Minister backtracks on treaty education
• Saskatchewan’s education minister has apologized for referencing her son’s homework in a speech that appeared to question how treaty education is taught in schools.
Bronwyn Eyre says she’s sorry if there was confusion about her position and says she is committed to treaty education.
“I regret bringing up my son, and, if there was any misunderstanding that was caused, absolutely regret that as well,” Eyre said Tuesday after speaking to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.
In a speech in the legislature earlier this month the minister said “there has come to be at once too much wholesale infusion into the curriculum ... (and) too many attempts to mandate material into it both from the inside and by outside groups.”
She said her son, who is in Grade 8, brought home a history assignment that suggested all pioneers to Canada were ill-meaning.
When asked to clarify, Eyre said it was about a broader discussion of curriculum. She suggested there might be too much “infusion” of First Nations history in schools.
Eyre t ol d t he s c hool boards association she is committed “to the 100 per cent mandating of treaty education in the province.”
School boards president Shawn Davidson said Eyre’s comments raise concerns. The association passed a resolution calling for a mandatory Indigenous studies course in Saskatchewan high schools, in addition to Indigenous teachings already in the curriculum.
“It’s not about infusion into every subject matter. It’s about ensuring that things like social studies and history curricula are consistent with the truth of the history of this country,” Davidson said.
He said the history he was taught when he went to school many years ago largely ignored treaty rights and Indigenous people. “That was a different time and we’ve moved past that time.”
Ile- a- la- Cross Mayor Duane Favel has been appointed to help with a review of the entire high school curriculum. He said he was taken aback by Eyre’s comments.
Saskatoon mother and writer Liz James said Eyre misrepresented the content of her son’s homework and of treaty education. James said including First Nations history is vital to a child’s education.