I look back upon my days of Social Studies with mixed feelings. For starters, I never understood why between grades seven and twelve, we studied the former Soviety Union twice, and never explored the United States at all. I would think that learning about our neighbours to the south would have been both relevant and interesting.
We spent a fair bit of time on Canadian history, of course. Well, the whitewashed version of it, at least. I am ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I was unfamiliar with residential schools and the impact they had on our Indigenous population. Then, I attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final national event in Edmonton in late March of 2014. I heard the testimonies of residential school survivors, as well as those of intergenerational survivors. To say that my eyes were opened to one of the worst, most shameful aspects of Canada’s history would be an understatement.
Much later on, I became involved with a group that deals with issues pertaining to Reconciliation. During a time of sharing, I stated that I felt angry that my public school education had failed me in this regard and that I lived in ignorance for so long.
Knowing the truth means having the responsibility to share it and take action. I have continued to be involved with Reconciliation by promoting and attending Indigenous educational and community events. I don’t know what the current Social Studies curriculum includes, but I hope it is more comprehensive than what I experienced.