First Nations, Metis, & Inuit Statement
The Father’s House Christian School desires to actively show honour, care and respect to all its students. Each child was created intentionally for a beautiful purpose. This aligns with our initiatives to teach outcomes relating to the indigenous cultures of Canada (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures).
Curriculum can teach the truth of our past, acknowledging the horrific history that took place in Canada. Reconciliation is taught in concepts within the curriculum and in how we approach and teach our history of colonialism and residential schools. Students experience and come to understand the traditions of our indigenous cultures (talking stick, drumming circles, incorporating Elder’s teachings of a teepee, consensus-based decision-making, teachings on equity, and storytelling – understanding how traditions are passed down orally).
TFHCS is a multi-denominational school that celebrates many Christian cultures and expressions. Our indigenous culture learning includes land-based instruction and enrichment outdoors (Whitemud Creek Ravine Hike, Fort Edmonton Park’s Indigenous Interpretive Centre). Land-based experiential learning includes a race across Canada in our grade five social studies class. Students study the labels and stereotypes in different regions and how this shaped Indigenous peoples experiences. Our grade seven social studies class studies the original tribes in Canada, the impact of colonization, and the establishment of an intervention of European people. The students have a festival at the end of the year to celebrate those cultures. Students complete a fur trade study, ‘Why Salmon,’ and look at Indigenous peoples from the west coast, the impacts on our environment with the development of dams, and the effects this had on our habitat.
Connections are made about Indigenous peoples’ beliefs on conservation. Students write letters on behalf of underrepresented groups advocating for the rights of those whose voices were/are not cared for. Students in grade two talk about the impact of missionaries around the world. They begin to understand what was not done well, how those decisions made people feel, the value of treating people with love and care, and not forcing our ways on others. They begin to understand that not everyone believes the same as they do and that we must respect others’ ways of life.
Our inclusive model has a Christian perspective rooted in real-world experiences. Our goal is to love people, understand the context and history of different cultures, and recognize the church’s involvement in our history. This is how we learn from past mistakes. These truths were felt deeply when the Catholic Church in Morinville was burnt down in 2021. Students were challenged to understand the hurt and anger many people feel, and the healing that will take time as Canadians engage in real conversations with the Indigenous community.
We continue to ensure we diligently take responsibility for teaching the curriculum in a manner that is respectful and honouring of all cultures. The work in providing professional development support and our responsibility to inclusively and truthfully tackle challenging topics is not taken lightly.