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Issue #91
June, 2017

A Short History of Aboriginal Education in Canada

Source: Jerry P. White and Julie Peters. [This is an excerpt from “Aboriginal Education: Current Crisis and Future Alternatives”. Copyright © 2013 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.]

Summary: In this chapter we trace the development of European-led “education” of Aboriginal peoples in Canada from the establishment of New France where the Récollets, and later the Jesuits, engaged in attempts to assimilate the First Peoples into French culture, through the British shift from partnership to integration and finally through the twentieth century where remarkably similar tactics continued. The sweep of history is only briefly explored, but we can see that the more policy changed the more it reverted to being much the same.

Think Before You Share/Media Smarts

Source: Media Smarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Summary: We always hear that sharing is a good thing. And thanks to technology, we can share our ideas, opinions, pictures and videos with our friends and other people we choose to share it with. Most of the time, sharing is good. But if we arenʼt thoughtful about how we share, we run the risk of hurting ourselves or someone else. Also, remember that the things you share with your friends can end up being shared with others. Thatʼs why itʼs important to think before you share.

Download the Think Before You Share guides and posters to hang in your home, classroom, computer lab, community centre or library:

  • English
  • Ojibwe
  • Cree
  • Inuktitut
  • Arabic

Indigenous Foundations

Source: First Nations and Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia
Focus: Senior secondary and Post-secondary students
Summary: Special Projects

Much of the content on Indigenous Foundations is designed to provide you with concise information on key topics in Indigenous studies. Some parts of this site, however, contain special projects that explore some topics in special ways, or explore them more intensively. This section, Special Projects, contains some of this material.

The first Special Project included here is an exploration of the Berger Inquiry. In the 1970s, the Canadian government asked Justice Thomas Berger to make recommendations on a pipeline that would transport natural gas from Alaska, down the Mackenzie Valley, to Chicago.

The Berger Inquiry broke precedent. For the first time, Aboriginal and environmental organizations were given funding so they could cross-examine oil company experts and call their own witnesses. The Judge also held Community hearings in thirty small Dene and Inuvialuit villages. Almost a thousand witnesses testified.

This Special Project provides a unique way to explore the records of this Inquiry through the eyes of the participants.

Louis Riel Trial 1885

Source: Douglas O. Linder, 2004, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), School of Law
Focus: Senior Secondary Students

Summary: As long as Canada exists, its citizens will want to read about Louis Riel because his life summarizes in a unique way the tensions of being Canadian: English versus French, native versus white, east versus west, Canadian versus American.

This website provides a collection of original essays, trial transcripts and exhibits, maps, images, and other materials relating to the Trial of Louis Riel along with other great trials in world history.

First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Students with Learning Disabilities

Source: LD@school
Focus: Special Educators
Summary: A Brief Background

The First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) population is growing year by year. The report entitled Client Segment Profile: Aboriginal Peoples, Ontario (Service Canada, June 2014) indicates that close to 42% of the total FNMI population is comprised of children and youth aged 25 and under. This trend indicates that there will be increasing numbers of FNMI students in our schools in the years to come.

Factors that influence the FNMI population as a whole have a greater impact on students with learning disabilities. Social and historical conditions imposed by the Indian Act, which was enacted in 1876 and made Aboriginal people second-class citizens, resulted in the creation of an inequity that continues to impact the lives and education of the FNMI population to this day.

The following obstacles are described in the report (Service Canada, June 2014):

  • Families and Households
    • Greater prevalence of lone parent families in Aboriginal communities.
  • Living Conditions
    • A higher proportion of Aboriginal peoples living in homes in poor condition.
    • Aboriginal peoples living on reserves in overcrowded homes.
    • Education
  • Lower levels of educational attainment in Aboriginal communities.
    • Aboriginal peoples on reserves facing greater educational barriers.
    • Aboriginal youth less likely to attend school.

Click here to access the Service Canada Client Segment Profile:

Aboriginal Peoples, Ontario:

  • English
  • Français

The report concludes on a positive note, though. In general, the level of educational attainment in the FNMI population is rising; however, existing challenges continue to present obstacles. Efforts to increase educational attainment and initiatives implemented to support the academic success of FNMI students must continue. Having said this, students with learning disabilities must not be overlooked and the required programming must meet the specific needs of this population.

MysteryQuests – Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History: The Trial of Tshuanahusset: Fair or Foul?

Source: Author: Dick Holland Focus: Intermediate/senior students

Summary: In 1867-1868, a tiny community on Salt Spring (now spelled as one word, “Saltspring”) Island off the coast of British Columbia was the scene of three brutal and seemingly unconnected murders. The victims were members of the island’s African- American community. These African-Americans had fled persecution in California in 1858, but the murders fractured the community and drove many back to the United States. Aboriginal people were widely blamed for the murders, but in only one of the murders was someone charged and convicted.

William Robinson was one of the victims. His body was discovered in his cabin, several days after he had been shot in the back. An Aboriginal man, Tshuanahusset, was arrested many months later, convicted and hanged. Some people felt that the trial was not fair.

This MysteryQuest invites you to re-examine the conviction of Tshuanahusset (also called Tom the Indian) on behalf of a human rights group, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. You are to evaluate the evidence and decide whether or not to recommend a retrial that might right a potential historical injustice.

Stories of the Night Sky

Source: 2010 Stories of the Night Sky
Focus: Intermediate students
Summary: About the Video Project:

Using present day digital video technology coupled with online media training, this project brings together Aboriginal youth from across Canada to gather and share diverse and rich Aboriginal night sky stories from community Elders. These reflect observations that were connected through story and ceremony; interlinking the sky, the land, and the people, with timeless understandings that foster traditional Indigenous values, strengths, and wisdom.

The activities of the UNESCO International Year of the Astronomer 2009 have also served as impetus for this project with encouragement to gather Night Sky Stories that reflect the richness and diversity of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. Credit must be given to Mi’kmaq Elders for their early support towards revitalization of Aboriginal night sky stories within IYA-Canada celebrations. Stories of the Night Sky provides an opportunity for young Canadians to share knowledge on the night sky first hand in a living classroom and brings a contemporary perspective to age old stories. The stories gathered in this project are delivered by Aboriginal youth and are both ancient and new in perspective.

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