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News Item

Letter from Board of Education Chair to Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh and Métis Nations

May 25, 2021

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May 21, 2021

Dear Chiefs, Councils and Members of ​Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh and Métis Nations,

At the May 18, 2021 North Vancouver Board of Education Public Board Meeting, a Trustee made comments that left those in attendance feeling hurt and troubled. The comments were unacceptable, highly inappropriate, and insensitive, and are not representative of the collective Board of Education.

On behalf of the Board of Education and the North Vancouver School District, I would like to offer my most sincere apology to not only members of the Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and Métis Nations but also, specifically, the Indigenous students, educators, and staff who contribute so much to our school district community. The Trustee is deeply remorseful for their choice of words and will offer a public apology at the June 22, 2021 Public Board Meeting.

As a school district, we are proud of the relationship we have developed with Indigenous rights holders and community members. We highly value and rely on this relationship as we continue on our journey of Truth and Reconciliation.

To champion truth, healing, and reconciliation, we will continue to work with our Indigenous Education Team to provide our Board and community of students and staff with more opportunities to learn about Indigenous culture, history, and ways of knowing, and understand Indigenous worldviews and perspectives. Furthermore, we commit to addressing untruths, assumptions, and views that are hurtful to Indigenous peoples.

We acknowledge we have much work to do on our journey towards Reconciliation. We also recognize the Trustee’s unacceptable and hurtful choice of words is damaging to our efforts to develop stronger relations with Indigenous rights holders and threatens to undermine the work we have done to understand and appreciate Indigenous worldviews and the full, authentic history of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

I appreciate this letter has raised questions and concerns, and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further. Again, please accept my most sincere apology for this incident. We remain fully committed to strengthening our relations with

Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh and Métis Nations of British Columbia, and we ask for your continued guidance, support, and patience as we learn from this incident and move forward with courage.

Sincerely,

George Tsiakos Chair, Board of Education

cc: Mark Pearmain, Superintendent, North Vancouver School District
Jacqui Stewart, Secretary Treasurer, North Vancouver School District
North Vancouver School District Board of Education
Brad Baker, District Principal, Indigenous Education, Safe and Caring Schools