Mr. Speaker, it makes me very proud to share an important milestone with this Legislative Assembly. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Inuvik in 2011, I committed our government to educating students and teachers in the Northwest Territories about the history and legacy of the residential schools.
For the year following that TRC event, Education, Culture and Employment staff worked closely with the Nunavut Government, the Legacy of Hope Foundation, and in particular, former residential school students, to complete a resource package of teaching and learning materials.
In October of 2012, all NWT Northern Studies teachers were introduced to the new teacher’s guide. At this in-service, many survivors shared their experiences with our teachers. The experiences shared during this in-service helped the teachers not only in their delivery of Northern Studies, but in their understanding of their students and the communities they are working in.
Since this initial launch, I committed our government to train not just the Northern Studies teachers, but all K-12 teachers in the NWT on the history and legacy of residential schools. It has taken us over a year to accomplish this goal and as of February 19th every NWT teacher has participated in an in-service. We will now be offering this in-service to all new teachers arriving to the Northwest Territories.
Mr. Speaker, this is an important accomplishment, and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank several groups. I want to thank the principals and teachers who listened respectfully to the difficult truths.
I want to thank the Vision of Hope and Health Canada for supporting the process through their counselling services and attending every in-service. They also provided follow-up support for those who needed it. I want to thank Maxine Lacorne who is an intergenerational survivor and also travelled to many communities and provided hope through sharing her experiences and journey of healing. Most importantly, I want to acknowledge and thank the many former residential school students all over the NWT who graciously shared their experiences with open hearts.
In June, I will be hosting meetings with my counterparts from across the country, the Council for Ministers of Education Canada. At these meetings, we will be discussing how to make it a requirement in every province and territory across Canada for all teachers to be familiar with the issues related to the history and legacy of residential schools, regardless of where they study or where they teach. Together, we are understanding the past and seeking reconciliation to build hope for tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories can be very proud of the leadership role we have played right across this country in assuring that never again will another generation be able to say ‘I didn’t know.’
Masi, Mr. Speaker.