At Tuesday night’s trustee forum, I was asked what concrete actions the district could take to support the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation committee, and I had one minute to speak to this. I couldn’t possibly be able to do this question justice in one minute – especially without a chance to put my thoughts in order first – so I thought I’d write down a few more points.
I did discuss funding – the district needs to continue to support the Aboriginal Education department in the district, and continue with the weaving of the Aboriginal content into all areas of this district and the curriculum. I’ve been impressed by the way the Aboriginal focii alternate between families of schools, bringing elders into the schools, and educating our children on things that I, personally, was never taught about in schools.
I also think it’s important to be able to support our teachers and other staff, and that’s in two ways – one is to have in-service and professional development opportunities to learn more, and be comfortable teaching, about Aboriginal content. I know I’ve talked with teachers who weren’t well educated themselves about residential schools, for example, and who are looking for support on how best to teach and explain something this important. Providing in-service and professional development opportunities cost money, and this is something the district can provide more of.
Another area is being able to recruit and retain teachers and other staff of Aboriginal ancestry, and that’s something that would be a discussion area with the PGDTA.
There is so much more that could be discussed, and I hope to be able to discuss more as a trustee in the future.