Manitoba’s largest school division signs KAIROS’ Education for Reconciliation petition
The KAIROS Winds of Change campaign received a huge endorsement on March 7, 2016 when the Board of Trustees of Winnipeg School Division (WSD) signed the Education for Reconciliation petition on behalf of the largest school division in Manitoba. WSD has 78 schools and over 33,000 students.
Ms. Rollins is Wendat. As Vice Chair of WSD, she is one of the few Indigenous trustees in Manitoba history to attain an executive position on a school board.
“Winnipeg School Division has implemented a wide variety of initiatives to support Aboriginal education, Aboriginal students and Aboriginal staff, beginning with the establishment of a Native education consulting teacher position in 1979,” says Ms. Rollins. “Our division is cognisant of the importance of TRC Call to Action 62.i. We have girls in our schools who have gone missing. These are our children. While we have done so much for Indigenous students, we still have so much to do. By signing this petition, we encourage the Manitoba government to legislate TRC Call 62.i as soon as possible.”
Rollins established the WSD Indigenous Council in 2015 to further advance the division’s efforts in promoting Indigenous education. Some highlights of the WSD’s work include establishment of Indigenous schools, teaching the Treaties in Grade 6, participating in the Aboriginal Academic Achievement Initiative to support Indigenous students, and weaving Indigenous education initiatives throughout the Kindergarten to Grade 12 curricula.
Rollins is hopeful Manitoba will give due regard to the TRC’s Call 62.i, before and after its election in April.
“Whomever the Education Minister is at that point, we hope that they will support a bill that will legislate the TRC’s Call,” says Rollins. “With KAIROS’ help, we will ensure that this call remains on their radar. I agree with TRC Commissioner Justice Sinclair that education is key to reconciliation. My hope is that all families start on the decolonization process in earnest.”
“On behalf of KAIROS, I want to applaud WSD for this great endorsement,” says Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of KAIROS. “Their support and efforts to date are an inspiration and offer tremendous momentum to the Winds of Change campaign in Manitoba and across the country.”
Motion of the Board of Trustees was passed on March 8, 2016:
“That the Board of Trustees of the Winnipeg School Division sign the Kairos – Winds of Change Petition and implement the Campaign Actions in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendation to call upon the Manitoba provincial government to develop age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada and make this a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.”