Here are excerpts of the document prepared by St. Andrew’s School social justice committee Creating Spaces of Reconciliation in Schools: Recommendations for Education Leaders.
I. Allowing students to become forces of reconciliation in the classroom:
We, the youth, believe that for reconciliation to be realized, we must build positive and genuine relationships between Indigenous Canadians (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) and non-Indigenous Canadians based on understanding, and this understanding must begin in our classrooms with meaningful, well-developed, appropriate and abundant curriculum resources.
In short, a balance should be sought between the past and the present, and between history and culture today. We feel the most effective way to do this is through hands-on learning techniques such as the blanket exercise, and through smudging ceremonies. These educational opportunities better equip students to become active participants in the process of reconciliation.
We, the youth, propose that education on mental health issues, currently seen to be increasing in their severity particularly for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, and the negative stereotypes often associated with Indigenous peoples be addressed.
II. Supporting educators to become allies of reconciliation in their classroom:
Teachers must be knowledgeable about Canadian history and contemporary issues which have a great impact on Indigenous societies.
It is important that students and staff members are educated in protocol so community members and elders feel safe, honoured and welcomed back into a school environment.
Education partnerships with community members and elders are vital to ensuring the accuracy of the information being taught to students and creates an authentic experience.
III. Building safe and inclusive communities throughout the school:
We, the youth, believe that reconciliation must take place in all aspects of our lives, not only within classrooms but outside them.
To create this community, we recommend implementing smudge rooms and multi-faith spaces into schools so that all students have a space to practice their faith.
We also believe in having available counsellors to help combat mental health issues affecting the children of survivors of residential schools.
We recommend a balance of our province’s history, with the ways that we can heal and move forward. We also recommend the introduction of meaningful actions into school culture.
We recommend that schools partake in culture camps, where students can reconnect with the natural world around them, and realize the significance the land holds.
These actions, combined with the creation of clubs to combat stigma and racism, will put schools on the path of reconciliation in Alberta. We, the youth, wish for these endeavours to be authentic sites of learning, and in this we need the support of experts and elders to come in and teach and educate the next generations from Indigenous worldviews. For the full document, visit the website hfcrd.ab.ca.