Report calls for more Indigenous representation in Manitoba schools, universities

A new report is calling for more Indigenous representation in Manitoba's education system. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle (WIEC) released its first annual State of Equity in Education Report on Tuesday morning.

The report, based on a 2019 survey of Winnipeg school divisions and Manitoba universities, focuses on the underrepresentation of Indigenous people in the field of education, such as serving as trustees on school boards, as teachers in local schools, and as students in faculties of education.

The WIEC, a coalition made up of local Indigenous executives, said the survey’s result shows a need for Indigenous representation in the school system to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students.

“The guiding principle of the report is based on the belief that, in order for educational outcomes to improve for Indigenous students, they must see themselves better reflected in the curriculum and teaching staff in their schools,” said Heather McCormick, chair of WIEC’s education committee.

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“There is a great deal of talk about the ‘new normal’ due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘new normal’ cannot be based on the ‘old normal.’

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“Indigenous peoples must be involved at the decision-making tables to address the educational aspirations and needs of our young people.”

The report includes 10 calls to action, including employment equity policies, reviewing human resources practices, and enrollment targets for universities to help meet the goal of having better Indigenous representation at all levels.

According to their survey, the WIEC says only two of Winnipeg’s 54 school trustees self-identify as Indigenous, while there’s a dearth of almost 600 Indigenous teachers across the city’s six school divisions.

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