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This article was published 4/4/2012 (2747 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Every school in Winnipeg School Division should hold a "Remembrance Day-type assembly" to recognize the effect of Canada's residential school system, rookie trustee Mark Wasyliw declared Tuesday.
He wants the history of residential schools to be taught at an age-appropriate level in every grade in the division, and he wants Ottawa's formal apology to be framed and posted in every school.
Wasyliw is introducing a motion at the April 16 school board meeting that would be debated and put to a vote May 7.
"I don't know if it's getting taught. Most Canadians don't know it happened," Wasyliw said in an interview. "It's due."
He noted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has urged that children be educated about residential schools, and he wants WSD to take the lead in putting that history in the curriculum.
Throughout WSD, said Wasyliw, the legacy and impact of residential schools can be seen through disrupted families, the effects of alcoholism and FASD.
"It's an opportunity for the school division to reach out to the community and show we're part of the community," he said.
He said his wife and children are members of Gwich'in First Nation in the northern Yukon.
"We're very sensitive to what our kids are being taught about aboriginal history," Wasyliw said.
Education Minister Nancy Allan announced almost two years ago that residential schools would become part of the Grade 9 social studies and Grade 11 Canadian history courses this school year.
Piloted last year, the new program, From Apology to Reconciliation, includes creating training and resource materials for teachers, developed in partnership with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Métis Federation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The province will unveil those teaching materials soon. That's a start, Wasyliw said, but, "we could do more than that."
Elected barely four months ago in a byelection, Wasyliw has already been front and centre in criticizing the WSD budget for not spending enough on supports for special-needs children.
Last month, fellow trustees censured Wasyliw, and he issued a public apology, after making remarks about the alleged frequency of violence at North End schools.
He indicated he will be active in bringing forth issues and trying to encourage more public debate on issues challenging children in the division.
Wasyliw wants division to put major emphasis on residential schools
ROOKIE trustee Mark Wasyliw will table a motion that asks Winnipeg School Division's board to:
— Review current curriculum materials in its schools to assess what, if anything, is being taught about residential schools.
— Develop and implement age-appropriate educational materials about residential schools for use in its schools.
— Distribute to its schools and display prominently in a public location within schools a framed copy of the "Statement of Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools."
— Design, announce and publicly unveil the installation of the "Statement of Apology" in commemorative ceremonies that include the school's learning communities and the greater public.
— Create and implement ageappropriate teaching modules to coincide with the unveiling/commemorative ceremonies.