Toronto, September 1, 2010 – The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) is pleased to announce that Bruce Stonefish, a trustee with the Lambton Kent District School Board, has been elected as the Association’s First Nations Director. Bruce will be supported in his role as First Nations Director by Grace Fox, a trustee from Rainbow District School, who has held the position of First Nations Director for the past 4 years and is now Alternate Director.
“One of my goals is to promote the development of curriculum by First Nation educators for broad dissemination throughout the public school system,” said Bruce Stonefish. “The infusion of First Nation culture, history and perspectives in the Ontario curriculum should not only be mandatory in Ontario classrooms but must be accurate, relevant and respectful in order to build self-esteem and pride within Aboriginal students and to promote understanding in rest of Canadian society. First Nation trustees and educators need to be active participants and true partners with the Ministry of Education. The current curriculum needs to include subjects such as treaty history and residential schools to bring to light the realities First Nations people face today in Canada.”
Bruce Stonefish is Lunaape, a proud member of the Delaware Nation. Bruce is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he attained his Masters Degree. He also attended the Masters of Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto as well as the Native Studies BA Honours program at Trent University.
Bruce is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Coalition and has worked within the public school boards as a language instructor, First Nation community liaison, cultural resource person and trustee. He has also served his community on many committees dealing with child welfare, education, economic development and history and has held a seat on the community elected government council.
OPSBA looks to the coming years as an unparalleled opportunity to work with First Nation educators and communities to strengthen public education for First Nations students. The OPSBA Board of Directors will draw on Bruce Stonefish’s expertise as a leader to guide the system in this work.
OPSBA wishes to thank Grace Fox for making an outstanding contribution to the education of First Nations students during the past four years. Under Grace’s guidance and with the support of the Council of First Nations trustees, there has been a marked increase in cultural awareness on First Nation education issues and a strong emphasis on building relationships among school boards, First Nation communities and Ontario’s Aboriginal Education Office.
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