April 18th, 2019

Implementing Truth and Reconciliation principles in schools part of discussion

By Kalinowski, Tim on October 19, 2018.

Elder Francis First Charger speaks at the EdCan panel discussion at the University of Lethbridge on how schools can implement Truth and Reconciliation ideals. The panel discussion was live-streamed across Canada. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


The EdCan Network recently hosted a nationally live-streamed panel discussion and learning session at the University of Lethbridge asking the question of how the principles of Truth and Reconciliation can be implemented effectively in Canadian schools.

Coming to the university last week to hold this particular panel discussion was an easy decision to make, said EdCan Network chair Darren Googoo.

“Lethbridge has been a real leader in Truth and Reconciliation before Truth and Reconciliation was a thing in Canada,” he said. “Some of the things this university has done to advance Aboriginal scholarship and ideology at the university level, Aboriginal academia, made this a very logical choice to come and have this conversation here.

“We have put together a lineup that allows for the participants to hear from a variety of people around what they can do in their own classrooms and in their own lives to advance ideas around Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian society. Our hope here is to raise awareness and create conversations.”

Lethbridge luminaries Leroy Little Bear and Elder Francis First Charger headlined an eminent group of panellists, which also included author Pamela Rose Toulouse, Blackfoot Guardian, musician and educator Ira Provost and elementary school teacher Julaine Guitton, who leads “Project of the Heart.” The panel was moderated by the U of L’s Michelle Hogue.

Little Bear, who founded what was then known as the Native American Studies program at the U of L over 40 years ago, said he was thrilled to be part of the EdCan Network panel, and to be part of the live-stream event.

“This gathering is being broadcast all the way across Canada, and lots of different people are going to be listening and learning from the presentations,” stated Little Bear. “We are very honoured to have it here in Blackfoot country so that we can tell some of our story to the rest of Canada.”

Little Bear said he wasn’t at all surprised the University of Lethbridge featured prominently in the EdCan conversation around Truth and Reconciliation in schools in Canada, because it has always been in the vanguard of those discussions as an institution, and in putting the principles of Truth and Reconciliation into practice.

“All those aspects have been incorporated into the being of the university, and I am very proud of our school. They are true leaders in the area of Truth and Reconciliation,” he said.

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