Moving Toward Reconciliation in Edmonton Catholic Schools
Presented by Pamela Sparklingeyes as part of the symposium Reconciliation & Resurgence: Heritage Practice in Post-TRC Edmonton
Over the past few years, Edmonton Catholic Schools has taken significant steps toward improving education for Indigenous students and engaging all students in learning about the cultures, experiences, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples.
In terms of Indigenous education, there are two gaps in Alberta’s education system. One is the achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. The second is the knowledge gap that permeates the system; the lack of knowledge about the history, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples in Canada. In order to close these gaps, Edmonton Catholic Schools implemented the Braided Journeys program to support Indigenous students and developed a professional development strategy to increase the cultural competency of all educators. Edmonton Catholic Schools now has an Indigenous graduation rate of 80% and educators now have a deeper understanding of Canada’s history of colonization and its influence on current relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
In this presentation, Pamela Sparklingeyes will share Edmonton Catholic Schools’ Steps to Reconciliation, outlining the benefits of the Braided Journeys Program and the importance of broader goals for the education system. These perspectives begin to articulate a possible way forward that can engender change in large systems.