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Issue #60
November, 2014

Policy Paper: Aboriginal Students

Source: OUSA: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Focus: Researchers, Teachers

Summary: This paper seeks to address the systemic barriers that impact the ability of Aboriginal peoples to access, persist and succeed in post-secondary education. Given histories of discrimination and chronic underfunding of Aboriginal education at both the K-12 and post-secondary level, OUSA believes that action must be taken by all levels of government and institutions. This is particularly pressing as recent figures have shown that the attainment gap for Aboriginal peoples may in fact be widening. OUSA affirms the importance of self-determination for Aboriginal peoples, and stresses that any policy intervention must be undertaken in direct partnership and consultation with Aboriginal communities.

OUSA suggests that the following steps be taken in order to address the barriers that Aboriginal peoples in post-secondary education:

  • Asserting the shared responsibilities of both federal and provincial governments, and post-secondary institutions, to take action
  • Acknowledging the importance that formative educational experiences can have on post-secondary attainment
  • Calling for better financial assistance to be made available for Aboriginal students
  • Addressing the need for comprehensive student support services in order to ensure Aboriginal student success
  • Exploring the role in which post-secondary education can improve Aboriginal peoples’ employment outcomes, and the need for greater supports in order to achieve this
  • Calling for institutions to consider how they can provide a more welcoming, safer space for Aboriginal students
  • Recognizing the need for robust data and comprehensive metrics to ensure the evaluation of programming can occur.

Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum

Source: Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Focus: Teachers

Summary: : Since 1996, the Alaska Science Consortium has been working with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative (AKRSI) and the Alaska Department of Education to help develop standards-based, culturally relevant curriculum that effectively integrates indigenous and Western knowledge around science topics. This work has been generously funded by the AKRSI project through a National Science Foundation grant. It has involved teachers, Elders, Native community leaders, agency personnel, and educational consultants and has taken many forms. This handbook represents some of the thinking and products that have resulted from this slowly evolving and highly collaborative process. It is hoped that some of these ideas prove helpful to you as you begin or continue similar work. We are most grateful to the AKRSI program for support of these efforts and to AKRSI staff for their ongoing dedication, helpfulness, and vision. For a more complete look at the purpose, accomplishments and resources funded and gathered by AKRSI, check out their WEBSITE

The History of Treaty Making

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

Summary: The impact of treaty making in Canada has been wide-ranging and long standing. The treaties the Crown has signed with Aboriginal peoples since the 18th century have permitted the evolution of Canada as we know it. In fact, much of Canada’s land mass is covered by treaties. This treaty-making process, which has evolved over more than 300 years between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, has its origins in the early diplomatic relationship developed between European settlers and Aboriginal people. As the two parties made economic and military alliances, Canada began to take form. These diplomatic proceedings were the first steps in a long process that has led to today’s comprehensive claims agreements between the Crown and Aboriginal groups.

Colonial Conflict: British and French Era – 1534-1763

British Era – 1764-1860

Canadian Era – 1867-Present

Voices of Wisdom: Learning from Elders

Source: Ontario College of Teachers
Focus: Teachers and Senior Students

Summary: In this 14-minute video, First Nations elders, an Inuit elder and a Métis senator share personal stories of tragedy, experience, wisdom and cultural identity. Their words underline the importance of understanding our Canadian history and the experiences First Nations, Inuit and Métis students bring to our classrooms.

Early Learning for Aboriginal Children: Past, Present and Future and an Exploration of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities Program in Ontario

Source: First Nations Caring Society of Canada (FNCSC), Angela Mashford- Pringle

Summary:This article provides some key findings from a case study of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) Program in Ontario. Some of the key findings were improved self-reported health status, commitment to cultural and linguistic revitalization, reduced tobacco use, improved knowledge of healthy living practices among Aboriginal children and their families. The number of off-reserve Aboriginal children that can experience AHSUNC is limited by funding and availability of space and human resources. The participants in this study have shown improved knowledge, interaction with their children, and increased understanding of their “biculturedness” within Ontario. 

Full Text:

Aboriginal Beliefs, Values, and Aspirations in Canadian Society

Source: Ontario Independent Learning Centre (ILC)
Focus: Grade 11

Summary: This course focuses on the beliefs, values, and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. You will examine issues of identity facing First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples, and their relationships to land and nature, as well as to one another within their communities and working environments. You will also learn how traditional and contemporary beliefs and values influence the present-day aspirations and actions of Aboriginal peoples.

First Nations and Stereotypes in Math

Source: Centre for Urban Schooling, University of Toronto, OISE
Focus: Grade 6

Summary: TA series of 6 lessons designed to investigate First Nations and stereotyping in Math:

Stealing the Sun: Surface Area and Rectangular Prisms: 2 lessons

Stereotypes by Numbers: Investigating and Graphing the Representations of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples in School Library Materials: 4 lessons

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