‘It’s insulting’: Indigenous people respond to Queen’s moment of silence in Calgary schools

‘It’s insulting’: Indigenous people respond to Queen’s moment of silence observed by some Calgary schools
WATCH: While millions around the world expressed their mass adoration for Queen Elizabeth II, there are many who say it only intensified the difficult relationship between the monarchy and Indigenous peoples. As Jill Croteau reports, some people say a moment of silence at some Calgary schools wasn't in the spirit of reconciliation – Sep 19, 2022

While tributes and public gestures honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II took place around the world, there was a commemoration of her passing that some felt was unnecessary.

Michelle Robinson leads the Reconciliation Action Group. She is condemning a moment of silence observes in some Calgary schools.

“They can love the Queen and worship her, but I don’t worship people who perpetuate genocide.”

Read more: Queen Elizabeth funeral: World says goodbye to British monarch

Robinson spoke to Global News at the city hall memorial for the children who died in residential schools.

Michelle Robinson outside memorial at City Hall. Jill Croteau/Global News

“We have dead children that never made it home thanks to the policies of the crown. So to expect my people to give solace to the royal family that perpetuated this harm, there’s no way I would give them a moment of silence,” Robinson said.

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“There’s no way I could have said nothing on this day. It’s absolutely atrocious the CBE would think it is acceptable.”

Queen Elizabeth funeral: ‘We belong here,’ Assembly of First Nations chief says
Queen Elizabeth funeral: ‘We belong here,’ Assembly of First Nations chief says – Sep 19, 2022

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) officials said in honour of the provincial day of mourning, schools were expected to engage in the moment of silence but acknowledged there may be different experiences with the monarchy.

Calgary Board of Education offices. Jill Croteau/Global News
Michelle Robinson. Jill Croteau/Global News

In a statement the CBE said: “Schools were also encouraged to have discussions of Her late Majesty in the classroom regarding her life and public service, and what students will remember about her. ”

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“Depending on the grade level, these conversations could include discussions of colonialism and the historical impact of the monarchy.”

Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) teachers and students were encouraged to participate in activities on Monday,  to recognize and honour the life of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Read more: King Charles leaves note on Queen Elizabeth’s casket among flowers he chose

“Schools could choose to recognize this historic event in a variety of ways. For example, teachers could share the live stream of the Alberta Legislature ceremony, participate in a discussion about Her late Majesty’s life and public service or observe a moment of silence,” CCSD said.

“I want you having to imagine having to salute your abuser,” Robinson said. “It’s quite insulting to have children and teachers and staff directly harmed by the policies of the queen be expected to give a moment of silence to the queen.”


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