Whitby-based Durham District School Board welcomes first Indigenous Trustee

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Published February 22, 2023 at 2:07 pm

Jill Thompson (to Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter's left) at the presentation of an Urban Design Award for Ontario Tech's Shawenjigewining Hall

A Cultural Advisor with Ontario Tech University will be bringing her experience in indigenous issues and the spirit of reconciliation to the Durham District School Board.

Jill Thompson, who has been the Indigenous Cultural Advisor for the Oshawa school since 2014 and served in a similar capacity at Trent University in Peterborough before that, will take her seat at the table at the next school board member as First Nations Representative to the Board of Trustees for the remainder of the 2022-2026 term of the Board.

Thompson, who was instrumental in the opening of Shawenjigewining Hall at Ontario Tech and for bringing cultural activities to campus, such as a ‘mini powwow’ held in 2018, was nominated by the Council of Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation for the appointment.

I look forward to working alongside trustees and hope that my appointment to the Board of Trustees will assist the DDSB in continuing to prioritize and uphold Indigenous Rights,” said the new Indigenous Trustee. “I hope to strengthen the relationship and ongoing collaboration between Treaty Partners, First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, families and staff and the DDSB.

Thompson will be sworn at the next meeting on March 20. Once sworn in she will have the same rights, roles and responsibilities as all other trustees.

The appointment aligns with the school board’s commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Board’s responsibilities and commitments set out in its Indigenous Education Policy.

The Board of Trustees said in a statement that students, families, employees and community members who identify as First Nation, Métis or Inuit “will benefit from being able to see themselves represented” and will also benefit from having a Board member who “understands their perspectives, lived experiences, strengths and needs and can bring that to the Board table.”

Ms. Thompson’s appointment to the DDSB’s Board of Trustees is an important step towards ongoing reconciliation and to upholding the Board’s responsibilities and commitments set out in the Indigenous Education Policy,” said Durham District School Board Chair Donna Edwards. “We look forward to learning from and working together with Trustee Thompson to meet the needs of all Indigenous students, families and staff in the DDSB community.”

Jill Thompson

 

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