New Ontario Government Cuts Education Programming Aimed at Reconciliation

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox speaking at Chiefs Special Assembly on Education Jurisdiction. June, 2018. photo courtesy NAN via twitter

THUNDER BAY, ON (July 9, 2018): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox expressed grave concern with Ontario’s new government as the Ministry of Education abruptly cut summer sessions to develop education curriculum on Indian Residential Schools that were set to begin today.

“Truth-sharing and education on the Indian Residential School experience is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. We have heard from many educators, Elders and knowledge keepers and share their frustration as this important work was dropped just before it was set to begin,” said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, who holds the education portfolio. “This is a step backwards on our journey towards reconciliation. The education of the youth in Ontario shouldn’t be dictated by the party in power, but left to professionals who acknowledge that identity-building is the only positive move forward.”

Notice was sent to members of the TRC Summer Writing Team on Friday afternoon that the summer 2018 curriculum writing sessions were cancelled, including TRC summer writing sessions July 9-12 and July 17-20. Participants were directed to cancel travel and hotel arrangements immediately.

Elders and knowledge keepers, many of whom are Residential School survivors, have made personal investments in this work. Some will now lose income as they have booked time away from employment and other activities in order to participate.

“This TRC project enhanced Ontario’s education curriculum with school boards working with Indigenous community partners to provide opportunities for teachers and students to learn about our shared history,” said Fox. “We are asking this government to reaffirm its commitment to The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples where the province committed to working with Indigenous partners to address the legacy of residential schools, close gaps and remove barriers, support Indigenous cultures, and reconcile relationships.”

The new Ontario government signaled that improving relations with Indigenous Peoples is not a priority when it stripped the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation of a dedicated minister in June. Responsibility for the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs was given to Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, who is also the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.


  1. No matter which political party runs the province or country, the natives will always complain and cry discrimination. And what’s with wanting funding from the hard working, TAX PAYING people of Ontario to what? educate their own on residential schools? Enough already, why do natives insist on adding more salt to the already healing wounds. Stop crying wolf and making yourselves be the victims. If you want to blame anyone, look at your elders and their predecessors. They are the ones who made the conscious decisions that approved the treaties you now have. The treaties were written before you and your parents were even conceived, they are old and irrelevant. We are all Canadians and so we should equally live that way. Crying wolf and making yourselves the victims and thinking you’re entitled is why you feel discriminated against. It’s not discrimination, it’s guilt. Guilt of knowing that you are fraudulently stealing from the honest, hard working people who give up too much taxes so you can go out on a sunny day and protest because your own ancestor’s only thought of themselves and left this generation of natives high and dry. Get a job, pay taxes and earn the respect from you fellow Ontarians and Canadians. This is the only way to live as a united province and country.

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