Indigenous content is being added in a substantial way for the benefit of B.C.'s students.
The announcement made in recent days by the provincial Ministry of Education fits perfectly with work that was already well underway across the province and here in School District 57.
"We know that reflecting our Indigenous communities in our curriculum will better connect Indigenous students to our education pathways," said Cindy Heitman, superintendent of SD57. "This has been in the works for a long time, and we welcome this addition to what we were already doing in our district."
The new graduation requirements are built on choice. This isn't a single course but a collection of options that bring Indigenous understanding into the course material. The full overview of the new provincial initiative is available here: Indigenous Grad Requirement Detailed Overview (gov.bc.ca)
"This is very much still a work in progress, as all education programs are, and the Ministry has provided a feedback portal to gather input on the implementation," said Heitman. That portal can be accessed here: govTogetherBC
Some of the leadership already accomplished in SD57 to implement Indigenous content and infuse First Nations understanding into local classrooms include a component of the English 10 curriculum that focuses on First Nations literature and storytelling (in place in this district since 2015), courses under development that focus on science, art history and music in an Indigenous context, a Tse'khene language course already approved and available from the provincial government plus another under development that will teach the Dakelh language, and many more.
There are more than 100 staff people in SD57's Indigenous Education Department, touching every school in the district; and Prince George is home to the first Indigenous choice-school in B.C., Nusdeh Yoh Elementary.
"We in School District 57 know well that much work lies ahead of us to address the colonial structures the education system has been built on," said SD57 superintendent Cindy Heitman. "We have already accomplished some highlights we are very proud of, and there is so much more we are excited to develop."