Alberta to teach history properly — no more whitewashing

The NDP have announced they will be launching a program ahead of updates to the curriculum which involve teaching Albertan/Canadian history more accurately by including primary sources from First Nations–an uncomfortable move to genocide deniers, since the primary sources describe in great and meticulous detail the abuse perpetrated by European colonials as well as the racism that persists today. The program is to help teachers employ the new curriculum who may be uncomfortable admitting the history of brutal abuses of Indigenous populations by white Canadians.

Alberta teachers uneasy with tackling one of the darkest chapters of Canadian history in their classrooms are getting specific training.

Alberta will become the first province to establish a training regime for all of the province’s teachers to instruct in First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and perspectives.

“We know from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that there are some wounds that we need to heal,” Education Minister David Eggen said Wednesday. “We all live together with First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture. It’s important for all of us to have that education — turning some unfortunate past into a positive future for all.”

The provincial government will spend nearly $5.4 million during the next three years to provide professional development to 42,000 teachers, superintendents and other school staff. The move is to complement an ambitious reworking of Alberta’s school curriculum during the next six years, which Eggen said will include more First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and perspectives.

Staff from the centre will highlight information and resources from Alberta in particular, said director Ry Moran. It’s important students understand what transpired in their own backyard.

Alberta had 25 residential schools, the highest number of any province, Moran said. Many were concentrated in the Edmonton and Calgary areas.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission spent six years collecting stories and evidence of systemic assimilation, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse of indigenous people at the schools. The institutions were complicit in governments’ attempt to isolate indigenous children from their families and eliminate their culture and languages.

A truth and reconciliation centre survey found 30 per cent of Canadians haven’t heard of residential schools, Moran said.

Teachers need professional development and the right resources to empower them to tackle the difficult subject in age-appropriate ways, he said.

“Some teachers are a little reluctant to teach (human rights) issues. They don’t want to make mistakes, and they don’t want to offend anybody. And they also don’t really have a full sense of history themselves,” Moran said.

The public also needs to understand the abuse and neglect still affects survivors’ children and grandchildren today, Moran said.

Colour me impressed. This is the sort of substantive change I want to see. Hopefully it isn’t the first thing to go when Alberta carries on with its tradition of shooting itself in the foot every election.



  1. kestrel says

    That’s pretty cool. One of the things that absolutely infuriated me was when I learned how I’d been lied to by adults in history class about how the US had treated the indigenous peoples. How refreshing if children are taught what actually happened.

  2. Siobhan says

    Few things terrify me more than the idea of the NDP losing the next election, especially if Jason Kenney is successful in his quest.

    You mean you don’t like the forced-birther fact-averse viciously homophobic and transphobic theocratic champion of long debunked neoliberalism disguised as Christian austerity? Why ever not? Jason Kenney wants to bring us back to the good old days, you know, when people still died of dysentery.