Saskatchewan’s education minister is apologizing after an uproar about her comments about Indigenous education
Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre apologized for discussing her son’s homework in a public forum, and said she would not “discuss him in any educational context in the future.”
Eyre suggested Indigenous topics were “too infused” into other subjects in schools during a speech she made Nov. 1 in the legislature, in which she mentioned a homework assignment her Grade 8 son brought home.
The comments drew criticism from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Sasktachewan Teachers Federation.
In response to Eyre’s original comments, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron stressed the importance of treaty education and said it was crucial that the next generation understand what First Nations people endured through colonialism and residential schools.
Eyre clarified her position in an emailed statement Monday, in which she said she fully supports treaty education.
“Our government was the first in Canada to implement treaty education. I 100 per cent support treaty education taught in every school in Saskatchewan, and I want to build on that foundation,” Eyre wrote.
The statement went on to say the minister had a good conversation with Cameron and the two agreed on the need to work together and the importance of treaty education.
Following that conversation, Cameron did an interview with Global News in which he said Eyre meant to suggest there may be a need to look at different approaches to teaching treaties.
Eyre initially said her son had copied from the classroom board that “European settlers were colonialists, pillagers of the land who knew only buying and selling and didn’t respect Mother Earth.”
In response to media questions about that assignment, Eyre said she didn’t wish to “weigh in on what another student may have written down from the board or his or her interpretation of the material presented in class.”
She went on to say she didn’t want to draw her son into the discussion further.
-with files from CKOM Chris Vandenbreekel and Canadian Press