Ontario Government Announces Indigenous Education Curriculum

Education

Thunder Bay — The Ontario Government has released their new First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies, Grades 9 – 12, curriculum on the Ministry of Education website for school boards, educators, parents, and Indigenous communities and partners.
To implement the revised First Nations, Métis and Inuit Studies curriculum, the Ontario government is committing $3.25 million to support school boards.

The decision came after the cancellation of consultations last summer. The announcement has Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler stating, “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.”

The curriculum is comprised of ten secondary courses. These elective courses will provide students with up-to-date learning about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives, cultures, contributions and contemporary realities in areas such as art, literature, law, humanities, politics and history. It also enhances the ability for educators to support students in their learning.

“We are committed to ensuring that Indigenous perspectives are present in Ontario’s curriculum,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education. “We look forward to continuing strong partnerships with Indigenous leaders and the community, and this represents an important step in our ongoing collaboration.”

The curriculum is the result of collaboration with Indigenous teachers, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Métis Senators, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit community representatives, residential school survivors, Indigenous partners, and other education stakeholders.

The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies, Grades 9 – 12, curriculum will provide secondary students with a greater understanding of our shared history, and bring to life more holistic narratives and representation of Indigenous people that will support all students in their exploration and learning.

Ontario recently announced Education that Works for You, a new plan to improve learning, modernize classrooms, and empower educators to protect what matters most and better prepare students for the realities of today’s modern world. The launch of this new curriculum is a significant part of the government’s plan to fulfill Ontario’s new vision for education.

NAN adds, “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.”

QUICK FACTS

The revised First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies, Grades 9 – 12, the curriculum will be implemented in Ontario schools beginning in September 2019.