“The problem with history is it’s his story, not our story,” says Tom Porter, knowledge keeper and Bear Clan elder of the Mohawk nation. He’s speaking to a group of Grand Erie educators and staff ahead of Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario, sharing some of the lessons imparted in his book, And Grandma Said, a collection of Iroquois teachings passed down through oral tradition.
Caption: Grand Erie staff with Tom Porter, front row centre
On the same day, at Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School, Teacher Librarian Kate Johnson-McGregor is guiding a discussion with students visiting from James Hillier Public School. On a screen in front of them is a map of Ontario showing significant sites in treaty agreements over the past 300 years.
“What if history had been written from an Indigenous perspective?” she asks. “How might things be different?”
The first week of November is Treaties Recognition Week, a time to provide education on treaty rights, and honour the histories that weren’t always part of the curriculum.
Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School was the site of a ‘Living Library’ event. Guest speakers included elder and historian David Plain and filmmaker Monica Virtue. Using an interactive map, they presented the interwoven history of European settlers to North America and the Indigenous peoples for whom Turtle Island was already home.
“So many people don’t realize how many land agreements and treaties there were, let alone how many have been broken since they were signed,” explains Plain. “Treaties Week is an important opportunity to tell the true history of the land.”
The ‘Living Library’ program brings this to life, providing students with an understanding of the country’s whole history thanks to local Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers who are invited into libraries to act as “talking books,” teaching students about treaties and our obligations in honouring treaty rights. A natural partnership between the Ontario School Libraries Association and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, these events support the goals of active, lifelong inquiry, with an open commitment to social justice and equity.
Caption: Monica Virtue and David Plain hold a Two Row wampum
“It’s an honour to host this event and to create this space for everyone, while making visible such important issues” says Johnson-McGregor. “We are all treaty people; this is a history we’re all a part of.”
Knowledge is powerful. As part of its Multi-Year Plan, Grand Erie is committed to Equity, and Treaties Recognition Week is another means to increase the sense of belonging among all students.
Grand Erie classrooms will be highlighting Treaties Recognition Week throughout the month of November. A second Living Library event takes place at Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School on November 14.
June 7, 2016
Re: Report of an incident and suspicious male in the Ryerson Heights area
In the interest of community safety and to best ensure the safety of our students, the Brantford Police Service has provided us with information about the report of an incident in the Ryerson Heights Elementary School area.
On Monday, June 6, 2016 at approximately 4:55 p.m., three primary school students who were at the after-school program at Ryerson Heights School on Dowdon Ave, observed a man outside of the school fence line acting in a suspicious manner. The man was described as holding a sharp object in his hand, which possibly was a knife. The man was reported to have had blood on his hand. The man did not approach the students, however made some negative comments to them before walking away from the area.
The man was described as white, 40-50 years old, with a bald head and wearing a black t-shirt.
Police are continuing in their investigation. Anyone who has information regarding the potential identity of the man or may have witnessed the event is urged to contact Detective Laureen Bird of the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit at 519-756-0113 ext 3001.
To help ensure the safety of our students, please talk to your child about what to do if a ‘stranger’ or ‘strangers’ approach them for any reason. Teachers will also review safety protocols in class about how to stay safe in the community.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
On February 29th, 2016, during the Grade 3 Swim to Survive Trip, the bus was pulled over by police at Conklin and Blackburn. The police had received a report about the driver's abilities. The bus company sent another bus to bring the students back to the school. The students were supervised by the teachers until they met up with their parents. An investigation was carried out by the bus company and communicated by the transportation department. I can tell you that outside influences, such as substances, were not a factor in the driver's abilities. The bus company will take their own action. The driver will not drive for our school moving forward. I am sorry that this happened to our students on their trip. It was upsetting for them and their parents as they waited. Please contact me with any concerns.
Thank you. Mrs. Clara Anderson
Santa made a special visit to the students of WGES. Students and staff made Christmas crafts and celebrated the season with our Adoptive Grandparents from John Noble Home. Thanks to the School Council for organizing this event.