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Ontario To Make Indigenous Learning Mandatory In Grades 1 To 3 & Here's What They'll Teach

The new curriculum will be in place by 2023.

Toronto Staff Writer
Ontario To Make Indigenous Learning Mandatory In Grades 1 To 3 & Here's What They'll Teach

On the eve of Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Ontario government has announced mandatory Indigenous learning will be introduced in grades one to three by September 2023.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford made the announcement on Wednesday at the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

From 2021 to 2022, the ministry will provide "23.96 million in Indigenous Education funding to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit students as part of a broader government commitment to reconciliation," and this week, announced that it will continue to grow "multi-year funding to support sustainability in partner organizations."

The ministry of education approved funding of $3.19 million "over three years to strengthen existing partnerships with the Chiefs of Ontario and First Nation Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs) and provide stable funding for the length of the agreement."

Additional funding of $850,000 will be given to the Métis Nation of Ontario in 2021-2022 "towards collaborating with school board administrators and educators in the learning of Métis knowledge and the integration of this knowledge into Indigenous education programs and initiatives."

The Métis Nation of Ontario will also receive $406,000 over three years for the River Program, an academic and cultural support program for Métis students.

Currently in Ontario, grades four to six have mandatory Indigenous learning in their social studies curriculum, and grades seven, eight and 10 have mandatory learning on residential schools in history classes. However, grades one to three have no mandatory Indigenous learning at the moment.

According to the Ontario government, the new mandatory Indigenous learning for these grades will "ensure that First Nation, Métis and Inuit perspectives are reflected throughout the province's curriculum."

New Curriculum

The new curriculum outlined by Lecce and Rickford will include:

  • "Mandatory Indigenous-focused learning added to the Social Studies, Grades 1-3 curriculum, including exploring opportunities for new learning on:
    • The role of family and resilience in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and nations
    • First Nations, Métis and Inuit historical and contemporary realities
    • Indigenous peoples' interrelationship and connection with the land
    • The residential school system and the reclamation and revitalization of identity, language, culture and community connections."

"We are committed to recognizing the contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities and nations to our province and country while learning their histories and cultures," said Lecce.

"Including Indigenous content and voices in Ontario's curriculum – along with mandatory learning on residential schools – is a meaningful way that we can address issues of racism, Indigenous student well-being and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are also investing more to support Indigenous students, with the aim of boosting graduation rates and enabling economic opportunity for the next generation of Indigenous students."

This article's right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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