Ottawa high school creates Aboriginal lodge for students

November 20, 2013

Ottawa's Rideau High School has converted a classroom into an Aboriginal lodge, with cedar-lined walls, Aboriginal symbols and artwork, and a separate smudging room for cultural ceremonies. The as-yet-unnamed lodge is partially in response to Ontario’s 2007 vision document for Aboriginal education, but for Geordie Walker, Principal at Rideau, "It's really just creating a space where we honour and respect this community." The school has also replaced the mandatory Grade 11 English course with one from the Aboriginal studies curriculum that meets necessary criteria. The lodge may also be used for classes, specifically those that deal with Aboriginal culture and traditional worldviews. Kristin Kopra, Aboriginal education instructional coach for the local school board, stated, “The lodge is just another way, as a board, that we're trying to bring that visibility to the surface so that we're creating culturally responsive, culturally reflective spaces that kids really can take pride in." Ottawa Citizen