The public school board's Indigenous Speaker series continues this Wednesday.
Due to a last-minute conflict, Carol McBride, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) president, will not be giving the speech, but one of her colleagues will be giving her presentation in her place.
NWAC is an organization that works as the political voice for Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse individuals.
McBride was elected president of NWAC in July 2022 and will serve a three-year term in the role.
She is also a former chief and councillor of the Timiskaming First Nation and a past grand chief of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council.
The presentation will focus on the work and resources that NWAC provides.
District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1) director of education Lesleigh Dye said these speaker events are a great way for staff and students to learn and grow their understanding of issues facing Indigenous communities.
“What we’re really trying to do with these events is demonstrate our ongoing commitment to truth and reconciliation and to learn from the lived experiences of people who identify as Indigenous,” said Dye.
The series has been ongoing for two years and focuses on Indigenous stories, primarily from local leaders and community members.
Dye said it can also show Indigenous students and staff what resources are available to them.
“We want staff to build their understanding of Indigenous worldview, ask questions and just to learn together,” said Dye. “We do get people coming back to these events, and what has been shared with me is that they’re able to connect more with their students, and that is so impactful.”
DSB1 has 15 Indigenous student advisors and is currently hiring for three more positions.
“When someone is making an effort to understand them and in this case, the culture that surrounds the students, and their lived family experience makes such a difference,” said Dye,
Dye said the advisors can be the bridge between Indigenous students and the community resources they require.
While the speaker event was not planned as a lead-up to International Women’s Day, which falls March 8, Dye said it was a happy coincidence that McBride's work with NWAC would be highlighted at this event.
“Equity is one of our strategic priorities,” said Dye. “While it wasn’t a direct correlation, it ties in beautifully.”
The event will take place virtually on Microsoft teams from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. with time for questions after the presentation.