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The BC Teachers' Federation is hosting a celebration event today, to launch a new teaching resource to help educators in BC and across Canada teach students about the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools.

The resource, Gladys We Never Knew: The life of a child in a BC Indian Residential School, is a comprehensive guide complete with lesson plans, readings, background information, and projects to help teachers and students examine the impacts of residential schools on First Nations communities, families, and individuals. Students learn about the short life and tragic death of Gladys Chapman, a child from the Spuzzum Nation, who died of tuberculosis at age 12 in Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The event to launch this resource will feature BCTF President Glen Hansman, Gladys's nieces and nephews, and five of her surviving siblings.

When:             Friday, June 16, 2017, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where:            BC Teachers' Federation office at 550 West 6th Avenue in Vancouver

The event will be available via Livestream: livestream.com/BCTF/Gladys

BCTF President Glen Hansman also released the following statement about the launch of Gladys We Never Knew:

“The British Columbia Teachers' Federation is fully committed to playing its part in implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and in supporting our members in their teaching and professional learning related to the Commission's goals.

“The BCTF has developed an extensive Aboriginal education program and an active Aboriginal educator network. We are proud of our work within the union, and of our collaboration with the education partner groups that share our goal of ensuring all BC students have a wide range of opportunities to learn about Aboriginal history, culture, and ways of knowing and being.

“This important new resource follows our very popular Project of Heart to ensure teachers can do their part in our collective effort across Canadian society to bring about meaningful reconciliation and change.

“BC still has a long way to go. There is a persistent gap in graduation rates and other measures of success for Aboriginal learners compared to non-Aboriginal peers. This gap reveals a systemic failure to address what BC's Auditor General called 'the racism of low expectations.' This speaks to the need to ensure that teachers across BC have ongoing opportunities for in-service and professional development about the intergenerational effects of residential schools, and strategies to incorporate Aboriginal content from K-12.

“In partnership with others, the BCTF is doing its part, while also calling for greater support and co-ordination by the provincial government. This also speaks to the need to have more resources like this one available to teachers and students, regardless of where they live in the province.

“The compelling story of Gladys Chapman's short life and tragic death is one that will resonate in classrooms throughout our province. As our students forge heartfelt personal connections to Gladys, that's when the deep learning takes place and we can move together to a place of empathy and reconciliation.”

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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