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Alderville chief welcomes updated Ontario curriculum: Students will learn more about Indigenous history

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

File Photo

File Photo

ALDERVILLE & COBOURG -- Alderville First Nation's Chief says its time that Ontario's education system has a curriculum that includes the history, culture and treaties of Indigenous peoples, as announced Wednesday.

Education Minster Mitzie Hunter and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister David Zimmer made the joint announcement.

"The province is supporting teachers to deliver the new curriculum, which has been developed with Indigenous partners, and focuses on residential schools, treaties and Indigenous people's historical and contemporary contributions to Canada," states a government media release.

"It's an excellent move and it's about time," Alderville First Nation Chief Jim Bob Marsden said in an interview when contacted for his reaction to the announcement. "We've been saying it for a long time that we need our treaties and our histories in the classroom."

Even before this announcement, the local school board had arranged a special Indigenous focused evening for students and members of the public at Cobourg Collegiate Institute at 335 King St. E. in Cobourg at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Described as the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board's "Inaugural Indigenous Peoples Awareness Month" it includes the screening of a documentary entitled: Silent Thunder, the Search for Truth and Reconciliation.

"Residential school survivor Shirley Williams, and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation representative Kevin Lamoureux, will be the guest speakers at this special community event," a school board release states.

Their addresses and discussion will follow the documentary screening.

"According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, residential schools operated in Canada for over 150 years," continues the release. "More than 150,000 children attended these schools. Many never returned. Often underfunded and overcrowded, the residential schools were used as a tool of assimilation by the Canadian state and churches. Thousands of students suffered physical and sexual abuse. All suffered from loneliness and a longing to be home with their families. The damages inflicted by these schools continue to this day."

There will be similar, but uniquely different content in presentations on Nov. 20 at Trent University's First People's Gathering Space starting at 5 p.m. as well as on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., at Clarington Central Secondary School and on Nov. 27 at Kenner Collegiate in Peterborough at 7 p.m.

vmacdonald@postmedia.com

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