Durham Catholic District School Board Indigenous Education: We Walk the Path Together logo
We Walk the Path Together:

Indigenous Education Newsletter
June 2020
The Indigenous Education Advisory Circle (IEAC) meets regularly to help the Durham Catholic District School Board build relationships and understand the needs of the community. We walk the path together on a journey of reconciliation to support staff, students and community members in this significant work.
One of the priorities of the committee is to build deeper understanding of why a land acknowledgement is read each morning as part of the opening exercises in our schools. Key messages have been shared with school administrators and teacher representatives from each school. Our goal is to encourage staff and students to not only recognize the traditional territory that our schools are located on, but to also consider our relationship with the land. We hope to extend the land acknowledgement to a call to action to engage in more learning and reflect on concrete actions we can take to build the spirit of reconciliation and serve as stewards of creation. We look forward to supporting the schools in their learning journeys.
A path in the forest with a broken tree and white trillium flowers
Celebrating National Indigenous History Month with Virtual Presentation on June 19
June is  National Indigenous History Month, a time to honour and celebrate the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

I n celebration, DCDSB's Indigenous Education Advisory Circle is hosting a virtual presentation with guest speaker and renowned artists, Isaac Murdoch. Students, families, teachers and community partners are welcome to attend a live stream event on Friday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86447044270?pwd=UnljODBRSFNZVVp1UjlYSWZYVkFqdz09&status=success

Meeting ID: 864 4704 4270
Password: 1DhBvM

Mr. Murdoch will speak on Indigenous traditions, land and language.

We also invite you to follow us on Twitter and share your Indigenous learning throughout the month with us. Tag us using #DCDSBIndigenousEd.

Finally, check out our web page at https://www.dcdsb.ca/en/parents/community-events.aspx for resources to learn more about Indigenous History.
Renowned Artist and Guest Speaker, Isaac Murdoch speaks to DCDSB's Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle
On May 6, 2020, guest speaker Isaac Murdoch spoke to members of the DCDSB's Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle about residential schools and the impact the schools had on Indigenous traditions and culture.

The discussion offered the Indigenous students a better opportunity to connect to their culture and learn more about traditions such as a "Vision Quest."

"Talking to Isaac was a great experience," said Mitch, a Grade 12 student from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School and member of the Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle. "I am able to take what I learned from the Advisory Circle and talk to my grandmother who then shares her knowledge of Indigenous culture, history and traditions with me. It's been a positive experience for me."

Mr. Murdoch helps Indigenous students who may be disconnected from their culture and reconnects them.

Mitch added, "I would recommend the Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle to any Durham Catholic student who has self-identified and is looking for a way to reconnect with their culture."
Male adult painting an Indigenous mural on an interior school wall.
Cover of book From the Ashes and male author
Secondary English Teachers Meet with Indigenous Author, Jesse Thistle and discuss Contemporary Indigenous Voices
On May 20, 2020 thirty DCDSB English secondary teachers together with members of the board's Indigenous Education Advisory Circle participated in a virtual meeting with Indigenous author, Jesse Thistle. Mr. Thistle spoke to teachers about Homelessness vs. Houselessness. He explained how an Indigenous child became homeless when removed from his/her traditional land and how the child became house less when he/she moved into his/her grandparent's home.

In September 2020, the Durham Catholic District School Board will implement the Grade 11 English: Understanding Contemporary Indigenous Voices course at all of our secondary schools. The meeting with with Jesse Thistle was an opportunity for teachers to learn more about how to engage students in contemporary Indigenous Voice, while learning about Indigenous culture.

Mr. Thistle's book, From the Ashes is one of the books Grade 11 students will be reading that is designed to incorporate Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum.

The new course will support the development of each learner as articulated in the Catholic Graduate Expectations, will fulfill the mandatory Grade 11 English requirement for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and are recognized by all post-secondary institutions.

We are excited to extend this innovative program to our board which reflects our shared commitment to reconciliation and will provide our students with the opportunity to examine contemporary issues in the English classrooms.
Voluntary Self-Identification of Indigenous Ancestry
In recognition of National Indigenous History Month in June, the Durham Catholic District School Board encouraged parents and guardians of students under the age of 18 with First Nations, Métis and Inuit ancestry (Status, Non-Status) to self-identify their Indigenous ancestry. Students 18 years of age and older were also encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their ancestry.  Proof of ancestry is not a requirement.

Self-identification information is collected and protected by the same privacy regulations that apply to all personal information. The data collected allows our board to provide resources, services and experiences to benefit individual students, as well as to support learning opportunities for all students.

Visit  dcdsb.ca/IndigenousEducation  to learn more and complete the online Self-Identification of Indigenous Ancestry form.

We invite you to watch a video from two Durham Catholic students, who are members of our Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle. They shared why they feel other students should self-identify their Indigenous ancestry.

For additional information, contact our Teaching and Learning Consultant for Indigenous Education at 905-576-6150 ext. 22291. 

Indigenous Education We Walk the Path Together. Path in the forest with a broken tree and white trillium flowers
Medicine wheel and Durham Catholic District School Board's Indigenous Education logo with information on how to self identify Indigenous ancestry
Upcoming Events
June 1-21, 2020 Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival virtual Edition
June 21 - Indigenous Peoples Day
In celebrating of Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2020 check out the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. They organizers are providing virtual sessions that you can participate in. Visit https://summersolsticefestivals.ca/ for more information.
To learn more about Indigenous Education at the Durham Catholic District School Board visit dcdsb.ca/IndigenousEducation.