Indigenous curriculum key to Reconciliation in Canada
In 2018, KAIROS was encouraged by progress made by provincial and territorial governments in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s Call to Action 62.i (Education for Reconciliation).
That year, Alberta received a grade of Excellent in “Public Commitment” and Good for “Implementation” from KAIROS’ Education for Reconciliation (E4R) Report Card.
However, like others in civil society, KAIROS is troubled by the Alberta government’s recent hiring of a curriculum adviser who reportedly downplays the importance of Indigenous perspectives in education.
Borrowing from Senator Murray Sinclair, former chair of the TRC, education is the key to reconciliation. Canada’s history is told primarily from the point of view of those who settled and ruled the place now known as Canada. Too few Canadians learn about the history of Indigenous peoples, their points of view and contributions, both historical and contemporary. Canadians must learn this history as a solid first step in moving forward in reconciliation and addressing racism and subsequent gross inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada.
KAIROS encourages Alberta and other provinces and territories to build on progress made and to fully implement Call to Action 62.i, which calls on governments in Canada, “in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to make age appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.”
Since the release of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action in 2015, KAIROS has graded Canadian provinces and territories on their public commitment to and implementation of Call to Action 62.i. In addition to the report card, KAIROS’ campaign around Call to Action 62.i has included petitions and meetings with elected officials and education ministries. To date, petitions have been presented in the legislatures in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta.
The E4R Report Card is part of KAIROS’ Winds of Change campaign, which is focused on building momentum for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada and keeping the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action before the public eye to ensure full implementation.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is often used by educators to teach students about the history of Canada from the point of view of Indigenous peoples, helping to fill a gap or augment Indigenous curriculum. It was developed in response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996, which recommended education about Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation. Since its creation in 1997, the exercise has educated and created understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in classrooms, organizations, government institutions and departments, and companies in Canada and around the world.