Alberta training educators to teach Indigenous issues
'All Albertans have a role to play in reconciliation,' says director of Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The provincial government will be training educators on how to best to teach Indigenous culture and history to Alberta elementary and high school students.
The commitment, which stems from the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), will ensure teachers from kindergarten to Grade 12 receive additional training over the next two to three years.
"It's a chance to teach the teachers essentially," said David Eggen, minister of education. "To have an authentic and organic way to provide education on truth and reconciliation, on residential schools, First Nations and Inuit culture."
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will play a role in the training.
Ry Moran, the centre's director, said outreach programs have found that some teachers are reluctant to teach Indigenous issues.
"That's because they don't want to make mistakes, don't want to offend anyone, and they also don't really have a full sense of the history themselves," he said.
"This path of reconciliation moving forward is about empowering teachers to teach this history, and to feel comfortable teaching a very difficult subject in the classroom."
This path of reconciliation moving forward is about empowering teachers to teach this history, and to feel comfortable teaching a very difficult subject in the classroom.- Ry Moran
Each province or territory will be given services specific to what they need.
"For example, here in the province of Alberta, there were the highest number of residential schools in the country," said Moran.
"So that means we need to pay specific attention and provide specific information for what that means for the province."
'We're pretty proud'
Representatives from numerous organizations involved with education in Alberta came together Wednesday to sign a joint commitment to take action on the TRC.
In general, Canadians still have persistent misconceptions of who Indigenous people are so much work needs to be done, Moran said.
"All Albertans have a role to play in reconciliation."
Eggen said it's very important for everyone to have this type of education to "turn some unfortunate past into a positive future for all."
Alberta is the first province to get help from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
"Since we are ahead of the game compared to the other provinces, the best practices that we learn here will be shared other provinces and territories," said Eggen."We're pretty proud of that."
Through this commitment Alberta Education will be distributing $5.3 million to several organizations over the next three years.
This includes $2.4 million to the Alberta Teachers Association, $1.8 million to the Alberta Regional Development Consortia, $900,000 to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and a one-time payment of $250,000 to the Alberta School Boards Association.