Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Catholic Teachers Honour and Celebrate National Indigenous History Month

"June is National Indigenous History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the diverse heritage and invaluable contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. This month provides an opportunity for us to listen, learn, and understand while committing to championing meaningful reconciliation.

As Catholic teachers, we have a responsibility to incorporate the rich histories of Indigenous Peoples into our classroom activities and curriculum throughout the year. In order to do that, we must first understand the enduring pain and intergenerational trauma felt by Indigenous Peoples. We must confront the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. We must acknowledge and dismantle the lasting colonial legacies that perpetuate systemic anti-Indigenous racism – both in wider society and within our education systems.

Immediate, sustained, and comprehensive action from all levels of Canadian government, the Catholic Church, and society is needed to achieve true and meaningful reconciliation. It requires the federal government to take meaningful action toward the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People – both of which have seen minimal progress since being announced. The provincial government must reinstate vital resources around Indigenous education, to ensure that every student in Ontario can learn about Indigenous Peoples' histories, cultures, and resilience, and so every teacher has the tools and support to engage in this crucial education confidently.

As Catholic teachers, it is our duty to listen, learn, and understand this shared history to actively seek justice for those students and families we serve. We must also create safe spaces for Indigenous students, teachers, and communities, so that they feel empowered in their valuable contributions to our school communities. This June, and every day, we renew our commitment to work towards reconciliation.

In our classrooms and communities, we pledge to honour and celebrate Indigenous Peoples' enormous contributions and continue the fight to end discrimination against all Indigenous Peoples."

- René Jansen in de Wal, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association