Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BWDSB Hosts Indigenous Student Forum

Approximately 100 self-identifying Indigenous students in Grades 7 to 12 joined together recently at the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre near Wiarton for a day of fun in nature, learning, and reflections.

Bluewater District School Board’s (BWDSB) Indigenous Student Forum on Monday, May 27, included students from G.C. Huston Public, John Diefenbaker Senior, Owen Sound District Secondary, Peninsula Shores District, Saugeen District Senior, and Walkerton District Community schools. A group of students from outside of BWDSB from Kikendaasogamig Elementary School in Neyaashiinigmiing, in the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, were also invited to attend.

During the day, students had an opportunity to participate in two workshops, including outdoor activities, bannock making, hide tanning, and fire making, and indoor beadwork and crafts workshops. Many students also appreciated the chance to make their own medicine bag and learn about working with wood for basket weaving.

As part of BWDSB’s strong commitment to enabling and encouraging student voice as an essential component of informing board-wide planning and everyday work, the forum also provided students with a safe space for sharing their personal reflections. Participants were able to brainstorm ideas and candidly provide feedback on areas they feel are working well within our education system for Indigenous students, and those that could be improved. Many students expressed their appreciation for BWDSB’s attempts to incorporate varied Indigenous aspects into learning and school culture, such as in-school pow wows, drumming groups, storytelling, and community collaborative events. Students would like to see these initiatives continue, along with additional Indigenous programs, language classes, cultural knowledge teachings, stronger connections with Elders, student clubs, and graduation coach meetings and information sessions to assist future graduates, to name a few.

Students and staff ended the day equipped with some new learning to take back to their schools and work sites. BWDSB has hosted several Indigenous forums over the years targeted to both students as well as staff training groups.

Popular this week

Latest news