Need an expert? Residential schools designated national historic sites

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Black and white picture of empty desks and chairs in classroom.

Members of the media may directly contact the following expert:

Nicholas Ng-A-Fook (English and French)
Full Professor, Vice-Dean of graduate programs, Faculty of Education. Former Director of the Teacher Education and Indigenous Teacher Education Programs and specialist in Indigenous History.

“Working to address the 94 “Calls to Action” put forth by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is only a first step toward acknowledging such historical harms and redress. Canadians should expect social studies and history teachers to have and be provided the necessary professional competencies to teach “truth” and work toward “reconciliation” in collaboration with different First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.

The Ministry of Education and provincial government should be proactive in recognizing the intergenerational impacts of the Indian Residential Schooling (IRS) system across the school curriculum. It is currently up to the school board, school, leadership team, and teachers to highlight the Canadian government’s systemic history of violence, which means it often depends on an individual knowledge and understanding of the IRS system. This historical significance is often still taken up from a settler colonial perspective.

  • How might the Ontario Ministry of Education ensure that there is dedicated funding for schools to draw on to address the historical and ongoing impacts of the IRS system as part of this national recognition?
  • How might we do so in curricular and pedagogical ways that work to reimagine and redress our past, present, and future relations as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadian citizens?

Across the country, several Teacher Education programs have sought to ensure most teacher candidates gain an introductory knowledge and understanding of the historical, violent and ongoing intergenerational impacts of settler colonialism.”

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