Legal counsel for Treaty 3 have been granted intervenor status, as they advocate for better health information for indigenous youth. Douglas Judson says the repealing of the province's curriculum on sex-ed leaves Treaty 3 youth more vulnerable.
“Indigenous youths continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. One of our responsibilities in responding to crises like missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and youth mental health, self-harm, and suicide must be to provide Indigenous young people with information about healthy and safe relationships, sexual orientation and gender identity, and resources related to consent and gender-based violence,” stated Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh, in a prepared statement. “By putting in place antiquated health curriculum, the Ontario government is abdicating that responsibility and putting our young people at risk.”
Changes to the province's sex education curriculum was a key issue in the provincial Tory leadership race, and changes were introduced shortly after the Progressive Conservative government was elected in June.
However, First Nation students are less likely to have accurate information on a healthy lifestyle, Judson argues.
“Sadly, there continues to be no group in our society for which the interplay of this disadvantage and harm is more acutely and directly felt than that of Indigenous young people,” stated Judson, a lawyer and staff advisor with Grand Council Treaty #3. “We perpetuate the destructive legacy of residential schools – and the intergenerational trauma they left behind – when we deny Indigenous young people access to modern, fact-based health information that they are less likely than other kids to get outside of school.”
The civil case also includes elementary teachers and the country's civil liberties association. Hearings are set for January.
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