The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its Calls to Action after completing hearings into the effects of residential schools in Canada. Our duty to recognize and educate students about this difficult period in Canada’s history saw Saskatoon Public Schools engage in a collaborative consultation with a key groups within the division to develop our response to the commission’s Calls to Action. The response was first adopted by the Board of Education in spring 2016. An updated version was approved by trustees in June 2020.
Saskatoon Public Schools, located on traditional Indigenous territory (Cree, Dakota, Dené, Lakota, Métis, Nakota, Saulteaux), exists to promote growth and opportunity for all students. We are committed to answering the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission particularly those specific to education. We believe our students’ hearts and minds are open for learning. We are responsible for teaching them about Canada’s history of colonialism and the impact of residential schools, which is a difficult yet essential aspect of their educational journey. This knowledge is foundational to the goal of reconciliation.
Our school division focuses on integrating Indigenous knowledge in the classroom and through experiential learning. We ensure these vital lessons are age appropriate and respectfully presented in order to ensure student comprehension. Developing relationships with our students will strengthen our work together on this journey. We answer the call to honour Indigenous identity by providing respectful, culturally responsive environments that foster caring and supportive relationships and by teaching the curriculum that infuses Indigenous ways of knowing.
Saskatoon Public Schools staff members are leaders and role models. We strive to provide our staff members with a richer understanding of Indigenous history on this land and the resources they need to carry this learning in their work. We know that our division must model the changes we seek to realize. We answer the call by building our organization’s cultural competencies through enacting division-wide anti-racist/anti-oppressive practices and professional learning that grows our collective understanding about Indigenous identity, histories, worldview, and systemic barriers.
We believe strong partnerships with families, elders, and communities are vital to reconciliation. Our collaborative work with Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. and Gabriel Dumont Local 11 promotes and revitalizes the language, culture, and identity of First Nation, Inuit and Métis students, staff, and families. We answer the call by enriching our partnerships in order to enhance educational opportunities for our students.
At Saskatoon Public Schools, we believe in creating welcoming and joyful spaces where knowledge of our past is seamlessly embedded in our work. Striving for a more respectful, inclusive community is our common goal. We honour the survivors of residential schools and their descendants and purposefully answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by aspiring to ensure every student is known, valued and believed in.