The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released today marks a moving and powerful day in our collective history that will serve as an important resource for more work, conversations, and actions, said BCTF President Jim Iker.
“BC teachers are committed to being active partners in reconciliation and supporting the Commission's call to move from apologies to actions,” said Iker. “As Justice Sinclair said in the spring, the misuse of our education system was at the roots of the injustice and so education must play a central role in reconciliation.”
Iker explained that actions are already underway and BC teachers already are showing excellent leadership in implementing the Commission's calls to action. For example, the BCTF has developed a new resource called Illuminating the hidden history of Indian Residential Schools in BC that teachers across Canada can use to bring the true history and legacy of residential schools into classrooms.
“The BCTF's resource, Illuminating the hidden history of Indian Residential Schools in BC, is available online and contains a wealth of learning resources to help teachers and students better understand this dark chapter in our shared history,” said Iker. “The resource was developed by BC teachers and BCTF staff with the help of courageous residential school survivors and family members of children who died. The resource will be a powerful tool for our education system to help take the kind of action the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called for.”
Iker added that BCTF members are also working with the BC government on redesigning the provincial curriculum to incorporate additional Aboriginal content and perspectives across all grade levels, including teaching about the true history of residential schools. “By taking such steps, our schools will be at the forefront, building new relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people based on mutual understanding, respect, and collective action,” Iker said.