January 28, 2020 – Grade 12 student Ness Griffin is joining the DSBN as the first appointed Indigenous Student Trustee. Ness, a Cayuga Nation Turtle clan student from Laura Secord Secondary school, will be the third Student Trustee voice on the Board. The new position will serve as additional representation in Board level decisions for the more than 1,000 self-identified Indigenous students across the DSBN.
Ness was appointed to the role by the Indigenous Education Advisory Council (IEAC), where she is already an active student representative. Ness connects to her culture by participating in a traditional drumming group, attending pow wows and ceremony, and all kinds of different events. As an artist, she’s helping to illustrate a children’s book in the Cayuga language for the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.
Indigenous education is a key focus of the DSBN. Trustees unanimously approved the appointment, recognizing the value of ensuring Indigenous student perspectives are well-reflected in Board decisions. The responsibilities for the inaugural position are still being developed, and as the first one to take the seat, Ness will be a vital voice in shaping the role for future Indigenous Student Trustees.
“I want to give Indigenous students a platform to use their voice, and be able to feel they’re being properly represented in our education. There’s a large Indigenous community here, and I want to be a part of strengthening it,” Ness Griffin, newly appointed Indigenous Student Trustee, DSBN.
“Ness is introducing the DSBN to a new, needed student voice. It’s good to have an Indigenous student voice represented at that level. The Indigenous Student Trustee role will help guide the future of Indigenous education at the DSBN,“ Gary Parker, Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC) co-chair.
“We value the input Student Trustees bring to the decisions made about education in Niagara,” Sue Barnett, Chair of the DSBN. “Ness will be integral in helping to reflect Indigenous student voices in our decisions, and in shaping this role for the years to come.”
- Ness Griffin was appointed to the role by the Indigenous Education Advisory Council (IEAC). She joins student trustees Karina Tavernese and Keylee Smith.
- 679 elementary students, and 324 secondary students at DSBN self-identify as First Nations, Métis and Inuit descent.
- DSBN student trustees represent the voice of students in decisions about education in Niagara, with involvement including regular attendance at Board meetings.