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Durham District School Board decides to appoint an Indigenous trustee

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

SCUGOG: The Durham District School Board (DDSB) has decided to add an Indigenous Trustee to their group.

At a board meeting, on Tuesday, February 21st, trustees voted to appoint Jill Thompson as a First Nations trustee on the board. Ms. Thompson had been recommended, to be appointed to the role, by the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN).

“I am very happy with this. As an Indigenous person, it’s nice to see us working towards decolonization, as getting representation on the bodies [which] govern our education is very important to that journey,” student trustee Ben Cameron said.

Chairperson Donna Edwards provided some background information on this recommendation.

“The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation requested the Durham District School Board appoint a representative to the board of trustees, in support of a meaningful partnership and collaboration, as highlighted under the Truth and Reconciliations Calls to Action.”

In a press release, the DDSB explained, Ms. Thompson would be sworn in at the March 20th board meeting.

“Once sworn in, Ms. Thompson will have the same rights, roles and responsibilities as all other trustees,” the press release stated.

In a statement, Ms. Thompson expressed her thoughts on taking on this role with the board. “I look forward to working alongside trustees and hope my appointment to the Board of Trustees will assist the DDSB in continuing to prioritize and uphold Indigenous Rights. I hope to strengthen the relationship and ongoing collaboration between Treaty Partners, First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, families and staff and the DDSB.”

In an email to the DDSB, MSIFN Chief Kelly LaRocca explained, Ms. Thompson “currently works at the Indigenous Centre” at Ontario Tech University, and she feels “she has experience in the education field and would be a great Indigenous addition to the DDSB board.”

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