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Issue #16
March, 2011

Free the children

Free The Children and the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative partnered together to bring to life a timely campaign from February 14 – 25th 2011, that was designed to create widespread awareness of and concern for the challenges facing First Nations youth living on reserves to obtain a quality education in Canada.

The campaign specifically targeted non-Aboriginal Canadian youth, intended to equip them to engage their peer networks and communities in meaningful dialogue on the subject. In doing so, the campaign represented a noteworthy contribution to the creation of a generation of Canadian youth who exercise greater critical thought and active citizenship in support of their First Nations peers.

The campaign was student-led and had two key components:

Educate yourself: Students were inspired to care and provided succinct information that cultivates empathy and understanding of the issues surrounding on-reserve education for First Nations youth.

The campaign specifically examined the shortcomings of the on-reserve education system and how these inadequacies feed a cycle of poverty. In addition to sharing challenges, the campaign highlighted how education can help to break that cycle of poverty and what tremendous opportunities could emerge from the education of First Nations youth.

Participating students and teachers were provided with compelling statistics each day for 10 business days starting February 14, 2011 through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Each statistic was linked to a webpage that expands on the topic to promote understanding. This was further supported by background information on the First Nations education system on reserves in Canada.

Take action: Students were called to take action to promote widespread understanding and concern for the issue of inadequate on-reserve education by raising awareness through their schools and networks about the issue.

Participating students and teachers were provided with an awareness action guide with recommendations for effective awareness-raisers, including detailed steps for three key actions: one for their school, one for their community, and one for their online social networks. In this way, students were encouraged to raise awareness not just with their peer groups, but also with their parents and other adults in their communities. In particular, by delivering statistics and links through social networks, the campaign readily enables students to reach an exponentially larger network through viral sharing of the information.

Students who wish to learn more and take further action will be provided with links to the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, the Assembly of First Nations, INAC, National Aboriginal Day, and other relevant sites so they can explore additional opportunities to contribute as they wish.

For more information go to We Schools in Action Program at:

A Literature Review of Factors that Support Successful Transitions by Aboriginal People from K-12 to Post Secondary Education

Source: The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and Statistics Canada

Summary: The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), has just published a literature review on factors that support successful transitions by Aboriginal students from K-12 to postsecondary education.

The review was commissioned by CMEC in partnership with Statistics Canada, through the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC). It provides an overview of published and unpublished literature and information from key informants; outlines areas to be given emphasis in order to achieve further progress in Aboriginal transitions to PSE; and identifies key implications for data and research.

Aboriginal Perspectives: A Guide to the Teacher’s Toolkit – Ontario

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education
Focus: Teachers of Elementary and Secondary students

Summary: Ontario’s revised curriculum has provided teachers with many new opportunities to enrich teaching and learning in Ontario schools through the introduction of Aboriginal themes, topics and perspectives.

The Teacher’s Toolkit has been developed to provide Ontario teachers with the support they need to bring Aboriginal perspectives to life in the classroom. Here’s how:

Part I: Great ideas for teaching and learning

As part of the curriculum review process, expectations are being incorporated into many areas of the elementary and secondary curriculum to help teachers bring First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives into the classroom. These documents provide teachers with a handy reference to those expectations contained in revised curricula released as of November, 2007.

Part II: Practical teaching strategies

This series provides teachers with professionally developed teaching strategies created by experts from across Ontario. Each strategy is designed to address one or more curriculum expectations, and many incorporate effective cross-curricular connections.

Our Legacy: Kinanaskomitin

Source: Saskatchewan’s publicly-accessible archives
Focus: Teachers

Summary: This site is a co-operative initiative among several of Saskatchewan’s publicly-accessible archives. It contains material relating to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, found in Saskatchewan cultural and heritage collections.

It is primarily intended to increase the information normally available for archival material by providing access to descriptions of material at a file or item level. Where appropriate, some guides (finding aids) are also available. Although less comprehensive, the site also includes some published (library) and artifactual (museum) material. Please note that materials have been digitized based on consideration of known copyright, privacy, and particularly, cultural concerns.

Canada in the Making – Aboriginals: Treaties and Relations

Source: A cooperative effort sponsored by the Canadian Heritage, Library and Archives of Canada, Industry Canada, the Gladys Krieble Dalmas Foundation, Historica Foundation of Canada
Focus: Teacher Resources for Grades 9-12 Social Studies and First Nations Studies

Summary: This site is about the history of Canada through the words of the men and women who shaped the nation. Built around the Government Documents collection of the Early Canadiana Online collection, it integrates narrative text with links to primary source texts.

Since the time of European First Contact, the course of Aboriginal history in Canada has been deeply altered by relations with Europeans and the laws they imposed on Aboriginals – laws like the Indian Act. Furthermore, major and minor treaties played a significant and important role in charting the course of European – Aboriginal relations within the country.

This section of the Canada in the Making site will look at these treaties and laws, and the events that preceded and followed these changes.

A Table of Curricular Relevance to Canadian Provinces and Territories is also included.

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