Minister of Education David Eggen issued the following statement about social studies course material given to an Alberta student:
“I was appalled to see such hurtful and offensive material given to an Alberta student. As Minister of Education, I want to sincerely apologize to this student, their family, and anyone else who may have been exposed to this insensitive resource. There is no excuse for it – and there is no place for it in our schools.
“The legacy of residential schools is a dark period in our history, and we must journey together toward reconciliation. It is vital that this take place in a way that honours and brings awareness to the experiences of residential school survivors.
“As such, we must do all we can to ensure this never happens again. That’s why I have instructed Alberta Education to conduct a review of material used by the Alberta Distance Learning Centre to make sure the use of this resource – and any others like it – is immediately discontinued. Later today, the Deputy Minister of Education will be contacting every school authority in the province to ask them to take proactive steps to prevent students from being exposed to material like this. I will also be personally reaching out to the student who was subjected to this hateful material to apologize and issue an invitation to a curriculum roundtable on Indigenous education that I am hosting next week.
“As the Minister of Education, I believe this unfortunate situation highlights just how important the work we’re doing to update the K-12 curriculum is. Some of the material still in our classrooms today was written as far back as the 1990s, when the last residential schools were still in operation. Every student in Alberta should be learning about the profound damage and harm that was done to generations of First Nations, Metis and Inuit children who were forced to attend residential schools – full stop.
“We will remove this hateful material from our schools and we owe it to our children to give them the education they need to succeed in their futures.”