Indigenous land acknowledgment to accompany 'O Canada' in Algoma public schools

The Algoma District School Board is adding an Indigenous land acknowledgment to the morning routine in schools. The policy change was made during this week's board meeting.

The land acknowledgment would occur at the start or end of the school day, along with the national anthem and a period of silence.

Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers calls the move a positive step toward reconciliation -- but only if the land acknowledgment is backed up with action.

"I think there needs to be more exercises with the children in the school so that it becomes an action-based type of acknowledgment, possibly as a reconciliation exercise," said Sayers.

"Otherwise it just becomes repetitive and it just loses its value. So there needs to be some kind of an agenda that's attached to it."

According to provincial policy regarding opening exercises in schools, parents who object to any -- or all -- opening exercise can apply to the principal of the school for an exemption for their children. Students 18 or older may also apply for an exemption.