Sask. government launches one-time grant to support truth and reconciliation education

The Saskatchewan Education Ministry announced plans on Thursday to launch a one-time grant program to support students learning about truth and reconciliation.

Announced on the first federally recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Education Ministry will provide approximately $100,000 in total for these grants.

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Saskatchewan school divisions, historical high schools and qualified independent schools can apply for up to $5,000 to collaborate with local Indigenous communities to bring forward actions to “advance reconciliation” throughout the 2021-22 school year.

“These grants provide a chance for Saskatchewan schools to come together with Indigenous communities to have a meaningful dialogue in the spirit of reconciliation,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said.

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“It is vital we acknowledge the tragic legacy of residential schools and provide Saskatchewan residents with opportunities to learn about our shared history as part of our commitment to building our province.”

Details on the application process will come out in the coming days, a government release said.

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The deadline for applications is Nov.  5.

“The grants will allow school divisions, historical high schools and qualified independent schools to work directly with Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan to build relationships and to continue work toward addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. It is expected that the actions will create opportunities for students, staff and Indigenous communities to plan and learn together and to implement actions to advance reconciliation.”

Treaty commissioner Mary Culbertson said learning about the experience of residential survivors and intergenerational survivors is important for reconciliation.

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“Their experiences must be honoured and it is our generation today – and our next generations that are in our schools – that will carry forward the understanding and education about these experiences and these systems that have caused such devastating effects on culture, language, identity and families. Reconciliation is about the truth, repairing relationships and building relationships,” Culbertson said.

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“Without the truth, there can be no reconciliation. Building relationships is vital to the restoration of Treaty relationships in this province.”

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

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