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Issue #73
December, 2015

What Works – Principals as leaders in literacy: A strategy for literacy improvement in primary schools

Source: Associate Professor John Munro, Head of Studies in Exceptional Learning and Gifted Education, University of Melbourne.
Focus: Teachers and Principals

Summary: What Works. The Work Program is a set of resources designed to help schools and those who work in them improve outcomes for Indigenous students. The ‘Core issues’ series is an attempt to distill some topic-based key directions for practical action.

In this paper Dr. Munro offers a framework for identifying, in a systematic way, ‘where a school is’, in terms of its capacity to improve the teaching of literacy knowledge, skills and attitudes. He asks and discusses key questions that will help school leaders guide their students’ literacy learning and deliver well-planned professional learning for their teachers, to achieve improved learning and teaching outcomes.

The paper includes strategies that have proved successful in practice, as well as sample documents and checklists that leaders and staff can use to support them in their school improvement process.

Teaching Treaties in the Classroom – Regina Public Schools 2014

Source: Regina Public Schools
Focus: Teachers

Summary: The purpose of the Teaching Treaties in the Classroom training is to assist teachers in Regina Public Schools to gain knowledge and skills required for teaching treaties in the classroom.

The overall goals are:

  1. To promote understanding and awareness between First Nations and other Saskatchewan citizens.
  2. To build positive relationships with each other.
  3. To respect each other and honour our diversity with the understanding that the values we live by are universal.
  4. To train teachers who will assist other teachers in their schools in teaching treaties in the class-room.

Chris D – Linking Aboriginals with the Health Care sector

Summary: This website is designed to help increase the number of First Nation and Aboriginal people in Manitoba choosing health careers. is the first of its kind initiative in Canada and was unveiled in Winnipeg on October 30, 2014.

“The aboriginal population in rural and northern Manitoba is significant. We know that they are an important part of our current and future workforce,” said Wayne Heide, Manitoba’s Office of Rural and Northern Health administrative director. “We need to ensure they are equally represented in the workforce in the health care sector. (The website) was created with that goal in mind.”

Heide says it’s a unique web portal designed to bring awareness to all First Nations and Aboriginal people in Manitoba, regardless of age, current education or location, that a career in health is attainable and rewarding. The promotional campaign for the project includes videos and support materials, interactive posters with QR codes, and profiles of 21 Manitoba Aboriginal role models of all ages currently working in the health care sector. The material will be distributed to First Nation schools and communities throughout the province.

Funding for the $290,000 project was made available through the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative for the 2013/14 fiscal year. The contract for the web portal also includes three years of maintenance and updating to ensure the website will remain current over the medium term.


Source: Inspired by Discovering Our Story, developed by Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., and made possible by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, Aboriginal History Media Arts Lab, Potlatch Fund, and Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology.
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Survivance is a social impact game that asks us to explore our presence and create works of art as a pathway to healing.

Players choose from non-linear quests that are structured in the phases of the Indigenous life journey. At the end of each quest, players create an act of survivance—a form of self-determination based on Anishinaabe scholar Gerald Vizenor’s term “survivance.” Survivance merges survival and endurance in asserting Indigenous presence in contemporary media.

Without denial, delay, or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equitable services through Jordan’s Principle

Source: Assembly of First Nations, 2015

Summary: Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle intended to ensure that First Nations children do not experience denials, delays, or disruptions of services ordinarily available to other children due to jurisdictional disputes. It is named in honour of Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. He encountered tragic delays in services due to governmental jurisdictional disputes that denied him an opportunity to live outside of a hospital setting before his death in 2005. Jordan’s Principle responds to complex systems for funding and delivering services, which treat Status First Nations children differently than other children in Canada. Responsibility for services to First Nations children is often shared by federal, provincial/ territorial and First Nations governments; in contrast, funding and delivery of these same services to most other children in Canada falls solely under provincial/territorial jurisdiction.

Accordingly, First Nations children face unique challenges in accessing services, and Jordan’s Principle is an essential mechanism for ensuring their human, constitutional, and treaty rights.

Jordan’s Principle states that in cases involving jurisdictional disputes the government or government department first approached should pay for services that would ordinarily be available to other children in Canada; the dispute over payment for services can be settled afterwards. First Nations advocates developed Jordan’s Principle and have led the campaign for its implementation; Jordan’s Principle is now formally supported by thousands of stakeholders and observers. A motion endorsing Jordan’s Principle was unanimously adopted by the House of Commons in 2007. The federal government subsequently led a governmental response to Jordan’s Principle, facilitating the development of federal and provincial/territorial policies and procedures for identifying Jordan’s Principle cases and resolving jurisdictional disputes over payment or provision of services to individual First Nations children.

About Treaties in Ontario

Source: Ministry of Education Ontario
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Treaties formalize the relationship between the Crown and First Nations based on principles of trust and mutual respect. They are the legally binding agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities and relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments.

Each treaty is unique, representing an agreement between First Nations and the Crown. Treaties play an important role in the management of lands and resources in Ontario.

Examples of treaty elements include:

  • payments of goods and cash
  • session of First Nations’ title to certain lands
  • creation of reserves
  • protection of fishing, hunting and harvesting rights
  • promises of schools, clothing, and farming equipment and supplies

Treaties are foundational legal documents in the relationship between First Nations and the Crown. Even though many of the treaties in Ontario were signed over a century ago, they remain as relevant today as on the day they were signed.

Mi’kmawe’l Tan Teli-kina’muemk Teaching about the Mi’kmaq

Source: Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre
Focus: Primary to Grade 9

Summary: The curriculum resource developed by a distinguished group of Mi’kmaw educators is now available to teachers and the general public online here at the MDCC website as well as in hard copy through the office of the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre project. Supplementary materials can be found here.

The resource was designed for anyone who teaches Mi’kmaw history, culture and knowledge. Through the stories and knowledge of Mi’kmaw Elders, educators and other experts, this volume will share content and teaching strategies for three subject areas for primary to Grade 9:

Welo’Itimk – Healing 1
Kejitasimkewey Kiskuk – Contemporary Issues
Netukulimk – Economic, social and Political Life

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