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School pilot project to promote safety, pride in self-identifying

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compiled by Shari Narine







The Toronto Catholic District School Board is piloting a program to help students of First Nation, Métis or Inuit background feel safe in self-identifying with their Aboriginal heritage while developing an awareness of their culture among all students. The program fosters positive role-models and helps to dispel stereotypes. Aboriginal graduate and undergraduate students from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education work as peer mentors with the students. The OISE students, working with a First Nation Elder, provide resources on Aboriginal identity, culture, and education, to teachers and students. OISE students tell of their own stories of school success that led them to a university education. The goal of the project is to inspire and model to the children and youth what contemporary Indigenous identity can be in an urban area. By the end of May, students in Grades 5 and 11 from 25 schools will have gone through the program, which was funded through the Ministry of Education’s Aboriginal Education Department.