For Immediate Release- March 20, 2015
Toronto, ON – This year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st is “Learning from historical tragedies to combat racism today”. Canadians have much work to do through education and government action to address the ongoing legacy of racism against Aboriginal people.
“While we must continue to press the federal government to address inequities in First Nations, Métis and Inuit education, health and housing and violence against women, educators must do everything we can to help students understand and address this historical legacy of racism,” said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
That goal is front and centre of an upcoming ETFO theatre initiative to provide elementary public school students and teachers in southern Ontario with education on First Nations, Métis and Inuit diversity, history and perspectives.
In late March, ETFO will launch a 10-week tour of the play Spirit Horse to public elementary and First Nations schools in 75 communities across southern Ontario. Adapted by Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor and performed by Roseneath Theatre, the play is about two Aboriginal children who set out on an inspiring journey that challenges cultural stereotypes and confronts racism. Teachers will receive online and face-to-face professional development/learning as part of the tour. A similar initiative toured 33 northern Ontario communities in 2010.
“By understanding the systemic discrimination and barriers that First Nations, Métis and Inuit people face in Canada, our youth will be better equipped to be part of the solution to these pressing problems,” added Hammond.
Last October, ETFO launched a resource guide for grades 1 to 8 entitled Aboriginal Histories and Realities in Canada.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.