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.
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 that pertain 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 positive learning 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 division-wide processes and professional learning that grow 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 Okicīyapi Partnership with Saskatoon Tribal Council and Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. has strengthened our Cree and Métis language and culture programs. Our alliance agreement with Whitecap Dakota First Nation demonstrates a collaborative vision to provide the best available education to students. 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 safe 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 live by our school division values: Respect, Excellence, Joy and Responsibility.