Push for indigenous culture, history courses to be part of entire curriculum at all levels
Twelve-year-old Grace Rollins is able to share what she knows about Indigenous history with her classmates. The grade eight Metis student at Ecole River Heights says her parents passed on their knowledge.
"Some people didn't know what residential schools were, that they even existed in Canada that was very strange for me,” said Rollins.
Now part of the Manitoba curriculum, students in social studies classes are learning about aspects of our past not taught before. All in an effort to tackle ignorance, racism and help students who've felt marginalized.
"My end goal is to now educate a generation of students to have empathy, to understand their own bias and their own world view and those of other,” said Jennifer Wiebe, a teacher Ecole River Heights.
As of this fall, students at the University of Winnipeg are required to take at least one Indigenous course. These changes to the education system stem from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
But it's not just students who need the education.
A conference at the University of Manitoba is teaching current and future educators about Indigenous history, that keynote speaker, teacher Lisa Howell said, has been kept in the dark.
"By educating ourselves and working with elders and survivors we're coming into the light," said Howell.
Charlene Bearhead is with the National Centre for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She said Indigenous studies need to go beyond one course. They need to be embodied across the entire system, from social studies to science in order to foster a change in attitudes.
"Cross curricular, cross grade, full context, that's when we really know that we're on the right track," said Bearhead.