A Steinbach woman of Cree descent says she accepts the Hanover School Division’s apology regarding the use of outdated curriculum where students were asked to list positive effects of residential schools. 

A question on a paper, asking for 2 positive and 2 negative effects of residential schools.Bambi Bertholet says this question was part of a school assignment given to the daughter of a friend. (Photo Credit: Bambi Bertholet)

Bambi Bertholet brought her concerns to the Hanover School Division in early April and says that while she would have appreciated a direct response from the division, the public statement of apology is appreciated. She published her concerns with a few posts on TikTok.

@bambidawn #residentialschool ♬ original sound - Bambi Dawn 🦌

“My plan was to sit down tonight and write them an e-mail just to say thank you for providing that apology and for doing something about the question,” she says. 

In a recent statement released by Shelley Amos, Superintendent-CEO of the Hanover School Division, she acknowledged inadvertent use of outdated independent study content in a Grade 9 social studies class. 

The content, sourced from a provincial course package that is no longer in use, included inappropriate study questions related to the impact of residential schools. 

The Hanover School Division expressed deep regret over this oversight, emphasizing that the study questions in question do not align with the values they strive to uphold: truth, reconciliation, respect, and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. 

Amos extended sincere apologies to all those affected and assured that steps would be taken to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. 

She looks to reassure school communities that the Hanover School Division is committed to aligning its programming and instruction with the provincial Indigenous Education Policy Framework, known as "Mamàhtawisiwin: The Wonder We Are Born With." 

This framework supports the holistic achievements of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners by integrating Indigenous pedagogy, languages, and culture into teaching practices. 

Furthermore, the Hanover School Division highlighted its ongoing efforts to engage with Indigenous communities. 

@bambidawn Replying to @GenXcess #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo #education #everychildmatters #residentialschool ♬ original sound - Bambi Dawn 🦌

“Our schools regularly invite leaders and educators from the Indigenous community to interact, engage, and educate our students,” writes Amos. “Additionally, the Hanover School Division employs a full-time Indigenous Learning and Assessment Coach who supports our teachers and serves as a liaison to our Indigenous education partners.” 

Looking ahead, the Hanover School Division reaffirmed its commitment to improving practices and continuing the journey of reconciliation. Collaboration with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and neighbouring Indigenous communities remains integral to this ongoing process, as the division strives to honor its relationship with Indigenous Peoples. 

Amos concludes the statement with, "We reaffirm our dedication to improving practices and continuing the journey of reconciliation, honouring our relationship with Indigenous Peoples.” 

Bertholet says there is a lot of good that can be taken from the whole situation. First, she appreciates the concerned student and parent who brought this content to her attention. Bertholet believes the teacher was not aware of the inappropriate question that was included in the package given to students, adding that she does not feel the teacher should be dismissed. 

Bertholet also appreciates the public apology and hopes this outdated curriculum will not be available for teachers to accidentally make use of it. 

“It sounds like they're going to ensure that that curriculum isn't used. I hope they just get rid of it all together instead of it still sitting there somewhere in Internet land in limbo, where people can still access it because it's long past being obsolete.” 

Bertholet believes this apology from the Hanover School Division is an important step toward truth and reconciliation. 

“You can't really have true reconciliation unless you have the truth and without that, reconciliation is dead. So, acknowledging that this question is still there and that it's not a good question and they want to take it out and they apologize and acknowledge that... I don't think that we can really ask for anything more.”