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September 5, 2023
Gary Parker has some ideas about his new role as the Indigenous lead for Niagara Catholic District School Board.
“There’s kind of two parts to the way these positions are put out,” Parker said. “One is to support our Indigenous students. The other is to create education, Indigenous education within the system from an Indigenous lens.”
Parker began his new role at the beginning of August, coming to Niagara Catholic from Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, where he was most recently the organization’s cultural co-ordinator. In that role, he developed initiatives for Indigenous youth throughout Niagara. In addition, he has facilitated cultural competency training both provincially and nationally.
The fact Niagara Catholic has such a position is a step forward for reconciliation, Parker said. It represents a chance to change the way people are taught about the history of the relationship between Indigenous people and settlers.