Educational Resources

Search Resources:
Browse Resource Categories:

Issue #32
July, 2012

Promoting Equity and Dignity for Aboriginal Children in Canada

Source: Jessica Ball IRPP Choices 14 (7). Retrieved October 20, 2010

Summary: The situation of many of Canada’s Aboriginal people is one of the country’s most pressing public policy questions. Based on a range of measures, from income and unemployment levels to health indicators, there are significant gaps in life chances between many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. There has been progress in some areas —for example, in the proportion of Aboriginal people who have completed post-secondary education. Nonetheless, measures such as the United Nations Human Development Index continue to underline the unacceptable disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. Self-government agreements signed during the past 30 years or so, particularly in the North, hold promise of a better future for the First Nations who have acquired greater community autonomy. But the majority of Aboriginal people, notably those who live in cities, are not covered by such agreements; for them, there is a need for other approaches and — above all — renewed political will.

In this study, Jessica Ball addresses in considerable depth the health, socio-economic and other conditions of Aboriginal children in Canada. Based on an extensive review of the literature, she demonstrates that many Aboriginal children live in poverty and face unacceptably high health and development challenges. Their situation is compounded by other factors, including the impact on parenting abilities of time spent in Aboriginal residential schools.

Drawing on research from other countries, Ball reviews the benefits of early childhood programs. In this regard, she focuses on the Aboriginal Head Start programs, which the Canadian federal government began to fund in the mid-1990s. Ball reports some encouraging preliminary findings about the impacts of these programs and recommends that they be expanded to enable access for a minimum of 25 percent of Aboriginal children. She presents several further policy recommendations for measures intended to enhance the life chances of Aboriginal children while protecting their cultural heritage.

Small Study Big Success Story – Primary Connections Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives Pilot Study Report 2008

Source: Quality Outcomes Program and the Australian Government Quality Teacher Program administered by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Summary: The PrimaryConnections Indigenous Perspective Framework aims to accelerate science and literacy learning outcomes for Indigenous students and increase non-Indigenous students’ and teachers’ awareness and understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

The PrimaryConnections: linking science with literacy program aims to support primary students’ development of scientific literacy, using the supportive relationship between the learning of science and literacy to provide exciting and engaging ways for students to learn both literacy and science. PrimaryConnections includes a sophisticated professional learning program and exemplary curriculum resources.

Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre – Inuit Cultural Online Resource Website

Source: Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre with the financial support of the Canadian Heritage Gateway Fund
Focus: Elementary/Secondary

Summary: This site was created to provide a central location online to learn about Canadian Inuit culture. This site is designed to serve as a resource for Canadian school age children and their teachers. Its purpose is to offer new and different ways of learning about Inuit culture and what it means to be Inuit.

It is also hoped that the content provided within this site can help all Canadians learn more about this rich vibrant and proud culture. Resources for teachers are included such as downloadable colouring sheets, and various other activity sheets. The plan is to build on the content already here and make it richer and deeper as time goes by. There are also a number of very useful links to explore to further the learning process.

There are a number of video podcasts to watch and learn from as well. These podcasts cover everything from making bannock to how to make your own bone and stick game. Students can watch and try their hand at throat singing or learn about the significance of the lighting of the Qulliq (the traditional oil lamp).

Aboriginal Early Learning and Child Care: Policy Issues

Source: Childcare Information Resource Collection (CIRC)

Summary: As Canada’s Aboriginal groups have larger than average child populations, early learning and child care (ELCC) is a critical policy issue. Developing ELCC policy that is flexible to accommodate the diverse needs of the Aboriginal community and maintains their indigenous culture is a major concern for all Aboriginal peoples. There is a strong call for an Aboriginal controlled and sustainable ELCC system that adopts a culturally appropriate approach.

In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that:

federal, provincial, and territorial governments co-operate to support an integrated early childhood funding strategy that

  1. extends early childhood education to all Aboriginal children regardless of residence;
  2. encourages programs that foster the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual development of children, reducing distinctions between child care, prevention and education;
  3. maximizes Aboriginal control over service design and administration;
  4. offers one-stop accessible funding; and e) promotes parental involvement and choice in early childhood education options.

Almost a decade later in 2005, the beginnings of a national early learning and child care program were laid down through a $5 billion/five year initiative, of which $100 million over five years has been earmarked for First Nations on-reserve ELCC. As Canadian child care is finally set for expansion, ELCC in the more than 600 First Nations and in other Aboriginal communities in Canada becomes a vital issue for policy discussion.

This Issue File is intended to promote discussion about how Aboriginal child care features within Canada’s ELCC system.

This list in not intended to be an exhaustive examination of this topic; for a more comprehensive list, search the Childcare Resource and Research Unit resource library catalogue Childcare Information Reference Collection (CIRC).

High School Math Blog: Integrating First Nations, Inuit and Métis content into the Mathematics Classroom

Source: Saskatchewan Math Teachers Association
Focus: Secondary students and teachers

Summary: First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) content, perspectives and ways of knowing are essential components of the renewed Saskatchewan Mathematics curriculum.

According to the Saskatchewan Mathematics Curriculum, an awareness of students’ cultural context and using instructional practices such as a holistic, inquiry-based, constructivist approach to teaching mathematics will influence the success of First Nations and Métis students in the mathematics classroom (Grade 9 curriculum, p. 18).

The following websites will assist with incorporating FNIM content into the mathematics classroom:

  1. First Nations’ Games of Chance Website
  2. Games from the Aboriginal People of North America: Math Content

Huron, Haida and Inuit Houses

Source: Simon Fraser University
Focus: Junior/Intermediate Social Studies

Summary: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in an igloo?It would be pretty cold compared to the houses we live in now. Could you imagine living with over forty other people in one big house? Living with that many people would be like sharing a house with your whole class and all the teachers in your school!

The environment that we live in affects everything that we do. Canada is a country with a lot of different environments. There are parts of Canada where the temperature is freezing and all you can see is snow for most of the year. There are places where it rains a lot of the time and places where it is very dry. There are places that have mountains and some that are flat. There are rivers, lakes and oceans. Canada has a very diverse landscape.

In the past, First Nations were the only people living in Canada. They are the First Nations because they were the first occupants of North America. In Canada, each First Nation had to adapt to their environment in different ways. The houses they built, the food they ate, and the activities they did were all greatly affected by the environment they lived in.

Here you can look at three different aboriginal cultures from three different parts of Canada: the Huron, the Haida, and the Inuit. You can compare them to see how different their ways of life were because of where they lived.

Sign up to receive monthly PPW Educational Resource outreach: