First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education

Aboriginal Education Project

Making Good Tracks in First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education at our Board (K-12)

Where are we now?


In 2008, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board launched an award-winning approach to a provincial strategy involving 72 school districts. The strategy includes "initiatives that support learning and achievement for Aboriginal students. It also helps raise awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, histories and perspectives among all students in all Ontario classrooms."
- Ministry of Education (www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal)


Since 2008, the Community Member’s Speak consultation report has helped guide our work

under four main areas related to First Nation, Métis and Inuit education: Using Data to Support Student Achievement; Supporting Students; Supporting Educators and; Building Knowledge and Awareness.  In addition to a Program Manager to help with the design and implementation of board-wide initiatives, a Student Success Strategist has been added as a direct support to students in schools as part of a team approach.   



Making good tracks polar bear, metis sash and medicine wheel

A Monumental Time in Our Shared History: A Time of Healing, Hope and
Faith


In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released a final report marking a monumental time in our shared history. The court ordered commission was a result of the residential school experience and served to shed light on a dark time in Canadian history referred to as cultural genocide.  The significance of this report is that it raises awareness about historic and inter-generational trauma that continues to impact families and communities.  The TRC Calls to Action outlines 94 recommendations and calls upon provincial school boards to ensure culturally safe, respectful, inclusive and welcoming learning environments as a foundation for First Nation, Métis and Inuit student well-being and achievement.


In the spring of 2016, the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops issued a response to the TRC report to express their support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeopleThe Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops affirms that "its spirit can point a way forward to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada." - Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops (www.cccb.ca/trc

December 5, 2016: Establishment of Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, “a Catholic coalition of Indigenous people, bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous peoples in Canada”


February to July 2018: Catholic Bishops across Canada hold Listening Circles with Indigenous peoples. Message from the President of the CCCB to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.


April 27, 2018: The CCCB co-signs a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau from Canadian Christian church leaders, to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP]


2019: The Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) issues its monograph “Walking Forward Together: A Call to Action for the Catholic Church and Catholic Schools”


May to October 2021: Revelation of thousands of unmarked student graves on the grounds of former Indian Residential Schools


April 26, 2021: Statement from the CCCB Executive on the Implementation of UNDRIP in Canadian Legislation


May 31, 2021: Statement from the President of the CCCB following the discoveries at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.


June 10, 2021: The CCCB announces that a joint Indigenous and Catholic delegation will travel to Rome in December to meet with Pope Francis, and to discuss a possible papal visit to Canada to offer a formal apology on behalf of the Catholic Church, as requested in TRC Call to Action #58.


September 24, 2021: The Catholic bishops of Canada issue a formal apology to the Indigenous peoples of this land, for Catholic involvement in the residential school system. They “acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual” and they “sorrowfully acknowledge the historical and ongoing trauma and the legacy of suffering and challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day”.


September 27, 2021: The Catholic bishops of Canada commit themselves to a fund-raising campaign, aiming to raise $30 million to support healing initiatives and projects of Indigenous communities across Canada.


Every student in our Board will have a copy of our Voluntary Self-Identification Brochure

If you have questions or comments, please email Linda McGregor at lmcgregor@smcdsb.on.ca, Manager of First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education .