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Issue #18
May, 2011

Aboriginal Presence in our Schools – Lakehead Public Schools – A Guide for Staff

Source: Lakehead Public Schools
Focus: School staff and Administrators

Summary: This handbook entitled “Aboriginal Presence in Our Schools: A Guide for Staff” is prepared for Lakehead Public Schools’ staff and administrators. The objective is to build Aboriginal cultural awareness by providing background information to staff and administrators on Aboriginal heritage and traditions, cultural teachings, celebrations, treaties, terminology, best practices and community linkages to Aboriginal community agencies.

Factors that can contribute to Aboriginal student success are teaching strategies to Aboriginal learner needs, curriculum with an Aboriginal perspective, sound counselling and support services, a school environment that will make everyone feel welcome, parental engagement and an understanding of Aboriginal cultures, histories and perspectives which will allow sensitivity to Aboriginal education needs.

Lakehead Public Schools is committed to improving and supporting Aboriginal student success by focusing on three priorities: 1) Quality Instruction and Assessment 2) School Climate and 3) Parental Engagement.

Where we live – Who we are

Source: Parks Canada
Focus: Grades 7-10

Summary: The heritage and history of some Canadians go back much further in Canada than those of others. These first inhabitants developed technologies that enabled them to live in balance with the environment in which they lived. In each region of the country, they developed different cultures and ways of life, depending in part on the climate and the natural resources available to them. This activity explores the history of how different Aboriginal groups interacted with the environment in which they lived. Aboriginal peoples of Canada adapted to change in the past, and continue to do so today.

In this activity, students will:

  • understand different types of human-environment interaction
  • explain how the interrelationships between humans and their environment shape the characteristics of both the people and the environment
  • analyze how the characteristics of regions of the country can explain similarities and differences of people
  • communicate learning in a computer slide show presentation

First Nations Education Governance: A Fractured Mirror

Source: Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue #97, December 10, 2009. Sheila Carr-Stewart, University of Saskatchewan and Larry Steeves, University of Regina
Focus: Teacher, educators and interested researchers

Summary: The purpose of this paper is to provide a legislative and policy analysis of First Nations educational governance within Canada. While the Constitutional Act, 1982, and the numbered treaties, 1871-1910, articulated Canada and the Crown’s responsibility to provide educational services for First Nations people, the provision of education, the authors argue has lacked foresight and focus on continued improvement. Despite the federal government’s intent to provide a comparable system of education to that provided by provincial systems for Canadian children, the delivery of First Nation education is a fractured image of the provincial system and does not furthermore build on the Indigenous education practices, culture and languages of Canada’s First peoples.

Omàmiwininì Pimàdjwowin – The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre: Learning Centre for Teachers and Educators

Source: Omàmiwininì Pimàdjwowin is both a Non-Profit Corporation and a Registered Charity, established in 2002 through consultation with the First Nation’s membership and agreement with the Council of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn.
Focus: Teachers and Educators

Summary: The Omàmiwininì Pimàdjwowin mission is to revitalize, reintegrate, enhance and protect the cultural traditions, customs, practices, heritage, language and arts of the Algonquin Nation. This site is full of information, digital presentations and narratives about the Algonquin people.

The Virtual Keeping House: A First Nations Gallery

Source: SchoolNet Digital Collections, Industry Canada

Summary: The Virtual Keeping House is a means for Aboriginal peoples and those interested in Indian culture in Saskatchewan to view the Saskatchewan Indian Culture’s permanent Aboriginal Art collection and also its collection of artifacts.

Culture is enriched by these virtual reminders of rich heritage encompassing the traditions of the three Cree-speaking groups in Saskatchewan (Plains, Swampy and Woodlands), the Dene of the North, the Saulteaux (Plains Ojibwe) and the Souian tribes of Dakota, Lakota and the Nakota.

The Cultural Centre is firmly linked with the past through its artifact collection. It also maintains a link with the contemporary perspectives of Indian people through its art collection which reflects the tremendous changes Indian people have experienced since European contact.

Images of cultural revitalization, concern with past traditions and the struggle for Indian people to maintain their identity is repeated in the images within many artists’ work.

A Training Curriculum for Early Childhood Education Educators in the Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities; Head Start Program Working with Special Needs

Source: Centres of Excellence for Children’s Well Being: Children and Adolescents with Special Needs: Lakehead University – Emily F. King
Focus: Educators of Children with Special Needs

Summary: This report emphasizes the need for special needs training in Aboriginal communities and highlights the importance of developing a framework which is founded on Indigenous ways of knowing. Six Guiding Principles were established, emphasizing traditional elements that need to guide the process of curriculum creation. Traditional elements of particular importance to participants included the need to recognize the many important roles of Elders within the community, the need for experiential learning to be central to a developed curriculum, and the recognition and identification of Indigenous ways of knowing which should guide all curriculum implementation and programming.

Drawing from these Principles, a curriculum framework was created outlining both content and process associated with the guiding principles. The framework serves to further articulate the specific items roundtable participants thought essential to include in an Aboriginal special needs early childhood education curriculum.

Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art

Source: Curriculum Services Canada

Summary: Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art is based on the field work and research of ethnographer Jill Oakes and biologist Rick Riewe. They lived with and learned from Inuit seamstresses and hunters from every region of the Canadian Arctic between the 1970s and 1990s. Inuit women shared their traditional knowledge and skill so that the process of Inuit boot or kamik–making could be documented, while Inuit men provided information about traveling on the land, hunting wildlife, and the importance of skin footwear for arctic journeys throughout the year. Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art was one of the inaugural exhibitions at The Bata Shoe Museum when it opened in 1995. A book of the same title was published by Douglas & McIntyre the same year. Much of this valuable knowledge has been formatted in an online–exhibition to extend its reach.

About the Activities: The three activities were inspired by the extraordinary tapestry created in 1979 by Mina Napartuk of Kuujjuarapik, Québec, depicting the various steps that result in a finished pair of seal skin kamiks. They also give students opportunities to find other information and artifacts in the Our Boots online–exhibition.

Teachers will find ways to use this exhibition at many different grade levels.

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