Some F.J. Brennan students walk out in support of Indigenous classmates

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A walkout by some students at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School in Windsor.

On Monday morning students walked out and demonstrated on Wyandotte Street East, walking towards Walker Road in support of some of their Indigenous classmates.

Jonah Cutting, a Grade 12 student at Brennan, says he had an interview last week with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board in an attempt to get his heritage as a member of the Huron Wyandotts of Ontario included in the land acknowledgement.

Cutting says a while back he spoke to his prinicipal to see if he could meet with the school board's superintendent or Indigenous lead to change it.

"And both were sent to deny us by some committee. I'm not too sure too much about them, but what I've been told from them is they have a file that I'm not allowed to see neither are my parents although I am a minor. They do not work for the school board just and just have information about Indigenous kids that parents can't see," he said.

He says it means a lot to him that so many of his classmates stood with him.

"Truly it means a lot and all of the support. A lot of these people here are family and friends and people I have also met as well."

Cutting's message is that the Huron Wyandots have never left Ontario.

"We're still here and we're going to keep fighting," he continued. "And until we're acknowledged I don't see us stopping, not until we're acknowledged by the Catholic School Board."

In a statement provided to AM800 News, the WECDSB says the land acknowledgement they use was developed over a two year period by their Indigenous Education Advisory Committee which involved extensive research and consultation with Indigenous community partners:

"When the land acknowledgement was created, it was felt by all those involved that it was respectful and inclusive; it refers to the land on which we gather as "the ancestral territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations," as these were the predominant nations from the area.

It also acknowledges that it is "a well traveled land" in a way that was meant to include other Indigenous nations without having an extensive list of all the other Indigenous inhabitants who also lived here.

Representatives from the board did meet with the student and his father and brought his concerns to our Indigenous Education Advisory Committee - which includes our Indigenous community partners - and they still believe that our land acknowledgment is inclusive and respectful of all the original inhabitants of this territory."

 

- with files from AM800's Rob Hindi