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Issue #61
December, 2014

BC First Nations Learning Resources

Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) with assistance from the British Columbia Ministry of Education
Focus: K-7

Summary: In creating this guide, the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) is hoping to help you incorporate student material that will make your classroom more reflective of the realities of First Peoples in this province. This undertaking is based on the belief that by bringing content, perspectives, and teaching approaches associated with First Peoples into your classroom, you will:

  • support all your students in developing a better sense of the significant place of First Peoples within the historical and contemporary fabric of this province (British Columbia)
  • help your Aboriginal students in particular to feel more comfortable within the classroom and more motivated to participate and focus — thus becoming able to learn more effectively and experience increased academic success.

Although developed in British Columbia, this document is relevant for curriculum in other provinces.

Ancient Villages and Totem Poles

Source: Department of Canadian Heritage and Human Resources Development Canada

Focus: Intermediate/senior students

Summary: Welcome to Ancient Villages & Totem Poles of the Nisg̱a’a. This website allows you to revisit the oldest villages of the Nisg̱a’a, study their totem poles, and understand the cultural practices and ways of life that sustained this Northwest Coast people since time immemorial.

The site includes videos, lessons and additional teacher resources.

Are We Making Progress? New Evidence on Aboriginal Education Outcomes in Provincial and Reserve Schools

Source: C.D. Howe Institute, 2014
Focus: Researchers, Teachers

Summary: Urgent action by the federal government is required to address the persistently low high-school completion rates among young First nation adults living on-reserve, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report. In “Are We Making Progress? New Evidence on Aboriginal Education Outcomes in Provincial and Reserve Schools,” author John Richards concludes that on-reserve education is in crisis. According to recently released 2011 census results, 58 percent of young adults living on-reserve have not completed high school. While results among young First Nation adults living off-reserve improved between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, there was little change among those living on-reserve.

Click here for the report.

Aboriginal Business Development Kit

Source: Ministry of Education Ontario
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: If you’re an Aboriginal person thinking about starting or expanding a business, this toolkit has been developed with you in mind. Whether you live on-reserve, in a small town, or in a large city, this toolkit provides business development supports, tools and information to help you start and operate a successful business.

Published February 2013

Our Homes are Bleeding – BC

Source: Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: In May 2005 the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) launched its on-line resource “Our Homes Are Bleeding Digital Collection”. At the very core of this project is the knowledge that Indigenous people maintain a connection to the land, as it is inherent to culture, identity, history and spirituality. The bulk of the primary materials dates from the McKenna McBride Royal Commission (1913 – 1916), and includes a compilation of written historical testimonies, newspaper articles, photographs, and maps. Supplementary photographs, audio and video clips were added to illustrate connections between historic and contemporary assertions of Aboriginal title and rights. One of the goals of creating the website was to have the information accessible to teachers and students from many different communities to investigate, teach, and learn about Aboriginal rights and title from a First Nations perspective. The lesson materials provide teachers and students information needed to critically examine historical political and social developments by investigating the on-line sources.

As the primary documents and website are focused primarily on issues in British Columbia, the lesson plans also focus on British Columbia, however, we hope that there are also links that can be made to other provincial curriculum. The specific curriculum matches are provided in the PDF document Curriculum Links here.

The Physical and Mental Health of Off-Reserve First Nations Children of Teen Mothers

Source: The International Indigenous Policy Journal

Summary: The teen birth rate for First Nations women is higher than the teen birth rate for non-Aboriginal women. While associations between physical and behavioural outcomes have been examined in non-Aboriginal children with teen mothers, fewer studies have focused on First Nations children of teen mothers. This study uses data from the 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey to compare physical and mental health outcomes of 2- to 5-year-old off-reserve First Nations children of teenage and older mothers.

Games from the Aboriginal People of North America

Source: Compiled by Karen Arnason, Mhairi (Vi) Maeers, Judith McDonald, Harley Weston. Games constructed by Christine Treptau
Focus: Intermediate students

Summary: Around the world people have passed on games as part of their culture. Both children and adults played games in all Aboriginal nations, and because most relied on symbols, these games could be played among different nations who didn’t speak the same language. Many of the games were played for entertainment, but they usually had a religious meaning or were used as learning tools. These games also were symbolic of the season; many of the games were specific for summer or winter.

Through the use of these games, people would be developing hunting, problem solving and strategy skills. However, by taking a closer look at a few of these activities you can see that the educational value extends beyond the obvious skills they were meant to teach. Players were learning many basic mathematical concepts while enjoying these games. The idea of patterns, relationships of patterns, numbers and operations were developed in many of the dice games. Also, the strategy games brought in ideas of problem solving and critical thinking. Practically all of these games rely on the concepts of data management and probability.

These games will work well in classrooms to meet educational objectives. They are significant examples of a natural learning environment and the mathematical concepts that can be abstracted from them.

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