The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC), with guidance from the Elders Council, will open the Boyne Natural Science School as an Indigenous Land-Based Learning site.Trustees unanimously supported the initiative during this evening’s Regular Board Meeting.
This site is located on 308.5 acres of the Niagara Escarpment, adjacent to the Bruce Trail and the Boyne River Provincial Park. Its reopening supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and supports Indigenous Education on The Land for all students, staff and Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous Land-Based Learning site, which will have one to two classes on location at a time will feature programming that focuses on holistic Indigenous health and well-being (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) in support of Indigenous student success. It will also include professional learning, community engagement, partnerships, curriculum resource development and innovation, research and development, and reconciliation through Indigenous perspectives.
To support the expansion of Land-Based Learning through Indigenous ways of knowing and being, UIEC staff will create resources to support all curriculum areas based on Indigenous Pedagogies; including, but not limited to Indigenous cultures and traditions, Indigenous language revitalization, archery, canoe/kayak building, hiking, maple syrup programming, mapping and orienteering, medicine harvesting and walks, mountain biking and snow shoeing.
In the future, the TDSB anticipates the site can be restored to support larger groups for day and overnight programming when the pandemic allows.
- The Boyne River Natural Science School site, which has remained vacant since 2003, is located on land designated by the Province as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), and most of the property is classified as Escarpment Natural under the Niagara Escarpment Plan.
- In 2017, the TDSB announced its original commitment of using the Boyne River site to support Indigenous Land-based learning and began work with planners to regain access to the site.
- On August 12, 2020 the site gained Royal Assent through a hearing with the Niagara Escarpment Commission to restore the designation of Institutional Use by the TDSB for “Indigenous uses of cultural significance and passive recreation uses.”
- While an exact timeline has not been confirmed visits to the site are expected to begin by mid-2022.
“The Boyne as an Indigenous Land-based Learning site will be a great opportunity for all students and staff to learn from Indigenous perspectives, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and educators and to engage with Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Chi Miigwetch.”
- Alexander Brown, Chair, TDSB
“The opening of the Boyne Natural Science School as an Indigenous Land-based Learning Site speaks to the importance of Indigenous education across the TDSB schools. We remain committed to honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and to creating additional opportunities for students to learn from Indigenous perspectives and teachings on the Land.”
- Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Director of Education, TDSB