Citizenship study guide remains outdated in its ‘simplistic’ account of Indigenous history, critics say

Ironically, a simplistic article on the citizenship guide, citing only one activist and the NDP critic, and no reference to the previous guide’s, A Look at Canada, lack of reference to residential schools, and no detailed comments from the IRCC media folks unlike other CBC articles.

And while NDP immigration critic is correct in her critique of the government’s slow progress, she should look in the mirror as by and large her focus has been on immigration and refugees, not citizenship (like most MPs given constituent pressures):

When Nazanin Moghadami started reading the Discover Canada guidebook in 2018 to prepare for her citizenship exam, she says she felt like she was being lied to about the country’s real history.

While there were paragraphs about Hudson’s Bay and hockey, she says she found nothing helpful and accurate about Indigenous history, treaties and residential schools.

“It was the most triggering text I have read in a long time,” recalls Moghadami, who said she had educated herself about Indigenous history and culture before she started preparing for her citizenship test.

She had also taken the Indigenous Canada course, which explores key issues Indigenous peoples face today, before she picked up the citizenship guidebook.

On June 22, Canada adopted a revised citizenship oath that recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights.

But a revised Discover Canada study guide has yet to be revealed, something a number of Canadians say is needed to reflect a more inclusive history of Indigenous Peoples, treaties and residential schools.

“Reading [Discover Canada] felt like a bunch of lies, a very simplistic version of history in a way that was very biased and very much favoured picturing Europeans in a good light, really whitewashing the violence. It just sounded very hypocritical,” said Moghadami, who immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2005.

‘When Europeans explored Canada …’

Discover Canada was last updated in 2012.

That’s despite two of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action in 2015 urging the federal government to update the citizenship guide and test, as well as the oath, to reflect a more inclusive history of Indigenous Peoples and a recognition of their treaties and rights.

Source: Citizenship study guide remains outdated in its ‘simplistic’ account of Indigenous history, critics say

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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