An advisor who has called the inclusion of First Nations perspectives in school lessons a fad needs to be dismissed from his role in advising on Alberta’s social studies curriculum, says ATA president Jason Schilling.
Chris Champion was one of eight subject area experts hired in July to review drafts of new K–4 curriculum that’s being developed by Alberta Education. The appointment has been criticized due to Champion’s views on First Nations, the KAIROS blanket exercise and residential schools.
Champion, the founder and editor of the Dorchester Review, referred to the inclusion of First Nations perspectives in school lessons as a fad in an article published in the spring/summer of 2019. He also wrote that the KAIROS blanket exercise, which illustrates how European settlement was harmful to Indigenous people, brainwashes children. In his writing he has also expressed doubt about the suffering experienced by survivors of residential schools.
Schilling said Champion has no place advising the curriculum writing work given the views expressed in his writings. He said the appointment to advise curriculum is in direct opposition to the Joint Commitment to Action that both Alberta Education and the ATA signed in 2016.
“Chris Champion has got to go,” Schilling said. “The minister must either dismiss Champion or rescind its endorsement of the Joint Commitment.”
Champion previously worked for Premier Jason Kenney when he was a federal minister as well as the federal Canadian Alliance party.
Kassandra Kitz, acting press secretary for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, told CBC via email that the government is committed to including Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum.
“Their views and unique education needs have been captured in the curriculum development work done to date, and that won’t change as we move forward,” Kitz said. ❚