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The BC Teachers’ Federation heartily applauds the tabling yesterday of legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“With this legislation, the government of British Columbia has taken a significant step forward on the path towards truth and reconciliation in our province,” said BCTF President Teri Mooring. 

“As teachers, we often witness the devastating impacts of residential schools and intergenerational trauma upon our colleagues, students and their families. Working to make the principles enshrined in the Declaration come alive in our schools and society is one of the most significant contributions we can make to future generations of British Columbians—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”

Mooring noted that BC teachers have long been committed to this work. In 2010, the BCTF adopted a sweeping set of recommendations from its First Nations Education Task Force, which travelled the province investigating the barriers for Indigenous teachers, students and their families. Since then, the Federation has undertaken numerous initiatives to tackle the deep-seated systemic problems it identified. The work continues.

Among the leadership priorities the BCTF set for the 2019–20 school year is “dedicating ourselves to challenging thinking, structures, and systems that perpetuate colonialism, and working together with others to ensure that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are implemented.”

“This legislative change aligns well with recent changes to the BC school curriculum, which calls for the integration of Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and a focus on teaching Indigenous history and culture in an authentic way, unfiltered through the colonial lens that has hidden the true history,” Mooring said.

Mooring added that the BCTF looks forward to working with government and Indigenous organizations on supporting the aspects of the Declaration that pertain to education.

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, Director, BCTF Communications and Campaigns Division, at 604-871-1872 (office).

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