TORONTO—Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare has condemned recent actions of the Office of the Minister of Education that he claims “perpetuate systemic inequities in the Ontario education system.” The regional chief feels that to help make amends, all First Nation student tuitions should be paid by the government.
“You know that since September 30 and the Every Child Matters campaign was initiated after so many unmarked children’s graves have been found at Residential Schools, that’s where the government can live up to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the federal government should be paying all tuition fees for all students in Canada,” Chief Hare told The Expositor. “At least this would be something that we could work with the government on. And I would be shocked if the government stood up and said we can’t do this.”
“And the government needs to put the Native language in schools and in the curriculum,” said Chief Hare.
“Recent actions by the Office of the Minister of Education do not support Ontario’s commitment to work with First Nations as partners on policies and programs,” stated Regional Chief Hare. “Further, these actions do not reflect the spirit and intentions of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”
“The minister’s office recently dismissed the thoughtful work of curriculum writers when Indigenous science and technology was struck from the curriculum for the 2022 school year,” the regional chief continued. “In addition, the minister’s office removed expectations that would have allowed students the opportunity to analyze contributions to science and technology from First Nations, Metis, and Inuit; Black and other racialized communities; women; people with disabilities; and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. This expectation was rendered down to ‘analyze contributions to science and technology from various communities.’ This deprives students of the opportunity to understand and celebrate the unique contributions of distinct communities that have been discriminated against, omitted, or misrepresented throughout history.”
First Nation students attending school in the provincial education system continue to experience deep, ongoing marginalization and vulnerability associated with systemic inequities embedded in the system. “We need a curriculum in the schools that humanizes and elevates historically marginalized voices. Instead, we have witnessed paternalistic actions of the Office of the Minister of Education, which silence our voices in the new K-8 science and technology curriculum,” continued Regional Chief Hare.
“Ontario must commit to addressing the systemic gaps within the education system, beginning with a collaborative effort to improve the curriculum development and revision process,” said Regional Chief Hare. “The ongoing disregard for First Nations identities, cultures, values, and ways of knowing has to stop. Our children and future generations deserve better.”