The National Arts Centre recognizes its obligations under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Call to Action #62: We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Indigenous peoples, and educators to:
I) Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
“Education is what got us into this mess, and education is what will get us out.”
Justice Murray Sinclair
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Actions 62-65 focus on the specific educational needs of Indigenous students and the need for increased education within the public school system and the impacts of the residential school system. Canadian educators can help to meet these Calls to Action by proactively adapting their classrooms to better fit the needs of Reconciliation education if their curriculums have not yet been updated.
Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre has curated reading lists that focus on the residential school system and its impacts on Indigenous children for students in grades K-12. These books bring the experiences of Indigenous children and their families to life in age-appropriate language that allows all students to engage in reconciliation education.
Reading Indigenous plays with students adds another layer of complexity to how we choose to represent Indigenous peoples and how interactions with media about indigenous peoples needs to be done respectfully.
Watching and reading plays by Indigenous writers provides another way of looking at issues affecting Indigenous peoples. This can also help students feel more connected to these stories. Before beginning a play unit, it is important to talk with students about what is and is not appropriate when reading these plays out loud, how to interact with unfamiliar words, and how to engage respectfully with Indigenous cultures.
Additional Resources by the Orange Shirt Society
Indigenous Theatre Activity Guide: Reading for Reconciliation