Teachers in our community now have access to lesson plans created by Alberta Education to help educate students on First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture and history.
“It is critical our students understand the history of residential schools, along with the histories and vibrant cultures of Indigenous communities and the role we all have to play in reconciliation,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education, in an official press release.
Part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is ensuring this education is delivered to both elementary and high school students.
Eggen continued, “It’s equally important teachers have the tools they need to feel empowered to teach this important material in the classroom as we work to prepare our students for success.”
Lesson plans for grades one to nine have been developed and are available for teachers to use. Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Freehand believes the new lesson plans will “help to ensure that Indigenous and non-Indigenous students learn about our shared history as we move forward together along the path of reconciliation.”
Charlene Bearhead, co-chair of the Downie Wenjack Foundation feels that the lesson plans are what many teachers have been looking for to aid in change and reconciliation.
“Teachers are key to the foundational shift that is beginning right across the country. Many Albertans are learning the truth about residential schools and Indigenous peoples in Canada for the first time. These lesson plans will support teachers as they build connections with and for their students and develop authentic, meaningful learning experiences,” she said in the press release.
Alberta Education is also working with the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Alberta Association of Deans of Education, the Alberta School Boards Association and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to make sure teachers, assistants and other school staff have access to the professional learning opportunities they need to educate students on this content.
Tony Alexis, Chief of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation believes Albertans are making important progress in the journey towards reconciliation and shared understanding:
“Now is a time like no other in Alberta history. We have the opportunity and responsibility to teach the truth and to provide an accurate account of our Canadian society. These new resources will shed light on our painfully dark history, and like our TRC commission reminds us, there cannot be reconciliation without truth.”