Moose Jaw, Sask., teacher mistakenly hands out assignment with racist terms
Words 'squaw' and 'papoose' found in Grade 3 activity booklet
A teacher's decision to hand out an extracurricular activity package to some Grade 3 students at a Moose Jaw, Sask., elementary school has been called into question after some racist terms were found in it.
The Thanksgiving-themed assignment at Palliser Heights that was intended to be a fun activity for students who had finished their class work included a word search that contained the terms "squaw" and "papoose."
The terms are derogatory references towards Indigenous women and children, respectively, that were used by European settlers in Canada's early years.
- Sask. teen stands up for Indigenous heritage by wearing traditional clothes to school
- 'A punch in the gut': Mother slams B.C. high school exercise connecting Indigenous women to 'squaw'
- Treaty 4 flag raising at Moose Jaw school a 'step to territorial acknowledgement'
Tony Baldwin, director of education for Prairie South Schools, said the activity package was found by the teacher at the school and she didn't look through all 15 pages before handing it out.
"I would have thought that things like this would have been gone from our building 10, 15 or 20 years ago," he said.
According to Baldwin, the school division has taken steps to address the issue and the teacher prepared a letter of apology to be sent home to parents on Tuesday.
"This is a good teacher who made a really bad error in judgement on Friday," said Baldwin. "She was as horrified as any of the rest of us."
Baldwin said the school in question is recognized as one of the more progressive schools in the division when it comes to reconciliation.
The school recently held a Treaty 4 flag-raising ceremony and Baldwin said the division's elder-in-residence Gerry Stonechild works closely with the school division.
In response to the word search, Stonechild said, "It's not surprising to me."
He said there is still work that needs to be done and hopes to meet with more teachers to discuss how to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation.
"I hope the teachers get the message and put it to action," he said.
Baldwin said the unfortunate incident can help the division move forward toward a better understanding of reconciliation.
"If we can clean some of this junk out of our schools when things like this happen, that's another silver lining in what has been a tough day for us."
Popular in News
1 861 reading now Nenshi re-elected as Calgary's mayor as at least 9 incumbent councillors keep their seats
- 2 256 reading now John Dunsworth, Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, dead at 71
- 3 194 reading now Bombardier to partner with Airbus on CSeries program
- 4 162 reading now Freed hostage Joshua Boyle on why he went to Afghanistan and what his kidnappers wanted
- 5 95 reading now 2 families, 3 missing and murdered Indigenous women; inquiry reveals how tragedy follows tragedy