A package of education materials used in B.C. secondary schools has been removed for review after a First Nations woman learned her daughter had been asked to define the word “squaw.”
The woman took to social media to express her outrage over the weekend about exercises of “violent colonialism” that her 14-year-old daughter was being asked to complete at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver.
This was given to my 14yo daughter as an exercise in her 'humanities' course. pic.twitter.com/ZzfjQ8nc5T
— Hayatsgan (@hayatsgan) September 16, 2017
The material centres around the book “Susanna Moodie: Roughing it in the Bush,” which was originally published in 1852 and has language that a teaching guide developed in 2016 describes as racist and discriminatory.
The word squaw, which is an offensive term for a First Nations woman, shows up in the original publication 39 times, and an exercise asks students to match the term with its “appropriate language” definition, which in this case is “an Aboriginal woman.”
Second Story Press, which publishes the teaching material, says it has removed the material for review and sincerely regrets any pain it has caused.
The teacher’s guide has been removed now for review. We sincerely regret any pain it has caused. We appreciate your patience. /3
— Second Story Press (@_secondstory) September 18, 2017
A single-sentence statement from the Vancouver School Board, where the book is used, says the board is looking into the context in which these materials were used in the classroom.
The Canadian Press