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?