Nova Scotia drops course that asked pupils to list benefits of residential schools

HALIFAX — Responding to complaints from an Indigenous girl and her mother, the Nova Scotia government has deleted a high school correspondence course that asks students to list the advantages of the residential school system.

Malaika Joudry-Martel and her mother Shalan Joudry were reviewing the chapter on First Nations on Wednesday when the 15-year-old student warned her mother that some of the content in the English course was racist.

Joudry says she was stunned when she found an assignment that asks students to list in chart form the benefits and disadvantages of being placed in a residential school.

As well, Joudry says the 170-page course offers other “passively racist” content, including questions asking why poverty, alcoholism and unemployment are common among First Nations populations.

Joudry says she posted the material on her Facebook page on Wednesday, which prompted provincial Education Minister Derek Mombourquette to call her Thursday to personally apologize.

Joudry, a Mi’kmaq poet from Bear River First Nation, says she was surprised that no one had noticed the offensive content before, adding that it appears to have been approved by the government in 2003.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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