WARNING: This story contains an image in question.
A school in the Niagara area faced an undisclosed “disciplinary action” after a student returned home with a worksheet depicting two cartoon characters in stereotypical Aboriginal clothing, including feather headbands. We are auditing materials for teachers who are
Tracee Smith, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, was shocked when her 4-year-old son, Ekkian Christmas, came home from kindergarten with a worksheet called “Two Little Indians Eating Ice Cream.” I received She asked her students to “color a scoop with an ‘I’ or ‘i’ written on it.”
Smith, a member of the Mithanaby Cree First Nation in northern Ontario, said, “I couldn’t believe I was reading it. I was shocked, shaken and really disappointed. Everything was very It’s faster.
She said other children in her class were also given worksheets.
Smith’s son entered St. David’s Public School three weeks ago. She said she didn’t realize the worksheets were offensive because of his age, but her first-grade sister understood it was uncomfortable.
“There are still teachers using this material, but they don’t realize how harmful it is,” Smith said.
“You’ll hear the word ‘Indian’ used in a very racist and hurtful way from the past, mostly by non-Indigenous peoples.”
Carl Glauser, principal of St. David’s Public Schools, sent an email to parents after Smith shared the worksheet with the school and the Niagara District Board of Education (DSBN).
“We sincerely apologize to our students, families and the entire school community for the distribution of this offensive material,” Glauser said in an email.
“You would think we got over this.”
Smith said the worksheets are close to home not only because she and her husband are Indigenous, but also because Smith is involved in Indigenous education.
She is the founder and CEO of Outside Looking In, an educational program that brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous students together to learn about each other and gives Indigenous students high school credit through a dance program.
“I always work with curricula, teachers and principals,” says Smith.
“Twenty-five kids I know got that worksheet. You’d think we’d gotten past this already.”
DSBN’s Indigenous Education Leader, Georgie Groat, works with a team of seven Indigenous Education Student Performance Leaders.
She said the worksheets handed out in class “show how much work we have to do.”
In an email sent to his parents, Glauser agreed with Grote.
“We know there is still much work to be done as we continue on the path to truth and reconciliation,” Glauser said.
Teachers facing “disciplinary action”
Kim Sweeney, DSBN’s senior manager of communications and public relations, said the incident was under investigation.
“The principal started by conducting an audit of all the materials for that particular grade,” Sweeney said, adding that the audit would extend to handouts, materials used in classes, and materials hanging on classroom walls. added.
She said the school board believes that no one other than Ekian’s teacher has used the worksheets.
Sweeney confirmed that the four-year-old’s teacher is Caucasian, has been with St. David’s for four years, and has been teaching since 2017.
When asked how the worksheets were introduced into the curriculum, Sweeney said it was introduced by teachers and the sheets are not part of the overall curriculum.
“Professional educators can make choices about what they use in the classroom, and this item is one of those choices. It was absolutely the wrong choice,” says Sweeney.
“We are confirming that this item is definitely destroyed.”
Groat said he was disappointed that Ekkian’s teacher had distributed the worksheets. That’s because it shows that the work Groat’s team has done to inform educators about indigenous peoples and cultures isn’t reaching everyone.
“What needs to be done to ensure that professional development is available to everyone?” she asked.
Sweeney said “disciplinary action is being taken against teachers,” but with an audit underway, CBC News’ statement on what the disciplinary action was or what it will be once the audit is complete. Details could not be disclosed.
As of this week, the teacher is still leading Ekkian’s class.
opportunity to learn
Smith said she was disappointed with the worksheet, but not angry.
“If anything, I hope it will be a learning opportunity,” she said.
“These terms have changed and the word ‘Indian’ is [in reference to an Indigenous person] It’s a very hurtful word. ”
Referring to the illustrations, she said, “We have to start getting those visuals out of the system so people can understand who we are today.
“I see this as an educational opportunity and an opportunity to work with teachers and staff,” said Groat, whose job is to integrate current indigenous understandings into DSBN schools.