3. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.

  4. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.

The message was one of working toward making sure that young people are getting the knowledge and the respect of language, culture, and the teachings to live successful lives.

The Matawa Education Conference wraps up on Thursday.