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Being Savvy with Indigenous Education Resources


By Belinda Russo

The April issue of Catholic Teacher highlighted perspectives on Indigenous education and pedagogy from Dale Lane, Mireille Lapointe, and Tammy Webster. Each perspective noted the importance of including Indigenous pedagogy into education. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, specifically Education for Reconciliation #62 and #63, begin to take shape, new educational resources are being produced to support teachers and students.

As teachers, we know that when choosing a resource it is important to be mindful of its quality and impact. This is especially important when selecting resources that support the inclusion of Indigenous pedagogy in education, because not all information available respectfully or accurately reflects the past experiences and/or current realities of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada.

In fact, there are many stories and sayings that have been incorrectly attributed to Indigenous peoples. Misattributing stories is damaging, and perpetuates ignorance about Indigenous cultures. In an era in which we have instant access to online content, it is critical to consider the validity of the many resources available.

How do we know whether we have selected an appropriate resource? When determining the quality of a resource, teachers can consider the following questions:

• Does the resource contain the voice of Inuit, First Nations, and/or Métis people?

• Does the resource show evidence of collaboration, participatory involvement, and ongoing engagement with the Indigenous peoples and/or communities represented?

• Does the resource support the well-being of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, educators, and community members who may be impacted and/or affected by the resource?

• Does the resource recognize Inuit, First Nations, and/or Métis as existing and dynamic civilizations?

• Does the resource present sacred artifacts in a respectful manner?

• Does the resource respectfully reflect historical and presentday world view realities, voices, and diversity of the Inuit and/ or First Nations and/or Métis peoples that it represents?

• Does the resource challenge or perpetuate stereotypes and/or bias? (Consider images, language, stories, terms of reference, diversity of gender, roles, age, and ability.)

• Does the resource incorporate Indigenous ways of learning to meet the needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners? (E.g., participatory, land based, experiential, holistic, and spiritual.)

If you can respond to the aforementioned questions with a yes, you likely have a reliable resource.

Resources for Teachers The list of resources highlighted below provides a starting point for teachers who are looking for differentiated materials about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit histories, traditions, cultures, and experiences.

Ministry Resources

1. The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 to 12: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Connections, Scope and Sequence of Expectations (2016) The Scope and Sequence resource document is designed to assist teachers with incorporating First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives into the classroom, by highlighting where there are opportunities for students to explore themes, ideas, and topics related to Indigenous peoples in Canada in each discipline, from Grades 9 to 12. Level: Intermediate, Senior


2. Aboriginal Perspectives: A Guide to the Teacher’s Tool Kit, Teaching Resources and Strategies for the Elementary and Secondary Classrooms (2016) The Teacher’s Toolkit is a new collection of electronic resources from the Ministry of Education to help elementary and secondary teachers bring Indigenous perspectives into their classrooms. These resources were developed by educators from across Ontario who have expertise in bringing Indigenous themes and perspectives into the classroom to both Indigenous and non- Indigenous students. Level: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior


3. Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Treaty website Learn more about the treaties, treaty relationships, and treaty rights that shape Ontario. Available on this website are Ontario First Nations maps, videos, current land control/claims, and infographics. Level: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior


4. Edugains Level: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior

Water – The Gift of Life Level: Grade 3

edugains.ca/resourcesCurrImpl/Elementary/FNMI/Gr3_ PeopleandEnvironments_LivingandWorkinginOntario.pdf

Celebrations of Giving Thanks and Acknowledgement Level: Grade 2

edugains.ca/resourcesCurrImpl/Elementary/FNMI/Gr2_ HeritageandIdentity_Changing%20amilyand Community Traditions.pdf

Additional Resources

5. Eastern Ontario Catholic Curriculum Corporation (EOCCC) Indigenous Teaching Resources There are 14 different resources available through EOCCC. The two highlighted below have an elementary focus, and have been created in partnership with OECTA. There are a number of additional resources targeted toward the secondary level available on the website. Level: Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior


“It’s a Way of Life, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Stories” This resource is available in both English and French. The purpose of this project is to provide Catholic educators with an Indigenous resource for the Primary division. This project addresses the vision expressed in the Ontario First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework, that “all students in Ontario will have knowledge and appreciation of contemporary and traditional First Nations, Métis, and Inuit traditions, cultures, and perspectives.” As this resource explores Indigenous cultures, there are connections to our Catholic traditions and teachings and the Catholic Graduate Expectations. Level: Primary

Called to Learn, Act and Reflect, through Indigenous Teachings and Experiential Mathematics for Catholic Educators (2016) This resource targets mathematics teachers in Junior and Intermediate grades. Through the guidance of David Finkle and Laura Leonard, the project highlights traditional Indigenous knowledge, stories, art, music, and current issues, while making connections to mathematical concepts and processes in real ways. Each learning experience is also reflective of how these ideas are connected to Catholic values, virtues, and teachings. Level: Junior/Intermediate

6. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Association of Ontario (FNMIEAO) As part of its mandate, FNMIEAO works to create, provide, and promote the development of effective, culturally accurate professional development opportunities and resources for educators. The FNMIEAO website contains free information, resources, and links to resources. Level: Elementary and Secondary


7. Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association (OHASSTA) OHASSTA produces a pedagogical quarterly publication called Rapport, which features a number of articles and resources in support of Indigenous education. The website also contains additional resources and links. Level: Secondary


8. Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers’ Association (OESSTA) The activities within the lesson plan Spatial Skills, People and Environment focus on Canada’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities and some of the potential issues these communities face when accessing resources and services. Level: Grade 5


oessta-teachers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Grade-5- Spatial-Skills-People-Environments.pdf

9. Ontario Teachers’ Federation This website contains a number of useful links to other resources/ supports related to Indigenous content, including but not limited to news, events, and curriculum supports for all grade levels.

10. The Learning Exchange Exploring Aboriginal Education with Dr. Susan Dion (video) Dr. Dion gives a straightforward account of the historical perspective educators need to think about as they work collaboratively to support Indigenous education. She speaks of the need to be co-learners who approach participation from a position of respect for Indigenous world views.

Indigenous Collaborative Inquiry, The Historical Timeline by Dr. Susan Dion (script)

thelearningexchange.ca/wp-content/uploads/ 2018/02/The-Historical-Timeline-as-Lesson-AODA.pdf

Dr. Susan Dion: First Nations, Métis and Inuit-focused Collaborative Inquiry and Community Involvement and Community Involvement (video series)




Belinda Russo is a member of the Professional Development department at the OECTA Provincial Office.