June 6, 2022 – During the month of June, the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) will be celebrating National Indigenous History Month. This is a time to learn, grow, and celebrate Indigenous peoples and culture. The UCDSB is specifically situated on the traditional Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee territories.
With 79 schools and 27,000 students covering approximately 12,000 square kilometres of rural and urban areas, the UCDSB is committed to providing relevant and accurate Indigenous education to all students, celebrating Indigenous achievements, and developing programs that meet the needs of Indigenous students and their families.
The UCDSB is committed to implementing the calls to action as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and throughout the school year, students participate in various Indigenous learning activities. For example, annually, Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute collaborates with community partners and Indigenous groups to organize the Spirit of the Drum Powwow. This year, it will be held on June 11 and June 12 on Duck Island, 40 Abbott St. N, in Smiths Falls. The UCDSB holds an annual Truth and Reconciliation gathering for Grade 5 and Grade 6 students. This gathering is part of a year-end celebration and commemoration of year-long learning. Also, schools have the opportunity to host workshops with cultural advisors and learn about teachings from many Indigenous cultures, including art, medicine wheel, land-based learning, and much more.
“June is National Indigenous History Month, which is a time to recognize the rich history of Indigenous people, the resilience of Indigenous communities, and the work being done for truth and reconciliation. This is what we strive towards all year long in the Upper Canada District School Board,” says Principal of Indigenous Education Kelty Grant. “We are grateful for the cultural advisors that work with our staff and students to support and guide our learning and understanding of Indigenous cultures. We deeply value the relationships and partnerships that we have developed with the Indigenous communities around us.”
On June 21, the UCDSB will recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. This marks Summer Solstice, a day that many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples celebrate by usually coming together with family and community for a feast. Traditional foods are an important aspect of the feast as they signify a connection to the land and animals.