‘It’s not a costume’: B.C. teacher’s alleged mocking of student’s Indigenous regalia sparks protest

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Teacher under fire for allegedly mocking student’s regalia
WATCH: Kitimat teacher's comments draw anger from First Nation communities. They demand accountability from the school. – Nov 3, 2021

A teacher in Kitimat, B.C., is under fire after allegedly mocking an Indigenous student for wearing traditional regalia to school.

Alex Grant says his stepson was mocked by a teacher at Mount Elizabeth Secondary on Monday for wearing traditional Haisla regalia for school picture day.

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Williams Lake mayor facing calls to resign over social media post

“He repeatedly asked him the question, ‘What’s up with the costume?'” Grant said. “First, it’s not a costume. We take our regalia and our tradition very seriously.”

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Students organized a school walkout to demand accountability from the school district. The gathering included a residential school survivor who applauded the students for supporting their classmate.

“We met with the school board this morning and we have taken the complaint rather seriously, and now it’s up to them to deal with what is going on,” Grant said Tuesday.

School District 82 is not naming the teacher alleged to have made the comments. It is also not saying if the teacher is still at school or what type of investigation they may be facing.

In a statement, Superintendent of Schools Janet Meyer said the district “values diversity and expects that students have the ability to express pride for their rich culture in word and action.”

“I can assure you that the appropriate steps are being taken to ensure that the Haisla culture is alive and visible,” she said.

In a statement, the Haisla Nation said it is aware of the incident and has been in close contact with the school district.

“[Haisla Nation] notes that this incident occurred within weeks of the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and serves as a reminder of the necessary work ahead to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” the statement said.
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Indigenous educators say children must learn truth before reconciliation

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