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Issue #102
May, 2018

Treaties and the Treaty Relationship

This issue of Canada’s History explores the history of Treaties and the Treaty relationship and is an important first step in sharing First Nations perspectives.

It has been developed with contributors who have helped to incorporate the spirit and intent of Treaty making. The contributors, drawn from across the country, bring expertise and insights that help us to understand the continuing relevance of Treaties and the Treaty relationship.

Everyone benefits when there is a greater understanding and appreciation of Treaties and the Treaty relationship. This special issue is part of a greater conversation to ensure that our collective history truly inclusive.

Alaskan Schools: What Matters to Students? Listening to the Voices of Engaged and Disengaged Alaska Native and Non-Native students

Source: American Institutes for Research (AIR)  Elizabeth Spier, Mark Garibaldi and David Osher

Summary: What makes a school a place where Alaskan students want to be and want to do well? Why do students stay in school or drop out? And what do Alaskan students believe that schools can do to help them succeed? Researchers at AIR present the answers, provided directly by students in 2010 and 2011, to these questions.

Students were asked to describe what made a school a place where they would want to be and would want to do well. Students identified five areas of school life that were especially influential:

“With teachers that don’t expect much, you won’t have the motivation to do well.”

  • Supportive adults
  • Physical and emotional safety
  • Student-centered teaching approaches
  • Opportunities to learn and engage
  • Food quality

Students also identified aspects of school life that affected engagement in education:

“If your parents don’t get involved, then you’re not going to try at all.”

  • Personal problems
  • Family engagement
  • Relevance
  • Teacher expectations
  • School-based problems

Alaskan students suggested the following ways, among others, that adults can help students succeed:

  • Provide a safe haven and support for vulnerable students.
  • Provide support for students who wish to improve their relationships with teachers.
  • Provide a structured environment that promotes equality and physical and emotional safety.
  • Support teachers in providing an engaging and motivating classroom environment.
  • Provide appetizing and healthy school food.

Alaskan Schools: What Matters to Students? (Full Report)

Alaskan Schools: What Matters to Students? (Key Findings)

Cross Country Overview of Indigenous Education Structure, Initiatives and Promising Practices

Source: Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA)

Summary: While education is the responsibility of the individual province or territory, the ways in which education for Indigenous students is organized varies across the country.

A large number of Indigenous students in Canada are educated for all or part of their education in provincial/territorial public schools. Many Indigenous students are educated in federally funded, band-operated schools using provincial curricula, but because these schools do not fall under the responsibility of provincial school boards associations they are outside of the scope of this survey. However, it is important to acknowledge that boards need to form a positive and value add relationship with all First Nations schools.

Since there are a variety of ways in which Indigenous peoples are organized in Canada, and given Indigenous populations as a percentage of the total populations vary across the country, it stands to reason that there will be variations in provincial structures for Indigenous education as well as in the emphasis being placed on implementing the Calls to Action. However, one reoccurring theme among the possible recommendations provided… is the importance of data sharing between all systems involved.

This document is a summary of what this survey found.

Closing the Divide: Adult Skill Development

Source: C.D. Howe Institute

Summary: Closing the skills gap between working-age Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is essential for the economic success of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Closing the Divide: Progress and Challenges in Adult Skills Development among Indigenous Peoples,” authors Parisa Mahboubi and Colin Busby find both progress and challenges in the adult skills development attained by off-reserve Indigenous people, particularly among those without a high-school education, and recommend solutions.

Kichi Sibi: Tracing Our Region’s Ancient History

Source: Canadian Museum of History

Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Kichi Sibi, which means great river in the Algonquin language, provides an overview of the ancient history of the Ottawa Valley using artifacts found in the region. Picnickers, hikers, farmers and avocational archaeologists found these objects over the past 150 years and donated them to museums. Their generosity, hard work and interest in preserving the past have given us a greater awareness of the Valley’s ancient history.
The artifacts found throughout the Ottawa Valley allow archaeologists to piece together the region’s ancient history. They tell us, for example, that Native peoples lived here for about 8,000 years before the arrival of Europeans.

Indigenous Fatherhood

Source: Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships, Jessica Ball, Principal Investigator

Summary: Indigenous fathers have been under-represented in demographic, social, educational and health surveys. Yet they are an important stakeholder group and untapped resource for Aboriginal children and youth. Low participation of Indigenous fathers in infant and early childhood care is common across First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and early childhood programs in Canada. B.C. First Nations Summit Grand Chief Ed John has called attention to the need to support and involve Aboriginal fathers, stating that: “Aboriginal fathers are probably the greatest untapped resource for improving the quality of life for Aboriginal children.” Requests from practitioners in Indigenous community-agencies, especially in early childhood programs such as Aboriginal Head Start, provided impetus for a series of initiatives within the Early Childhood Development Partnerships Program to explore Indigenous fathers’ experiences. The Partnerships Programs office continues to receive calls from Indigenous fathers volunteering to be involved in studies of their experiences as fathers, explaining, in the words of one father: “Just to be able to tell our stories. To shine some light on the struggle that some of us Aboriginal men have to learn what it means to be fathers and how to stay connected with our children.”

Canadian History From a First Nations Perspective

Source: Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation OSSTF/FEESO

Focus: Grade 10 History

Summary: The unit begins by looking at the effects of Residential Schools on individuals and communities in the past and today.  Next, students will look at First Nations contributions to the war effort in World War One and World War Two, by looking at some extraordinary individuals such as Tom Longboat, Francis Pegamagabow, and Henry Norwest. Students will also explore how First Nations people had to fight for equal rights in Canada through creating their own political organizations. There will also be a focus on the current realities in First Nations communities, which will be highlighted by looking at the issues of land claims and self-government.  Lastly the unit will end with a culminating task that highlights a wide range of First Nations leaders and their contributions in the past and present to Canadian society.

The unit was developed to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of how First Nations contributed to the development of Canadian society. The unit also looks at how events in history both impacted on First Nations communities, and how history was shaped by First Nations contributions.

Science First Peoples Grades 5-9: Teacher Resource Guide

Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee First Nations Schools Association

Focus: Grades 5-9

Summary: The guide includes background information regarding how First Peoples’ perspectives in science can be recognized and included in science inquiry. It also covers curriculum planning suggestions, and provides examples of fully developed units that correspond with the Big Ideas and Learning Standards in the BC Provincial Science Curriculum for grades 5- 9.

With the increased inclusion of First Peoples’ content in the changing BC curriculum, there is a need to incorporate unappropriated First People’s perspectives into Science courses. Previously, the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association developed teacher resources to support English Language Arts, Social Studies and Mathematics courses.  This guide expands these resource materials to include Science.

The Science First Peoples Teacher Resource Guide is designed to assist science teachers in all BC schools, including First Nations and public schools.  The resources focus on Grades Five to Nine, but can also be applied to other grade levels.

This guide is intended in part to address the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, particularly the call to “integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms” (clause 62) and “build student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect” (clause 63).

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