(Surrey, BC) BC Métis Federation and partner community Nova Métis Heritage Association (Nova) are raising serious concerns about the latest Aboriginal cultural program being created for the hundreds of teachers and schools in Surrey School District #36. Nova has appointed representatives on the School District’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee but their lack of meaningful engagement and respectful recognition of the Métis community and significant Métis student population has been evident for years.
This past week the Acting District Principal for Aboriginal Education Sol Lee released their latest Aboriginal Cultural Presentations Guide 2015-2016. There is not a single Métis cultural recommended program and it is unclear if any of the identified cultural facilitators are even Métis. Surrey School District is home to over 2500 Métis students in the district, which is by far the largest population of Aboriginal students. The First Nation, Inuit, and Non Status population is estimated at 800.
Nova Vice President Anthony Krilow stated; “As both a member of the Aboriginal Education Committee and as the Vice President of the Nova Métis Heritage Association, located in Surrey and having 2500 Métis members, I am truly horrified, dismayed and overwhelmingly perplexed by the document.”
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated, “This is yet another example of the structural discrimination and racism Métis communities and our families face. There continues to be this sense that our Métis culture is less important and there is no meaningful engagement.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “Correspondences have been sent to the School District and a meeting is set for next week. There is no question that we as a Métis community have resources and tools to assist this School District and all others in BC. However, these School Districts needs to take more responsibility to ensure the education for all of our Métis students in BC is respectful and culturally supportive. This must be strongly addressed and we urge all Métis families to stand up to this institutional discrimination. It is our children’s future we are fighting to support. We are exploring other options to address following next week’s meeting and are prepared to take this matter forward.”
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.
Media Inquiries:Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2 Office 1-604-638-7220 Cell 1-778-388-5013 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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