The Kenora Catholic District School Board is continuing to work and implement Indigenous culture, history and traditions into their curriculum, and to support students with learning the Ojibway language.

The board has now hired language facilitators for St. Louis School and Pope John Paul II school to work alongside classroom teachers – similar to how an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) works in a classroom – to help plan and develop Indigenous curriculum.

“Indigenous culture is very important to us. It’s who we are in northwestern Ontario, and it’s very important that all of our students have some Ojibway language, and to have that knowledge of the culture,” said Director of Education, Phyllis Eikre.

Ojibway language is offered at St. Louis School, Pope John Paul II School, and St. Thomas Aquinas High School. 

“We’re very fortunate. We have now paired a language facilitator with a certified teacher. Those two will work as a team to instruct the students in the Ojibway language. These facilitators are in the classroom each and every day with the students. We’re seeing incredible success with it.”

Eikre says that it’s often difficult to find Ontario College of Teachers qualified individuals who are fluent in the Ojibway language, so the board took a different approach with the matter.

The board has also hired Isobel White as their Elder in Residence. The role is designed to support Ojibway language studies and First Nation programming, and to provide guidance and support to teachers, students and families.

“She is very well-known and respected across the region. She’s a wealth of knowledge, and she will include even more Indigenous culture and teachings right into our classrooms,” Eikre continued.

White recently gifted each KCDSB school with a blessed blanket to bring comfort to children that need support and security. Both moves link back into the board’s First Nation, Metis and Inuit Strategy for Success, which has included introducing fall feasts, Treaty Week, Aboriginal Solidarity Day, Orange Shirt Day, and much more into their curriculum.

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