The new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum is unacceptable
Kuujjuaq (May 2, 2017) – As part of the development of a new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum, the Kativik School Board invested resources and expertise in a process that demonstrates complete disregard for the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a very clear lack of interest on the part of the Quebec government in engaging with Aboriginal people in the development of Aboriginal education content.
“The new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum is unacceptable. Not only does it offer too little Aboriginal content, but it was crafted out of a consultation process that repeats a historical pattern of oppression, which continues to suppress the Inuit voice” said Alicie Nalukturuk, President of the Kativik School Board.
Over the past 10 months, the Kativik School Board actively participated in the work of a Committee created by the Quebec Ministry of Education to review and propose modifications to the new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum. By February 2017, the school board had provided extensive comments on additional elements to be included in the curriculum, and key themes to be integrated with respect to the history of Inuit in Quebec and Canada.
“At a meeting of the Committee in February 2017, it was clearly indicated to us that the curriculum was already finalized. The latest version we were given access to does not reflect our comments and recommendations. As it currently stands, the curriculum fails to educate Quebecers about the common history Aboriginal people share with non-aboriginal Quebecers and Canadians,” said Mrs. Nalukturuk. “The urgent need to educate Quebecers and Canadians about Aboriginal people has been clearly identified by the TRC in its 2015 report. Unfortunately, the review of the Quebec history curriculum has not been used as an opportunity to do so,” she added.
The involvement of Aboriginal representatives in consultations related to the content of the new history curriculum was initiated late and only after growing criticism from experts and educators concerning the curriculum’s shortcomings and its failure to reflect Quebec’s diversity. “We were asked to provide expertise; we responded immediately and in good faith. However, the consultation process designed by the Ministry of Education did not truly inform curriculum development. The process did not provide a real opportunity to garner insight and feedback from the Aboriginal representatives who responded to the ministry’s call for help,” added Mrs. Nalukturuk.
In light of this, the Kativik School Board is seriously concerned about the genuine commitment of the Quebec government to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) related to education. More specifically, the school board is concerned with the implementation of recommendations 12, 62, 63 and 64, which relate directly to education and require governmental action at the provincial level.
“In the case of consultations on the new Quebec history program, the creation of a senior-level position at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education would have greatly contributed to a meaningful process,” added Mrs. Nalukturuk.
The creation of such a position was recommended by the TRC in June 2015 (recommendation 62, iv).
Concerning the new history curriculum, the Kativik School Board is furthermore demanding that the Government of Quebec take immediate action to:
- Integrate into the new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum the 10 key recommended themes concerning the history of Inuit in Quebec and Canada;
- Produce supplemental pedagogical material that reflect the recommendations, insight and feedback of Inuit and other Aboriginal people;
- Update the Ministry exams to reflect content and learning related to Inuit and other Aboriginal people;
- Ensure accuracy of curriculum and Ministry Exams content and learning related to Inuit and other Aboriginal people by systematically validating it with Inuit and other Aboriginal people.
- Ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with the Inuit, other Aboriginal people and educators in relation to the development of Aboriginal education content.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its report in June 2015. At the time, Prime Minister Couillard declared that a review of the relationship with aboriginal people was needed. He declared being in agreement with the use of the term “cultural genocide” to refer to Canada’s residential school system and he also stressed the importance of aboriginal communities in helping to develop the province’s economy.
The Kativik School Board (KSB) was created in 1975, under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. Since 1978, it has been the exclusive provider of academic services to the population of Nunavik. The education programs developed by the KSB are offered in all schools of the 14 Nunavik communities, in Inuktitut as first language and in French and English as second languages. The school board operates 17 primary and secondary schools as well as 5 adult education centres. More information can be found at: www.kativik.qc.ca
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