Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2013


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Manitoba Students to Gain Better Understanding of Important Role of Treaties in Manitoba's History: Ministers
The provincial government joined Manitobans today to celebrate National Aboriginal Day by proclaiming the first World Peace and Prayer Day in Manitoba and highlighting provincial school curriculum changes underway to ensure Manitoba students have a comprehensive understanding of treaties, the treaty relationship and the important role these played in the creation of the province, said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson and Education Minister Nancy Allan.
“The summer solstice, now known in Canada as Aboriginal Day, has always been a time to celebrate Aboriginal culture with all Canadians,” said Robinson.  “By declaring today World Peace and Prayer Day in Manitoba, we are extending that invitation once again to Manitobans of all backgrounds to join us in celebrating our shared values of respect for one and other and our Mother Earth.” 
World Peace and Prayer Day is also known as Honouring Sacred Sites Day.  It was first envisioned and established in 1994 by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, keeper of the white buffalo calf pipe, for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations.  It has been a celebrated on the summer solstice since then as a day to join worldwide communities and people of all races, ages, genders and faiths, who share concern for the welfare of the Earth and humanity.
A sunrise ceremony was held today to mark the occasion in Memorial Park, which will be followed by the Dakota Riders horse parade from The Forks to Memorial Park, beginning at 2 p.m.
Premier Greg Selinger, who spoke at a signing ceremony marking the agreement to host national research on residential schools at the University of Manitoba, called the centre critical to promoting healing and reconciliation, while helping Canadians learn about how the legacy of residential schools continues to impact Canadian families.
Allan today announced further progress on implementing improved treaty education into the curriculum of Manitoba schools.
“Educating our children and young people needs to include an awareness of other cultures including First Nations and the valued agreements we have with them through treaties,” said Allan.  “We also want to give students a better understanding of the important place these treaties hold in the history of our country and province.”
The Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, in partnership with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Manitoba Education and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre have made a commitment to work together to increase knowledge and understanding of treaties and the treaty relationship for all students in Manitoba.  This public education strategy for kindergarten to Grade 12 is known as the Treaty Education Initiative.
The partners have designed resources for teachers to use when teaching students about treaties and treaty relationships, which can also be included in existing social studies and history curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.  Key goals of these resources include ensuring students gain a balanced perspective on treaties and the treaty relationship, involving elders, historians and teachers, and inviting students to learn more about Canada’s shared history with First Nations People, said Allan.
“Treaties are the fundamental building blocks of our country.  If we want to better understand where we are going as a province and country, and what we can accomplish together with First Nations, we need to understand the treaties,” said James Wilson, treaty commissioner, Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
“There are many forms of silence in our schools that need to be addressed.  One of them is certainly the lack of widespread learning about the importance of treaties to our shared history and their importance to our shared future.  These resources certainly help students better understand the value of our treaties and treaty relationships,” said Paul Olson, president, Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
In the 2011-12 school year, school divisions across Manitoba began using the treaty and treaty relationship resources as part of a pilot project for grades 5 and 6 and introduced a pilot program for kindergarten to Grade 4 in the 2012-13 school year.  The next step will be to expand to create resources to be used in the current curriculum for grades 7 to 12.

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