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LAUNCH OF REVIEW OF SYSTEMIC RACISM IN EDUCATION

March 27, 2024


The Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office (YCAO) and the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) have launched a systemic review of discrimination and racism in education in the Yukon. The review will examine in what ways racism is a factor, and the impact racism has, on Indigenous students and other students of colour in the Yukon.  


The First Nation Education Commission (FNEC) raised the issue of needing a review of systemic racism in education and delegated funds to conduct the review. They then directed YFNED to complete a review and made a formal request to the YCAO to provide individual and systemic advocacy for children and youth experiencing discrimination and racism. The Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) agreed with FNEC’s recommendations. The Department of Education was formally notified about the review in December 2023.


YCAO and YFNED will be travelling around the Yukon over the coming months to hear the stories and experiences of students, families, and communities. There will also be an online survey. The engagement period of the review is ongoing until December 2024. The review is focused on the past 10 years, from 2014-2024, but is also gathering stories and information from outside this timeframe. 


Once the review is complete, the report will be shared with Yukon First Nations, made public and will be tabled in the Legislature in the Spring of 2025.  The report will be another important tool that will help shape a better education system for First Nations students and other students of colour in the Yukon. 

If someone is interested in sharing their story with one of our researchers, either in-person or over the phone, they can email: info@ycao.ca or (867) 456-5575. 


ANNETTE KING, YUKON CHILD & YOUTH ADVOCATE:

“Through this review, we want to see a real change in the system that translates into better outcomes for all children and youth. Young people have the right to an inclusive education that takes place in spaces accepting and celebrating them for who they are. If they are deprived of this right, we have seen that there can be substantial negative consequences to their mental wellness and academic progress.” 




MELANIE BENNETT, YFNED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

“A Review of Systemic Racism in Education is an extremely important step for any jurisdiction to take. It’s an opportunity to examine and identify all the ways a system might unknowingly discriminate against some of its students. Although the work of researching and collecting stories from people across the Yukon is challenging and sometimes disheartening work, the end result is one that is very positive: we will have a report in hand, tabled in the Legislature, that will help shape positive changes to make our education system the best it can be for all students.”


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Contact:

Rachel.Veinott 

Policy and Systemic Analyst

Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office

(867)  456-5575


Katharine Sandiford

Communications Director

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate

(867) 333-4011



BACKGROUND:


Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office (YCAO)


The Child & Youth Advocate Office is an independent office of the Legislative Assembly. The operations of the office are guided by the Child and Youth Advocate Act. Children, youth or others concerned about a child or youth receiving services within Yukon government can contact the Child and Youth Advocate Office at (867) 456-5575.



Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED)


Steered by the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE), the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate was launched in the summer of 2020 in response to the long-overdue need for unified control over First Nations education in the territory.


YFNED is dedicated to capacity-building, systems and resources development, second-level educational programs and services enhancement, and learner supports. YFNED advances First Nation decision-making and aspirations for control over education, providing technical support, research and advice for Framework Agreement processes, and advocates for First Nation student success across the system.


YFNED provides administrative support to FNEC.



Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE)


Established in 2019, the CCOE intends to represent the collective education interests of all Yukon First Nations, self-governing or not, and all First Nations are welcome to participate with the CCOE. The 10 First Nations that passed the “Framework Agreement” resolution are considered active CCOE members. Active directors are frequently changing but consist of roughly 6 Chiefs/Deputy Chiefs, including a Chair and Co-Chair. CCOE engages with Government of Canada and Government of Yukon on advancing the Framework Agreement. They oversee both YFNED and First Nation School Board in a governance role.


First Nations Education Commission (FNEC)


FNEC provides technical support, advice and recommendations to Yukon First Nations and Yukon Government with respect to education matters relating to Yukon First Nation citizens and communities. These education matters include early childhood education, primary and secondary education and employment training. FNEC is comprised of members from all 14 Yukon First Nations and attends quarterly, 2-day meetings (including Yukon Department of Education officials on Day 2).

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