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Issue #126
May, 2020

Mentoring Relationships and Mental Health in Aboriginal Youth

Source: Pathways to Education

Summary: This study examines the associations between mentoring status and mental health challenges of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth. It suggests that mentoring can positively impact the mental health of Aboriginal youth.

Formal youth mentoring programs have a positive impact on young people’s well-being. However, little is known about their impact on Aboriginal youth.

Using data from a Canada-wide survey of Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring programs, this study compares Aboriginal (i.e. First Nations, Inuit, or Métis) youth with non-Aboriginal youth before being matched with a mentor, and 18 months later. The objectives of this study were to assess: a) the mentoring relationship experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, and b) the impact of mentoring on the behavioural, psychological, and social functioning of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.

Results show that mentored Aboriginal youth reported fewer emotional problems and less social anxiety relative to non-mentored Aboriginal youth. These effects were not found among non-Aboriginal youth. This study offers insights for youth mentoring researchers and directors of mentoring programs supporting Aboriginal youth, particularly regarding programming implications.

First Nations People, Métis and Inuit in Canada: Diverse and Growing Populations

Source: Statistics Canada

Summary: First Nations people, Métis and Inuit make up an increasingly large share of the population.
In 2016, there were 1,673,785 Indigenous people in Canada, accounting for 4.9% of the total population. This was up from 3.8% in 2006 and 2.8% in 1996.

The First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations are growing quickly.

Since 2006, the Indigenous population grew by 42.5%, which is more than four times faster than the rest of the population.

The First Nations population— including both those who are registered or treaty Indians under the Indian Act and those who are not—grew by 39.3% from 2006 to reach 977,230 people in 2016.

The Métis population (587,545) had the largest increase of any of the groups over the 10-year span, rising 51.2% from 2006 to 2016.

The Inuit population (65,025) grew by 29.1% from 2006 to 2016.

In the next two decades, the Indigenous population is likely to exceed 2.5 million persons.

Indigenous Education Resources – BC

Source: British Columbia Ministry of Education

Focus: Teachers K-12

Summary: Indigenous education resources are being developed to support the redesigned K-12 curriculum. The intent of these materials is to help further incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into B.C. classrooms.

The Indigenous Education Resource Inventory is a non-comprehensive list that includes guides, books, articles, videos and web links to support Indigenous learning.

Early Childhood and Education Services for Indigenous Students Prior to Entering School

Source: Resource Sheet No. 7 for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Margaret Sims,
May 2011, Australian Government, Health and Welfare and Family Studies

Summary: The National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development (COAG 2008a) aims to halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade, halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade, and ensure all Indigenous 4-year-olds have access to quality early childhood education within five years, including in remote areas.

Currently 75% of Indigenous children between 3.5 and 4.5 years of age do not attend any formal early childhood service (FaHCSIA 2009). Of those who do, 34% are attending a community-based (i.e. non-school) program, 30% a kindergarten or pre-first year of school program in a school setting or a preschool, 21% a child care program and 2% family day care. Of the infant cohort, 29% had attended a playgroup or similar group in the month prior to data collection. Alternative care was provided for the children by the child’s other parent (51%), grandparents (49%), other relatives (30%) and a parent living elsewhere (6%). In order to achieve these targets it is important to understand that early childhood education cannot be separated from child, family and community health and wellbeing. In acting on this understanding, Indigenous early childhood programs in Australia are sometimes interpreted as ‘leading the way’ in current attempts to reinterpret early childhood education as a strategy to address social inclusion (Sims et al. 2008). Internationally, such a perspective is often positioned as quality early intervention or, more recently, integrated service delivery (Azzi-Lessing 2010; Katz & Redmond 2009; Melhuish et al. 2010) which is known to be particularly effective for addressing disadvantage.

Indigenous Heroes of Reconciliation: English Language Arts – Grade 10 Albert


Focus: Grade 10

Summary: This sample lesson plan supports Education for Reconciliation through the inclusion of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives; role models; and contemporary contributions, with learning outcomes identified in the current Alberta programs of study for Grade 10 in English language arts, social studies, and drama.
Each sample lesson plan includes content(s) or context(s) related to one or more of the following aspects of Education for Reconciliation:

  • diverse perspectives and ways of knowing of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, including values, traditions, kinship, language, and ways of being;
  • understandings of the spirit and intent of treaties; or
  • residential schools’ experiences and resiliency.

Links and relevant information in Guiding Voices: A Curriculum Development Tool for Inclusion of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Perspectives throughout Curriculum and Walking Together: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum are provided to support understandings of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit ways of knowing. Both online resources are accessed through

This sample lesson plan is best supported by a cross-disciplinary approach as it will enhance learning opportunities for students to explore concepts and content.

Exploring Aboriginal Homes and Architecture

Source: Historica Canada

Focus: Intermediate History

Summary: Students will explore different types of First Nations and Aboriginal architecture and submit a model to a simulated architectural firm.

Students will:

  • Understand the transition of housing from pre-contact to today and the role government has played
  • Describe practices and beliefs that reflect First Peoples’ connections to the land and the natural environment
  • Compare daily life in First Peoples communities
  • Appreciate and value the cultures and traditions of First Nations people

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