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Category: Relevant Research

Research on Aboriginal Curriculum in Ontario

Source: Dr. Emily J. Faries

Scope of Research Paper: This research paper will:

  • provide an overview of First Nations-specific curriculum,
  • identify the curriculum needs, barriers and challenges of First Nations,
  • examine examples of First Nations best practices,
  • explore cost estimates for curriculum development and
  • make recommendations to improve the current situation in the area of First Nations curriculum

Methodology: The methods utilized to gather the data for this research paper include the following:

  • A literature review of relevant documents on First Nations curriculum.
  • A questionnaire survey was conducted with First Nations schools in Ontario.
  • Research on best practices in First Nations curriculum was conducted on national, provincial, regional and local levels; information was collected by telephone, fax and the internet.
  • Interviews were carried out with two educators, two youth, and two parents, all of whom are from First Nations communities in Ontario. The interviews were qualitative and open-ended in nature. Participants were asked if they had been received First Nations content teaching in their education.
  • A telephone survey of twenty randomly selected provincial high schools in Ontario was conducted. The schools were asked if they offered Native Studies courses, and if they did, they were asked what courses were offered.

Recommendations are proposed based on the data gathered in this research.

Family, community, and Aboriginal language among young First Nations children living off reserve in Canada

Source: Statistics Canada
Focus: Teachers

Summary: Aboriginal languages are central to many First Nations people’s identity. The 2006 Census recorded more than 60 different Aboriginal languages spoken by First Nations people in Canada, grouped into distinct language families (Algonquian, Athapascan, Siouan, Salish, Tsimshian, Wakashan, Iroquoian, Haida, Kutenai and Tlingit). Some Algonquian languages, such as Cree and Ojibway, are considered to have better long-term viability than other languages spoken by First Nations people because of their relatively larger base of speakers. However, even these more viable languages have experienced a decline in their use as the primary home language over the past two decades.

According to the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the passing down of Aboriginal languages across the generations was disrupted by residential schools in Canada, where the use of Aboriginal languages was prohibited. The Royal Commission also noted that the revitalization of Aboriginal languages in Canada is a key component for building both healthy individuals and healthy communities.

Given the state of Canada’s Aboriginal languages, information about Aboriginal language knowledge and the factors that are associated with language development and retention among today’s First Nations children is relevant and important for those working to preserve, revitalize and promote Aboriginal languages.

First Nations Education Governance: A Fractured Mirror

Source: Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue #97, December 10, 2009. Sheila Carr-Stewart, University of Saskatchewan and Larry Steeves, University of Regina
Focus: Teacher, educators and interested researchers

Summary: The purpose of this paper is to provide a legislative and policy analysis of First Nations educational governance within Canada. While the Constitutional Act, 1982, and the numbered treaties, 1871-1910, articulated Canada and the Crown’s responsibility to provide educational services for First Nations people, the provision of education, the authors argue has lacked foresight and focus on continued improvement. Despite the federal government’s intent to provide a comparable system of education to that provided by provincial systems for Canadian children, the delivery of First Nation education is a fractured image of the provincial system and does not furthermore build on the Indigenous education practices, culture and languages of Canada’s First peoples.

A Literature Review of Factors that Support Successful Transitions by Aboriginal People from K-12 to Post Secondary Education

Source: The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and Statistics Canada

Summary: The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), has just published a literature review on factors that support successful transitions by Aboriginal students from K-12 to postsecondary education.

The review was commissioned by CMEC in partnership with Statistics Canada, through the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC). It provides an overview of published and unpublished literature and information from key informants; outlines areas to be given emphasis in order to achieve further progress in Aboriginal transitions to PSE; and identifies key implications for data and research.

Aboriginal Education: Strengthening the Foundations

Source: Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) – John Richards, Megan Scott (lead researchers)
Focus: Teachers and Researchers

Summary: The underlying conviction of this research is that the most important means to alleviate the poverty and marginalization of Aboriginals in Canadian society is via improved education outcomes. Other factors – including discrimination – matter, but in an industrial society, no community can prosper unless the overwhelming majority achieves reasonable rungs on the education ladder, starting with high school certification. A high school diploma is, however, a low rung. For a majority in any community to achieve what Canadians consider “middle class incomes,” most must achieve higher rungs. While achieving these higher rungs matters, they are inaccessible to those without high school. Given the severity of Aboriginal school dropout rates, this report concentrates on strengthening the K to 12 foundations.

Child care for First Nations children living off reserve, Métis children, and Inuit children

Source: Leanne C. Findlay and Dafna E. Kohen.

Summary: Previous research has shown that child care has an impact on children’s social and developmental outcomes. However, little is known about child care for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children.

The purpose of this study is to describe child care for First Nations children living off reserve, Métis, and Inuit children in Canada, including the cultural aspects within the care environment. In addition, the availability of culturally relevant activities and language spoken in care were examined as predictors of children’s outcomes.

Australia’s National Curriculum Services: Indigenous Education Resource Update

Source: Joint project among the Australian Government, Dare to Lead, and What Works: The Works Program

Summary: The Indigenous Education Resource Update is a comprehensive regular email newsletter about emerging resources in Indigenous education. It details nationally appropriate resources, their availability, a brief description of content and utility, and a hyperlink to the resource.

The Income Gap Between Aboriginal Peoples and the rest of Canada – April 2010

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: (

Authors: Dan Wilson and David MacDonald

Summary: This study examines data from Canada’s last three censuses — 1996, 2001 and 2006 — to measure the income gap between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canadians. The study concludes that not only has the legacy of colonialism left Aboriginal peoples disproportionately ranked among the poorest of Canadians, this study reveals disturbing levels of in­come inequality persist as well. While income disparity between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canadians narrowed slightly between 1996 and 2006, at this rate it would take 63 years for the gap to be erased.

National Indian Education Study (NIES) – 2009

Source: Sponsored by the Office of Indian Education and conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.

Summary of Findings:

Summary: NIES is designed to assist policymakers and educators in making informed decisions as they work to improve the educational experiences of all American Indian and Alaska Native students. The results from NIES have already been used in congressional testimony and serve as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of existing programs. The addition of data from NIES 2009 will strengthen the study and enhance its impact on decisions affecting the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

The study was conducted in two parts, which focused on the academic achievement and educational experiences of fourth and eighth grade students across the country. The national sample included students from both public and non-public schools that have both large and small American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN).

iPortal – Indigenous Studies Portal Research Tool

Source: University of Saskatchewan

Summary: The Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal) connects faculty, students, researchers and members of the community with electronic resources: books, articles, theses, documents, photographs, archival resources, maps, etc. The vision of the Indigenous Studies Portal is to provide one place to look to find resources for Indigenous studies.

The Indigenous Studies Portal is an initiative of the University of Saskatchewan Library. As of July, 2009, the iPortal has more than 17,000 records, including the Our Legacy archival records recently harvested. This includes photos, anthropological field notes, diaries, correspondence and other textual documents.

The iPortal also links to Indigenous programs and events at the University of Saskatchewan.

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