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Issue #6
May, 2010

Choices: Promoting Equity and Dignity among Aboriginal Children in Canada

Source: Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) by Jessica Ball
Focus: The health, socio-economic and other conditions of Aboriginal children in Canada.

Summary:Based on an extensive review of the literature, in this study, Jessica Ball 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 and 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.

Moving Forward: Providing Successful Supports for Critical Learning: Literacy Instruction in Aboriginal Settings

Source: Society for Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE) Research Brief, Helen Raham

Summary: Increasing success rates for Aboriginal students is one of Canada’s most pressing educational challenges. As the acquisition of literacy skills is fundamental to student achievement, it is important to build our knowledge base about what works in K-12 literacy and language instruction in Aboriginal settings.

Aboriginal Perspectives

Source: The National Film Board (NFB) in cooperation with experienced Aboriginal filmmakers.
Focus: Secondary StudentsNative Studies, Media Studies

Summary: The Aboriginal Perspectives module contains 33 documentaries, a short fiction film, and 5 film clips on Canada’s native peoples. The user will find films on many important aspects of Aboriginal culture and heritage, its diverse communities, and some of the major issues and significant moments in its history.

All the films are available in English and French, and 18 of them include described video to allow blind and visually impaired people to fully enjoy their content. In addition, 27 films are available with closed captioning for hearing impaired people.

Arctic Circle: Virtual Classroom

Source: Support for the Arctic Circle World Wide Web Project has come from many sources including the University of Connecticut Research Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Arctic Institute of North America, the American Philosophical Society, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Canadian Government.

Focus: Senior secondary students interested in understanding the people and environment of the Arctic Circle.

Summary:The overall goal of Arctic Circle is to stimulate among viewers a greater interest in the peoples and environment of the Arctic and Subarctic region. This ‘electronic circle’ has three interrelated themes: natural resource; history and culture; and social equity and environmental justice. In addressing these issues, the presentations utilize a range of textual and photographic materials, and in the near future, sound and short video recordings.

Specific topics include discussions of Sustainability, Equity, and Environmental Protection; Northern Development and the Global Economy; Ethnographic Portraits of indigenous peoples in Alaska, Canada, Northwest Siberia, etc.; and specific studies dealing with the impact of petroleum, gas, hydroelectric, and other forms of large scale natural resource development in selected regions of the Circumpolar North.

Four Directions Teaching

Source: National Indigenous Literacy Association and theDepartment of Canadian Culture
Focus: Students and teachers (Grades 1-12) who want to experience Indigenous knowledge and philosophy.

Summary: Four Directions Teachings celebrates Indigenous oral traditions by honouring the process of listening with intent as each elder or traditional teacher shares a teaching from their perspective on the richness and value of cultural traditions from their nation. In honour of the timelessness of Indigenous oral traditions, audio narration is provided throughout the site, complimented by animated visuals.

In addition, the site provides free curriculum packages for Grades 1 to 12 to further explore the knowledge and cultural philosophy that is introduced within each teaching. The curriculum is provided in downloadable PDF and can also be read online through the Teachers’ Resource link.

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