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Issue #81
August, 2016

Kanai High School Student Success Program: Evaluating “The Quarter System”

Source: Researcher: Dr. Carrie Bourassa Infinity Consulting
Focus: Secondary teachers and administrators

Summary: The Quarter System is an educational structure that seeks to improve overall student achievement by increasing the total number of credits attained per year. Research shows that an inability to attain sufficient high school credits has prevented many First Nations and Métis youth from achieving success in secondary schools. Therefore, implementing The Quarter System in schools with high populations of First Nations of Métis students will improve student success. Kainai High School in Southern Alberta is utilizing the Quarter System to improve educational outcomes for its students. This review provides an in-depth analysis of qualitative and quantitative data demonstrating a strong correlation between The Quarter System and the total number of credits First Nations youth have attained in the Kainai community. Issues covered include possible long-term impacts and next steps to ensure further success for this community and its youth.

Authentic First Peoples Resources

Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association (FNESC)
Focus: K-7 classrooms

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
  • 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.

As a first attempt to compile an educationally useful list of authentic texts, this guide lists only print resources (fiction and non-fiction) written for a student audience. It is recognized that a rich learning experience for students includes opportunities to work with oral, visual, and audiovisual texts as well as written texts; as circumstances permit, therefore, future editions of this guide may be produced to include additional media, as well as teacher resources and new print titles.

Elders in Schools Program NWT

Source: Government of the NWT – Education, Culture and Development
Summary: Leadership and education offered by Elders is a key ingredient in building a school system that:

  • is substantially shaped by traditional knowledge and experiences,
  • reflects local needs and values, and
  • supports life-long learning.

Elders, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, pass on knowledge inter-generationally through their wisdom and stories.

Elders will participate in the instruction of school programs, collaboratively and with the support of the school staff and classroom teachers.

Elder involvement in educational programs can help teachers to become familiar with Aboriginal ways of knowing and doing. Elders can also help strengthen the relationships between teachers and their students and parents and the community at large.

Elders will not replace teachers or instruct or supervise students without assistance.

Inuit Games

Source: University of Waterloo Elliott Avedon Virtual Museum of Games
Focus: Elementary and Secondary Students

Summary: The Aboriginal cultural groups inhabiting small enclaves in coastal areas of Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Northeastern Siberia call themselves Inuit or Yuit meaning “the people”.

Many Inuit games are traditional and require no equipment. These latter games concern physical strength, agility, and endurance. Some traditional games may have been learned in Asia before the Inuit migrated across the Bering Strait (c2000bc), while others were undoubtedly learned after migration, through contact with southern aboriginal peoples who had migrated at an earlier time from Asia into the western hemisphere.

For the Inuit games presented in this Website section, a geographic origin is listed. Although games are played by the Inuit in many areas, the sites from which objects are acquired include the following: Baffin Island, Cape Dorset, Holman Island, Igloolik, Pelly Bay, Rankin Islet, and Repulse Bay.

Mental wellness in Canada’s Aboriginal communities: striving toward reconciliation

Source: Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience (JPN) 2015 Nov; 40(6): 363–365.

Summary: With the presentation in Ottawa this spring of the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada on Indian residential schools, the well-being of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples took centre stage for a few days in the media and minds of the Canadian public. The TRC documented key historical issues that have contributed to major mental health disparities in Canada’s indigenous population and pointed the way toward a larger process of national reconciliation. Because JPN is the official journal of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a Canadian society devoted to understanding mental health and disease, we are taking the opportunity with this editorial to keep the discussion going forward by highlighting the mental wellness of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

We present a brief historical background of some of the factors recognized as contributing to current mental health challenges faced by the Aboriginal population and end with some suggestions on how mental health professionals might contribute to the reconciliation process. Although much of what we discuss in this editorial has been written before, it bears repeating to engage our readers. In addition to their importance in the Canadian context, many of the issues we discuss are relevant to indigenous peoples in other countries.

Aboriginal Legends: Coast to Coast to Coast

Source: Canada’s History, Jessica Greig, 2015 Governor General’s Award finalist
Focus: Kindergarten to Grade 6


Knowledge :

  • understand that the first people in Canada honoured, respected and lived in harmony with Canada’s beautiful diverse land, plants, water and animals. These Aboriginal people and their stories are the foundation of Canada and it is our job to honour and pass along their importance.
  • recognize how stories of people and events provide multiple perspectives on past and present events.
  • recognize oral traditions, narratives and stories as valid sources of knowledge about the land, culture and history.
  • recognize the presence and influence of diverse Aboriginal peoples as inherent to Canada’s culture and identity.

Key Questions:

  • Who is sharing this legend? Why was it of importance to these people?
  • What influenced the creation of these stories?
  • What do we need to know about these Aboriginal people to understand the story and/or their traditional way of life?
  • How have these stories and/or people shaped or influenced Canada?

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