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Issue #121
December, 2019

Dane-zaa: Stories and Songs. Dreamers and the Land

Source: Virtual Museum of Canada 

Focus: Elementary students

Summary: Lesson 5: Stories and Songs

Dane-zaa have preserved our traditional stories and songs for many generations. Dane-zaa elders are expert storytellers and enjoy telling stories to people of all ages. Dane-zaa traditional stories are intended both to entertain and to teach about our traditional values and how to survive in the bush. They also provide Dane-zaa with ways to think about the impact of oil and gas industrialization on our traditional lands. Go to About Dane-zaa Stories to find out more about our traditional Dane-zaa storytelling traditions.

Dane-zaa traditional songs have also been preserved for hundreds of years and are a vital part of our contemporary Dane-zaa oral traditions. There are two types of Dane-zaa songs.

  • Mayiné are personal medicine songs that we are given on vision quests by our spirit helpers. These songs are private and rarely sung in public. None of these personal songs can be found on our website.
  • Nááchę yiné are songs that are brought back from Heaven by our Dane-zaa Dreamers. These songs may tell the future or contain messages from God and our ancestors in Heaven to be shared with our people. These songs are meant to be performed in public. Songkeepers, like our Doig River Drummers, keep these songs alive by performing them at our Dreamers’ Dances and at community gatherings. Go to About Dane-zaa Songs to find out more about our Dane-zaa traditional singing.

Community Profile: Building Confidence in students with Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program

Source: Jessica McIntosh. Fort McMurray Today, October 9, 2019

Summary: Michael Hull has been a teacher at Father Mercredi High School for the past decade. While he has taught many subjects, his main courses are the soccer academy and the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program.

The Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program is an initiative of former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Hull has been leading it at Father Mercredi since the 2012-2013 school year… Any Indigenous student can apply and enroll in it.

Mary Simon: Cultural Identity and Education

Source: Speak Truth to Power Canada. Defenders for Human Rights

Focus: Secondary (7-12)

Summary: Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provided inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.
In this lesson plan on Cultural Identity and Education you will find:

  • An interview with Mary Simon including her biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including activities related to the advocacy work of Mary Simon, the impacts of change on Inuit culture and language, Inuit Education, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and forced relocation.
  • Three brief community defender profiles are provided to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

Grade 4 Métis Cross-Curricular Unit

Source: Métis Nation British Columbia

Focus: Grade 4

Summary: The Grade 4 Métis Cross-Curricular Unit provides teachers and students with information and instruction on the Métis people and their culture. The objective of the Unit is to answer the question “Who Are the Métis?”, and to introduce the distinct characteristics of the culture, including food, clothing, language, technology, music and dance, traditional values, family and community. The students will have the opportunity to learn about the origins of the Métis culture and the significant contributions the Métis people have made in Canada historically and continue to make today. The Unit will also illustrate the influence the Métis have in the cultural diversity of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

The Grade 4 Métis Cross-Curricular Unit stresses the blending of the Aboriginal and European cultures to create the unique Métis culture. The lessons examine and study the adaptations the Métis have made throughout history to ensure the survival of Métis people. Each of the eight lesson plans is designed to explain a specific element of Métis culture and illustrates how and why the Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people. The lessons are structured to allow the teacher to: teach the whole unit, choose individual lesson plans, or choose parts of the lessons to supplement their existing lessons. The unit lessons can be taught in the subjects of Social Studies, English Language Arts, Fine Arts, Science, Math, Social Responsibility and Physical Education.

Aboriginal Bullying

Source: Indigenous Education BC

Focus: Parents and Teachers

Summary: The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) has created a web site on bullying for Aboriginal youth, parents and teachers.

The site contains the following.

  • Three fact sheets: one for youth, one for parents and one for teachers.
  • Three lesson plans for middle school teachers to help start discussions on bullying with their students, as well as suggestions on strategies to deal with and prevent it in their schools.
  • A PowerPoint presentation on Aboriginal bullying and lateral violence.
  • A video message by National Aboriginal Role Model Caitlin Tolley
  • A poster that can be displayed in schools and community centres.
  • A link to the Stop Aboriginal Bullying Facebook group which contains information about bullying supports and programs, as well as providing members an opportunity to discuss this issue.

The fact sheets were created with the support of Kids Help Phone, who has been a partner throughout the development of the project.

Old Ways are the New Way Forward: How Indigenous pedagogy can benefit everyone

Source: Jean-Paul Restoule and Chaw-win-is. UNESCO

Summary: This reflection paper argues that traditional Indigenous ways of teaching and learning are relevant not only for Indigenous people, but for the education of all people. As teachers and practitioners, the authors seek to explore the connection between what is sometimes referred as “new” innovations in education with the forms of teaching that originated in traditional Indigenous education ways. For instance, think of differentiated instruction, daily physical activity, outdoor education, place-based, experiential, embodied, or service learning—pick a pedagogical buzzword—and there is likely some root to be found in the ways that worked for Indigenous communities for millennia. So why not explore how the old ways could be the new way forward?

Aboriginal Report – How are we doing?

Source: BC Ministry of Education

Summary: The report provides a mechanism for the Ministry of Education, Aboriginal communities and school districts to discuss, make recommendations and take action to improve the educational outcomes for Aboriginal students. Through Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements and Local Education Agreements, school districts have used this report to improve education outcomes for Aboriginal students.
The proportion of Aboriginal students to the general B.C. student population is very stable at 11.5 per cent in 2015/16.

More than 90 per cent of Aboriginal students achieved a pass rate of C- or better in six of 11 courses. More Aboriginal students are completing high school in B.C. than ever before. The six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students climbed to 64 per cent in 2015/16, up from 57 per cent in 2011/12.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit Connections: Scope and Sequence of Expectations 2016

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education

Focus:  Grades 1-8 and Kindergarten

Summary: To ensure that Indigenous perspectives are represented in the curriculum, a wide range of Indigenous partners, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Elders, Senators, knowledge keepers, educators, cultural advisers, and community leaders, are engaged in the curriculum review process. All revised curriculum policy documents also undergo a third-party review to ensure the accuracy and relevancy of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives included in them.

Ontario publicly funded schools have an important role to play in promoting an inclusive school climate and a learning environment in which all students, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, see themselves reflected in the curriculum and in which all students have opportunities, across the Ontario curriculum, to learn about and appreciate contemporary and traditional First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, histories, and perspectives. The Ontario curriculum promotes active and engaged citizenship, which includes greater awareness of the distinct place and role of Indigenous peoples in our shared heritage and in the future of Ontario.

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