Educational Resources

Search Resources:
Browse Resource Categories:

Issue #74
January, 2016

Delgamuukw – a Community Struggle for Aboriginal Title

Source: Virtual Museum Canada
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: This exhibit explores Gitxsan governance through a 20-year community event that became known in the courts and media as the Delgamuukw land title action. The essence of the Delgamuukw action was defining the relationship between Gitxsan ayookw (laws), adaawk (oral histories) and daxgyet (Chiefs’ authority) and Western society’s laws. The impact of the meeting of the two worldviews – typified by Gitxsan governance and Western governing systems – is still being felt in B.C. and across Canada.

The basis of the Gitxsan governing system are the ayookw, adaawk and daxgyet that flow from the 30,000-square-kilometre traditional land base in Northwest British Columbia, Canada.

Gitxsan are inseparable from this land of snow-capped peaks, lush, temperate rainforests and swift flowing rivers. The Gitxsan governing system developed as part of a more than 10,000-year-old intimate connection to the land and kin.

A few of the interactive features of this site include a game (the quiz button at the bottom of the web page), a multiple choice quiz included in each of the six sections and the feedback feature where you can submit your questions or comments on exhibit topics.

Making Education Work (MEW) Outcomes Report 2013

Source: Province of Manitoba and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Summary: Making Education Work (MEW) was a five year research project jointly funded by the Province of Manitoba and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. The project involved high school students in six sites across Manitoba, consisting of three First Nation and three provincial high schools. The overall aim of the project was to evaluate whether the provision of additional in-school supports and services would assist Grade 10 to 12 students in staying in school, meeting requirements and entering a post-secondary program. Program implementation began in the 2006/2007 school year with students scheduled to graduate in 2009.


Making Education Work (MEW) Outcomes Report 2013
Making Education Work (MEW) Implementation Report 2011

Depictions of Success: Voices from Grade 12 Aboriginal Students

Source: Tim Claypool, Ph.D., R.D. Psych., University of Saskatchewan Jane Preston, Ph.D., University of Prince Edward Island
Focus: Senior students

Summary: Purpose of this presentation:

  • To describe educational success and success in general, according to Grade 12 Aboriginal students
  • Analyzed students’ views of success using Canadian Council on Learning’s (2007) First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning Model
  • Success infused with a balance of academic, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness
  • Semi-structured individual interviews – the 12 high school students thematically indicated that success was a personalized phenomenon determined by past experiences and personal ambitions


Through individual interviews these successful students identified the following motivators:

  • Caring teachers &  hospitable schools
  • Personally-relevant learning opportunities
  • After-school activities and programs
  • The positive influence of family role models
  • Motivation stemmed from four quadrants of learning:
  • Awareness (physical)
  • Knowledge (mental)
  • Continuous improvement (emotional)
  • Perseverance (spiritual)

Smudging Protocol and Guidelines 2014

Source: Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning – Aboriginal Education Directorate

Summary: Smudging is a tradition, common to many First Nations, which involves the burning of one or more medicines gathered from the earth. The four sacred medicines used in First Nations’ ceremonies are tobacco, sage, cedar and sweet grass. The most common medicines used in a smudge are sweet grass, sage and cedar.

Smudging Protocol and Guidelines for School Divisions

Learning, Growing and Leading 2012: A summary of research conducted to investigate philosophical frameworks and management structures to guide the development of Aboriginal Early Childhood Development programs and services.

Source: Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre and Vancouver Island University, Aboriginal Early Childhood Development, Linda McDonell & Danielle Alphonse
Focus: Early Childhood Educators (ECE)

Summary: In the late Spring 2011, Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre (Tillicum Lelum) approached the Aboriginal Early Childhood Development (AECD) Regional Innovation Chair at Vancouver Island University (VIU) to propose the two organizations work together on a project that would examine current research and trends in AECD related to two specific areas.

Tillicum Lelum and VIU agreed to undertake a collaborative project that would incorporate the following goals:

  1. Developing a collaborative, community-based model on which to build culturally relevant AECD programs and services at Tillicum Lelum (in partnership with Vancouver Island University and other organizations and agencies).
  2. Identifying a culturally relevant, holistic, philosophical framework for AECD programs and services that appropriately reflect the values of Tillicum Lelum and the community they serve.

The research and information gathering process included the following:

  • A literature review of unique management models in AECD and of current trends in theoretical frameworks that guide service delivery for young children and their families.
  • A survey of managers of selected AECD services/programs in the Vancouver Island region and other areas of BC to explore unique management models of service delivery and the values and ideals that guide those programs.
  • A focus group discussion that explores the needs of the Tillicum Lelum community members such as Elders, parents and extended family, caregivers, and others. Participants share ideas about types of services needed for children and their families and the features of good quality AECD services.
  • After the information gathering process, recommendations are proposed regarding options for the management and philosophical framework that will guide Tillicum Lelum’s AECD work at their new facility.

There were four themes that were reiterated across all sources including the:

  • importance of cooperation, working together;
  • centrality and importance of parents, family and community;
  • teacher (in First Nation communities the Elder) as nurturer and guide;
  • respect of and attention to the natural environment.

A number of recommendations were made that were based on the research undertaken and were believed to influence the type of programs/services provided as well as the quality of those programs/services.

The Learning Circle: Classroom Activities on First Nations in Canada – A Learning Resource for Ages 12 to 14

Source: Harvey McCue & Associates for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Focus: Students 12-14 years

Summary: The Learning Circle is designed to help meet Canadian educators’ growing need for elementary level learning exercises on First Nations. It is the third in a series of four classroom guides on First Nations in Canada.

Because First Nations are culturally diverse, the information in this activity book does not necessarily apply to all groups. To learn more about particular First Nations, and to get help with learning activities, teachers are encouraged to consult local Elders, Cultural Education Centres or Friendship Centres. Some key addresses and contact numbers are listed in Kids’ Stop on the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website.

The Learning Circle is organized in thematic units, each with its own teaching activities. Units are designed to give teachers and students simple but effective exercises, projects and activities that will encourage students to learn more about First Nations. Educators can follow some of the exercises as stand-alone units on First Nations topics, or integrate them with existing curricula on Aboriginal peoples.

Most exercises in The Learning Circle can be completed in one period. Certain others will take several periods, days or weeks.

Teachers and other users should note that several units in this kit include some activities that are designed for classes and schools that are located near or in First Nations communities

First Nations Diary: Documenting Daily Life

Source: Canada’s History, Jackie Underhill, 2004 Governor General’s History Award Recipient
Focus: Grade 7 & 8 Health, History, Language Arts, Visual Arts



Awareness of First Nations and their way of life; quality of life, how individuals met physical, social and group needs (somewhat determined by the environment).


This plan incorporates the use of technological tools and can be extended with the use of guest speakers. There are opportunities for cross-curricular learning and team-teaching methodology.


Students will:

  • increase their understanding of the First Nations historical way of life;
  • be equipped with research tools and information that they can collect into note format;
  • develop effective note-taking strategies and become experts on a topic that they then share with others;
  • use graphic organizers in a meaningful way to collect and organize information that accurately displays the way of life of for the First Nations;
  • develop writing skills in a cross-curricular manner.

Sign up to receive monthly PPW Educational Resource outreach: