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

Indigenous Education Newsletter
November 2019
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 this year has been 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 reps 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.
November 4 - 8 is Treaties Recognition Week
T his week students are learning about treaties and treaty relationships during Treaties Recognition Week 2019. First introduced in 2016, Treaties Recognition Week promotes public education and awareness about the history and importance of treaties and treaty relationships. First Nations were the original inhabitants of this land we call Ontario. Our shared history begins around 400 years ago, when Europeans first arrived. A number of curriculum-linked resources have been created to help our staff and students explore this topic. 

To learn more visit:

Treaties Recognition Week and map of Ontario
Male adult with two female adults talking to students
Male adult speaking to students
Elder Tony Bomberry speaks to Students about Residential Schools
In October, during Indigenous Education Awareness Month, Elder Tony Bomberry spoke to students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School about his journey through residential school. At the age of six, Tony Bomberry was taken from his home to the Mohawk Institute Residential School, in Brantford where he lived for three years. Once released from the residential school, he was placed in foster care until he was 18 years old. 

He shared with the students his journey through residential school and what it was like, but also how important it is to heal. Elder Bomberry stressed that it’s important for students to recognize that all people are special and valued. “We all matter,” said Elder Bomberry. “Each one of you has a gift to give the world and we must embrace that gift and share with others.” 

The students were struck by Elder Bomberry’s living conditions at the residential school and how he was able to use humour to move forward from what must have been a terrible and scary experience for one so young.
Remembering and Honouring Residential School Survivors
Students and staff at the Durham Catholic District School Board honoured and remembered Indigenous children taken from their families and brought to residential schools on September 30 as part of Orange Shirt Day.

Our schools showed support for the Indigenous Community by participating in Orange Shirt Day. Learning about residential schools is part of the revised curriculum in the areas of History and Social Studies.
Male and female students with female teacher wearing orange shirts
Students learning on Orange Shirt Day and Residential school displayed on a bulletin board
Female adult dancing
Male adult dancing with hoops
Learning about Indigenous Culture at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
In October, students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary school invited DA Stage to share their Indigenous culture with students by demonstrating some of their traditional dances. Dance is a form of prayer for Indigenous people and they give thanks to our ancestors who walked these lands before us in the dances.

For example, the hoop dance represents the cycle of life and how we are all part of this earth. Every plant, animal and insect is honoured and respected in Indigenous culture. We need to respect Mother Earth and put away our differences and live in harmony together.
Student Voice
Meet DCDSB's Student Indigenous Advisory Circle
We are excited to introduce the 2019-2020 Student Indigenous Education Advisory Circle. Congratulations to:

  • Noah, Grade 12 student from All Saints Catholic Secondary School;

  • Oneida, a graduate from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School;

  • Shilah, Grade 10 student from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School;

  • Shakira, Grade 11 student from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School;

  • Marley, Grade 12 student from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School;

  • Rachel, Grade 12 student from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School;

  • Mitchell, Grade 11 student from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School; and

  • Olivia, a Grade 7 student from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School.

The students will represent student voice and act as ambassadors for Indigenous Education at their schools and for our board.
Male and female students standing beside We Walk the Path Together banner
To learn more about Indigenous Education at the Durham Catholic District School Board visit dcdsb.ca/IndigenousEducation.