Ontario school boards celebrating Treaties Recognition Week

Toronto, November 6, 2017 - The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) is recognizing the second annual Treaties Recognition Week from Nov. 5 to 11. The goal of this week is to promote public education and awareness about the history and importance of treaties and treaty relationships.

"We know that through teaching and learning in our schools, we can move towards a Canada where the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is founded on mutual respect and an accurate portrayal of our shared history," says Laurie French, OPSBA President.

Treaties Recognition Week provides a recurring opportunity for teachers to plan curriculum-linked learning activities about treaties during the school year and will help promote awareness of treaties in the broader public.

"We must continue to advocate for an Ontario curriculum that includes the expectation that every Ontario student will acquire a knowledge and understanding of Treaties and the historical context that gave rise to residential schools," says Elaine Johnston, Chair of OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees' Council and a Trustee with the Algoma District School Board. "This history has had a profound impact on the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and their families for generations and the legacy is the responsibility of all Canadians."

The Grand Erie District School Board is one OPSBA member board taking part in an initiative being led by the Ontario School Library Association (OSLA), in partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, called "Living Libraries." The OSLA is hosting a series of Living Library events in school libraries around the province (in Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Toronto, Brantford and Newcastle) in which local Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers are invited to be "talking books" in the libraries, teaching students and teachers about treaties for Treaties Recognition Week. Events will be held at Brantford CI on November 3 and 14.

At the Simcoe Country District School Board (SCDSB), students and staff will be recognizing Treaties Recognition Week with a variety of in-class activities. In the coming weeks all SCDSB schools will begin to implement a daily land acknowledgement, along with a more formal acknowledgement for Board meetings and significant school and board events. This acknowledgement of traditional territory was developed in partnership with the SCDSB's First Nations Education Advisory Committee and local Indigenous partners.

At the Bluewater District School Board, schools are demonstrating their support across various grade levels through curriculum-related learning activities that focus on the history of treaties. Guest speakers are visiting G.C. Huston Public School in Southampton, Saugeen District Secondary School in Port Elgin, and Peninsula Shores District School in Wiarton to share presentations with students that broaden treaties awareness while depicting some of the untold stories of Canada's past and present. At Hillcrest Central School in Teeswater, the Remembrance Day assembly will focus on the roles that Indigenous peoples played in the two World Wars, including recognition of the special skill sets that they brought to the war effort.

In addition, a number of curriculum-linked resources have been posted at opsba.org.

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association represents public district school boards and public school authorities across Ontario, which together serve more than 1.2 million public elementary and secondary students. The Association advocates on behalf of the best interests and needs of the public school system in Ontario. OPSBA is seen as the credible voice of public education in Ontario and is routinely called on by the provincial government for input and advice on legislation and the impact of government policy directions.

For more information:

May Moore
Director of Communications
Ontario Public School Boards' Association
416-340-2540, ext. 111