Mi’kmaw student ‘not shocked’ with content of residential school curriculum in grade 10 course

Department of Education removes assignment after complaint filed.


A Grade 10 student in L’sitkuk First Nation says she wasn’t surprised by the contents of her English class which asked students to list the benefits of residential schools.

“Just from what I had previously been reading in the like in the first couple of units, it was just the wording and their way of thinking it was, I wasn’t completely shocked to see what they had written,” said Malaika Joudry-Martel. 

Other parts of the curriculum include questions such as; why are poverty and alcoholism common problems among First Nations populations; why is unemployment high and how are modern First Nations Peoples taking responsibility for their future?

Shalan Joudry, a playwright, poet and story teller of Mi’kmaq tradition and language says she thought this part of Canada was behind us, “I saw the residential school discussion about what are some of the advantages, what are some of the good things about the residential school and wait a second, I thought we in Canada dealt with this type of curriculum?”

Joudry pulled Malaika from the course.

“Because not only is this unit problematic but its, it just shows the systemic problem with the whole course of the perspective throughout the course and so I don’t want her to learn that perspective,” she said.

Derek Mombourquette, minister of Education in Nova Scotia said the course was removed.

“I’m going to reach out to other Mi’kmaq leaders in the province as well to have a conversation with them and again reaffirming that as a province we take the recommendations of truth and reconciliation very seriously education is a big piece of that,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This story was amended 18/08/21 to correctly spell Joudry.

Video Journalist / Halifax

Angel Moore is a proud Cree from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Angel grew up in Winnipeg and has a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College. She also has a degree from Dalhousie University in International Development Studies and Environmental Sustainability. Angel joined APTN News in June 2018 as the correspondent in the Halifax bureau and covers Atlantic Canada.