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Issue #127
June, 2020

Staying in School: Engaging Aboriginal Students

Source: Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Summary: Aboriginal Education, notably the inclusion of Aboriginal content in curricula and programs and the success of Aboriginal students, has received focused attention across Canada. Substantial efforts have been undertaken at the federal and provincial levels to address the differences in rates of achievement by Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal Youth (e.g. Kroes, 2008; Levin, 2009).

Historically, there have been gaps in measured outcomes between Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal Peoples of all ages, particularly in literacy rates (Statistics Canada, 2005), and enrollment to post‐ secondary education (Statistics Canada, 2010a). Although enrollment to post‐secondary education by Aboriginal Peoples is increasing, it is still below the rates of non‐Aboriginal Peoples. Across Canada rates of Aboriginal Peoples completing high school lag far behind non‐Aboriginal Peoples.

Matters in Indigenous Education: Implementing a Vision Committed to Holism, Diversity and Engagement

Source: Toulouse, P. (2016). What Matters in Indigenous Education: Implementing a Vision Committed to Holism, Diversity and Engagement. In Measuring What Matters, People for Education. Toronto: March, 2016.

Summary: Indigenous peoples’ experiences with education in Canada has been a contentious one. The focus from the outset of imposed, colonial-based education has centred on assimilation and/or segregation of Indigenous peoples from their communities and worldviews (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health et al., 2009).

The history of education for Indigenous peoples in Canada has structural and societal roots mired in marginalization and subjugation. Today, the improved state of education for Indigenous peoples has its foundations in the resiliency of Indigenous communities and social justice movements advocating for inclusion and change (Iseke-Barnes, 2008; People for Education, 2013).

So, what is inclusion? Who are Indigenous peoples? What are the issues that face Indigenous peoples? How can education be re-conceptualized to include Indigenous ways of knowing? And, why should we care? These are questions that will be examined throughout this paper.

A Second Chance

A Graphic Novel:

Source: Legal Services Society

Focus: Senior Students

Summary:  A Gladue Rights Story

This graphic novel tells the story of Myra who is charged with assault with a weapon. Myra learns about her legal rights and, with the help of Legal Aid, gets a Gladue report for her sentencing hearing.

Through engaging storytelling and illustrations, A Second Chance introduces you to Gladue rights for Aboriginal peoples.

Ontario Native Literacy Coalition Indigenized Assessment Tool

Source: Ontario Native Coalition

Summary: This resource has been developed as a Native specific assessment tool for Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) and other employment related programs to utilize with Indigenous clients.

Consensus was that assessment for Aboriginal adults worked better and gave a clearer picture of a person’s strengths, ability and potential if they incorporated the following:

  • do assessment in a holistic manner using tools that include culturally relevant materials and topics;
  • use Aboriginal assessment practices and tools to measure success in other areas of the individual learner’s life, as well as in the learner’s classroom and learning environment;
  • use assessment as a way for learners to demonstrate what they can do, but also a way to show their learning strategies, and to inspire further learning.

Secret Path Lesson Plans

Source: The Manitoba Teachers’ Society

Focus: Elementary and Secondary

Summary: In October 2016, Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire formally launched the Secret Path, a book and CD which chronicles the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died after running away from Residential school in the 1960s.

As part of our ongoing commitment to engage teachers in reconciliation work, the Manitoba Teachers’ Society recently assembled a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers from across the province to discuss and explore the Secret Path and to create lesson and unit plans to support the use of this resource for the teaching about Residential schools in Manitoba classrooms.

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