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Halifax classrooms could acknowledge Mi’kmaq land in daily announcements

Click to play video: 'Halifax school board aims for daily acknowledgement of Mi’kmaw students and territory' Halifax school board aims for daily acknowledgement of Mi’kmaw students and territory
WATCH ABOVE: Some members of the Halifax Regional School Board hope to take a page out of the Toronto Public School Board’s book, by implementing daily tributes to Indigenous lands – Apr 24, 2017

Students across the Halifax Regional School Board could be learning more about Indigenous land and culture with the potential addition of a daily statement to morning announcements.

READ MORE: Heritage Day 2017 celebrates Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq culture, heritage

“I hope it would create awareness for everyone because it is something that should have more attention brought upon it,” said Sage Marshall, an Indigenous student at Sackville High.

Marshall is Mi’kmaq and the recognition of her heritage may soon be acknowledged in schools throughout the board.

“At our school board meetings, as school board members, we open all of our board meetings with a statement that we are on native land. So, why aren’t we doing this in our schools?” Jennifer Raven, a Halifax Regional School Board member, told Global News.

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Raven hopes her motion to add a statement acknowledging Indigenous lands will be passed.

She was inspired to bring it forward after hearing of Toronto schools doing the same thing.

“They say in acknowledgement, a four-sentence acknowledgement, that we are on treaty lands and they list the tribal lands that their board covers,” Raven said.

 

WATCH: ‘Is this how Halifax chooses to be bold?’: Halifax Poet Laureate takes council to task on Cornwallis

Click to play video: '‘Is this how Halifax chooses to be bold?’: Halifax Poet Laureate takes council to task on Cornwallis' ‘Is this how Halifax chooses to be bold?’: Halifax Poet Laureate takes council to task on Cornwallis
‘Is this how Halifax chooses to be bold?’: Halifax Poet Laureate takes council to task on Cornwallis – Apr 11, 2017

Halifax board spokesman Doug Hadley told The Canadian Press that board members will on Wednesday discuss asking staff to bring back a report with more information on the proposal, adding that board meetings now start with a similar statement that reads, “We acknowledge that this meeting is being held on Mi’kmaq territory.”

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Hadley said he believed the board unanimously approved the inclusion of that statement when it voted on it last year.

READ MORE: Mi’kmaq leader gets pardon, apology from NS: ‘He was the first to stand up for us’

If passed, school board staff would consult with members of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre to iron out the details of the wording.

It’s a gesture that community members say would play a valuable role in bringing the importance of Mi’kmaq heritage to youth.

“We do need to make that acknowledgement. Make people aware that we are in the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We never gave up this land, we being Mi’kmaq,” said Trevor Sanipass, Sage’s father.

Raven said that if passed, she hopes the statement will inspire conversations around Indigenous heritage and culture.

“If it does go ahead and we start this practice in September of this year, it’s going to fit nicely together with other efforts we’re making to make all of our students more aware of what is all our shared history,” she said.

With files from Alison Auld, The Canadian Press

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