Category Archives: Canadian history

What gets us worked up in education, and what doesn’t: The TRC and our schools

Today is the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which seems like as good an opportunity as any to write about what kids in schools learn about Indigenous issues here in Canada.

Source.
Source.

An incident in the last week of school this year underscored this issue for me. As a local education blogger, I’d been asked by a daytime radio show to comment on kids’ math and reading scores in our province. The interview came about because a council of local CEOs and other business-types had recently gone to the media with concern that some high school graduates’ math and reading skills seemed to have declined over the past few years.

Continue reading What gets us worked up in education, and what doesn’t: The TRC and our schools

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“Was my school named after a slaveowner?” A closer look at the place names around us

A few weeks ago, Halifax journalist Tim Bousquet wrote a brief piece about the history of slavery in Nova Scotia. Bousquet pointed to an article by University of Vermont history professor Harvey Amani Whitfield which contends that slavery was further widespread here than official statistics suggest:

Whitfield shows that slavery was widespread, found in every part of Nova Scotia, and that sales of slaves, including children, and notices of runaway slaves were regular features in local newspapers. Continue reading “Was my school named after a slaveowner?” A closer look at the place names around us

This is about facing, not defacing history

Photo taken from facebook.com/deejayndn
Photo taken from facebook.com/deejayndn

[The party held for John A. MacDonald’s 199th birthday last weekend and consequent outrage expressed via the #SirJAM hashtag, along with the push to name more things after Sir John A., have given me an excuse to re-publish this piece from a couple of years ago about the re-naming of Cornwallis Junior High School. (The school ended up being re-branded “Halifax Central Junior High.”)

To make it more current, you could substitute “Cornwallis” with “MacDonald” and “put a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps” with “deliberately starved Indigenous people of the Prairies,” and so on; the idea is the same. While there are still lifetimes of work for settlers to do in terms of redress for the calamities of colonialism, it’s good that conversations about historical memory are at least starting to happen.  Continue reading This is about facing, not defacing history