Saskatchewan teacher mis­tak­enly hands out of­fen­sive Thanks­giv­ing puz­zle

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NATIONAL - The Cana­dian Press

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — A school di­vi­sion in south­ern Saskatchewan is apol­o­giz­ing after a hand­out with of­fen­sive words was mis­tak­enly given to stu­dents.

A Thanks­giv­ing work pack­age sup­plied last week to a Grade 3 class in Moose Jaw had a word search puz­zle in the shape of a teepee. It con­tained “squaw” and “pa­poose,” deroga­tory terms for In­dige­nous women and chil­dren.

Prairie South Schools said in a state­ment that the teacher gave the ma­te­rial to stu­dents who had com­pleted other work be­fore the long week­end. The teacher had not care­fully pre­viewed the hand­out and was hor­ri­fied to learn of its con­tent Tues­day after a news re­porter called the school di­vi­sion to ask about the puz­zle.

“I feel very badly that this has hap­pened and of­fer my sin­cere apolo­gies,” said Tony Bald­win, direc­tor of ed­u­ca­tion for Prairie South.

“As a Treaty 4 per­son, I know the im­por­tance of ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion for stu­dents.”

A photo of the puz­zle was posted on Twit­ter by a Van­cou­ver woman who said the Thanks­giv­ing book­let was given to her cousin’s child at the el­e­men­tary school in Moose Jaw.

Writ­ten at the top of the puz­zle: “His­tory tells us that the In­di­ans played a very im­por­tant part in the first Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.”

Chief Bobby Cameron with the Fed­er­a­tion of Sovereign In­dige­nous Na­tions in Saskatchewan said the words in the puz­zle are bla­tantly racist and won­ders if other stu­dents were un­wit­tingly given the hand­out in pre­vi­ous years.

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