Strathmore Town Council discussed potentially joining Alberta Municipalities in calling for increased provincial funding for Indigenous education in schools.
The resolution "Provincial Indigenous Awareness Training & Support," was introduced last year, and resolves that "Alberta Municipalities advocate for the Government of Alberta to provide financial support to every school jurisdiction to enable all students (including homeschooled students) and teachers to learn about the lived experience directly from Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers."
When discussed last year with community members, several councillors addressed concerns about this resolution, including the idea that Alberta Municipalities was trying to directly intervene in the curriculum. Councillor Jason Montgomery said this was never the intention, as this resolution is about having the funding available so schools have the choice in how they want to approach this.
Councillor Denise Peterson added schools would not be required to do this, but she expects it to be widely adopted should increased funding become available.
"I get multiple calls a week from schools begging for Indigenous elder involvement, if this money was readily available, if these services were readily available, people would not be calling me begging for resources to bring elders in," she said.
Councillor Brent Wiley commented this may be an outdated resolution, as he said school boards have already set aside money for Indigenous training and involvement, but Peterson said her conversations with several involved parties leads her to believe this additional funding would be necessary for schools to have the tools and resources required to bring Indigenous elders in.
"I know that schools have this (money set aside for Indigenous education). What I don't see in schools is money set aside for elder training to come in for people with lived experiences to come in and do the training that is necessary around the conditions set under the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission).
Alberta Municipalities represents more than 260 municipal governments and their vision is to be a “change agent that enables municipalities to be a fully engaged order of government with the capacity to build thriving communities.”
Town Council is expected to officially vote on this matter in the May 17 Town Council meeting.