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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 1:40 PM -0500
Subject:Indigenous Education Educator Forum
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"Put on this Indigenous lens."  This was one of several powerful messages on identity and stigma shared with principals, teachers, and other administrators at the Indigenous Education Educator Forum on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the Bluewater District School Board Education Centre.  

Image of principals, teachers, and administrators forming a circle for a healing moment of mindfulness as Eddy Robinson sings and bangs a drum The full day forum provided an opportunity for participants to engage in facilitated discussions that focused on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's recommendations, including ways to integrate the findings into classroom teachings and build relationships with Indigenous communities.  The subject matter was delivered in a very touching and personalized way, as key note speaker Eddy Robinson shared anecdotes that detailed the hardships and triumphs faced during his life journey, which have led to his current profession as an accomplished speaker, educator, writer, and Indigenous artist.  
The itinerary also included a discussion on trauma-informed education led by Natasha Lubimiv, a social worker at the Owen Sound site of the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre.  Participants engaged in brainstorming and learned about incorporating strategies and supports to embrace a more trauma-informed approach, specifically as it relates to Indigenous students.  

Principal/teacher teams from each school were provided with information to share with all school staff to initiate conversations and learning opportunities supporting Bluewater’s strategic priority to “provide quality instruction and learning experiences in an equitable and inclusive environment.”  Teachers from both the elementary and secondary panels were represented at the forum.

Indigenous themed staff training is ongoing in Bluewater.  During the November 24, 2017 Professional Activity Day, Saugeen District Secondary School will offer learning that focuses on cultural competency and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendations.  The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre has also been visiting Peninsula Shores District School to lead four sessions on cultural sensitivity training.  Topics include life cycle wheel teachings, a historical overview of residential schools and colonization, trauma-informed education that focuses on Indigenous issues, anti-racism response, witnessing, and what it means to be an ally.

Image of Eddy Robinson presenting next to the podiumImage of principals, teachers, and administrators listening as Eddy Robinson presents
Image of PowerPoint slide on Indigenous identityImage of PowerPoint slide with pair of glasses and slogan, "Put on this Indigenous lens."Image of Natasha Lubimiv presenting next to the podiumImage of Natasha Lubimiv presenting next to the podiumImage of both facilitators pacing the room as participants engage in brainstorming Image of participants brainstorming at their tablesImage of participants brainstorming at their tablesImage of participants brainstorming at their tablesImage of participants brainstorming at their tablesImage of PowerPoint slide on Indigenous People in CanadaImage of PowerPoint slide with brainstorming exerciseImage of Indigenous drum and other items as part of table display