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Issue #42
May, 2013

Hearts around the Fire: First Nations Women Talk About Protecting and Preserving First Nations Cultures in Saskatchewan Public Education

Source: Saskatchewan School Boards Associations

Summary:This paper is a summary of research exploring ways of infusing the traditional knowledge of First Nations within public education systems. The entire thesis is available from the author or through the University of Regina. Readers who would like to learn more are encouraged to read the thesis and view the DVD videography that accompanies it. This paper explores public education systems in Saskatchewan through the hearts, minds and voices of First Nations women. First Nations women have been significantly absent from the written history of this land. Traditionally, women were the primary nurturers and caregivers of children, and the key teachers. In addition, women had specific decision-making powers that balanced the roles of men in communities. The influences of policies and practices of the British crown and subsequent Canadian government created distortions in our community structures and had devastating effects on child-rearing and community well-being.

Several points of inquiry prompted this study. After generations, is it possible to restore foundational First Nations cultural practices and values in a contemporary education system? Is it possible to protect and preserve these cultural practices and values, and languages and raise them as sound pedagogical practice that creates potential pathways of success for First Nations learners, and all children? Is it possible, through dialogue with First Nations women who have retained their First Language, to illuminate some key themes that could inform policy and practice?

Plan of Action: Métis Education Plan

Source: The Métis Nation of Ontario
Focus: Educators

Summary: A Métis Education Action Plan will lead to a coordinated, focused and strategic approach by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), in collaboration with other agencies, education partners, and parents to address the needs of Métis learners. The MNO is looking to an engaged Métis student in every publicly funded school in Ontario and is committed to the provision of an improved and appropriate education for all of its students that will be a sustainable effort over time.


  • Improved Métis student attendance, retention and graduation rates
  • Improved Métis student achievement K-12
  • Improved Métis student well being
  • Engaged parent and community partners in Métis student education and increased parent satisfaction with their children’s education.

Three objectives represent Phase I of an ongoing commitment to Métis student education.

Objective #1

To increase the attention to better Métis education in the Ontario education system:

(a) the development and implementation of a robust education action plan including key messages and strategies that speak to an active and contributing MNO role in policies and programs that will contribute to Métis student success;

(b) active participation and contributions to ongoing work with key partners in the education of Métis students through the inclusion of qualified Métis candidates on decision-making bodies at all levels of the education system and;

(c) identifying roles and responsibilities that will be needed to begin effective implementation of the Métis Education Action Plan in the 2008-09 year.

Objective #2

To build capacity for evidence-based decision-making:

(a) support and facilitate the strategy to establish self-identification for all Métis students in Ontario

(b) initiate dialogue with key partners in education regarding the development and implementation of tracking mechanisms that align with existing provincial student identification tracking systems to address and facilitate transitions for both “mobile” students and students moving through the levels of the system and;

(c) contribute to an annual symposium on the topic of Aboriginal student achievement with a Métis component based on data within a successes, challenges and opportunities context.

Objective #3

To develop a Community Outreach parent engagement process that supports improved Métis student achievement:

(a) develop and communicate a strategy including key messages for community outreach and parent engagement at all levels of education beginning with internal organizational input and implementation;

(b) build on those strategies that speak to the engagement of Métis parents and the community identifying the resources that will be needed in support of an overall strategy and;

(c) look to deepen understandings and approaches of board and school improvement plans K-12 that address community outreach and parent engagement goals in pursuit of improved Métis student achievement.

Aboriginal Education – Manitoba

Source: Manitoba Education
Focus: K-12

Summary: The following area links provide more detailed information on particular strategies and initiatives within the province of Manitoba.

Images Canada: Picturing Canadian Culture

Source: Library and Archives Canada

Summary: Images Canada provides central search access to the thousands of images held on the websites of participating Canadian cultural institutions. Through Images Canada, you can find images of the Canadian events, people, places and things that make up our collective heritage. You can search across all collections from virtually every page on the site by typing in a keyword in the search box at the top right hand corner of each page. If you would like to refine your search, try the Advanced Search feature. Search Help is also available. If you are looking for search ideas, try one of our Image Trails or browse through the Photo Essays.

BC Aboriginal Child Care Society

Source: The British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society
Focus: Early Childhood educators and caregivers

Summary: The British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society (BC ACCS) is committed to nurturing excellence through research, community outreach, education and advocacy, to ensure every Aboriginal child in BC has access to spiritually enriching, culturally relevant, high quality early childhood development services.

BC ACCS advocates on behalf of Aboriginal Early Childhood Educators, by gathering data and perspectives from front-line workers to assist governments and funders to make evidence-based decisions that will positively impact First Nations, Métis and Inuit children in BC.

First Nations and Métis: Online Encyclopedia

Source: Alberta Heritage Community Foundation
Focus: Secondary students and general public

Summary: The Heritage Community Foundation has built this new platform to help make Alberta’s history come alive for everyone! Explore aspects of Alberta’s early history through images, text and CKUA Radio Network’s Heritage Trails.

In Phase One, you can discover Alberta’s Early History by selecting the theme you’d like to explore: Contact Us, First Nations and Métis, or Fur Trade and Mission History.

In each section, you can click the “read” icon to read the transcripts, and the “listen” icon to hear the Heritage Trails in RealAudio.

K-12 Aboriginal Languages and Culture: Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes

Source: Manitoba Government. Education and Literacy Department
Focus: K-12

Summary: In December 1993, The Western Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education, Kindergarten to Grade 12 was signed. An Aboriginal Languages Framework was conceptualized in June 1996. In February 1997, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory signed a memorandum agreeing to pool resources to develop an Aboriginal Languages Framework.

With the guidance of and direction from Elders throughout the WNCP development process, The Common Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Language and Culture Programs: Kindergarten to Grade 12 was released in Manitoba in October 2000.

This document is intended to provide the basis for Kindergarten to Grade 12 Aboriginal language programming in Manitoba.

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