Near North District School Board (NNDSB) unanimously accepted the recommendation from the Indigenous Youth Circle to appoint Allen Lewis Trodd as the Indigenous Student Trustee. In a first for the board, Lewis Trodd, a Grade 11 student at Parry Sound High School, was sworn in as the Indigenous Student Trustee at tonight’s Board meeting with an honour song by Rodney Stanger.
Lewis Trodd is Anishinaabe and Coast Salish from Magnetawan First Nation, and is a member of NNDSB’s Indigenous Youth Circle and Student Senate.
In his presentation to the Indigenous Youth Circle about his desire to be the Indigenous Student Trustee, Lewis Trodd said speaking to the Board (he addressed the Board at its November meeting) was “cool, but I’d love to be the student trustee to be able to talk about, explain, to show them the great ideas we make here…talk about our goals, what we plan to do, what we hope to do.”
In his Indigenous Youth Circle presentation, he said, “I like to think of myself as a nice, charismatic guy” who welcomes the opportunity to show the Board what matters to Indigenous students. “It means a lot to me…this is important to me,” he said. “If I’m able to become (Indigenous) Student Trustee it will allow me to make something happen or change that I’ll be able to help Indigenous students out.”
NNDSB Board Chair Jay Aspin indicated, “Our board was pleased to have added an Indigenous Student Trustee position to enable Indigenous youth to have a say with regard to their education, so we are delighted with their selection of Allen Lewis Trodd. In today’s world, there is nothing like the power of education to assist in advancing reconciliation.”
Tracy Hendrick, NNDSB’s Indigenous Education Lead, says this year, 11 per cent of NNDSB students self-identified as First Nation, Métis or Inuit. Having an Indigenous Student Trustee is important, she says, because “we need to be centering Indigenous student voice. Indigenous youth programming and resources should not be solely planned by non-Indigenous adults. Indigenous youth bring a unique perspective to the table.”
Director of Education Craig Myles said the Indigenous Student Trustee will be in a position to bring the ideas and desires of NNDSB’s Indigenous students to the Board table. “Allen has assumed an important responsibility to his Indigenous and non-Indigenous peers, to trustees, and to staff. The board looks forward to working with Student Trustee Lewis Trodd and hearing what Indigenous students believe is important in their school experience.”
Hendrick says Lewis Trodd will be working with Student Trustee Cecilia Darling. “They will be working together; they are not on two separate paths. This sends an important message to all students and the public about what reconciliation actually looks like.”