N.W.T., Nunavut students to learn residential school history
Pilot classes to start this spring in some high schools
The Nunavut and N.W.T. governments both plan to introduce coursework on residential schools to their high schools this spring.
One of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s interim report released Friday is that provinces and territories need to teach students about the history of Canada's residential schools.
At a press conference in Vancouver, the commissioners presented the first official copy of the report to N.W.T. Education Minister Jackson Lafferty in recognition of the territory's pledge to re-write its curriculum to include the history and legacy of the residential school system.
"Though we still have a long road ahead, it will to shine a light on the dark history that we will ensure that the history will never be repeated again," Lafferty said.
Lafferty said the new addition to the curriculum will eventually be delivered in all schools in the territory, but will start with six high schools this spring.
Nunavut’s Department of Education is also working on incorporating the history of residential schools into its classes.
"We believe it's extremely important to make sure our students understand Nunavut history, so that they understand the impact on today," said Cathy McGregor, Nunavut’s director of curriculum development.
"Once they understand how that has impacted today, then they can think about what they want to do to improve Nunavut's society for the future."
McGregor is part of a team working with an Ottawa-based organization to create a residential school unit for Grade 10 students.
As part of that process, she says survivors explained what they think today's students need to know.
"What we want to do is make sure that story is known, so we're developing 10 activities based on those interviews," McGregor said.
They'll teach the unit to a few classes as a pilot project this spring. If all goes according to plan, by next fall all Grade 10 students in Nunavut will be required to take it.