Starting this fall, nine educators will be field testing new materials for Grade 5 students to learn about the Indian Residential School system and its continued impacts, as part of a unit addressing Indian Residential Schools.
A comprehensive teacher’s guide called “Our Voices, Our Stories: Yukon Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation” was developed to help educators in their approach to teaching this unit.
This resource was developed in collaboration with Yukon First Nations governments, Elders and knowledge keepers, former residential school students, Grade 5 teachers and historians. The resources include books, videos and a compilation of stories. These materials were carefully selected and designed to be age-appropriate for Grade 5 students.
Teachers attended a two-day workshop on this unit, with support available from First Nations Programs and Partnerships staff.
Following the field test, the materials are expected to be introduced in all Yukon elementary schools for the 2020–21 school year.
As we continue on our journey of reconciliation, it is important for young people hear the truth and learn about the history of Indian Residential Schools in Yukon communities. This teaching is designed to help students learn about this complex and challenging topic and begin their understanding of the widespread impacts this difficult chapter in Yukon and Canadian history continues to have.
Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee
The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 6 (2015) called upon all departments of education across the country to develop age-appropriate educational materials to teach about Indian Residential Schools.
Yukon’s Grade 5 Social Studies curriculum, which aligns with British Colombia’s curriculum, includes a unit on Indian Residential Schools. This unit introduces the subject, builds awareness and develops an understanding of the residential school system and its considerable impacts focusing on the key question: “What effects did residential schools have on First Nations families and communities?”
Yukon’s Social Studies 9 and 10 curricula also include Indian Residential Schools units. These units present a more in-depth understanding of the subject and expand on the subject of Truth and Reconciliation in a unit dealing with advocacy for human rights. Grade 10 Indian Residential School curriculum resources were introduced in 2015, and are currently being updated to be used for both grade levels.
The new Grade 5 curriculum material is being piloted in the following schools:
- Chief Zzeh Gittlit school
- Selkirk Elementary
- Holy Family Elementary School
- Jack Hulland Elementary School
- Ross River School
- Hidden Valley Elementary School
- Takhini Elementary School
- Selkirk Elementary School
- Robert Service School