Graduate, staff call for TDSB to implement Indigenous identity verification for teachers

Two individuals are calling on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to vet applicants who claim Indigenous identity and/or are applying to work in Indigenous-focused schools or programs. CBC reports that TDSB currently uses an honour system for those who claim Indigenous identity, and no policies or vetting process are in place. Michael Peters, who recently graduated from Kâpapâmahchakwêw – Wandering Spirit School in Toronto, said that uncertainty about whether some of the staff were Indigenous negatively impacted his learning experience. Deanne Hupfield, who helps guide TDSB’s curriculum and connects students with Indigenous services, noted that she had concerns with two Wandering Spirit teachers who had self-identified as Indigenous. Her interactions with these teachers also showed that they were likely misrepresenting their identity. “We have these people with no lived experience, no connection to any living Indigenous community and they are leading my Indigenous children,” said Hupfield. TDSB has said that it is creating a procedure that will be informed by Indigenous communities and will take identity into consideration.