Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, First Nations leaders help launch Spirit Horse tour

Theatre production a catalyst for Aboriginal perspectives in southern Ontario schools

LONDON, ON, March 30, 2015 /CNW/ - A theatre and professional development/learning initiative, that will bring Aboriginal perspectives to elementary students and teachers at public and First Nations schools in 75 southern Ontario communities, was launched today in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and with the support of First Nations leaders.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Regional Chief Stan Beardy of the Chiefs of Ontario (COO), and Grand Chief Gord Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians attended a launch performance of Spirit Horse hosted by Western University's Faculty of Education. The play, adapted by Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor and performed by Roseneath Theatre, will visit schools and faculties of education from March 30 to June 15 as part of a tour organized by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) with support from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

"We are pleased that Chiefs of Ontario has endorsed the Spirit Horse initiative which will bring a world-class theatre and learning experience to Ontario students and teachers," said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

A powerful theatrical production that chronicles the adventures of two Aboriginal children who challenge cultural stereotypes and confront racism, Spirit Horse ignited imaginations of students and teachers during a similar tour of northern Ontario communities in 2010. Online and face-to-face professional development/learning, that focuses on First Nations, Métis and Inuit diversity, history and perspectives while addressing stereotypes, will be offered by ETFO to teachers of grades 4 to 8.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario continues to provide opportunities for First Nations youth in fly-in and northern communities through the Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Summer Reading Camps, of which ETFO is a supporter.

ETFO has established a website at which features tour dates and locations, online professional development/learning, and ways for students to comment on the play. There are also cast biographies from Roseneath Theatre, Ontario's largest professional touring company.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195, #spirithorse


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