Mamakwa calls on Ford to respect reconciliation curriculum

QUEEN’S PARK –  Doug Ford is taking Ontario backwards when it comes to reconciliation, said NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), after Ford eliminated Ontario’s Indigenous Culture Fund while failing to consult with Indigenous leaders on the new Indigenous curriculum.

“Last week the Ford government announced the new curriculum for Indigenous studies after abruptly cancelling Indigenous curriculum-writing sessions last summer,” said Mamakwa, NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic.

“But Indigenous leaders from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation were not consulted, prior to the release of the curriculum.

“Updating the Indigenous curriculum was a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It should have been developed by Indigenous communities.

“But to make matters worse, the Ford government is making the new Indigenous curriculum elective, not mandatory, as recommended by the TRC on education for reconciliation.

“Why does the Ford government think that Ontario students don’t need to learn about Residential Schools or First Nation treaty rights?”

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on governments to create Indigenous curriculum in collaboration with First Nations communities.

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler stated that “Learning about the colonial history of this country should not be optional. As long as we make these courses electives, the system will continue to fail (all) our students.”

Mamakwa said Doug Ford’s cuts to Indigenous programs and his failure to consult with First Nations goes against recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“As a First Nations person, it’s hard for me to accept this government is committed to meaningful reconciliation, when they have cut funding to Indigenous culture and arts, significantly cut the budget of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and cancelled the Indigenous curriculum writing sessions,” said Mamakwa.

“Will this government today make an appropriate curriculum on residential schools, treaties and Indigenous peoples’ contributions a mandatory educational requirement in Ontario, as stated in TRC call to action number 62?”