__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

ABORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE PROJECT

Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project Self-Study Compilation and Report: Aboriginal Ways of Knowing in Teacher Education

October 2008


II | P A G E


Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project Self-Study Compilation and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education

Shuana Niessen (Ed.)

Š 2008 SIDRU, Faculty of Education, University of Regina Reprint 2010

Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit (SIDRU) Faculty of Education, University of Regina Funded by: Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) Catherine Donnelly Foundation in cooperation with the Centre for Northern Research and Graduate Studies Education (CeNRGe) Aboriginal Knowledge Learning Centre (AKLC) Photography and Graphic Design: Shuana Niessen

III | P A G E


Students from Nunavut

*Definition: Sometimes for convenience the term “Aboriginal” is employed in this document; it should be understood to refer to the distinct peoples and nations comprising – First Nations, Inuit and Métis

IV | P A G E


ABORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE PROJECT Table of Contents INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................................. 5 SELF-STUDIES AND PRESENTATIONS: ABORIGINAL WAYS OF KNOWING IN TEACHER EDUCATION NORTHERN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM/NORTHERN PROFESSIONAL ACCESS COLLEGE (NORTEP/NORPAC) ...................................................................................................16 POWERPOINT PRESENTATION .........................................................................................26 FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY OF CANADA/DEPARTMENT OF INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (FNUNIV) .............................................................................................................................................38 SCRIBE NOTES .....................................................................................................................44 YUKON NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (YNTEP) .................................................48 SCRIBE NOTES .....................................................................................................................54 POWERPOINT PRESENTATION .........................................................................................55 SASKATCHEWAN URBAN NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (SUNTEP, PRINCE ALBERT) .................................................................................................................................70 NATIVE INDIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (NITEP) ...................................................86 SCRIBE NOTES .....................................................................................................................96 INDIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM/ COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN (ITEP) ................................................................................... 100 SCRIBE NOTES .................................................................................................................. 124 SASKATCHEWAN URBAN NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (SUNTEP, REGINA) ........................................................................................................................ 126 SCRIBE NOTES .................................................................................................................. 135 SASKATCHEWAN URBAN NATIVE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (SUNTEP, SASKATOON) ................................................................................................................ 138 SCRIBE NOTES .................................................................................................................. 151 ST. FRANCIS XAVIER UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION (STFX) ................................... 156 SCRIBE NOTES .................................................................................................................. 166 NUNAVUT TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM/NUNAVUT ARCTIC COLLEGE (NTEP) ..... 170 SCRIBE NOTES .................................................................................................................. 180 ROLE-ALIKE SCRIBE NOTES – FACULTY AND STAFF ................................................ 182 ROLE-ALIKE SCRIBE NOTES – DIRECTOR ................................................................... 186 ROLE-ALIKE SCRIBE NOTES – ELDERS/GUESTS/OBSERVERS ............................... 188 ROLE-ALIKE SCRIBE NOTES – STUDENTS ................................................................... 191 APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................. 192 APPENDIX A – LETTER ................................................................................................................... 193 APPENDIX B – ACCORD ............................................................................................................... 194 APPENDIX C – SELF-STUDY GUIDELINES .................................................................................. 197 APPENDIX D – ORGANIZATIONAL SCHEMATIC ........................................................................ 199 1|PAGE


APPENDIX E – INFORMATION POSTER.................................................................................. 200 APPENDIX F – PROGRAM DESIGN ............................................................................................... 202 APPENDIX G – ATEPNET ................................................................................................................. 212 APPENDIX H – SURVEY RESULTS ................................................................................................. 213

2|PAGE


.

No such gathering of TEP programs on this  scale has been held in Canada for more  than a decade and a half; and no gathering  of TEP programs has ever been held on the  basis of significant reflection, research, and  documentation around a specific theme:  Aboriginal and Inuit ways of knowing in  relation to teacher education.     ~Dr. Michael Tymchak, Project Director 

3|PAGE


4|PAGE


INTRODUCTION The Project As part of the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project, ten Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs (TEPs) from across Canada engaged in self-studies. Their self-study findings were then presented at a Symposium held at the University of Regina, May 26 –28, 2008. Project Director, Dr. Michael Tymchak notes the significance of this event: No such gathering of TEP programs, on this scale has been held in Canada for more than a decade and a half; and no gathering of TEP programs has ever been held on the basis of significant reflection, research, and documentation around a specific theme: Aboriginal and Inuit ways of knowing in relation to teacher education. Ten TEPs were invited to sign an accord with the Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit (SIDRU) in order to participate in the project. The decision to limit the number of participating TEPs was a difficult one; but as the budget was finalized it became Doing the self-study forced clear that, at least for this beginning phase of the project, our institution to clarify and financial support could reasonably be extended to only ten articulate our unexplored TEPs. Once TEPs signed the accord, each TEP received assumptions and clearly $3000 as support for the process of engaging in the selfbegin to see what variables study. Participating TEPs included: Northern Teacher make a difference in creating Education Program (NORTEP), Saskatchewan Urban success for Aboriginal Native Teacher Education Programs (SUNTEP)—Prince students. Albert, Saskatoon, and Regina—Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP), St. Francis Xavier University School of Education (STFX), First Nations University of Canada Indigenous Education (FNUniv), and Yukon Native Teacher Education Program (YNTEP). The originators and working group members hope that a future knowledge exchange project will include and support representation from all Aboriginal TEP programs across Canada. The Self-Study TEPs, through the course of the self-study, engaged the question: How are Aboriginal ways of knowing (Indigeneity) understood and practiced in our Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs? Four theme questions guided their exploration: 

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching, and practica?

What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis knowledge in your program design?

How is ‘student success’ supported, and what counts as ‘success’?

What new ideas/goals could be established for future cultural program development in your TEP and what first steps are needed to begin the planning and implementation cycle for them?

5|PAGE


One purpose of the self-study was to provide participating Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs with an opportunity for reflection and self-understanding with respect to Aboriginal ways of knowing. There were many positive reports about the impact of engaging the questions in the self-study, indicating the value of this research to the TEPs. SUNTEP Prince Albert, upon completion of the self-study, reported that many conversations had begun as a result of the self-study. Another TEP wrote that, “Doing the self-study forced our institution to clarify and articulate our unexplored assumptions and clearly begin to see what variables make a difference in creating success for Aboriginal students.” Another TEP representative said that the, “self-study was an excellent exercise and useful for us in determining immediate and long term goals and an action plan.” YNTEP reported that the self-study had been “a remarkable experience ... In just three hours we found ourselves becoming a program linked by our discussion on Aboriginal course content, ontology, and epistemology—powerfully unifying." This self-study phase was also an important precursor to sharing understandings with other TEP program faculty, staff and students at the symposium. YNTEP’s description of the process of engaging in the self-study as “powerfully unifying”, gave project organizers hope that the conversations that would develop between TEPs at the symposium would also begin to unify and strengthen Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs across Canada.

A remarkable experience... In just three hours we found ourselves becoming a program linked by our discussion on Aboriginal course content, ontology, and epistemology—powerfully unifying.

The Symposium The goal of the symposium was to begin the process of building an intentional, sustainable, collaborative community, while exchanging knowledge gained through the self-study. TEPs were encouraged to bring faculty, staff, and students to participate in the symposium. Once the TEPs had arrived on campus, the great import of the event began to materialize. The symposium began with a cheese-and-cracker reception. At the reception, introductions were made around the room. Enthusiasm and energy generated as participants learned that there were TEPs represented from across Canada—from This symposium was Vancouver, British Columbia; to Antigonish, Nova decolonizing in that it Scotia; and from Whitehorse, Yukon; to Arctic broke down some walls Bay, Igloolik, and Iqaluit, Nunavut. Participants and increased solidarity. reported that an event like this symposium had never taken place before. For some delegates located in geographically isolated areas, the symposium was their first experience of being on a university campus. The symposium was a great opportunity for new experiences and new relationships to form—for breaking through barriers created by colonization and isolation.

Colonization has created such distance between different Aboriginal groups to the point where many are working alone, in isolation from the very groups that could be supporting and mentoring each other. This symposium was decolonizing in that it broke down some walls and increased solidarity.

6|PAGE


The symposium provided me with an overview of other models of Aboriginal teacher education that exists in Canada. I was exposed to different program philosophies, contexts, barriers, and successes. Overall, it was a rich learning experience.

TEPs brought displays, showcasing the unique identity of each TEP, and furnishing the Teacher Preparation Centre with a broad array of colourful, artistic, cultural collections to enjoy. Accommodations and food were provided for the duration of the symposium. Those who chose to stay on campus were housed in the University of Regina’s new North Tower residence. Each apartment had four bedrooms and a common area, including a kitchenette, where participants could visit with one another. The symposium delegates were treated to breakfast served to their rooms.

“People sharing the apartments had a common conversation area and could also invite visitors to join us in discussions. They were comfortable and roomy. It was wonderful to have cleaning service—A worthwhile support to the conference.” Throughout the symposium, Michael Relland, SUNTEP- Prince Albert’s Program Coordinator, and Lori Eastmure, YNTEP’s Coordinator, graciously co-MC’d, bringing warmth and flow to events. Elder Betty Mckenna spoke, prayed and participated in the discussion sessions. Since the symposium presentations were tightly sequenced into one day, participants were treated to delicious on-demand refreshments. On Tuesday evening, participants enjoyed a hearty outdoor BBQ provided by the staff at Luther College. After a long day of sessions, this was a great opportunity to relax and enjoy conversations over great food. A cultural event followed the meal, with TEP volunteers providing entertainment with a focus on culture. Joanne Pelletier, SUNTEP Regina’s Coordinator, was a flexible and entertaining MC for the event. There were a great number of presentations including: Classical Guitar, Métis Square Dancers, Nunavut clothing show, Yukon legends, Cree Karaoke, an elder’s story of traditional items, traditional women’s drum dance, and a drum song.

7|PAGE


8|PAGE


Much deliberation was given to the design of the Symposium. The goal was to give participants the broadest possible exposure to TEP presentations, while giving opportunity for intermingling with other TEP participants. Each TEP was given enough time to present the unique successes and strengths of its program. Organizers decided that roundtable presentation/discussions would best suit the purposes of the symposium. There were two opportunities for each TEP to present: One opportunity was given in sessions 1 or 2, to present on question 1: How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? And another opportunity in Sessions 3 or 4 to present on question 2: What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis knowledge in your program? TEPs were asked to keep their presentation to 30 minutes, to allow for at least 15 minutes of discussion. Each participant was able to hear the presentations of two other TEPs. One participant commented that, “having presenters respond to pre-set questions focused the discussion.” The follow-up survey indicated that some participants would like to have heard more presentations: “I

would have preferred to hear all of the presenters rather than just the two. Also, I would have liked to have chosen which presentations I attended rather than being assigned.” Another participant considered the problem of structure: “I'm not sure if there is another way to structure it so that we can hear all of the TEP's presentation throughout the course of the 3 days, or had been able to choose the ones we wanted.” For the most part, however, the comments were positive: “Considering all that was covered in such a short time, the conference was amazing. The groups were well mixed with a variety of students, teachers, and faculty.” Following the presentations, participants met together in role-alike roundtable discussion groups. There were groups for students, instructors and staff, directors and program heads, and elders. Each group, both mixed and role-alike, was facilitated by a designated Faculty of Education scribe. The scribe notes and reflections are interwoven between the self-studies included in this document. To support the goal of building an intentional, sustainable community, the program was designed to offer many opportunities for conversations to grow and develop across TEPs, and within role-alike groups. A suggestion was made from participant comments to extend the length of the next symposium so that more presentations could be heard: “One downfall that I did find with the TEP presentations was the

fact that only 2 TEP presentations were available for the day…perhaps the next conference could add an extra day to ensure that all presentations could be heard.”

9|PAGE


In addition to roundtable presentations and discussions, there were three keynote speakers: Dr. James [Sakej] Youngblood Henderson, Professor and Research Director of the Native Law Centre of Canada at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan; Dr. Michael Tymchak, Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Regina; and Rita Bouvier, poet, teacher, and coordinator at the Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre Canadian Council on Learning at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. Sakej addressed the issue of indigenous languages and knowledge, historically dismissed as the wrong kind of knowledge. He encouraged Aboriginal people to feel confident in the indigenous knowledge they have and also in their ability to make contributions to science and plans for sustainable development. A key point he made was about the purpose of learning: “Learning is about becoming human.” Dr. Michael Tymchak provided a framework for understanding both the history of Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs, and also the value of coming together and building a learning community. Many TEPs are geographically isolated and their rich, unique understanding of indigenous knowledge has not been shared. Rita Bouvier brought reflections on what she had heard during the presentations, and made connections regarding community and the centrality of language in knowing. One participant described the TEP presentations and keynote addresses as a combination of macro and micro perspectives: “I really enjoyed being

able to get both the macro and micro perspectives. Sakej gave us the big picture of what's happening in Indigenous affairs in various parts of the world; other speakers described their local situation and experiences.”

Several participants commented on how inspirational the symposium and presenters were. “I was truly inspired by Sakej Henderson’s and Rita Bouvier's keynotes!” Overall, the design was successful: “The

facilitation was excellent and allowed us to build small group knowledge into larger and larger understandings. I could see the principles of adult education being lived.”

“I really enjoyed being able to get both the macro and micro perspectives. Sakej gave us the big picture of what's happening in Indigenous affairs in various parts of the world; other speakers described their local situation and experiences.”

10 | P A G E


Online Community – ATEPNET The final day of the symposium consisted of a social network presentation, panel discussion, and business and planning meeting. Dr. Alec Couros presented on the Digital Knowledge Exchange Network for Aboriginal Teacher Participants were Education Programs (ATEPNET). encouraged to sign up and participate in an ATEPNET social network website. The website is an important extension to building a learning community, as many Aboriginal TEPs are located in geographically isolated areas in the North. ATEPNET will enable members of participating institutions to create, collaborate and exchange digital communications and cultural learning resources. At this point, 64 members have already joined the internet community, and groups have been formed for easy communication with one another. Plans are underway for an extension to this website, where documents will be archived and accessed by Aboriginal TEPs, so that the learning community can continue to exchange knowledge and ideas. ATEPNET

will utilize current and emerging technologies to support the development of an online virtual community for members of Aboriginal teacher education programs across Canada. Some technical features of ATEPNET will include:      

a digital learning resource repository which will allow for the dissemination and archival of learning materials across programs wiki tools and online discussion fora synchronous communication tools (e.g., web conferencing and chat) social bookmarking capabilities subscription/notification capabilities (RSS) blogging, podcasting and vodcasting support.

The TEP students expressed the most interest and appreciation for the website. One student commented, “The ATEP website is another bonus that I find valuable (Thanks to Alec Couros).” Most of the 64 members who have signed up are students in Aboriginal TEPs. Many signed a sheet, leaving their email address for distribution to all the symposium delegates. Three Aboriginal educators—Dr. Herman Michell, First Nations University of Canada; Sarah Longman, consultant for the Regina Public Schools; and Peesee Pitsiulak, Dean of Nunavut Arctic College— contributed to a panel discussion regarding the place of Aboriginal knowledge in their professional lives. Each spoke of how Indigenous knowledge has enriched their lives, or in one case, how the lack of it was impoverishing. The panel was moderated by Dr. David Friesen, posed questions to the panel about their personal stories of growing up as Aboriginal persons. Presenters spoke about who influenced them in their personal and professional decisions. They discussed ways of keeping themselves centered in their culture, language and Aboriginal knowledge, and how Aboriginal knowledge comes into conflict with western knowledge.

11 | P A G E


The Start of Something New

“I feel I was a part of a beginning of what will become a very influential and powerful community in Aboriginal Knowledge and teacher education.” The final planning session revealed an enthusiasm and energy for carrying forward the work that had been done through the knowledge exchange project. A committee was formed that will meet to determine the location of the next symposium. Students spoke of their desire and need to be more involved in future symposiums. It became evident that the seeds of a new professional learning community had been planted. One symposium participant wrote: I think this (event) was a

really important 'reawakening' of the common ground that all Aboriginal TEPs share even if the cultural differences, geopolitical setting among groups is vastly different (and it is)...remembering that we need to 'struggle together not alone' (Enid Lee) was really important...much has been done but much is left to do....The symposium was very hopeful and affirming and yet challenged us (at least me) to rethink.

“I think this (event) was a really important 'reawakening' of the common ground that all Aboriginal TEPs share even if the cultural differences, geopolitical setting among groups is vastly different (and it is)...remembering that we need to 'struggle together not alone' (Enid Lee) was really important...much has been done but much is left to do....The symposium was very hopeful and affirming and yet challenged us (at least me) to rethink.” Another spoke of the value of exploring and hearing about other TEPs from across Canada: “The symposium provided me with an overview of

other models of Aboriginal teacher education that exists in Canada. I was exposed to different program philosophies, contexts, barriers and success. Overall, it was a rich learning experience.”

When asked about a topic of discussion that emerged through the project, to be considered at a future symposium, participants gave the following replies:

12 | P A G E


   

 

     

The concept of locating Aboriginal education in the larger context of equity work overall - it can't become a silo on its own Having Aboriginal education a part of all BEd programs How to keep programs dynamic, but still remain true to original objectives The first issue is the loss of language. I feel that the TEPS could be at the forefront of truly reviving and preserving Aboriginal languages. We need to revisit the way we teach Aboriginal languages in our programs. I would like to see more work done in this area. Also, I think we discussed the issue of assimilation - are the TEPS promoting teacher accreditation in a Euro-Canadian manner versus Aboriginal education. Do we need to continue to be a part of the university? Or can we have an independent TEP accreditation? Maintaining Aboriginal culture without sacrificing excellence The topic on how to incorporate language and culture effectively. I believe that we could learn from one another in this area. Everyone is doing a little bit but there needs to be more of a consistent plan that is accountable. For example: How do we incorporate Elders teachings into the programs? How can the teachings be used and viewed critically, without upsetting protocols? Directions for the future, expansion ideas and renewal How the TEPs could support each other (at least politically) Development of more visible connections between all the TEPs, so that they are seen as a cohesive unit For a start, TEP student exchanges sound very exciting Cultural Camps were of interest to me, along with the language—based curriculum, culture. I would like to take a look at implementing something for our students here The English language skills competency requirement for graduation with a BEd within all the TEP programs as well as our own.

Clearly, there are many successful outcomes on which to build for future projects. Dr. Michael Tymchak commented that the project resulted in significant learnings by the TEP programs, successful counter-action of inherent institutional isolation, and the enhancement and promotion of the Aboriginal TEPs research capacity and culture. Tymchak says,“The project

also, therefore, had the impact of strengthening the TEPs as community-based organizations; it informed and reinforced their strong Aboriginal and Inuit identity.”

The symposium ended with inspirational song and drum of Angelina Weenie, Head of Indigenous Education, First Nations University of Canada. What follows in this document is a compilation of the SelfStudies submitted by the TEPs, along with notes from scribes of presentations and roundtable discussions engaged in by participants of the symposium. The Appendices include documents from the planning and communications regarding the project, self-study and symposium.

13 | P A G E


SELF-STUDIES AND PRESENTATIONS: ABORIGINAL WAYS OF KNOWING IN TEACHER EDUCATION

14 | P A G E


If the foundation of identity is culture,   then, language is the vehicle   to articulate that culture.     ~ Ray Smith 

15 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education NORTHERN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM/ NORTHERN PROFESSIONAL A C C E S S C O L L E G E (NORTEP/NORPAC) LA RONGE, SASKATCHEWAN

PREPARED BY RAY SMITH, in consultation with NORTEP/NORPAC faculty and students. Responses from students were recorded by: Naomi Carriere and Laura Burnouf March 31, 2008

16 | P A G E


Mission Statement The Northern Teacher Education Program/Northern Professional Access College (NORTEP/NORPAC) mission statement is to: deliver a wide range of university level post-secondary programs which will enable students to achieve their career aspirations particularly in the teaching profession while preserving the northern perspective of cultures, languages and traditional values. NORTEP/NORPAC is committed to providing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students with a fundamental understanding of Aboriginal history, cultures, and values. Specific classes are delivered in affiliation with both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina to accommodate the growing needs of Northern Saskatchewan people with teacher education and other professional careers. The NORTEP and NORPAC programs have developed over thirty years in response to Aboriginal education and employment needs.1 Key informant interviews conducted in 2004 revealed high level of support for the relevance of the content NORTEP graduates are teaching in elementary education.2 First Nations and Métis knowledge and practices are successfully incorporated throughout a majority of university courses. Aboriginal knowledge and Aboriginal ways of knowing ‘Aboriginal Knowledge’, ‘Community Knowledge’, ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ and ‘Traditional Knowledge’ refer to the traditions and practices of a group of people. Associated with the traditions and practices are the learning experiences and the cognitive processes in acquiring the traditions and practices of a particular group of people. The ‘Aboriginal Knowledge’… refer[s] to acquisition along with the transmission of knowledge the traditions and practices of a can be viewed as the process associated with the ways group of people. Associated with the of knowing. The NORTEP/NORPAC review traditions and practices are the indicated the program is specifically tailored for learning experiences and the Northerners a significant number who are Aboriginal cognitive processes in acquiring the from across Northern Saskatchewan.3 The Western traditions and practices of a Canadian Aboriginal Training Strategy consultation particular group of people. process further highlighted “one of Saskatchewan’s major strengths is its Aboriginal post secondary system…Aboriginal institutions/programs have been developed to address the specific needs of First Nations and Métis people.4 As vital and important as these indicators are, a considerable amount of work remains to be done to address the direction of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing within university programs. Participants and key themes from the self-study For the purposes of the self-study, members of the faculty and the third and fourth year NORTEP/NORPAC students were consulted and invited to participate in the discussions relating to the questions that will follow in this report. The questions of the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Selfstudy Project were posed to several members of the NORTEP/NORPAC faculty. The questions were initially posed to faculty in the same order as they were listed under the preamble. The first consultation Tymchak & Niessen (2007), Building the Future Today, p. 20. NORTEP Review (2004) 3 NORTEP Review (2004), p. 2 4 Consultation Outcomes (2006), p. 4 1 2

17 | P A G E


process with the faculty focused on the attempt to understand Aboriginal ways of knowing. The following two key themes emerged from the discussion:  

Aboriginal ways of knowing is a complex notion Aboriginal ways of knowing is extensively more than what NORTEP/NORPAC does to promote and facilitate Aboriginal knowledge within programs, courses and practices.

The NORTEP/NORPAC students from year three and four were also consulted as to the questions related to the Self-study project. Their input was recorded and a summary of their contribution is provided under the following four questions.

How does NORTEP/NORPAC promote and facilitate Aboriginal ways of knowing within courses, programs and practices? Student responses:            

the programs teach and promote Aboriginal languages specific projects are student directed and can incorporate a traditional/cultural focus Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal content is taught to the students Aboriginal content is included in many courses non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Instructors promote and teach Aboriginal content and encourage students to do the same courses include local programming that is culturally relevant and is linked to Aboriginal communities and their resources language festivals, language circles, language promotion on radio, cultural camps, and field trips the programs involve Elders who are recognized as our ‘Libraries’ story-telling, prayers, counseling or speaking about a specific topic the teacher education program involves a field component that allows students to participate in the actual setting which they will be entering some methods and strategies are culturally relevant e.g.: experiential learning, land based learning, sharing/learning circles, oral story telling processes, anti-racism strategies etc.

The NORTEP/NORPAC program is a model that has successfully linked learners to the needs of northern schools and Aboriginal communities. Individuals from over forty northern communities enter into one of the two available post secondary options at NORTEP/NORPAC located at La Ronge. They can enter the four year education program provided through NORTEP or the one, two, or three year Arts and Science program provided through NORPAC. There are significant issues around students, 90% of those numbers who are Aboriginal. Many of these students come from as far north as Black Lake others may have northern Saskatchewan roots but were educated in a southern city like Prince Albert. The students may have a Dene, Cree, Métis or a non-Aboriginal background. Depending on their educational background experience some students may need some guidance and direction before they can begin to experience success at university level education.

18 | P A G E


How are student successes supported? Innovative projects such as the “Gift of Language” are promoted (Note: The Gift of Language project is a collaborative effort between the Northern Lights School Division, Onion Lake First Nation and the La Ronge Indian Band to promote, share, and develop Aboriginal language materials/resources. Fluent speakers are recognized and involved in projects that may be used with the gift of language project). Student responses:                 

northern schools have input in the development of Aboriginal language and culture. past graduates of the programs serve as models. student choices with school placements and the grade levels they pre-intern/intern are supported. faculty supports students teaching in field based schools. the faculty understands and will make their visits regardless of the weather. the courses and programs ensure that students have sufficient knowledge about Aboriginal education. This is particularly the case for pre-Interns/Interns. the programs facilitates the bonds and supports students form with each other. there is recognition of the student’s achievements in the courses and in the field. there is recognition of students at the NORTEP/NORPAC graduation financial support is given to student activities which are planned by the students. there is recognition and a welcome back meal for the year 4 students. Instructors give up their own free time to help students. faculty is very encouraging and open. letters of congratulations are sent to recognize student success. tutorials are available for specific courses. there are luncheons and social events throughout the year.

The response students provided with the factors of their success in the NORTEP/NORPAC programs can be attributed to current approaches of the program. Friesen and Orr explained in their review of the program besides core classes in Indian Studies and Aboriginal languages, all NORTEP/NORPAC courses are infused with northern Aboriginal perspectives.5 Another important consideration is the best practices associated with cultural development. According to northern Aboriginal beliefs and values, every person is unique and has a purpose. Aboriginal understanding about the uniqueness of an individual is associated with the values of their knowledge of language, sharing, respect for others, respect for Elders, respect for nature, love of children, cooperation, humor, humility, knowledge of kinship, hunting and domestic skills and responsibility to their own members. The ultimate purpose of the individual is believed to be defined by “Kihci-Manito” (the Creator) but each person is responsible in the effort to help others realize their potential. With guidance and support from Elders and other members, the culture, values and traditions survive as the extended family teach and live the Dene, Métis and Nehiyaw way. It seems to be that this way of thinking and knowing minimizes the problems of adjustment experienced by student relocation. New students seem to adjust to the atmosphere and the culture of the NORTEP/NORPAC programs and the community of La Ronge because there seems to be a feeling of trust and caring from staff, faculty and senior students. Envisioning how “ways of knowing” are realized and supported in current and future cultural program development needs some examination with the next question.

5

Northern Aboriginal Teacher’s Voices, (1995). p. 4 19 | P A G E


How does NORTEP/NORPAC promote and facilitate Aboriginal ways of knowing within courses, programs and practices? Student Responses:            

the programs teach and promote Aboriginal languages specific projects are student directed and can incorporate a traditional/cultural focus Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal content is taught to the students Aboriginal content is included in many courses non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Instructors promote and teach Aboriginal content and encourage students to do the same courses include local programming that is culturally relevant and is linked to Aboriginal communities and their resources language festivals, language circles, language promotion on radio, cultural camps, and field trips the programs involve Elders who are recognized as our ‘Libraries’ story-telling, prayers, counseling or speaking about a specific topic the teacher education program involves a field component that allows students to participate in the actual setting which they will be entering some methods and strategies are culturally relevant e.g.: experiential learning, land based learning, sharing/learning circles, oral story telling processes, anti-racism strategies etc.

The NORTEP/NORPAC program is a model that has successfully linked learners to the needs of northern schools and Aboriginal communities. Individuals from over forty northern communities enter into one of the two available post secondary options at NORTEP/NORPAC located at La Ronge. They can enter the four year education program provided through NORTEP or the one, two, or three year Arts and Science program provided through NORPAC. There are significant issues around students, 90% of those numbers who are Aboriginal. Many of these students come from as far north as Black Lake others may have northern Saskatchewan roots but were educated in a southern city like Prince Albert. The students may have a Dene, Cree, Métis or a non-Aboriginal background. Depending on their educational background experience some students may need some guidance and direction before they can begin to experience success at university level education. Students provided responses to the following question.

What plans/goals can be established for future cultural program development? Student Responses:           

more community involvement is needed with extra-curricular social/cultural activities life skills with a cultural emphasis need consideration Elder involvement and participation needs to increase an Aboriginal Student Centre similar to the model at the University of Saskatchewan needs to be considered as part of the planning of a facility a cultural room must be part of the Aboriginal Student Centre recruiting Aboriginal instructors for other courses is important recruitment of Dene instructors/faculty should be a priority Elder involvement and participation needs to increase accessibility of Elders into the building. an Elder resource list an Elder’s office/meeting room 20 | P A G E


          

an Elder in residence NORTEP/NORPAC programs need emphasis with cultural design/motifs to enhance the atmosphere of the building a welcome week for students advanced level Dene and Cree classes need to be offered NORTEP/NORPAC needs to expand by providing secondary courses for future high school teachers more science courses collaboration with mining industry emphasis and awareness needs to increase on health issues a health course about traditional foods supporting future student/teachers who have their own personal problems a nursing program option.

Aboriginal knowledge and the Aboriginal ways of knowing are extending into the realm of modern, western thought and knowledge. Aboriginal children are influenced by modern thought and education, and Aboriginal communities in northern Saskatchewan have minimal involvement to influence their children’s education and schooling beyond the home environment. An example of this is the gradual loss of the Dene, Métis and Cree languages and the culture in some communities once Aboriginal children enter into the formal education process. The lessons passed on by Elders to the succeeding generations slowly become neglected due to various factors and may eventually disappear. Increasingly, the study of Aboriginal languages, cultural expressions, knowledge, rituals, ceremonies and beliefs will need to be sustained in schools and universities unless the balance to Aboriginal people and their communities is restored internally. This process requires Aboriginal children be taught Aboriginal knowledge and their ways of knowing before they are taught to understand Western thought. Another consideration, would involve offering a balance between Aboriginal/western ways. Without, the connectedness to Aboriginal languages and tribal thought, the colonization process and cognitive imperialism will be complete. The challenges of understanding another way and addressing tribal lack of knowledge will need to be confronted by all teacher education programs.

What challenges and opportunities exist in realizing these goals? Student Responses:         

financial supports to meet the students’ needs sufficient funding to ensure program expansion and the quality of the programs financial support may be required from First Nations and the mining industry a greater variety of course offerings for other programs such as business administration, commerce, justice, social work, law and nursing collaboration and partnerships with the mining industry for a summer work program a third teaching area focusing on languages or math/science need to move towards career options in other sectors more space to include a cafeteria, drama room and a gymnasium more space for everything 21 | P A G E


  

ensure community involvement with cultural programming NORTEP/NORPAC policies may need to be reviewed communication between staff and students’ needs to improve.

Consultation with NORTEP/NORPAC faculty and limitations The readers need to be aware of the limitations of this study. The research of current literature dealing with Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing is limited. The data collected from this study is from two target groups: NORTEP/NORPAC faculty and the year three and four NORTEP/NORPAC students. The responses from both groups will be different based on their perception and knowledge about Aboriginal ways of knowing. Although the focus and the response from students were important in this report, there was no follow up given to the student’s response to each question. Since the students were not given the opportunity to elaborate on their response to the original questions, their response to each question may be subject to interpretation if the response is vague and required further clarification. The NORTEP/NORPAC faculty was consulted and given the opportunity to respond to the comments given by the students. The second part of this self-study focused on faculty elaborating on the students’ response to each of the four questions. The participants were given opportunity to discuss any of the student responses under each question. As a whole, the NORTEP/NORPAC faculty understood the process of this selfstudy better than the students. They were able to keep the discussion focused on Aboriginal Knowledge and Aboriginal ways of knowing. Their experience in the NORTEP/NORPAC programs also helped to provide further insight and understanding to each question. They were able to elaborate on the response students gave for each question based on their own teaching practices and the connections they have with northern Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. In turn, the students appreciated having been given the chance to be part of the initial consultation process. NORTEP/NORPAC faculty response For the faculty consultation, the questions and the students’ response to each question were posed to participants as they are listed within this self-study. Input was recorded and a summary of their comments under this study was provided back to the faculty participants. The faculty participants were also given a copy of the initial draft involving the four questions and the student’s response to each question. They were encouraged to reflect on the overall discussion and to add additional comments to the initial draft of the self-study. There were several key points that emerged from the faculty consultation process. Some of the key points that were discussed by faculty can be grouped under a theme. These themes are discussed and examined as part of the summary recommendations. The following key points emerged from the faculty consultation: Faculty responses:     

many projects assigned by faculty are student directed. The projects have Aboriginal content students from a northern environment have prior knowledge about what content to present. community support and Aboriginal resources are available students are able to make connections to the mining industry with their education. mining companies are hiring students with their Bed degree

22 | P A G E


                

mining companies view NORTEP students with the necessary skills to facilitate human resource development a science course was developed in 1999 (Science 200.3 Culture and Physical Science) which incorporated both Aboriginal/Western worldviews students need to be involved and consulted when program change affects them a majority of students have expressed their appreciation for Indigenous Studies classes. there is still minimal resistance from some students if NORTEP/NORPAC students are working in an Aboriginal environment, they tend to be more successful the program and the northern environment allows opportunity to work with other cultures students see the complexity about Aboriginal knowledge they live with in their environment. the students were less sure about “Aboriginal ways of Knowing” in setting direction for the NORTEP/NORPAC programs as required under question four students are personalizing the process when they respond to each question some students do not view “Aboriginal ways of knowing” as a reality within their lives if NORTEP/NORPAC builds a new facility, the entire facility can be an Aboriginal Centre NORTEP/NORPAC needs to be housed in its’ own building contemporary experiences like poverty and racism are not discussed in relationship to the demographics of northern Saskatchewan there are more women in the NORTEP/NORPAC program the trend where more women enter the NORTEP/NORPAC program and more men entering the trades seem to be a pattern for northern Saskatchewan Math, science and advanced level of Aboriginal languages courses received emphasis by the students.

A great deal of work remains to address the complex relationship between traditional Aboriginal knowledge and the ways of knowing. Both the student and faculty consultation process revealed the need for further study and research on Aboriginal knowledge and Aboriginal ways of knowing. The self-study exercise did open up other areas for consideration within the NORTEP/NORPAC programs. An attempt will be made to address several considerations that may require future action in the thematic areas that have emerged from this study. The consultation process from the students included a wide range of responses to the questions; several were repeated by the students within the four question of this self-study. Two key themes have emerged as identified by the NORTEP/NORPAC faculty:  the need for math and sciences  the need for advanced level courses for Aboriginal languages.

Math and science considerations The world of math and science is a current reality from the technology we use, the food we purchase and the careers we aspire to and engage. Due to an aging population, the province of Saskatchewan will be facing a need to replace skilled workers in various occupations. The demographic group that holds the most potential of meeting the challenges of anticipated severe shortages in Saskatchewan’s labour force is the Aboriginal youth. Unfortunately, the demographics of First Nations and Métis youth reflect that this group is currently facing deficiencies in the math and science areas. 23 | P A G E


Above all, Saskatchewan is experiencing an economic boom created by a demand for natural resources. Recently, two major training and employment projects have been approved by the federal government as part of the Aboriginal skills employment initiative; the Northern Career Quest and Job Horizons projects. Both projects will have a significant impact on residents of northern Saskatchewan; more specifically on Aboriginal people. The two initiatives will require 1700 trainees and workers for placement in new jobs involving the mining, oil and gas sectors. Most of the new jobs being created require math and science as a foundation to the required skills. The immediate challenges to the NORTEP/NORPAC program will need to address the following questions:    

How will the program compete for the recruitment of students with the mining and oil industry when it is faced with declining numbers of applicants? How will the program respond to the current needs and challenges posed by the math and sciences in order to pursue or mentor career opportunities in the math and sciences? How will the program engage in the knowledge and processes of Western science and Indigenous science as two valid ways of viewing the world? How will program offerings in math/science be supported with inadequate lab facilities?

The NORTEP/NORPAC program has a unique opportunity to engage Aboriginal youth seeking careers opportunities in the math and science area. NORTEP/NORPAC had attempted to offer a math and science program through CAPES funding as part of a pre-engineering program option. This initiative lasted until as long as the program funds were available. According to Tymchak, “given the present and anticipated economic development profile of northern Saskatchewan in the mining and the petroleum industries…there is an obvious and urgent need to promote and enhance studies that focus on the math/science area.”6 Aboriginal languages considerations Finally, the students, staff and the board of governors have all indicated the need and importance of promoting, sustaining and revitalizing Cree and Dene language and culture. Tymchak (2006) pointed out NORTEP has had a significant impact in terms of Aboriginal language preservation and promotion but the languages continue to exist under considerable pressure. Furthermore, there are some differences within northern communities with the degree of emphasis that should be placed on Aboriginal language teaching in schools.7 Based on Tymchak’s study and research, the need to empower northern Aboriginal people involves the preservation of language and culture not only in terms of the past but in the context of a new north.8 Implementation of second language acquisition courses are urgently needed especially since there are a high percentage of fluent and semi-fluent students entering the program. Presently, the recognition and the courses offered to fluent students are minimal in terms of supporting their knowledge and expertise in the language. There is opportunity to challenge both universities and their program development to examine Aboriginal languages as a possible teaching area.

Tymchak (2006), NORTEP/PAC Innovation, Determination, Impact, pg. 45. Ibid. 8 Ibid. 6 7

24 | P A G E


Overall, this self-study has generated more questions than answers to Aboriginal knowledge and Aboriginal ways of knowing. However, the exercise did achieve greater awareness of Aboriginal people and about Aboriginal perspectives. There is recognition about the process of educational change to accommodate Aboriginal customs, values, identity, language and tradition. The history of Canada’s Aboriginal people is well documented. The colonialism process has displaced the languages and cultures of the Aboriginal people. The displacement of language and culture has inadvertently affected Aboriginal ways of knowing. If the foundation of a person’s identity is their culture, language is the vehicle to articulate that culture. Above all, the Aboriginal ways of knowing are closely connected in how people think and express their worldview and culture. If Aboriginal languages need attention at the university level, the Aboriginal ways of knowing are also endangered as the shift occurs towards western perspectives. The universities and teacher education programs will need to address these concerns before the foundation of Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing begin to erode. The self-study with students and faculty generated discussion beyond Aboriginal perspectives and Aboriginal ways of knowing. Both groups expressed problem areas and what the NORTEP/NORPAC program did to address these concerns. Secondly, NORTEP/NORPAC faculty recognizes Aboriginal Knowledge and the Aboriginal ways of knowing are a new emerging area of research. The NORTEP/NORPAC program will need to explore opportunities in the areas of math/science and Aboriginal languages. Broader program offerings will have implication on the mandate and identity of the NORTEP/NORPAC program. This new mandate and identity will call for a new initiative that will include a broader focus on Aboriginal ways of knowing, especially if NORTEP/NORPAC wants to continue making the impact it has on northern post-secondary education. As the teacher education programs do their own research, what may result is the beginning of a new era for post secondary education and educational development. That era must include teacher education programs such as NORTEP/NORPAC becoming more involved with research of this nature. References Dunford, B. (2006). Western Canadian Aboriginal training strategy: Consultation outcomes. Saskatchewan Learning, Unpublished. Friesen, D.W., & Orr, J. (1995). Aboriginal Teachers’ Voices. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation and Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation. Robinson, C. & Gray, J. (2004). NORTEP/NORPAC Review Final Report, Saskatchewan Learning, Unpublished. Tymchak, M., & Niessen, S. (2007). Building the Future Today: Demographic, education, and socio-economic indicators towards a joint-use facility. Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Instructional Development Research Unit (SIDRU). Tymchak, M., (2006). NORTEP/PAC Innovation, Determination, Impact-The Impact of NORTEP/PAC after 30 Years. Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Instructional Development Research Unit (SIDRU).

25 | P A G E


NORTEP PRESENTATION Slide 1

Northern Northern Teacher Teacher Education Education Program Program Northern Access Northern Professional Professional Access College College Presented by: Ray Smith and Collette Robertson PCERA Conference Ottawa, ON Presented by: Ray Smith and Collette Robertson January 29, 30, 2007 PCERA Conference Ottawa, Ontario: January 29, 30, 2007

Slide 2

Saskatchewan’s North Demographics The North encompasses 300,000 square miles The total northern population is 36,851 Population is 1/3 First Nations, 1/3 Metis and 1/3 non-Aboriginal Young, fast growing population

26 | P A G E


Slide 3

Saskatchewan

Slide 4

Saskatchewan’s North - Economy Underdeveloped Northern unemployment is 4 times the provincial rate Traditional activities (trapping and fishing) still common New initiatives include rice harvesting, salaried positions in mining and forestry

27 | P A G E


Slide 5

Saskatchewan’s North - Social Language and cultural differences Communities: – 1500 people or less – remote – under-developed – lacking basic infrastructure

Education levels well below national and provincial averages High level of poverty

Slide 6

Issues Underlying Development Of NORTEP Lack of Aboriginal teachers High teacher turnover Lack of success of northern K-12 students Impact of non-Aboriginal teachers on local communities

28 | P A G E


Slide 7

MISSION STATEMENT The mission of NORTEP/NORPAC is to deliver a wide range of university level post-secondary programs which will enable students to achieve their career aspirations particularly in the teaching profession, while preserving the northern perspective of cultures, languages and traditional values.

Slide 8

NORTEP Program Design Leads to a Bachelor of Education (UofS, UofR) Governance Admission Criteria and Process Curricula Student Supports Cultural Relevance

29 | P A G E


Slide 9

Quality of Grads Key informant interviews conducted in 2004 revealed: – High levels of recognition of grad’s competence (school division officials) – High level of support for the relevance of the curriculum (school division officials, grand council staff) – Acknowledgement of high levels of student support (program graduates)

Slide 10

NORTEP Grad Employment

23% 44%

2%

Bands School Divisions PSE Universities

31%

NORTEP Grads = 308

30 | P A G E

Other


Slide 11

NORTEP Impact on the 2 Northern School Systems Increased % of Aboriginal teachers Decreased teacher turnover Increasing numbers of role models and leaders Improvement in high school graduation rates

Slide 12

NORTEP Impact on the 2 Northern School Systems – cont’d 250 200 150 Grade 12 Enrolled

100 50 0

Year

31 | P A G E

NLSD Grads


Slide 13

Introduction of NORPAC Demand by teachers for secondary-level education and specialization Demand for access to other professions

Slide 14

NORPAC Grad Outcomes 256 participants 1989-2003 Degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred through UofR/UofS, other universities, SIAST, SIIT, RCMP 26 participants continued to NORTEP in secondary teacher education

32 | P A G E


Slide 15

Research Done or Pending NORTEP/NORPAC Review, NORTEP/NORPAC Board and Saskatchewan Learning – October 2004 Review - The Impact of NORTEP/NORPAC After 30 Years, Dr. M. Tymchak – 2006 30th Anniversary Study of NORTEP/NORPAC. Dr. M. Tymchak pending

Slide 16

Impact of NORTEP/NORPAC on Northern Communities Increased grade 12 graduation rates Increased post-secondary completion Overall community development Development of community leaders Support for Northern partnerships Increased provincial personal tax revenue Decreased reliance on social assistance

33 | P A G E


Slide 17

Continuing Issues/Challenges Funding Research capabilities Teacher Upgrading programs (Masters) Facilities Opportunities for Faculty Backfill and Upgrading

Slide 18

For more information please contact: NORTEP/NORPAC PO Box 5000 La Ronge, SK S0J1L0 (306) 425-4411 www.nortep-norpac.sk.ca

34 | P A G E


35 | P A G E


36 | P A G E


The focus and emphasis on standardized  achievement scores is problematic in terms  of applying Aboriginal frameworks to this  way of thinking. Faculty nurture   First Nations’ ways of knowing,   recognizing that they also have to   teach students how to negotiate and  navigate those spaces in schooling.      ~Angelina Weenie & Linda Goulet 

37 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education F IRST N ATIONS U NIVERSITY OF C ANADA (FNU NIV ), D EPARTMENT OF I NDIGENOUS E DUCATION R EGINA , S ASKATCHEWAN PREPARED BY ANGELINA WEENIE AND LINDA GOULET, in consultation with FNUniv faculty members and students, Mary Sasakamoose, and Ben Schenstead March, 2008

38 | P A G E


Introduction The First Nations University of Canada, Indigenous Education program, is one of the participating Aboriginal teacher education programs in the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project. The Indigenous Education program is affiliated with the University of Regina and offers Bachelor of Education degree programs and Bachelor After Degree programs in elementary and secondary education. Faculty and instructors from the Indigenous Education program were interviewed and asked to respond to the four guiding questions: how are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within our teacher education program, courses, teaching, and practica; what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges exist for First Nations knowledge in our program design; how is student success supported; and what counts as success; what new ideas/goals could be established for future cultural program development; and what first steps are needed to begin the planning and implementation cycle for them. History of the Indigenous Education Department The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, now known as the First Nations University of Canada was established in 1976. The SIFC Indigenous Education program was first offered through Extensions. Off-campus programs were established in the northern communities and implemented in the fall of 1977. The on-campus four-year degree program began in 1987. The first off campus programs to be offered were in James Smith, Lac La Ronge, Pelican Narrows, Montreal Lake and Sturgeon Lake. Students who were in these programs completed their Standard “A” Teaching Certificate off-campus, and then they came on campus to complete their Bachelor of Education degree. Other Off-Campus programs that have been offered through the department include: Beardy’s First Nations, Peepeekisis First Nations, Yorkton Tribal Council/Cowessess First Nations Teacher Education Program, Mikisew Cree (Fort Chippewyan, Alberta), Wollaston Lake, Black Lake, Red Earth/Shoal Lake and the Asinew-Kisik (Kawacatoose). Off-campus programs continue to be a part of our mandate and we have had qualifying programs at Sweetgrass First Nations, and Cowessess First Nations. Currently there is an off-campus program at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and this program was developed as a partnership between the North West Regional College, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and the First Nations University of Canada. Our newest program is the Kistapinanihk Education program which is offered at Northern Campus in Prince Albert. Other program developments within the Indigenous Education department include the revision of the First Nations Language Certificate Program, which was first developed in 1994. The Certificate of Extended Studies In Aboriginal Education, and the Certificate of Extended Studies In First Nations Languages were developed in 2005 and have been approved. Courses for these programs will be offered in Spring/Summer 2008. INED offers a four-year B.ED Elementary, and a two-year BEAD Elementary program. Teaching specializations include reading/language arts and Indigenous Education. The Indigenous Education Department launched a new program in Secondary Education in fall 2001. The department is currently offering the core program components as well as a major and minor in Indian/Native Studies Education and a minor in First Nations Languages. A BEAD program with a major in Indigenous Visual Arts is also offered. Students can access other majors and minors through the Faculty of Education, such as Mathematics, English, or Science, and they will still be benefiting from the First Nations culture and pedagogy emphasized by the core courses of our program. The majority of our graduates are teaching in Band controlled schools and many of them are in administrative positions.

39 | P A G E


Integration of Aboriginal ways of knowing The First Nations University of Canada was built on the vision of the Elders of First Nations communities that there would be an institution that would uphold and value Aboriginal customs, traditions, values, languages, and cultures. The Indigenous Education program supports the mission statement of the First Nations University of Canada and is committed to providing a quality education program, which reflects the beliefs, and aspirations of First Nations communities. Our mission is to produce effective educators knowledgeable in First Nations worldview and philosophy. Program The Indigenous Education program (INED) is housed at the First Nations University of Canada, and this provides our students access to other Indigenous areas like Indigenous languages, Indigenous Health, Indian Art, Indigenous Studies, and Indigenous Science. The English department offers courses on Aboriginal literature such as residential school literature and these are not available at regular institutions. Elders are on site at the First Nations University of Canada, and they help to create, guide, facilitate, and reinforce the pedagogical and epistemological base of the Indigenous Education program and curricula. The First Nations University community promotes and supports growth and development in a holistic manner. Traditional ceremonies are offered on a regular basis and they serve to awaken and broaden spiritual development and other aspects of being. The traditional knowledge base of faculty and instructors is the foremost way that Aboriginal ways of knowing are realized in our program and courses. Faculty have access to Indigenous Knowledge through resident Elders. Faculty and instructors are committed to integrating First Nations worldview and philosophy in their teaching and this is based on their own journeys and experiences as Aboriginal teachers and learners. Our institution offers a foundation for teaching and learning grounded in Aboriginal epistemology and pedagogy, and students are required to apply this learning to practica. Courses The interpretation and the embedded meanings of Indigenous knowledge are within the language. The Indigenous Education department has developed the following courses to support curriculum development in First Nations languages: EINL 200, Culture and The Acquisition of Language and Literacy; EINL 225, Indigenous Language Arts: Oral and Written Communication; EINL 325, Bilingual/Bicultural Learning Processes; EINL 335, Community Based Curriculum Development for First Nations Languages; EINL 450, Indigenous Language Immersion. Students take courses in Indigenous Education and these include: EINE 205, Introduction to Indigenous Education; EINE 305, Curriculum and Instruction Adaptation for Indigenous Education; EINE 405, Foundations of Indigenous Knowledge. Language and culture are integral to Indigenous Knowledge processes and the department offers EIOE 215, First Nations Outdoor Education: Part I and EIOE 225, First Nations Outdoor Education, Part II. Students learn about Aboriginal cultural customs for academic, personal, social, and cultural growth. Elders have been and continue to be an integral part of the teaching of EIOE. Secondary courses that prepare students to teach Indigenous Studies at the high school include: EINS 300, Introduction to Native Studies Education; EINS 350, Instruction and Evaluation in Secondary Native Studies Education; EINS 400, Issues in Secondary Native Studies Education. The department is currently developing a Master of Education program and courses that have been developed to date include, ED 870XX, Foundations of Indigenous Knowledge, and ED 870AR Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Effective Teaching Practice for Aboriginal Students. The department continues to develop courses and programs that are intended to support the educational needs and interests of First Nations communities. 40 | P A G E


The department offers HJ 380AD, Institutional Racism, which examines racism and oppression and how First Nations people have been excluded from institution building. This course is an acknowledgement and recognition of the past and where people have come from, and to recognize the realities of the legacy of colonization. The Indigenous Education department recognizes the cultural strengths that First Nations people have demonstrated in surviving that onslaught and how they have survived it with dignity, strength, and pride. The department is committed to instilling a deep knowledge of Indigenous epistemology and pedagogy, thus building institutions that serve First Nations communities.

Teaching and Practica Faculty and instructors incorporate First Nations content through a holistic learning model. Medicine wheel teachings are introduced in the first year and they serve as a framework for other methods courses. Students become familiar with the four domains of learning, and are required to utilize this approach to lesson planning and unit planning. Those students who are fluent in their language use their First Nations language for teaching. One of the main strengths of our program is the required Band School placement in the third year of their program. This practicum allows students and faculty to be closely connected to First Nations communities. Students are required to develop curriculum that is based on First Nations content and perspectives and adapted to First Nations students which requires them to access community resources, and to rely on cultural experts in the community. This is another way that the program works with the knowledge base of First Nations communities. Readings and texts by Indigenous authors and educators are used extensively in the courses in the program. Aboriginal professionals and resource people are invited to classes to share their experience in the profession. The use of talking circles, storytelling, peer teaching, project-based assignments, oral presentations, drama, and other arts based teaching methods, are ways that Aboriginal pedagogy is modelled. The teaching philosophy of the program focuses on relationship building, the importance of relationships with students and community. The child within the culture, the value of the community, and the value of peers in the learning environment are important considerations in the development of teaching approaches.

Challenges for First Nations Knowledge in the Program Design Colonization has made a great impact on our understanding and this has produced both challenges and opportunities for the program design. Due to the detrimental effects of colonization, and the western influence on the education of Aboriginal children and even ourselves as faculty, means we need to look at where we are at in our own growth. It is held that we only have partial and limited knowledge of Indigenous perspectives and it is to acknowledge that we are all learners in this process. We are learners in relating the philosophical base and holistic learning experience that we want we want our students to be engaged in. The actual learning comes from the language and living the culture. One of the greater challenges we have is getting our Aboriginal youth more interested in the sciences and maths. Science and math, it seems, still belong to the western world. The challenge is to reconcile that kind of learning while privileging First Nations and MĂŠtis ways of knowing, and paradigms. The question is: How do we apply the First Nations way of knowing to a regular classroom? The focus and emphasis on standardized achievement scores is problematic in terms of applying Aboriginal frameworks to this way of thinking. Faculty nurture First Nations ways of knowing recognizing that they also have to teach students how to negotiate and navigate those spaces in schooling. There is room for more creativity in the classrooms. Due to the nature of Indigenous Knowledge, 41 | P A G E


faculty and students can only present surface knowledge. There is a need to create more hands-on, alternate, and project-based teaching approaches to counter this limitation. As part of the teaching and learning process it is important to ask ourselves why we want Indigenous knowledge and how we are going to use it. Another important question is to consider who benefits from Indigenous Knowledge. A significant challenge is in relation to educating mainstream institutions about the value and nature of Indigenous Knowledge. The Indigenous Education program is developing a Master of Education program and one of the issues that has arisen is the use of Elders It is understood that once we on thesis committees. For mainstream institutions it lift something up (ka seems that this is a new concept in terms of recognizing ohpinaman kikway), and bring and validating the place of Elders in academia.

it to life, we have a great ethical and moral responsibility of which we need to be cognizant.

The strength of the program is in the cultural programming. Grounding students in that Indigenous Knowledge base gives them confidence in applying that knowledge and gaining an understanding of what is appropriate to teach and not to teach in a school setting. One of the guiding principles in using Indigenous Knowledge is that we need to remember why we are doing this in the first place and how we are going to use this knowledge. It is understood that once we lift something up (ka ohpinaman kikway), and bring it to life, we have a great ethical and moral responsibility of which we need to be cognizant.

How is Student Success Supported and What Counts as Success? One of the successes of the program is making learning meaningful and relevant to students’ lived experiences. The teaching methods and role modelling that is employed contributes to student success. The environment created by the First Nations University of Canada is conducive to engaging students in Indigenous worldview and philosophy, and allows them to explore the meaning and relevancy of this way of knowing. This learning environment validates our knowledge systems, and supports student confidence in articulating and understanding this way of knowing. The Elders speak to this place of learning, and shape the foundations, philosophies, epistemologies, and pedagogies that we instill in students. The department supports student success in bringing across that spirit and intent of Indigenous Knowledge.

One of the greater challenges

It needs to be considered that success is defined we have is getting our differently in Aboriginal worldview. What counts as Aboriginal youth more success is when students aspire to and reach their full interested in the sciences and potential. Appropriate assessment tools need to be maths. Science and math, it developed and utilized to reflect this view of education seems, still belong to the as a lifelong learning process. What counts, as success western world. is not necessarily the academic achievement but the compassion and heart that students bring to their practice. What is important is that students acquire the skills, the knowledge base, the attributes, and the qualities that will make them effective and caring teachers and learners. The design and the developmental approach of the program support student success. Regular monthly meetings are held to discuss student progress. This developmental approach is also reflected in the field component. Students are in the schools for every year that they are in the program and this emphasis on field and practical experiences prepares them well for the rigors and demands of teaching. Students are 42 | P A G E


graded and assessed on their ability to integrate First Nations content and knowledge. Student success is supported in the classroom. Students have individual life experiences and faculty capitalize on that and encourage students to utilize their gifts and talents in their teaching. Encouraging students to take risks in learning and developing their unique gifts is a constructive way to support students. Cultural literacy and learning language and culture from that window is another aspect of supporting student success. New Goals for Future Cultural Program Development The Indigenous Education program will be working to enhance cultural programming by creating more opportunity for arts-based approaches to teaching and learning. Learning traditional songs and dances is an enriching experience, and allows students to grow from that knowledge. Students need to be able to express that Indigenous Knowledge in a variety of forms, however it comes to them. One of the primary modes of learning within First Nations communities is through visual learning and the arts. In light of demographics and the expected increase in the population of Aboriginal school aged children in urban schools, schools need to consider cultural-based learning as a core component across the curriculum rather than as an add on. First Nations Language programming will continue to be an important part of our program as language informs Indigenous thought. Language is the place of knowing and it is our responsibility to bring life to that way of knowing. It is our responsibility to continue to build a sense of belonging and connection for our children by developing and enhancing that Indigenous Knowledge base.

43 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe: Anna McNally FNUniv Presentation – Angelina Weenie Question 1 – How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practices? Format: A Power Point Presentation on the FNUniv program/courses.  

   

 

Angelina began the presentation with her own personal story of entering ITEP and then she switched to the regular teacher program on hearing that ITEP was a watered down program. Her vision was to establish an autonomous Institute to preserve the Aboriginal ways of knowing, i.e. the language and culture. She saw FNUniv as an autonomous program, based on the vision of the Elders where the language and culture would be promoted and supported. Today, the challenge is to collaborate and partner with other organizations to realize this vision. (see mission statement). This symposium is the building on all the work that has been done so far…. Aboriginal ways of knowing begins with knowledge of the language, i.e. learn the language, study the Aboriginal history and literature. The program is indigenous, community-based, culturally relevant, partnering with others, e.g. northwest college and others, where collaboration happens. The program is holistic and indigenous, sharing knowledge and values regarding the medicine wheel, talking circles, storytelling, tepee poles (spiritual values) to give a few examples. Science and health programs include much indigenous ways of knowing. We have it within ourselves but we are always looking outward for validation. The Elders are very important in promoting Aboriginal ways of knowing. Invite them, involve them, rely on them in the spiritual realm of knowing. Develop those relationships and be a voice for them. (Angelina spoke to how Elders are chosen…a long process) All programs contain Aboriginal knowledge but much more development work needs to be done…it is on-going.

All our students are involved and integrated in learning Aboriginal ways of knowing; the challenge remains is how do you evaluate Aboriginal ways of knowing? Question 2 – What strengths/weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations,

Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program?

One of the strengths is the cultural program. The challenge is what is appropriate for the school setting? For the process of coming to know Aboriginal ways is to rely on the Elders for spiritual direction. A challenge is how to evaluate Aboriginal ways of knowing.    

Student success is supported when learning is meaningful; create an environment to set the stage for learning; Definition of success is when students are inspired to reach their goals with compassion and heart. The bigger question is do they have enough compassion and heart to teach my grandchild and how do you measure that? Develop and design program to guarantee success.

44 | P A G E


     

Mindset to be developed in learning comes from within…the environment must be provided (culture camps). Arts-based program with songs and dance is a visual expression of Aboriginal ways of knowing. Look at your own learning process: .learning is a life-long process. Oral history is everybody’s learning of interacting and experiencing Aboriginal knowledge. Categories of storytelling are life stories, legends, funny stories, autobiographies and old? Stories. In summary, what we are trying to do is to construct the bridge between knowledge systems without losing the language. (Comment from one of the participants).

45 | P A G E


46 | P A G E


For YNTEP, realizing Aboriginal ways of  knowing in our program and taking this  further means that we need to connect.       ~Lori Eastmure, Program Coordinator 

47 | P A G E


Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education Y UKON N ATIVE T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (YNTEP) Y UKON C OLLEGE W HITEHORSE , YUKON

PREPARED BY LORI EASTMURE in consultation with: YNTEP Faculty/Instructors in Attendance: Carrrie-lyn Robinson, Linda Lamers, Joe Binger, Betsy Jackson, Lori Eastmure. Regrets: Bil Roberts. Sessional/Faculty Round Table: Joanne Davidson, Bob Sharp, Esther Austring, Nicole Morgan, Jill Mason Arlin McFarlane, Carrie-lyn Robinson (faculty), Bill Roberts (faculty), Lori Eastmure, (faculty). Regrets: Dr. Bob McClelland, Maureen Wallingham, Lina Radzinunas, Joe Binger and Betsy Jackson. Sessional and Faculty Round Table: April 4, 2008 YNTEP Faculty Round Table, March 31, 2008 Faculty Round Table: March 31, 2008 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We wish to express our appreciation to the following faculty and sessional instructors who attended the discussions. While many began these discussions thinking that their inclusion of Aboriginal ways of knowing may have been limited by their personal background or by the subject areas they taught, we all soon realized that there is so much more to Aboriginal ways of knowing than content. We found ourselves generating obvious and simple ways to do more in our individual courses and most importantly, that building a community around this topic within our own TEP circles provides support, expertise, and confidence to do more. We also express our appreciation to the University of Regina, Faculty of Education, SIDRU, and The Canadian Council on Learning (Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project) for their insightful support of this project. Without the opportunity to gather as a program and consider this topic as a YNTEP community of faculty and instructors we would have missed the many quiet and almost instinctive ways that our staff bring northern and Aboriginal perspectives to their courses and in our sharing to consider what might be possible.

48 | P A G E


Introduction We held two round table meetings to discuss ways in which Aboriginal ways of knowing are currently realized in our program, courses, teaching and practica. The first meeting, held March 31st , 2008, was attended by core YNTEP instructors (those who teach EPS courses, support fieldwork or teach ECCU 200). The second meeting, held April 4, 2008, was attended by sessional instructors, as well as YNTEP faculty. Those who attended these sessions are acknowledged at the end of this report. This report is a melding of both discussions and organized according to theme. Note that words in italics indicate quotes from instructors. We began these round tables by talking about our individual courses. Discussion led from this to larger topics such as fieldwork, code of behaviour, and teaching methodology. We were all fascinated to learn about the content we bring to our courses and in particular, how we make this happen. Ideas began to flow for adapting and taking this content further. We soon realized that in the sharing of one topic we were moving away from a collection of courses to a collective. We recognized that we lacked a community, and specifically one that supports Aboriginal culture and values in our program. Instructors acknowledged that when it comes to including Aboriginal ways of knowing in their coursework they do what feels right but they also feel unsure about this and in that uncertainty feel limited. For YNTEP, realizing Aboriginal ways of knowing in our program and taking this further means that we need to connect. There is no curriculum to prescribe what and how we make this happen. We acknowledge that elders and communities play a critical guiding role, but there is much responsibility and interpretation that falls on the individual instructor. Of the many suggestions that came forward our most significant for the program as a whole is to build our own, sustainable, collaborative community within YNTEP as well as to the larger Yukon First Nations education community. We have requested a formal connection to the newly formed President’s Advisory Committee on First Nations’ Initiatives which has representation from First Nations throughout the Yukon. We will consult with this body on ways to realize Aboriginal ways of knowing throughout our program and we will ask that they assist us in the development of our new land-based course, Yukon First Nations Culture and Values: Educational Experiences on the Land. It is though community and collaboration that we will move forward and continue our unique journey in teacher education. Courses ECCU 200 This course is foundational in YNTEP in terms of immersing students in Yukon First Nations contexts. It consists of, for the most part, Aboriginal content with some cross cultural elements. The instructor has been teaching this course for the past eight years and always with a co-instructor of Yukon First Nations ancestry. The instructor brings an anti-racist perspective to the course while the First Nations cultural content is brought in by the co-instructor, elders who attend various classes, and Yukon First Nations resource people. The content of the course generally follows this history of Yukon. There are several texts. Harold Napoleon’s text Yuuyaraq: The Way of the Human Being, Oscar Kawagley’s text, A Yupiaq Worldview: A Pathway to Ecology and Spirit and a large number of readings: including Jim Cummins, cultural standards from the Alaska Native Knowledge Network. Occasionally, I bring in community perspectives by video conference. The content begins with an examination of problems and moves to solutions. There are prayer ceremonies to begin and end the course. Topics include: 

Story and oral history; how to use stories 49 | P A G E


   

Bias and curriculum materials: and how to work with such materials, or not Ideas for getting community people involved in schools Mission schools Recruiting and keeping YNTEP grads.

One assignment is devoted to exemplary practices in First Nations education.

Challenges:   

 

The course content is difficult even for the First Nations co-instructors because it brings up old wounds. Students are not aware of their view of the world The course content is Younger students have difficulty imagining difficult even for the First that racism continues or that hurts associated Nations co-instructors with this stops when overt racism ends. They because it brings up old deny racism. They ask, “Why is this so wounds. negative?” White students talk and Aboriginal students are quiet. Grief and intergenerational grief is a part of the experience that is so challenging. How can we approach this? Perhaps a closing check-in/debrief would start personal reflections on this.

Some suggestions/questions from the round table for this course: Question: What if students are not ready for this course? Suggestion: Role plays are safer places for students to work through some of this. EHE: Health Education This course provides many opportunities to connect to Aboriginal culture and wellness of students. Yukon First Nations cultural content is brought in explicitly through all levels of the individual: spiritual, physical, emotional. There are field trips to Aboriginal Head Start and First Nation Health Unit, the Whitehorse General healing room, and community organization that support health and connect to the classroom. ESST: Social Studies Methods Students in this course research a Yukon community historically and in relation to today. There is considerable focus on the new First Nations’ social studies unit. EPS 116 (Re: Survivors’ Banquet) We need to change the name of our Survivors’ Banquet to one that depicts honouring rather surviving. Honouring is the more appropriate description for this ceremony. We also need to connect the story of Kashak gook (one who really overcame obstacles) into our program and honouring. This story was given to Yukon College by Elder, Angela Sidney and needs to be actively used throughout our program.

50 | P A G E


THEA 200 As an instructor it was never made explicit to me to include Yukon First Nations content in my course but of course I became self aware of this need and made changes. We do an exercise. What purpose does a tongue twister have? (team work, projecting, and what is the application to teaching: alliteration, rhyming). We do content imbedding in a story for example: a math question is included, facts on caribou, or a song has to be imbedded. Story is an important part of how we learn. EPSY 225: Assessment The content of this course is very heavy and there is little time to deepen our understanding of some of topics. One area that is very related is the ethics of including effort into [report card] marks. We culturally judge effort and participation: eye contacts, speak with spoken to and all the variations between Yukon First Nations culture. Do we judge everyone in effort or do we leave it out? Another area is the so-called ‘gap students’ who are predominately F. N in the Yukon. I try to assess why this is so important, and why the gap widens. I asked students how do we address ‘gap students’? Students, however, lack experience for questions like these. How can we honour students through assessment? I do use Jennifer Katz on diversity who does assessment in every intelligence. PHED 222 Everything changes when we move outside the classroom and it makes a difference when we eat together. We do things like snowshoeing which is connected to part of life outside the classroom. It is now about active living, not skills, a holistic view. A community brings this together. I model how to assess using a rubric and the first few students who present become models. They get a break because they aren’t able to benefit from the exercise. I use games and always require/explain the purpose of the games. There are natural consequences reflected in the activities. ECMP 355: Technology We just scratched the surface in this course. It needs more video stories, videography, teaching on how the tools can be used to build a community of learners, maybe a combination of experiential, drama and technology. This would better serve Aboriginal students. Timing of Courses This can undermine this kind of teaching. Students need to experience learning in course conglomerates (mosaics with combinations of instructors in a cross disciplinary view of a topic) which is a hard sell at the college. There are a lot of disconnected 1.5 – 3 hour pegs of time. Field Placements and Opportunities for Yukon First Nations Engagement The richness of the field placement in public school classrooms of diverse students, particularly those of First Nations ancestry provide profound encounters with Aboriginal students. As faculty we need to provoke students to reflect on the experiences they have with First Nations children while encouraging First Nations students of YNTEP to be true to their culture in their teaching and helping students. How can we, as faculty help make this more explicit to our students? It would be a richer experience if students, particularly those in their preinternship, could see each other (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students) deliver their Yukon First Nations unit plan. We could bring an elder in to observe a student in their teaching of these units. 51 | P A G E


Community Placements YNTEP requires (as much as possible) and logistically supports field placements for students during the Fall two-block of the preinternship. Schools are asked to consider these placements an introduction to communities and community placements. In addition to student teaching requirements, they also participate in community events. Community is the major focus in this experience. Students who are unable to go out of town have three rural schools in proximity to Whitehorse where they are able to have similar experience and still return home in the evening. Elijah Smith Elementary Lab School Students in the spring preinternship (1 month block) are all hosted at Elijah Smith Elementary School in Whitehorse. This school serves students from Kwanlin Dun First Nations and the surrounding area. A major focus of the schools is the inclusion of Yukon First Nations culture as well as meeting the academic needs of students traditionally not served well by public schools. This school has received national acclaim as a promising practice in Aboriginal education school and one of ten case studies in the report: Sharing our Success research series: Ten Case Studies in Aboriginal Schooling (Bell, 2004). During this practicum student teachers teach a unit based on a Yukon First Nations theme that was prepared for ECCU 300 the previous semester. Identification of YNTEP Core Values Reflecting Yukon First Nations Values As a program, we should identify our core values, reflect on those in each year, and select a value to focus on each year. One that is particularly important is respect. We can’t just value respect we need to help our students learn what this means; for example, students who doodle or write when an Elder is speaking are not demonstrating the value of respect. Many students (Yukon First Nations and non-First Nations) do not know this is a sign of disrespect. Need for Collaboration Based on the richness of this opportunity to address one theme and its significance throughout the YNTEP program, it is recommended that opportunities be provided on a regular basis for all faculty and sessionals (for courses taught to a particular cohort year) to meet at the beginning of the semester to discuss common issues and to continue the conversations on Our goal is to become a Aboriginal ways of knowing in our program. It was obvious to the contributors that Aboriginal content needs a more explicit focus for our students. Assumed connections may not happen. An example is the topic of social /emotional learning and ensuring that it be obviously connected to the work of Dr. Martin Brokenleg (The Circle of Courage).

collective of courses with overlap, articulation, shared values, and common threads, particularly for those topics that we hope to see integrated across the program.

Experience to Theory Learning (various contributors) We do need to both teach the theoretical parts, as well as provide the experience. Without a lot of experience, teaching is only an abstraction. In lesson planning, we tend to teach a lesson construction approach. Perhaps we can start from the activity, the experience, and have our students pull out the learning outcomes.

52 | P A G E


Course Evaluations What can they tell us about our content? YNTEP Graduates (those in attendance as faculty and sessionals): Questions posed: What was missing (Yukon First Nations content/presence) in YNTEP for you as students that would have helped in your teaching First Nations cultural content? Response A: You could not have taught what I needed to learn to teach in [Yukon community].

But, it would have been neat if I had felt more comfortable in First Nations circles. (I am Yukon First Nations but was born in Whitehorse), so I don’t mess up in the culture of [Yukon community]. Maybe if I had gone out for tea with elders (more social) that would have helped.

Response B: For the first time I was part of a

First Nations community as well as staff from all across Canada. The only person in the room who wasn’t Yukon First Nations was the teacher. In [Yukon community] we didn’t have to talk about culture; the kids lived it. I had all the teaching tools except in special education. That coursework was too short and there was not enough on FAS and assessing special needs. I needed more on the social-emotional content. We dealt with deaths and hopelessness, and I found that handson activities such as music, drumming, and getting kids out, all helped. I needed activities for high risk kids and I called in help from the Department. I didn’t have the certification (outdoor education) to keep going on this to work with at risk kids but those types of skills would have helped in my school. References Bell, D. (2004). Sharing our success research series: Ten case studies in Aboriginal schooling. Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE) Brokenleg, M., Brendtro, L., & Van Bockern,S. (1998). Reclaiming youth at risk: Our hope for the future. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service. Napolean, H. (1996). Yuuyaraq: The way of the human being. Eric Madsen (Ed). Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press: Kawagley, O. (1995). A Yupiaq worldview: A pathway to ecology and spirit. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

53 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe: Anna McNally YNTEP Presentation – Lori Eastmure & Carrie-Lyn Robinson Question 1 –How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher

education program, courses, teaching and practices?

Format: A Power Point Presentation of the YNTEP Program. 

   

 

Lori and Carrie-Lyn began their presentation with a meaningful explanation of the symbol of the YNTEP, followed by the geographical location of Yukon and a brief historical overview of the political and economic changes that occurred (waves of change over the years) from the Klondike days to land claims that impacted the education system. It was virtually a 20 year process. It took a courageous government to address racism, stressing the importance of a teacher education program. In 1989, the YNTEP created a partnership with the University of Regina. Other partnerships were created, as well, with the Council of Yukon, First Nations, Yukon Dept. of Education, the Yukon Teachers’ Association. The uniqueness of YNTEP is that it begins outdoors in welcoming students. Knowledge of past history for students is important, for today, it is not a clashing of worlds (e.g. colonialism) but a blending of two worlds where the students are actively involved in learning Aboriginal ways of knowing. It is about building relationships, e.g. talking circles, cooperative learning and teaching strategies. Ideally, young students would be ‘the culture’ but the knowledge base may not always be there so elders are very much involved. Their role is built in to the development and design of the curriculum. The role of the cultural camp is vital to the program. The Graduates are the trail blazers and have a presence in our schools. The challenge is to continue to have them return/stay to teach in our schools for they have experience in experiential learning and teaching from YTEP.

Question 2 – What strengths/weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations,

Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program?      

Teaching and learning through stories encompassing Aboriginal knowledge and experience. The importance of the Elders, involving them in the learning experience. Second generation graduates are one of our greatest assets. The lab school model of practice of 32 weeks. The initiative of establishing the Yukon College President Advisory Committee of First Nations. The challenge is meeting the needs of 7 different languages of students in the program. Presently, the Southern Tutchone language is used in YNTEP. One of the solutions is the Master Apprentice Course on-line, accessible in the students’ own community with the involvement of an Elder from the respective communities. It is a 30 week credit course offered from Simon Fraser University, BC. More land-based experience programs offered with credits attached. Cultural camp is great but it is non-credit.

54 | P A G E


YNTEP PRESENTATION Slide 1

Aboriginal Knowledge in Teacher Education

Presentation by  Representatives of the

Yukon Native Teacher Education Program

Slide 2

Yukon Territory

55 | P A G E


Slide 3

Slide 4

56 | P A G E


Slide 5

Slide 6

57 | P A G E


Slide 7

Slide 8

The Klondike Gold Rush 1898‐…

58 | P A G E


Slide 9

Bringing Law and Order and …………….

Slide 10

YNTEP, created in 1989: First degree program at Yukon College

59 | P A G E


Slide 11

The Trails around Yukon College

Slide 12

Our Partners: •

The Council of Yukon First  Nations

The Department of  Education, Yukon

The Yukon Teachers’  Association

The University of Regina

This logo was created by one of our graduates, Vernon Asp. It was his parting thank you gift to YNTEP. He said very little about the symbolism in it because he wanted people to see their own vision in it. He did want to honour the two major clans of the Yukon—Wolf and Crow (raven)—the traditions of the past (held in the bentwood box) and those that can be gained through modern education. There are two areas, in particular that have taken up a great deal of energy in our program: How do we design a program that serves our students well?, and, What is in the box?, a question that many are beginning to ask. For some years, many assumed that an Aboriginal teacher education program, with an Aboriginal director (though not from the Yukon), some Aboriginal staff, and a student-body, consisting of Yukon Aboriginal students, knew exactly what was in the box. Integration across the program courses was seen by many as the approach to take, but what to integrate and whose traditions, stories and languages are used have been much debated. This debate and questions around which is the right way to do something within diverse cultures has compromised the vision for this program. That is why the question is being asked of us here today, What is Indigeneity? and How can it matter? are so important to YNTEP, as are the questions of what, who, how is this done, and what role might I play as current program director in these debates.

60 | P A G E


Slide 13

Jesse Dawson, Deputy Chief, Kwanlin Dun First Nations Welcome address to new students

Slide 14

Elder Paddy Jim shares traditional  technology

61 | P A G E


Slide 15

Model of a Deadfall Trap (but we learn to make a real one)

Slide 16

red ochre has many uses

62 | P A G E


Slide 17

Atlatl  Arrow Throwing

Slide 18

Learning through the Arts and  Learning Kinesthetically

63 | P A G E


Slide 19

Learning through Nature

Slide 20

Experiential Science/Outdoor Pursuits  Course – lunch break 

64 | P A G E


Slide 21

More experiential learning

Slide 22

65 | P A G E


Slide 23

Learning through Talking Circles and  Cooperative Learning

Slide 24

The Girl Who Married the Bear Learning through Stories.

The Girl Who Married the Bear

When I think about Indigenity, as practiced and honoured by the northwest Athapaskan and Inland Tlingit peoples within this place—the great boreal forest and northern tundra—I think of the traditional stories and how amazingly resilient they are, not only in capturing and preserving traditional Aboriginal worldview (their message), but also, how wonderful storytelling is as the medium. The stories are how we remember and how we connect to people, places and events. I see these as both medium and message. This story here, mentioned by Dr. Cajete, connects Aboriginal people from all over North America. It is one of the first stories that young Yukon children hear. In the version I am familiar with, the story has been adapted to reflect not only important local cultural customs but also to reflect the hunting practices of the region, including the use of these little dogs— Tahltan bear dogs—in Spring bear hunts. Indigeneity in this sense represents a commonly shared culture (I like the term archetype), but interpreted through, local settings and practices.

66 | P A G E


Slide 25

What does it mean to drum?

Slide 26

This is a summer camp at a traditional fish camp.  At YNTEP we want to see these  experiences as integral to the curriculum, not delegated to a one‐day/week cultural event.

67 | P A G E


Slide 27

Kashaw is a YNTEP  graduate who  does have a job.   He teaches  Southern  Tutchone language and  culture classes.

68 | P A G E


“The circle contains everything”   ~Unknown    

The metaphor of the circle perhaps offers  the strongest sense of the integrative spirit  of the program.      ~Murdine McCreath, SUNTEP 

69 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education

S ASKATCHEWAN U RBAN N ATIVE T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (SUNTEP) P RINCE A LBERT, S ASKATCHEWAN PREPARED BY MURDINE MCCREATH in consultation with SUNTEP P.A. staff, students, elders, educational community, and sessionals March 2008

70 | P A G E


Introduction Who are we? The Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program Prince Albert (SUNTEP, P.A.) came into existence in 1981, one year after the programs in Saskatoon and Regina were established. The Prince Albert program is the largest of the three Gabriel Dumont Institute teacher education centres. To date, the Prince Albert program has graduated over 350 Métis and First Nations teachers. The program currently has 90 students enrolled and most of them had the opportunity to participate in the Self-Study. Being ‘on the margins’ has had its advantages and disadvantages in ways the program has developed and whom the program attracts. There are several program initiatives unique to SUNTEP Prince Albert. An agreement with Prince Albert Grand Council in 1986 resulted in the inclusion of First Nations students and participation by the twelve bands whose students can apply. There are also independent bands who have students accepted into the program, space permitting. The size of the program, the off campus location, the mix of Métis and First Nations students has resulted in a rich Aboriginal learning community, different from other teacher education programs. The self-study process During the months of December and January a range of individuals and groups were interviewed. A sample list can be found in Appendix B. Notes were kept during all the interviews and some interviews were taped. The self-study questions were posted and printed so students could have time to react to them. Students had an opportunity to participate either through Classroom Meetings or at Friday lunches. The Student Representative Council (SRC) was interviewed, as was the Cultural Committee, each of the staff members, and several sessional instructors. Some students offered their thoughts in individual conversations. A small group of graduates employed as teachers participated in a lively discussion and two Elders who have been involved in the program over the years were interviewed. Information was collated and taken back to groups for review and additions when possible. Several people, including staff, edited drafts and made significant additions. The faculty participated individually and collectively through meetings, interviews and informally over coffee in the lounge, with students adding their ideas. A stimulating and thoughtful conversation with the staff in December unfolded several themes that the staff considers to be core elements of the program: 1. The importance of story and autobiography as foundational to developing an Aboriginal identity and culturally appropriate pedagogy. 2. The value of building a strong learning community. 3. An ongoing dedication to developing an integrated and visionary program with a strong Aboriginal knowledge base. 4. The significant role of strong, visible, intentional cultural programming and academic studies. 5. An idealistic and active dedication to the larger community and the teaching profession. Interviews with students and classroom groups reinforced and developed these themes. SUNTEP, Prince Albert functions in a holistic way and as a result, the categories overlap, enhance and support each other. The choice to identify specific ways in which Aboriginal ways of knowing are practised, and

71 | P A G E


to describe the program along the identified themes, should not distract from the unified way SUNTEP operates. It is worth nothing that the goals, guidelines, philosophies and ideals of SUNTEP program are detailed and reproduced in many documents including: The Student Handbook, the Instructor Handbook, field experience manuals and the Internship Manual. Each of these documents reflects the values and focuses of SUNTEP as an Aboriginal program under the direction of the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research Because there were more cultural events than could be listed in the text as examples, a more representative, organized list is provided in Appendix A. This list is by no means complete but gives an important sense of the depth and range of the Aboriginal focus in the student life in SUNTEP Prince Albert. Appendix C is a description of “The Day in the Life of a SUNTEP, P.A. Student.” This is an attempt to give more of a sense of how a typical day in the life of a student might unfold in this Aboriginal teacher education program. Unique features of SUNTEP, Prince Albert The unique Features of SUNTEP, P.A.: its size, location, and physical space have influenced its particular character. The manner in which the SUNTEP operates within the larger educational community and the important professional relationships that have been established, make the program notable. Being off campus has meant that the centre has developed a strong sense of independence and integrity. Of particular importance is the strength of cultural activities and program planning and the value placed by students and staff on having a strong Aboriginal learning environment. An ‘independent spirit’ has served the program well. Faculty have been willing and able to guide the program in directions that gave Prince Albert SUNTEP a distinct personality and identity. The Culture Camps, which began around 1990, are an example. Extensive field experience in each year is another. Attracting and hiring local professionals and sessional instructors and Elders continues to be an important focus of the program. SUNTEP, Prince Albert Co-ordinator, Mike Relland has intentionally selected and hired professional educators, who: are Aboriginal, have had experience in Aboriginal education, and share a vision and commitment to SUNTEP. The independent spirit has been intentional and developmental and shows up in all aspects of an increasingly integrated Aboriginal teacher education program. The professional relationship between SUNTEP, P.A. and the educational communities the program routinely works with is significant. All field experience recruitment, placements and supervision is done by faculty. Long term relationships and arrangements have been built between the public and separate school divisions who co-operate both by making classrooms available for placements, and by hiring graduates. The five First Nations schools within the geographic area are also used for placements, particularly for year two students. These are active and dedicated co-operative relationships that have been built over many years. When the new internship model was being developed for the Pilot Project, initiated in 2007, there was representation on the planning committees by all the stake holders. SUNTEP graduates are a strong presence in many local schools, particularly those of Saskatchewan Rivers School Division. For example, there are currently eight SUNTEP graduates teaching in Riverside Community School. It is a matter of pride that many of the co-operating teachers who accept interns are SUNTEP graduates themselves adding continuity and support for the ongoing mission of SUNTEP.

72 | P A G E


The integrated development team approach The fact that the SUNTEP program is small allows for intentional, manageable and planned changes. Being ‘on the margins’ has also allowed the faculty which has been consistent, stable, and long term, to work together in collegial ways. Core education classes are regularly taught by staff. Some classes, such as lab classes are attached to the core classes and often team taught by staff. Lab classes, in the way they are envisioned and carried out, are unique to SUNTEP, P.A. Lab classes were developed out of the recognition that students needed practical activities to support and demonstrate information presented in the more formal setting of curriculum classes. Students also need to experience and become more familiar with Aboriginal curriculum, methods and resources. In some cases, students and staff need to develop the material themselves. As an example, a decision was made by staff that having six credit points in an education core class (formerly Ed. Studies 101.6) was essential. Six credits were maintained in first year in a class designed to fit the needs of SUNTEP first year students. A lab class was attached and a two week field experience maintained. Field experience is attached to a core class for each year and the instructor, as mentioned, recruits the co-operating teachers, makes the matches, supervises the experiences, and co-ordinates the orientation and follow up. Instructors also carry out ongoing evaluation. It is important to emphasize how unique, developmental, and integrated these practices are.

Recognition of the importance of Aboriginal epistemology is part of the planning that threads its way through all classes…. Planning for an overall holistic developmental experience is an objective of the SUNTEP team.

Recognition of the importance of Aboriginal epistemology is part of the planning that threads its way through all classes. As Lisa Brown, faculty member and teacher of Educational Studies 200 commented, she starts with her planning and her use of Aboriginal materials and resources. She builds on story and the lived experiences of the students. She tries to visually represent her philosophy by the symbols and art in the classroom environment (prayer flags, Medicine Wheel). The process is automatic; it is who she is as an Aboriginal person and teacher. Planning for an overall holistic developmental experience is an objective of the SUNTEP team.

Who the program attracts Many more students apply than there are spaces for in SUNTEP, Prince Albert. Location is one of the reasons the program attracts applicants. Also important is SUNTEP’s reputation for being a centre of excellence and a friendly, supportive place to get an education. Having an Aboriginal focus is an important draw. Word of mouth is a common way potential students hear about the program. It is not unusual for siblings and relatives to decide to apply. The program is proud that sons and daughters of some of the earliest students have now entered the program. The process of informing potential students about the opportunities offered at SUNTEP, P.A. begins with outreach into communities and recruitment. The school attracts many northern students and women with children who cannot go to the two big centres. Not having to relocate and having extended family support has proved to be important to many students. Being in Prince Albert is comfortable. As a small place, Prince Albert is mostly affordable and accessible to many who cannot move to the ‘big city’. This has resulted in a predominantly female student body, many of whom have children. It is not unusual to have an age range in the first year class from 18 to 40. The demographics of SUNTEP, P.A. has an important impact on the diversity of the student population and their issues and concerns. (See the “2002 Update Report” by the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Applied Studies and Research).

73 | P A G E


Giving back A 25 year history of working with all levels of the educational community has built productive relationships. SUNTEP, P.A. has earned its good reputation in the community and works diligently to maintain it. SUNTEP, P.A. as a teacher education program, is dedicated to the educational community and gives back in a number of ways. A good example is the recently instituted Volunteer Program. Each year of their studies, students offer their services to a list of groups provided by the staff. They donate 10 hours of their time and effort to places such as: hospitals, daycares, and schools. This gift of energy and time is a powerful way for students to give back and build bridges of understanding and has proven to be an important connection to the social justice issues in the community. Requests for SUNTEP students’ time and talents are frequent. For many years students conducted workshops and adjudicated at the Fine Arts Festival sponsored by the Grand Council. Students participate in the MÊtis Fall Festival. During Education Week, students do cultural arts and storytelling workshops in local schools. Many hours of volunteer work is given to schools. There are more requests than can be met and students enjoy the benefit from these community building experiences. The impact of community outreach is profound. Students build confidence and skills in using Aboriginal legends, stories, crafts, and activities; they build relationships with schools and teachers and children; they renew their dedication to the profession; they get experience in classrooms which helps with their field experience, and they contribute to the excellent reputation SUNTEP, P.A. has in community. They are proud of themselves, their program and their future as Aboriginal educators. Themes and questions

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing realized? The role of story Using story and storying to create meaning and discover identity permeates both academic and cultural activities from the first moment students enter SUNTEP until they graduate. Students’ first cultural camp experience happens before they begin their first class. The fall Cultural Camp orients them to many of the attitudes and meanings of being a student in the program. Elders begin each day with stories. Cultural arts are taught in the afternoons and sweat lodge ceremonies are held under the guidance of Elders. Shared work and play begins with the process of stories and conversations. Story activities which help students tell their own stories and their family history also begins in several of the first year classes. Story Maps of their lives are created, told, and displayed. Story activities that blend the arts are common: Wheel of Life, Story Bag, Teaching Autobiography, dialogue journals. Academic research in the Native Studies 101.3 asked students to research their communities and write about what they discovered through interviews, articles and readings. There is a deeper purpose to these cultural and academic explorations and that is to provide a safe, nurturing, encouraging environment for academic and Using story and storying to spiritual growth in helping students discover who they create meaning and discover are as Aboriginal people. What is their place in the identity permeates both world? How do they see themselves as future academic and cultural Aboriginal teachers? What are their values and goals? activities from the first How can students be given, not just voice, but stronger moment students enter voice? These questions set the framework to begin an SUNTEP until they graduate. important inner journey. Stories provide the material for this learning into the answers.

74 | P A G E


Part of the journey helps students begin to use their knowledge of who they are as Aboriginal people. This, combined with their growing awareness of pedagogy, allows them to see themselves as Aboriginal teachers. They learn methods; they have experiences, and they build a foundation of knowledge about incorporating First Nations and Métis content. Students learn stories, legends, oral histories, and academic theories which start to shape them as future teachers. They learn about many cultures in an atmosphere of respect and tolerance. The word ‘respect’ came up frequently in conversations, as does ‘understanding’. Students use their own stories to teach each other. The role of the arts An emphasis on the fine arts is one of the consistently outstanding qualities of SUNTEP, P.A.. The environment in the centre is rich with examples of art, much of it created by students. Several of the staff members, Lean Dorion, Liza Brown, Bente Huntley, for example, have multiple and impressive artistic talents which are woven into their teaching and cultural contributions to the centre. Students add their talents and skills to the rich cultural mix and workshops in the community. They ably carry the cultural talents of the program into classrooms. The Prince Albert campus provides a rich, stimulating, creative learning environment in which students take deserved pride. “You belong. You are safe. You will be respected. You will have opportunities to tell your story. You have talents to share.” For many years, Lon Borgerson, in his various roles as faculty member, co-ordinator, drama teacher, and Intern Supervisor, was the guiding light of SUNTEP Theatre. Many performances were done for local schools. Some productions were taken on the road. These ‘collective creations’ resulted in published plays and productions that have played at World Indigenous Educational Conferences from New Zealand to Hawaii. The play, “Supperless Babes,” was a collective play based on the family history of students and has been widely seen and appreciated. The play continues to be published and produced. The circle as metaphor “The circle contains everything.” ~Unknown The metaphor of the circle perhaps offers the strongest sense of the integrative spirit of the program. It is a shared metaphor that is both expressed and understood in language and experience. Talking Circles, Read Around, Medicine Wheels, Story Circles, teaching is almost always done in a circle. “Circle up” is a direction often heard in the centre. Faculty often use a spiral metaphor to describe their sense of building on students’ knowledge and experience. Building a learning community: Cultural and academic focus Creating a healthy community where students feel they belong and have both purpose and meaning is what SUNTEP does well. “You belong. You are safe. You will be respected. You will have opportunities to tell your story. You have talents to share.” These are all messages that SUNTEP tries to convey. From the moment a student enters the SUNTEP space, they are made to feel welcome. The elevator and doors open into a shared area where the faculty offices lead into the lounge area. The lounge is filled with notices, Aboriginal art collected from around the world, students’ art work, and grad photos. There are worktables where students eat lunch. There is a coffee and kitchen area. The centre is both practical and attractive. Conversations happen. Work happens. There is a deliberate attempt by staff and senior students to make the atmosphere inclusive and dynamic. The effect is a learning environment that is both persuasive and powerful. Students are invited to join in and take ownership through participation in activities and decision making about their centre and their learning. Classroom

75 | P A G E


Meetings, SRC, Buddy Group activities, Cultural Committee, Professional Development Committee, Awards Committee are all ways students have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. Envisioning with an Aboriginal focus: Dedication to profession and community Each of the staff members, when asked, gave a detailed and enthusiastic description of how they ensure Aboriginal content and focus in their classes. As staff member, Liza Brown, commented, “It begins with the attitude of the

“You belong. You are safe. You will be respected. You will have opportunities to tell your story. You have talents to share.”

teacher, follows through in the planning and the use of Aboriginal materials and methods, how the class is decorated, and the symbols that are displayed and the way the class is laid out.” Another example of the congruence of an Aboriginal perspective is staff

member Bente Huntley who works primarily with 3rd year students and who also teaches the science methods class. Bente, a SUNTEP graduate, a science major and expert in Traditional Environmental Knowledge, teaches her class from that perspective. She uses an abundance of Aboriginal materials she has amassed over several years of teaching and collecting.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the program? A talented and dedicated staff Part of the building of community mentioned previously involves the importance of strong staff component. Six of the seven staff members are Aboriginal and of those, four are SUNTEP grads, three from the Prince Albert program. The staff is educated, talented and deeply dedicated. Most of the staff members have been there for over 10 years, lending stability and commitment that has proved invaluable in the continuity of the program’s vision. The lived history of the staff contributes to the knowledge, reputation, and respect the program has. There are strong opinions expressed by staff that they envision the program as striving to be an Aboriginal teaching program of excellence. These intentions and the productive atmosphere of the centre work well under Mike Relland’s leadership style which is collaborative and collegial. The newest staff member and SUNTEP, P.A. graduate, Corey Teeter, is clear about the program’s mission to create an environment of trust where people can model nurturing and sharing. He hopes students know there are people there to listen to them, to help, and guide them. He sees the program as offering students the chance to connect to self and to do this within a supportive community. One of the deliberate practices of staff can be summed up in Sandy Sherwin-Shields’ expression of the ‘ability to be present’, to be in the moment. Faculty does whatever needs to be done from talking to a distraught student to taking their turn cleaning the coffee area. There is no such thing as “it’s not my job”. The focus is on the students, and staff is there for them in a variety of supportive ways. SUNTEP provides a nourishing environment, emotionally, and spiritually. Faculty models good relationships in the spirit of respect. The hope is that students will also model good relationships. Integrate, Integrate, Integrate Many of the parts of the SUNTEP program have been discussed in this text in such a way that the integrated nature of the SUNTEP experience may not be evident. Efforts to make the courses of study ‘make sense’ and to make them cumulative are ongoing. Questions are continuously raised about ways to incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing into the curriculum, and into the daily life of the centre. A great deal of time in both staff meetings and professional development sessions is devoted to these 76 | P A G E


issues and much of SUNTEP’s work with the University of Saskatchewan is to realize the goal of making SUNTEP a centre of excellence in Aboriginal education. A good example of co-operation from the College of Education is their support of the Internship Pilot Project which is moving into its third year of successful operation. The supervision of the interns is seen as a natural extension of an integrated field experience concept. The improving relationship with the university has gone a long way in activating and realizing many of the centre’s ambitions. The strength of diversity The unique qualities of SUNTEP are enhanced by the diverse nature of the student population. Having both Métis and First Nations students from many parts of the province, particularly the North has been a core strength of the program. Many languages are commonly represented and heard: Cree, Dene, and French. The range of cultural talents is impressive and many opportunities for students to share their Aboriginal knowledge and cultural arts are presented at the cultural camps, storytelling sessions, cultural arts workshops, and in classrooms. Students learn more than skills and knowledge; they gain respect. Respecting the gift of the diversity within the program is a transformative opportunity. Living and realizing the organizing principles: Aboriginal content There is a conscientious effort on the part of all instructors to use Aboriginal content, where possible. As staff pointed out, teaching from an Aboriginal perspective has been internalized and begins in the planning stage, the choice of materials, the selection of methods, and in the ways evaluation is carried out. For example, Bill Robertson, English professor, uses Aboriginal literature extensively in his classes. John Thornton, Native Studies instructor, uses the most current and respected texts and articles in his history classes to emphasize and explain Aboriginal perspectives. Mike Relland incorporated Aboriginal theories into Educational Psychology classes—no small feat. The library that serves the programs in the building has current curricular and academic Aboriginal material. This is a significant resource for the program. What the education community has to say When asked to comment on the unique aspects of the SUNTEP program, graduates, sessional instructors, school administrators, and University of Saskatchewan colleagues made similar observations. They saw it as “positive and encouraging” that SUNTEP, Prince Albert has both Métis and First Nations students. This is seen as a unique strength of the program. The strong cultural component was observed to be visible and exemplary. The small size of the program is credited with the staff’s ability to build a highly personal program where students feel part of a family. One instructor commented on how everyone knows everyone’s name and people cannot easily fall through the cracks. The rapport is visible and is seen as based on the respect that flows between students and staff. Several of the sessional instructors commented on how friendly and welcoming the centre felt and how they valued the lively interchange between students and staff over coffee and lunch in the open area lounge. The faculty’s high level of current educational knowledge and knowledge of the life of the classroom was seen by one administrator as the foundation for the strength of the program. He commented that staff stay informed about provincial initiatives and important educational debates. He assumes students are taught from an Aboriginal perspective and this is a significant strength. Over 50 percent of the children in local schools are Aboriginal. Having students in schools over their four years and student teachers and volunteers gives administrators an opportunity to get to know students and become familiar with the program. “Connected”, “Committed”, “Current”, were the terms used to describe the faculty in SUNTEP, Prince Albert.

77 | P A G E


Also observed and valued as strength is the ‘culture of improvement’ where questioning, innovation, research, and improvement are ongoing. Evaluation based on outcomes was seen as a positive strength. What the Elders have to say There were common themes that came out of conversations with Elders. They expressed pride in the opportunities that SUNTEP provides for Métis and First Nation people. One Elder commented that the program builds resilience to give Aboriginal people the strength to move into two worlds. ‘Pride’ was a concept that was mentioned frequently. Some Elders see the program as giving students the courage to discover their Aboriginal heritage and to use the knowledge to ‘share’ and ‘give back’, two concepts they saw as the ‘Aboriginal way’. Elder Danny Musqua, who has had a close association with SUNTEP, spoke eloquently about Aboriginal peoples’ responsibility to Mother Earth and how SUNTEP needs to build an awareness and understanding of ecological issues. He sees the classroom as one place to encourage students’ association and relationship with the land. He spoke of the earth’s suffering and a need for Aboriginal peoples to have a vision of the future. The importance of understanding Aboriginal history is a way to make the students aware of issues and to foster pride and dignity. Elder Musqua’s comments were both acknowledgement and encouragement for the program to emphasize environmental and historical teachings. He sees the ‘spirit of learning’ as a deeply held value for Aboriginal peoples, and an ongoing ideal for SUNTEP.

How is student success supported? To answer the questions in the self-study is to delineate many of the ways the program is deeply supportive of students. What is seen as important is setting high standards and expectations, building a strong Aboriginal learning community with good relationships and celebrating successes. The process of building a learning community and the integrated aspects of the program are the bedrock of supporting students’ learning. There are several other aspects of the program which are supportive of students. One of the most important qualities of SUNTEP is the high expectations and goals are clearly spelled out in the Student Handbook which is given to each student when the September term begins. For example, an expectation of 90% attendance is a requirement and closely monitored. A student is expected to phone in when they cannot attend. The reason is noted (but they are still marked absent). The model is similar to an employment situation; no expensive and unnecessary doctor’s notes are requested. The program understands that students have families, have crises, sick children, and the myriad of situations that affect a mature student’s life. Staff trusts them to make a decision and notify the appropriate people. It is the responsibility of the program to support the student including helping them make the decision to withdraw when they cannot manage the conflict between home and school. The model SUNTEP, P.A. practices is meant to set high standards, help the students meet them, and also face the consequences when they cannot. The centre creates an atmosphere which encourages growth and responsibility. (See Student Handbook for a more detailed description of the professional and academic expectations and consequences.)

What are the future goals and improvements? Most of the people interviewed were interested and excited about making suggestions about how to strengthen the program. Many of the small practical ideas were passed on to staff to deal with. For example, some students wanted changes to the Buddy Group structure, others wanted the junk food machines gone, and at least two people complained about the smoking in front of the building (nonSUNTEP students). Some of the ideas were impractical but reflected the deep concerns of students about issues such as day care and health. The desire of a gym and an on-site daycare came up a few 78 | P A G E


times. These were important to note because, although they seem impossible, they reflect the needs and issues students face that affect their learning. Suggestions fell into three broad categories. The first category was ideas for program and academic improvements. The second was a series of ideas to strengthen community building within the program and outreach ideas to work more effectively in the larger community. The final category was an urgent wish list around personal health and family concerns. The wishes for better daycare and fitness facilities were part of this. Ideas for program changes and improvements are always a part of the faculty’s consciousness. Professional Development workshops are scheduled several times a year to concentrate on aspects of the program that are under review. Staff engages in program evaluation and planning on a continuous basis. They monitor the program and students through weekly staff meetings during which time is devoted to looking at regular program cycles, such as the field placement process. The Internship Pilot Project which has evolved in SUNTEP, P.A. has meant ongoing work on developing a new model which is more harmonious and integrated with the whole four year field experience component. Envisioning, “Blue Sky” dreaming, and continuous questioning and evaluating, are a part of the intellectual environment of SUNTEP. In the spirit of continuous questioning, faculty is always asking: How do we make cultural activities more integrated into the curriculum and daily life of students? How do we build on successes and continue the goal of making SUNTEP a Centre of Excellence? Time is a problem. Resources and underfunding are ongoing problems. Expressions for more time for faculty member’s research and writing are accompanied by the realization that the days are full and everyone is very busy. The dream of a lab school has never been abandoned. Special areas of interest offer a direction for some initiatives. The important role of the arts and integrating more of the cultural arts is important to the staff. Special mention was made more than once about the need to focus on Aboriginal language issues: retention, epistemology, and self-governance. How dealing with language challenges might unfold has yet to be decided. Second language issues are going to be a priority and an active search is on to look for someone with second language experience to provide some guidance. Another of the new initiatives that the staff is co-ordinating is the Volunteer Program as a way to inspire students’ involvement in broader social justice issues. Student ideas for program improvement and direction are expressed in a desire for more tutoring help in areas such as academic paper writing and math. Some students wanted greater access to the library by having more library hours. A few wished for the odd evening class. At least one student felt that environmental issues deserved a higher priority. The student made a case for the urgency of conservation education and practices, the need for a deeper connection to the natural world and the important role of Aboriginal peoples in this struggle. He saw SUNTEP students as needing to make a committed, informed stand and be more pro-active. He is prepared to provide leadership in this direction and will be looking to staff for support. Ideas for strengthening the learning community and outreach activities for the larger community were often mentioned along with ideas for the program. They are part of the whole fabric that represents the SUNTEP vision and experience. Second year students wanted more Aboriginal storytelling and cultural arts presentations in the schools. These time consuming but in-demand workshops are welcome by teachers and classrooms and raise the profile and respect for the SUNTEP program and students. Promotion of the program was mentioned by several students who felt many high schools are not fully aware of the SUNTEP option. The idea of making better use of the talents of the diverse group of students received an enthusiastic endorsement when it was mentioned in a Classroom Meeting. There was a sense of pride and commitment that was evident in the spirit with which these suggestions were made. Although SUNTEP’s reputation is increasingly strong, students are sometimes shocked and hurt by a few lingering negative perceptions of their program that persist in the larger community. It is to 79 | P A G E


their credit that they are so willing to volunteer to bring their gifts to school and to continue to work inside SUNTEP to make this a MĂŠtis and First Nations program of which they are proud. The final area that students, in particular, wish to work on is their concerns about health and family. As well as daycare and fitness concerns, the issue that was mentioned most often was the issue of diabetes. Every group raised this health issue. They saw it as a personal, educational, and an Aboriginal concern. How this health issue might be addressed remains to be explored in future student/staff forums. There is no doubt that students responded with intelligence and vision to the question about future directions. It seems very important to the program that these conversations continue and that more opportunities to be involved in planning at many levels would be welcome and strengthen an already lively dialogue. Conclusion and comments on self-study: the ecology of an Aboriginal learning community The responses to the questions posed in the self-study outline were answered by students and staff in the context of their lived experience in their learning community. It is their words and wishes which are woven into the sections of this paper. This is their document which they helped create, edit and ‘own.’ Graduates emphasize that for them, the Aboriginal spirit of the program went far beyond the cultural activities and artifacts, extending deeply in the connected spirit of community and relationships. The paper may not fully capture the pride and hope expressed in honest heartfelt discussions. Students do not shy away from expressing the importance of their journey towards being confident educated Aboriginal peoples who are also teachers. This paper not only cannot capture the pride, it cannot capture the sense of a journey, an unfolding of identity, vision, meaning, and story. SUNTEP, P.A. offers a rich organic educational experience. Students are free to engage as deeply as they are able and benefit from that commitment. This document should be used to enhance their vision, story, and journey.

80 | P A G E


APPENDIX A: A Sample List of Cultural Events COMMUNITY OUTREACH Story telling workshops Cultural arts workshops Volunteer Experiences

PAGC Fine Arts Festival Drama presentations Métis Fall Festival

REGULAR CULTURAL EVENTS Friday lunches in community Spring Cultural Camp Fall Cultural Camp Ceremonies: Sweatlodges Ceremonies: Smudging Field trips: Batoche Classroom Meetings

Elders’ Story and Legend telling Jigging and dance presentations Round Dances Full Moon ceremonies Cultural Committee’s planned activities Field trips: Wanuskewin Talking Circles

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES Making tobacco ties

Prayer flags

STORYING ACTIVITIES Teaching Autobiographies Lab Activities: Story Maps Dialogue journals

Research: Nat St. 105 paper of own communities

COMMUNITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES Open door policy Family events: Christmas party SRC elections, activities, meetings Sprinter Festival Professional Development tutoring Committee study groups Buddy Group activities Graduation celebrations Survival Banquet celebration PROFESSIONAL AND PEDAGOGICAL ACTIVITIES Using Aboriginal story books Guest lecturers: Danny Musqua History of Aboriginal education Special presentations Unit: Aboriginal Language issues Traditional Environmental Knowledge Learning Centres Native Studies classes Bulletin Boards

81 | P A G E


APPENDIX B: Participants in Self-Study A. Staff: Mike Relland, Co-ordinator Sandy Sherwin-Shields, Faculty Bente Huntley, Faculty Leah Dorion, Faculty Liza Brown, Faculty Corey Teeter, Faculty Donna Biggins, Administrative Assistant B. Student Groups: Classroom Meeting, Year 1 Classroom Meeting, Year 2 Classroom Meeting, Year 3 Year 4, Intern group SRC Cultural Committee Individual students in conversations and in journal responses C. Sessional Instructors: John Thornton, Native Studies Bill Robertson, English Renee Baxter, Mathematics D. Educational Community Lee Hains, College of Education, Assistant Dean Jim Mireau, Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, Director of Student Services E. Elders Vivian Mabury Danny Musqua

82 | P A G E


APPENDIX C A Day in the Life of a SUNTEP, P.A. Student Sara Lafond wakes before the seven o’clock alarm goes off. Monday morning arrives too quickly after a busy weekend. She quickly showers and dresses before waking her three daughters. The youngest is the easiest to wake up and get organized and she gets the chatty three year old dressed and fed before the others are up, grumpy but hungry. She wishes she had made oatmeal. She is trying to improve their nutrition and find time to eat her own breakfast since she joined the other 35 students in Corey’s “Biggest Loser Club” at one of the Friday Lunches in January. Finding time and money to cook from scratch is an ongoing issue and she often feels guilty about this but cereal will have to do for this morning. She will be glad when her brother comes down this weekend with some elk and pickerel. Meat is so expensive in town. She is lonesome for her family but when they come to visit they like to stay up late drinking tea and talking. She wants to visit too, but she has so much work and no one seems to understand why she doesn’t have much time for them. So much to feel guilty about, including how much she loves being in school. She packs lunches for the oldest two who will catch the school bus to Riverside Community School. She is very happy with the school and the girls seem to have settled in well. Their northern school was much smaller and she worried about their shyness in a large urban school. She was surprised that both the girls have SUNTEP graduates as teachers. They told her there are eight SUNTEP graduates at the school. She found this both comforting and encouraging and was proud to tell the teachers that she was a first year student. Both the girls’ teachers were very enthusiastic and gave her lots of advice. “Don’t get behind. If you get in trouble, see Mike. Do your Native Studies reading.” She isn’t sure about the ‘see Mike” part, but he seems friendly and there are other people she feels she could ask about problems. There is always someone in Sandy’s office. Right now the problems seem nothing anyone could help her with: How is she going to stretch a too small budget? How is she going to stop being so tired at t the end of the day? How can she stop feeling sad about not having enough time with her daughters? She can’t even begin to worry about how to write an academic essay. It has been many years since she had to and she wasn’t very good at it then. She is happy with how quickly she remembers her math and she finds Renee, the math teacher very encouraging. There is talk about starting a study group for Native Studies and that would be a good thing. She loves finding out about her people’s history but the readings seem very hard for her sometimes. Talking about this to other students seems like it would be helpful. Sara and the girls are almost ready to go. All the backpacks are put by the door before everyone goes to bed and she slips the lunches inside and hugs the two as they head out to get on the school bus. They seem happy to be leaving for their school day. That is such a relief for her that she finds she is looking forward to her own school day. She will be picked up soon by a new SUNTEP friend who lives a few blocks away and doesn’t mind picking her up and the little one who has to be dropped off at daycare. Lucky for her, she got the pre-schooler in the daycare in the church behind the SUNTEP building. It is a very warm welcoming place, but her daughter still cries when she leaves, making her feel more guilty than she already does. The workers tell her that her daughter stops as soon as mom is out of sight. Her friend has a car, but not a very reliable one and she is sometimes late. This really worries Sara and she has been late twice already but has no other way to get to school because busses don’t come anywhere near where she lives and walking with a three year old is not practical. One more worry. She buys her friends coffee every morning to express her thanks and even pays the 25 cent fine that environmentalist student Curtis has started as one of his programs to get students to pay more attention to environmental issues. So many things to care about and learn about. Stopping at Tim Hortons is just a habit and she is determined to break that one by bringing coffee for her and her friend. Just how she will manage that, she is not sure. 83 | P A G E


When she gets to SUNTEP, she is tempted to take the elevator but she remembers her commitment to eat better and get fit. Upper year students have warned her about the weight gain that happens in first year. Students spend too much time sitting in class, doing homework, reading, visiting, and having coffee. She hopes the students can get a volleyball team together or maybe something that the whole family can do. Getting a babysitter is not an affordable option, and she has not found anyone, yet, with whom to trade babysitting time. As she climbs the stairs she admires the wall hanging she helped work on at Fall Culture Camp. This was her first SUNTEP experience and although she was anxious to start classes, she was also anxious to meet the people she would be with at school. She wondered what the instructors were like. The whole three days was different from what she expected. She really enjoyed starting the day with Elders’ stories and then deciding which of the many activities she wanted to do. She went on a nature hike with Bente who seemed to know the name of every plant and what it was used for. She even tried canoeing with one of her Buddy Group. Making meals together was lots of fun and the talent night made her laugh so hard she had tears in her eyes. Worrying about the girls left at home with her mother was hard, and she was a little lonely at night, but she looks forward to the next camp now that she knows what to expect. Sara has English 99 class first thing with Leah and the class will be finishing their bulletin boards that are based on native legends and beginning to present them to the class. She loves this class and finds that she is very good at the art projects and with Leah’s encouragement, she has created some pieces she is proud of. Sara was happy with the story activities she has shared with others and she has listened carefully to the two Dene students. She knows very little about the far north and found herself wanting to ask questions. Slowly, she is working on her shyness. She doesn’t like being called on to answer but she enjoys group work. As she stops to read the notices on the flipchart by the front door, she sees that the Cultural Committee is meeting at noon. Sara knows they plan the Friday cultural activities. She wonders if she should join. She saw that they collected kinnikinic and are going to make tobacco ties. Mandy, who often sits beside her in class and who is almost a friend, is on the committee. It would be nice to spend more time with her. Time, the very thing she is so short of. Mike waves at her. Bente is on her computer. There is a student in Sandy’s office. Donna is selling texts to a student. Corey and Liza are talking to students in the coffee area. A small group of students are sitting around the table working. Someone is making tea. She can see Leah setting up the classroom. It is almost time for class and another week has begun.

84 | P A G E


It is a critical aspect of professional  modeling and mentoring for NITEP  students to learn from Indigenous  educators who have completed their BEd  degrees, and most importantly, to learn  from faculty members that have a critical  consciousness about the impact of  colonization and the need to embrace  transformative educational philosophies  and practices.    ~ Dr. Jo­ann Archibald, NITEP Director 

85 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education N ATIVE I NDIAN T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (NITEP), FACULTY OF E DUCATION , U NIVERSITY OF B RITISH C OLUMBIA V ICTORIA , B RITISH C OLUMBIA

SUBMITTED BY DR. JO-ANN ARCHIBALD, on behalf of the NITEP students, coordinators/faculty, and staff With assistance from Karen Blain, Kamloops NITEP Coordinator; Jackie Agostinis, Duncan NITEP Coordinator; Petrina Dester, Bella Coola NITEP Coordinator; Marny Point, Urban NITEP Coordinator; Lucetta George-Grant, Yeats 3,4,5 NITEP Coordinator; Felicity Jules, Assistant Director; Linda Williams, NITEP Financial Clerk; Susana Martin, NITEP Program Secretary; and Amy Parent, Aboriginal Graduate Research Assistant. We thank the NITEP students who participated in the various discussions. March 31, 2008

86 | P A G E


Introduction The NITEP9 students, faculty/coordinators, and staff addressed the four themes of the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project:    

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within courses, programs and practices? How are student successes supported? What plans/goals can be established for future cultural program development? What challenges and opportunities exist in respect to realizing these goals?

From October 2007 – January 2008, the theme questions formed the basis of feedback and dialogue during the October NITEP student gathering, the January 2008 NITEP coordinators and staff one-day discussion, and during the NITEP Education Seminars taught by the coordinators in the Fall 2007 teaching term. There are currently 79 NITEP students enrolled in years one-five in four regional field centres and at the Vancouver campus. The field centres are located at Kamloops, Duncan, Bella Coola, and in Vancouver. There are four NITEP field centre coordinators, one assistant director, one acting director, two support staff (secretary and financial clerk), and part-time secretaries for the field centres, and sessional lecturers who teach some of the NITEP Aboriginal education courses. This self-study will first provide a program description that discusses how NITEP addresses Aboriginal ways of knowing, and then it will summarize the student, coordinator, and staff responses to the theme questions. NITEP description The Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) was established in 1974 as a Bachelor of Education degree program at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. This BEd degree is of a concurrent nature, where students take arts/science courses along with education courses throughout their Program. The founding group members were mainly Indigenous educators. One of these, the late Robert Sterling was a highly respected educational leader who in 1983 related NITEP’s success to involvement and decision-making by Indian people who created an Indian based program: Programs in which Native people have been actively involved in the planning and throughout the developmental phases have shown the greatest success. Among these, our Native Indian Teacher Education Program, NITEP, stands at the forefront of our successes. The program is an Indian idea, is Indian-controlled and its philosophy is Indian, although the program falls under the jurisdiction of the University of British Columbia10.

The founding group chose the program logo of Raven holding the sun in its beak to symbolize a traditional Indigenous story that provides guidance and vision to the work of NITEP (see figure 1). Raven is an Indigenous trickster character that often gets into trouble because it does not follow good cultural teachings, but sometimes Raven does something to help others. In the NITEP story, Raven pitied the people who were living in darkness and decided that he would find the sun for them, so that they would have a better life. Raven went on a journey and after lots of effort and trickery, he found a hole in the sky, and captured the sun. He brought it back to the people of the earth. NITEP is like the sun in Raven’s beak. This important story reminds the faculty, students, and community members associated with NITEP to find ways to ensure that its teacher education program meets the learning needs of all learners in the K-12 schools and in other educational contexts, but especially, the learning

9 Terms such as Native, Aboriginal, Indian, and Indigenous will be used in this self-study. The terms Native and Indian will be used to signify a particular time period when each term was predominantly used. Aboriginal and Indigenous will be used interchangeably. 10 Cited in Archibald, J. ( 1986) , p. 33.

87 | P A G E


needs of Indigenous learners. The NITEP story also challenges its graduates to use their “Indigenous heart and mind” to transform Indigenous education.

Figure 1: The NITEP Logo Raven with the Sun in its Beak

Besides the NITEP logo and story, the wholistic learning model is another cultural philosophical framework for NITEP (see Figure 2). Wholistic learning involves developing the spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual aspects of our human development. Because Indigenous knowledge is often relational and inter-dependent, the aforementioned four realms are addressed both as distinct entities and in relation to each other. The principle of inter-relatedness extends to the circles of responsibility and interaction that embrace one self, one’s family, one’s community, and the wider world. Specific examples of how NITEP addresses the wholistic model will be pointed out below.

88 | P A G E


Figure 2: NITEP Wholistic Model Community-based relationships A fundamental component of NITEP is its community-based relationships and regional field centres that provide localized opportunity for Indigenous learning. NITEP establishes and maintains community-based relationships through its two-year regional field centres11, located in various areas of British Columbia (BC). Students begin their teacher education program close to their home or in a location that has strong Aboriginal community support and relationships. The students move to the main university campus located in Vancouver, BC, to complete the remaining three years of the BEd degree. Over its 33 years of operation, NITEP has had numerous field centres located in both rural and urban centres. There are currently four regional NITEP field centres. A field centre can be established if an Aboriginal community requests one; there are a minimum of 12 students; there is sufficient funding, and there is a college or university nearby that will offer the arts and science course requirements. Each field centre works with local Aboriginal community groups and engages community resource people such as Elders come to talk with and mentor the NITEP students. During these first two years, the NITEP students complete educational placements that are often sponsored by various community contexts such as early childhood education, First Nation run schools, adult education programs, and cultural centres. A First Nations Education Council (FNEC) guides NITEP’s program and curriculum policy and other pertinent program matters. Community representatives from the regional sites, an Elder, alumni, and 11 The NITEP field centres may be adding a third year in order to give its students an opportunity to stay closer to their home communities for one more year before moving to the Vancouver campus. Students will also have the option of moving to the Vancouver campus after completing two years at the field centres.

89 | P A G E


representatives from professional educational associations comprise the FNEC, along with student representatives from the field centre and on campus groups, and the Associate Dean for Teacher Education. The FNEC and the NITEP faculty ensure that Indigenous oriented courses and learning experiences comprise a core part of its teacher education program. Indigenous education courses One or two Indigenous education courses are taken in each year of the five-year degree program. NITEP has control over the course content and selection of Indigenous faculty to teach its courses. These courses include a survey course of Aboriginal history and issues in Canada and British Columbia (EDUC 140), an Indigenous cultural study (EDUC 141), an Aboriginal educational history and policy course (EDUC 240), an Aboriginal curriculum course (CUST 396d), an advanced educational history course (EDUC 441), and an advanced examination of current critical issues in Aboriginal education (EDUC 442). NITEP also offers educational seminars in years 1 (EDUC 143), 2 (EDUC 244), and 3 (EDUC 344/345) in which Aboriginal content is addressed. The NITEP wholistic model noted above is part of the students’ course learning. They learn to understand the dimensions of the model and they are challenged to apply it to their everyday living and to use if for their learning and teaching. To demonstrate this point, the Urban NITEP field centre student group wrote this response to the question, transformative Aboriginal educators: What does this mean? …realizing that being a part of NITEP truly means we will make a difference in the educational realm, but we are striving to take that a step higher. How will we evoke the most ‘change’ in elementary and in secondary school students – this is our mission. Identity is crucial. We understand that as Aboriginal people we are able to connect with Aboriginal students on levels that surpass both empathy and sympathy. We identify with these Aboriginal students, in a holistic mode, in every aspect of the students’ being: spiritually, physically, intellectually and emotionally.12

Indigenous people teach the Indigenous education courses, which is another fundamental principle of NITEP. It is a critical aspect of professional modeling and mentoring for NITEP students to learn from Indigenous educators who have completed their BEd degrees, and most importantly, to learn from faculty members that have a critical consciousness In NITEP, decolonization starts by about the impact of colonization and the need to raising critical questions about embrace transformative educational philosophies and power relations between the school practices. During these courses, NITEP students, as a and Aboriginal parents and caring cohort, have opportunities to explore and Aboriginal communities; raising develop their cultural identities; to heal from the questions about the suitability of intergenerational trauma caused by the impact of educational policies, curriculum residential schooling and assimilation of the public choices, and pedagogies used in system; and to develop educational the school systems; and understandings/competencies and concrete challenging the teacher candidates educational resources that are based in Indigenous to develop a critical knowledges. During their first two years they develop community-oriented an interactive learning community where they learn consciousness. from each other, pose critical questions of each other, and work both individually and cooperatively on learning projects. In the senior years, NITEP students have less structural opportunity to work as a NITEP group, but they still have an extended family spirit to their studies. NITEP graduates are loyal to this program because for many it helped them to recognize their internal gifts and to develop a sustained network of educator-friends to draw upon once they are out in the field. 12

NITEP News (2007), p. 9. 90 | P A G E


It is only in the last five to ten years that we have begun to talk about the need to decolonize our minds and our educational approaches in order to really improve Indigenous education. In NITEP, decolonization starts by raising critical questions about power relations between the school and Aboriginal parents and Aboriginal communities; raising questions about the suitability of educational policies, curriculum choices, and pedagogies used in the school systems; and challenging the teacher candidates to develop a critical community-oriented consciousness. Those who develop this type of consciousness take on change agent roles in various educational contexts. Their leadership has instigated change not only in school systems but in higher education, especially in graduate studies. The next section will summarize the NITEP students, coordinators, and staff responses to the four theme questions.

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? Aboriginal ways of knowing were incorporated in the overall program through learning more about Aboriginal education (traditions, colonization, history, guest speakers); sharing each other’s culture and songs; learning the principles of respect and listening; engaging in cultural exchanges; acknowledging personal experiences; and learning from cultural gatherings and events at the various NITEP sites. Aboriginal Course Work NITEP requires that students enrolled in its program complete the Aboriginal content courses noted above. These courses build upon a foundation of Indigenous knowledge that students bring with them into the program. They also learn more about Indigenous knowledges from each other and they are introduced to the scholarly work of Indigenous scholars. They also begin to understand the intergenerational impact of colonization through these courses. Often students engage in further development of their Aboriginal identity during these courses. Some have not had the opportunity to learn much about their Aboriginal culture because their parents went to residential school where Aboriginal culture and language suppression policies were enacted. Through completing all the aforementioned courses, NITEP students develop a teaching specialization about Aboriginal education (although not yet formally recognized as such by the Faculty of Education). Since 2006, the NITEP Coordinators have agreed upon a theme that is used as a common program thread and addressed in the NITEP education seminars, the annual NITEP Newsletter, and the annual NITEP student gathering. The themes were, “Transformative Aboriginal Educators” and “Transforming Aboriginal Education.” These themes challenge students to question the existing educational systems for relevance to Aboriginal education and to develop ideas, perspectives, and concrete plans to improve Aboriginal education. Specific classes incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing through pedagogy such as a talking circle; experiential cultural activities such as cedar bark weaving and drum-making; examining Indigenous scholars’ work; sharing and learning each other’s culture; and learning from Elders. Field trips also incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing. The non-NITEP education courses, at times, address Aboriginal knowledge by including a few readings. Instructors who are keenly interested in Aboriginal education will have more emphasis in this area. For example, one instructor who taught a science education course included Indigenous science as a core topic. Besides course work, NITEP’s cohort and wholistic model further exemplify Indigeneity. Aboriginal ways of being in the cohort/field centre The NITEP field centre, cohort structure, facilitates the inclusion of Aboriginal cultural practices such as prayer, talking circles, and feasts. Elders and cultural resource speakers give talks to the students. The 91 | P A G E


students also take field trips to the local Aboriginal community gatherings. The NITEP cohort becomes an extended family, which is formed at the regional field centre and expanded when they move to the main university campus and merge with other NITEP cohorts. NITEP graduates also speak at the NITEP courses and student gatherings thereby continuing the extended family learning process. The students note that they have a safe and comfortable learning environment in which they don’t have to defend Aboriginal culture to others. They can talk about the importance of such matters as Aboriginal spirituality and learn more about it without fear of ridicule or scepticism from non-Aboriginal students. Most of the NITEP Coordinators are Aboriginal people who have an “Indigenous heart and mind.” NITEP implements a principle of hiring Aboriginal instructors to teach its Aboriginal education courses. These instructors normally have at minimum a master’s degree or equivalent teaching experience. They bring both Aboriginal knowledge and teaching/education experience to their teaching and work with NITEP students. During the program, NITEP students complete more practica than the basic teacher education program. They complete 10 days in each of three years in various educational settings, many of these are Aboriginal schools and Aboriginal education contexts such as cultural centres, friendship centres. NITEP groups take on special projects such as organizing and implementing a mini-potlatch for the Aboriginal community. Another senior NITEP student organized a cultural conference for all teacher education students at the main university campus so that they would have an opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal Of note, students have education and Aboriginal curriculum. expressed appreciation about

having Aboriginal culture and knowledge combined with education so that they are not thought of as being separate or competing domains.

Of note, students have expressed appreciation about having Aboriginal culture and knowledge combined with education so that they are not thought of as being separate or competing domains. During the Education seminars they develop lesson plans using the information they have learned from the Aboriginal education courses. They are introduced to and use Aboriginal curriculum resources developed by Aboriginal educators or under the direction of Aboriginal educators.

What counts as student success and how is student success supported? What counts as student success?

There are many success milestones for NITEP students ranging from being admitted into the Program, attending the courses, successfully completing the courses and the educational placements/practica, moving from the field centre to the Vancouver campus, and then graduating from NITEP. For the majority of the NITEP students, they are among the first in their families to attend university. A critical benchmark of success is not only academic achievement but also maintaining and developing an Indigenous “heart and mind” where the teacher candidates build upon their Aboriginal knowledges and maintain pride in their Indigeneity. Indigenous values such as caring, sharing, helping one another through the extended family/cohort are lived. NITEP teacher candidates and graduates often speak about their goal to maintain and strengthen their Indigeneity while completing their Bachelor of Education degree, although they also experience many challenges such as racism, disinterest, and marginalization from non-Aboriginal teacher candidates and some instructors.

92 | P A G E


Another essential benchmark of success is developing teacher knowledge and skills. NITEP provides more practical experience in diverse educational settings in which the teacher candidates can observe, develop lesson plans/units/resources, as well as teach. Personal growth is another important benchmark of student success. Through the NITEP courses and Program activities, they develop perseverance, self confidence, leadership, and agency. This personal growth is also connected to their professional growth as teachers. The NITEP teacher candidates often talk about their desire and goal to make a positive impact on their future students’ lives. In their NITEP courses, they are challenged to think critically about educational systems, pedagogy, governance, parental engagement, policies, and curriculum. How is student success supported? The NITEP field centre coordinators play a critical role in facilitating student success in many different ways. During the recruitment and admissions’ processes they A critical benchmark of provide information to the applicants to help them make success is not only academic an informed decision about selecting NITEP and achievement but also pursuing their admission to UBC and they help maintaining and developing applicants complete the admissions’ process. Once an Indigenous students are in the Program, the coordinators provide “heart and mind” where the academic advising about the arts/science courses teacher candidates build students need to take at the local college or university and upon their Aboriginal the UBC education courses. If students have difficulties knowledges and maintain with the academic work, the coordinators arrange for pride in their Indigeneity. tutors, which are paid for by NITEP. They also ensure NITEP students have access to computer labs and arrange for software technical assistance as required. If students have social, emotional, or personal difficulties, the coordinators provide a safe “listening ear” and refer the students to appropriate university or community resources. They also help students with completing bursary or Canada student loan applications and housing applications. At times, the coordinators are a critical liaison between the student and the university instructor, especially when students have unexpected personal crisis situations. Developing and maintaining NITEP-community linkages and relationships is a major responsibility of the coordinators. They invite community resource speakers and NITEP alumni to classes as guest speakers, host lunches/dinners for community and family members, and ensure community educators and political representatives have opportunities to give suggestions and feedback on the Program. It is important for NITEP to have a community presence, which is developed through coordinator/student participation in high school career fairs and arranging field trips to local community services. NITEP students and graduates rely on the coordinators to write letters of support and recommendation for bursary/financial needs and jobs. The NITEP coordinators teach the education seminars, organize and supervise the two-week educational placements, and teach the Aboriginal education courses. In this role, they support student success centered on goals related to Aboriginal education and becoming a professional teacher as discussed above. They also play a pivotal role in developing and maintaining a comfortable field centre learning community atmosphere. Other Faculty of Education units such as the Teacher Education Office and NITEP governance structure of the First Nations Education Council also facilitate student success.

93 | P A G E


The UBC Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Office (TEO) supports NITEP student success through cooperative discussions, problem-solving, and planning sessions held between the NITEP coordinators, NITEP assistant director and TEO program advisors and coordinators. The NITEP assistant director oversees first year admissions and re-admissions and she works closely with TEO admissions staff regarding these academic matters. TEO staff participates in the NITEP student gatherings by providing information about their roles and giving current information on Program changes. TEO has appointed an Aboriginal practicum supervisor for the senior extended 14 week practicum. The First Nations Education Council (FNEC) provides policy and program guidance to NITEP. Membership includes Aboriginal community representatives from each field centre, NITEP student representatives from each cohort group, an Elder, TEO, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, Ministry of Education/Aboriginal Enhancements Branch, Ts`’kel graduate studies, and the UBC First Nations House of Learning. Student representatives bring questions, issues, and share successes from their respective cohorts. Through their membership on the FNEC, students gain leadership experience, they meet experienced NITEP educators, they gain an understanding of how policy and program matters are determined, reviewed, and revised, and they get to know other NITEP student leaders.

What plans/goals can be established for future cultural program development? Responses to this question centered on expanding Aboriginal cultural activities, increasing Elder involvement, increasing Aboriginal courses to include addressing Aboriginal language immersion, and expanding Aboriginal community involvement. The NITEP students want to have cultural exchanges with the regional field centres. For example, the Kamloops group visited the Bella Coola group. The latter took their guests on local field trips to cultural sites and told land-based stories and shared cultural knowledge of these sites; introduced them to local artists; and shared local language programs and pedagogy. This type of learning activity has many benefits. Before the visit, the Bella Coola students did not think they were ‘rich’ in their Aboriginal culture; however, through the educational planning activity and then carrying out the cultural knowledge visit, they appreciated the diversity of cultural resources and knowledge they and their community members possess. They also strengthened their educational planning and curriculum development skills. The Bella Coola students produced a video of the visit, which can be used by teachers and high school students. The NITEP students strongly recommend that more field trips and cultural workshops be included either as part of their courses or as part of the overall Program. These experiential activities build a community learning approach and they can be used as a basis for developing future learning resources and learning units. NITEP was fortunate to have an internationally known Indigenous scholar attached to the Program as a visiting scholar in the past year. This individual gave presentations to the cohort groups, to the annual NITEP student gathering, and was a role model to the students. The students want to have more interaction with visiting Indigenous scholars. They also recommend that activities such as an Aboriginal film night, with popcorn, be included, which also combines the academic with social, emotional, and cultural realms. NITEP has a limited Elders’ program. Students want to have much more NITEP Elder involvement in courses, as instructors or co-instructors and as mentors/counsellors. The NITEP students want to have more Aboriginal curriculum throughout their teacher education programs. An area of emerging interest is Aboriginal language immersion approaches.

94 | P A G E


What challenges and opportunities exist in respect to realizing these goals? A number of challenges were noted to realizing increased NITEP cultural goals. They range from limited funding, not working cooperatively, lack of strong community leadership support to make education a priority, insufficient numbers of community resource people who can teach using a language immersion approach, to dealing with the negative impacts of colonization. Students want to have more Aboriginal content included in other parts of the basic teacher education program. More non-Aboriginal students are also asking for more Aboriginal content. However, the existing basic teacher education program has not addressed these requests yet. Despite the aforementioned challenges, the NITEP students and staff feel that the following are strengths that create opportunities to realize NITEP cultural goals: Aboriginal culture is a strength; the NITEP cohort model unites the field centres and on campus group; Aboriginal coordinators and instructors are positive mentors and role models; and sensitized non-Aboriginal coordinators and instructors create positive learning environments. Conclusion Over its 33 years of operation, those who govern, work for, and study within NITEP have continued to examine its purpose, structure, courses, and policies in order to ensure that it is relevant and beneficial to its Aboriginal learners, Aboriginal communities, and Aboriginal education in general. The Aboriginal knowledge aspect of NITEP is one of its key strengths. A complete review of the NITEP education seminars and Aboriginal education courses began in 2005 and should be complete by 2008. In order to ensure that NITEP is still meeting Aboriginal community needs regarding teacher preparation and to receive community-oriented feedback on how the Program could be improved, regional Aboriginal community consultations were completed from 2006-2007. NITEP began as an “Indian idea� as stated earlier. It will continue to evolve and grow despite the challenges listed above because Aboriginal values such as caring, sharing, respect, family, and inclusion have become embedded in the program and its structure. The Raven and the Sun story is as important today as it was when the Program first started. The Aboriginal knowledge aspect of NITEP has become even stronger and more important today than when the Program first started.

References Archibald, J. (1986). Completing a vision: The Native Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of British Columbia, Canadian Journal of Native Education, 13(1), 33-46. Transformative Aboriginal educators: What does this mean? (2007, Spring), NITEP News, 26, 9.

95 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe: Val Mulholland NITEP Presentation – Jo-Ann Archibald Question 1 – How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practices? Q: What support services exist for students?  Field Centre Coordinator – ethical role  Relationships with community sites and organizations, i.e., additional funds from community – healing, Elders  UBC has bursaries  Access to other regional sites (colleges, other universities)  Elders in residence  Access to Indian knowledge base – greater benefit Q: Residences – where do students tend to live?       

Q:

Attrition – most avoid UBC/urban campus Year 3 – moving to field centres Year 1 & 2 – regional centres Allocated spaces in single residences and family residences Vancouver – Native Housing – at one site most are postsecondary students Regional sites – coordinators Housing is a major issue – help one by one

What do Elders do?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Varies in field centres one on one, family feeling Having lunch – three tables in classrooms Teachings/stories guidance (counselling) Traditional activity – community building ‘Talking’ and beading – very helpful Hands & talking Advisory committees

Comment: This makes me feel bad – we are very behind – we use colonial curriculum – don’t learn second language – students have a hard time – Grandmother taught me – gave me a knowledge from before – others have no stories – I started to realize – since 1978, 24 suicides. They don’t know who they are, they are lost. I had to accept, getting angry – drug and alcohol problems. We are lost. J/s response – Aboriginal TEP very important to address. We have felt hopelessness. There are people who have been given the knowledge – we can use them as teachers. We believe IK helps us to be healthy human beings. BC had it – but took time to recognize the richness you have - TEPs bring people and knowledge together. Must have Core of IK. We still struggle – control of Indian education. Communities needed to be involved. This has taken years – we have to fight for money and numbers. Up and down story. Always hope and commitment. Q: Where is core funding come from? UBC – formerly INAC – decentralized to communities. Left the TEP field centres in trouble – recently got more competitive funding. UBC has policy/priority for Aboriginal funding 96 | P A G E


Question 2 – What strengths/weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program? Powerpoint: Graphic – Impact of Colonization. Stronger in conviction to address racism, motivation for including IK. “Safe space’ – recurring theme. Limited number of community people in faculty. Immersion/language experiences lacking – Don’t fight hard enough to resist institutional pressure. Recursive process of renewal with limited resources. Elders/leaders called upon so frequently. At the point of naming final impact. In the XX, discourses prevail – Need to remember IK – language and negotiation of roles. Note. Everybody’s issue – privileging mainstream to be avoided – indigeneity needs to be front and centre. Other challenges exist – these relate to Aboriginal knowledge Comment: Limited resources and time – so much time spent chasing $$$ - marginalizes administration. Tension. As I articulate this – what do I really believe? Can I drop some program management? Can I make the difficult choice? Desperate effort to redress the past. Comment: This is what I need to remember – why it’s useful for us to come together. To get the money is a huge effort . . . just what you’re talking about.  Synergy is so important –  Gabriel Dumont – Are we going to continue negotiated agreements? Provincial Gov’t may pass an Act  Annual funding – NAC disbursement – another way to be marginalized. Economic marginalization  Collective bargaining may be necessary to exist. BC Aboriginal Teacher Education Consortium – FNESC Political organization with education service arm, i.e., recruitment materials prepared collectively. Hope to address bigger issues – political support from Aboriginal communities. Example, Canadian Dean’s of Education/Ministers of Education needed to support Teacher Education. “Colonization more insidious than surface level suggests.” Strengths and Opportunities  Newsletter – newspaper format  put energy into teachers – NITEP graduates in every community in BC, working education – making changes – ministers, schools, government POLICY.  TEP students should be teaching in and running the TEPs. Family structures preserved, as well as community links.  Coordinator’s role key for retention  FN Education Council – regional and student reps (FNEC) Q:

How do you find BCTF – are they an ally?  

Q:

receptive to Aboriginal Education (Immersion) Language instructor certificate – laddering of qualification/certification

Is there a place for ITEP student gatherings? Do they ever come back together? 97 | P A G E


No – not as a formal group. Conference and reunion held infrequently. Q:

How do you sustain these good ideas? Energy is needed to proceed with activities. Reached the limit of our own capacity – “need more resources to get more resources”

Q:

Primarily elementary programs – how to include secondary level? Aboriginal education – foundations course, but some methods course.

Comment: Remote community, fewer resources. What is “doable’ away from university sites? In Nunavut courses are 3 weeks at a time. Difficult to accomplish with small children. 

Language reclamation difficult – elementary focus allows for this specialization – language preservation.

What is not funded properly, cannot be sustained. Colonization – frustrating, but there are tremendous gains. Teaching booklet – TEPs in BC Suggestion: A national TEP magazine – responsible for 2 pages of content. Raise awareness, recruitment enhanced for all programs. Why can’t we do this? Enough to distribute to all TEPs. CMAC – walk the talk. More access to international indigenous scholars. (Valued by students & faculty. Challenged to think on more global level).

98 | P A G E


Aboriginal Learning or ways of knowing  are grounded in the Aboriginal worldview,  which sees everything and everybody as  being connected and   related in a holistic manner.    ~ Orest Murawsky, ITEP Director 

99 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education I NDIAN T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (ITEP) C OLLEGE OF E DUCATION , U NIVERSITY OF S ASKATCHEWAN S ASKATOON , S ASKATCHEWAN

SUBMITTED BY OREST MURAWSKY May 2008

100 | P A G E


“FOLLOWING THE PATHS OF OUR GRADUATES, 1973-2008” Introduction The Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, was established as a direct response to Indian Control of Education in 1972. ITEP has had a rich and at times, uncertain history over its 36 years of First Nations teacher preparation. The Program is often referred to as an anomaly because its survival was always a major concern of the Program, the College of Education, and the University. It is necessary to establish and understand why ITEP has been described as an anomaly. Every SPR and University review over the past three decades has identified this anomaly, but in reality, the financial and institutional commitments have not changed. To provide a context for ITEP’s current operation, the self-study offers a selected overview of the developments that have shaped and constituted ITEP. This overview looks at ITEP in 3 areas of program development: 1) clarifying its position in the College of Education; 2) the role it has at the University of Saskatchewan; and, 3) the unusual financial and governance structure through program expansion that moved with the changing standards of teacher certification, through changes in College of Education’s program requirements. It is interesting to note that even though ITEP was a 2 ½ year Project Program, it has evolved to be the parent program for other TEPs to follow in subsequent years. ITEP is a happy and successful story, but it is also a story that is indicative of how large institutions viewed, and at times still continue to view, the presence of First Nations teacher education programs. The early history of ITEP represents the long and hard road to being accepted as a Program with valid and achievable outcomes. The sceptics in the institutions eventually began to support, and even endorse, the presence and ever-changing mandates of ITEP. It seemed to take years of constantly defending the mandates of ITEP, and prove that Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing were valid and critical in the preparation of teachers. In reviewing the changes that have occurred over time in ITEP, it is evident that the philosophy, mandate, and support of every administrative era have resulted in both positive, and at times devastating, results for ITEP. The strength of leadership of any school, program, or college is the sole factor for active changes to occur. The promoting of Aboriginal teacher education was dependent on ITEP being patient and proceeding slowly in order to achieve the visionary outcomes of First Nations teacher preparation. It was understood that the required changes and acceptance of Aboriginal knowing would take time, and at the end of the process, these changes would shape the destiny and future of First Nations education in Canada. The process of change and patience is fulfilling some of the long-time goals of the First Nations visionaries of the 1970s and ‘80s. These visionaries saw a time when every First Nations classroom in First Nations schools would be accommodated by a First Nation teacher. ITEP has graduated 1,200 First Nations teachers and that coincides with the vision of having one First Nation teacher for every First Nations classroom in every First Nations School in Saskatchewan. Beginning of institutional commitment The advent of First Nations Aboriginal/Native teacher education programs can be credited to the Ad Hoc Conference on Native Teacher Education held in Saskatoon in September, 1973. This conference brought together representatives of the Universities of Alaska, Alberta, Brandon, Calgary, Quebec at Chicoutime, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, and representatives from the Northwest Territories and the Winnipeg Centre Project. This conference was the first of its kind in Canada and some consider this to be the institutional beginnings of First Nations teacher education in Canada. 101 | P A G E


It was at this forum that Dr. J.B. Kirkpatrick, Dean of Education, University of Saskatchewan, enunciated “four articles of faith” that served as the broad mission statements for ITEP, College of Education. The articles of faith were: 1. That the education system as it has operated until now has failed miserably to meet the needs of children of native ancestry; 2. That the parents of these children, like all parents, should exercise a strong and indeed a determining influence on the kind of education their children receive; 3. That we need teachers who fully understand and appreciate the cultural background of the children they teach. It follows that we need more teachers of native ancestry; 4. That teachers should then become agents of change to improve the curriculum and procedures in the schools in which they teach in such a way as to make them more attractive and more meaningful to the children they teach. These “four articles” were re-addressed in January, 1990 and the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan accepted and approved the College of Education Mission Statement for Aboriginal Education. These mission statements served as a commitment of the College of Education to advance Aboriginal education to its fullest potential. The unanimous approval of the Mission Statements gave TEPs the support and commitment to advance their Programs to their fullest. In 1990, the College of Education Faculty passed Mission Statements on Aboriginal Teacher Education to: 1. Re-affirm its responsibility for the teacher education of students of Aboriginal ancestry. 2. Re-affirm the valid and valuable contributions of SUNTEP, ITEP, NORTEP, and INEP to the teacher education of Aboriginal students, and that the faculty maintain and improve these units to meet the provincial demand for Aboriginal teachers. 3. Recognize the appropriate participation of Aboriginal constituencies with the College of Education in the development of teacher education programs. 4. Have each department develop and incorporate subject matter specific to Aboriginal and other education students they are most likely to teach. 5. Recognize and promote those factors which will enhance Aboriginal success in school and in teacher education and address those factors which have limited Aboriginal student success. 6. Advance Aboriginal education to the status of a Centre of Excellence in which research and program development are given high priority. These statements constitute the College of Education’s most formal commitment to the development of Aboriginal Education, and to the education of teachers who will be responsive to Aboriginal constituencies and children. These statements provide the broad framework for and give direction to the continued development of ITEP and other TEPs.

102 | P A G E


ITEP’s early (1973-1984) principles A cursor to the College of Education Mission Statements were ITEP’s seven principles. ITEP’s seven principles would govern the development of the Program: 1. Equal Certification. ITEP students were to take the same courses as other College of Education undergraduates, and be prepared for the same certification as non-ITEP students. 2. Continuous Field Experience. ITEP was to emphasize actual teaching experiences and provide a “wide variety of classroom situations” in a variety of Indian, integrated and non-Indian schools. 3. Coordination between University and Field Experiences. To decrease the gap between university and teaching experience, ITEP staff pre-identified cooperating teachers, discussed possibilities for students, and made arrangements to develop experiences built on their current university courses. 4. Cooperative Planning. Instructors were to engage in forms of comprehensive planning to coordinate teaching, reduce unnecessary overlap, and build cooperative effort. 5. Relevant Course Content. Relevant content meant developing “background knowledge and competencies for teaching through subject matter which is more relevant to native culture.” 6. Tutorials offered students guidance with projects and written assignments, organized them into pairs to review lectures, and provided groups sessions to summarize and review by key concepts. 7. Counseling. The program emphasized individual, couples, family, and group counseling to encourage students to become more aware of themselves and their relationships. It is interesting to note the concerns of ITEP in 1973 are the concerns of the College of Education today. With the advancement of Indian Control of Indian Education in the 1970’s, and increasing local control of schools, there was a growing awareness that ITEP could serve as a vehicle for the preparation of First Nations teachers for First Nations communities. The advent of local control was dependent on teachers that could serve the expectations and needs of First Nations communities that were to take control of their own education. It is also interesting that First Nations leaders were demanding Community Based teacher education in the 1970s. They saw this as a way to serve Indian Control of Education in their communities. In 2007-2008, this same demand was being served by ITEP as it It is interesting to note that expanded its First Nation Community Based Teacher the concerns of ITEP in 1973 Preparation to First Nations communities in are the concerns of the Saskatchewan and the Central and Western Arctic. College of Education today. To exemplify the importance of Community Based education in the 1970s, a statement by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSI) is presented (FSI, 1975), as well as a proposal from 1985 which called for First Nations teacher education programs to serve reserve communities in Saskatchewan. In 1985, the on-campus branch of ITEP found it difficult to recruit potential teachers from First Nations communities in Saskatchewan.

103 | P A G E


The majority of “dropouts” from the program have been people coming in from the reserves while urban Indians tend to remain in the program. Family-home considerations were the major factor in the decision to discontinue. “In order to meet the present needs of Indian communities, it is necessary that ITEP implement an Associate Teacher Transition Program and a program for the certification of English language Instructors while maintaining its present operations.13

ITEP accepted the challenge and over the next five years (1978-84), developed and delivered a number of First Nations Community Based Teacher Education Programs on site at the following First Nations communities: 1) Littlepine-Poundmaker; 2) Onion Lake First Nation; 3) North Battleford Tribal Council (District Chiefs); 4) Shoal Lake; and 5) Red Earth First Nation. This was a major expansion of ITEP and it proved to be a first for the College of Education. This set the stage for future developments in First Nations Community Based teacher preparation. ITEP has over the years, developed and delivered a large number of First Nations Community Based Teacher Education Programs that have addressed the needs of each community. (Please refer to ITEP Community Teacher Education chart ) Proposed Saskatchewan Indian Education Act 1984 In January 1980, the Legislative Assembly of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations authorized the establishment of the Saskatchewan Indian Education Commission and this body presented the Saskatchewan Indian Education Act (1984). The Saskatchewan Indian Education Act provided the avenue for the introduction of Aboriginal Rights in Education. The significance of this Act was that if it were passed, there would have been a significant difference in the way First Nations education, teacher preparation, and the governance and Agreement models would have advanced. It is worthy to note that in 1980, the Indian Education Commission saw the immediate need to formulate an Act that would guide and develop future educational policy and authority. The Act gave further direction in the implementation of Aboriginal ways of knowing. The intent of the Saskatchewan Indian Education Act was an act respecting pre-school, elementary, primary, Secondary, Post-secondary, University, Vocational, Professional, Special and Adult Education, and related auxiliary services for the Indian Nations of Saskatchewan. Short Title 1. This Act may be cited as The Saskatchewan Indian Education Act. Intent – Expression of Aboriginal Rights 2.

This Act gives effect to the sovereign will of the Indian Nations of Saskatchewan: a.

To create, control and evaluate their own comprehensive system of education as an expression of their Aboriginal rights as a distinct peoples;

b.

To educate Indians to be Indians by: • • •

13

Providing Indians with a firm grounding in the Indian world-view; Encouraging Indians of all ages to seize the opportunities and solve the problems of the modern world; Increasing Indian self-esteem;

FSI. (1975). 104 | P A G E


c.

Giving Indians the means to achieve the highest academic standards in the sciences, acquire the most useful technical skills, excel in the trades and professions, enhance the arts, advance human knowledge, work for the spiritual, social, economic and political development of their own community and nation, contribute to the betterment of the international family of man and fulfill themselves as individuals.

To implement the treaties whereby, in partial consideration for the use of vast tracts of traditional Indian homelands, the Crown of Great Britain and Ireland undertook to finance and otherwise assist the development of Indian education, at the request of the Indian nations and in a manner which would not disturb the Indian way of life, which treaties now oblige the Crown of Canada: in the spirit of those treaties, the Indian peoples intend that their system of education shall at least match the highest standards of excellence achieved in Britain and Canada.

The Saskatchewan Indian Education Act has relevance and meaning in 2008. It outlines and describes the authentic purpose and direction for education from Pre-school, Head Start, Elementary, Secondary, Post-Secondary, and others. One of the key elements of the Act was that the Indian Education Committee would administer all Indian education in the regions of Saskatchewan. It may be an opportune time to re-generate the Saskatchewan Indian Education Act (1984) so that First Nations children will be provided an educational opportunity…that would ensure that “…the Indian peoples intend that their system of education shall, at least, match the highest standards of excellence achieved in Britain and Canada.”14 Partnership in central and western Arctic – Aurora College 1997-2008 A unique and distinctive partnership evolved in the Central and Western Arctic. The Arctic College, Fort Smith, had been delivering an Aboriginal Northern teacher education program since 1969, and was the first Aboriginal teacher education program in Canada. Its history is linked very closely to ITEP and because of this, Arctic College students came to ITEP for their BEd degree. Even though there was not a formal agreement between Arctic College and ITEP, it was a natural fit, and later in 1977, an official Partnership Agreement was signed whereby Arctic College students could transfer to ITEP, College of Education to complete their degree requirements. This Partnership continued and now ITEP, College of Education is delivering a 4-year BEd program at Thebacha College, Fort Smith and other Aurora College sites. The impact of this partnership is reflected in the 269 Aurora College/Arctic College – ITEP graduates working within the Northwest Territories. The goals and strategies implemented in the Northwest Territories for Aboriginal/Northern teacher preparation parallel the goals and development in ITEP. The vision of the Government of the Northwest Territories and Aurora College was described in its vision statement: “The principles for teacher education were developed and finalized by the Northwest Territories Committee on Education.”15 1. We are dedicated to a Program founded on the knowledge, experiences, value, skills, and wisdom of Northwest Territories Aboriginal peoples: Dene, Métis and Inuvialuit.

14 15

Saskatchewan Indian Education Act, (1984), Sec 2c. Plan, Building in our Success Strategic Plan 2005-2015.

105 | P A G E


2. We believe that the Aurora College Teacher Education Program is premised on the knowledge and delivery of Northwest Territories curricula in cross-cultural settings, with Aboriginal culture and content as a main focus. ... 7. We are committed to research and documentation of Aboriginal worldview.16 Primary goals of Aurora College were: 1. Increase number of Aboriginal teachers representing all regions of the Northwest Territories. 2. Increase the number of Aboriginal language teachers in all regions of the Northwest Territories. 3. Prepare education assistants for all Northwest Territories schools. 4. Prepare Aboriginal Secondary teachers and program support teachers for Northwest Territory schools. 5. Increase the number of Aboriginal school administrators, college faculty and administration, education, culture & employment consultants and management. 6. Strategies for Teacher Education in Northwest Territories, 2007-2015.17

16 17

Plan, Building in our Success Strategic Plan 2005-2015. Ibid. 106 | P A G E


ITEP FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY BASED TEACHER EDUCATION MODELS 1977-2008

College of Education

1972-2008 ITEP College of Education University of Sask.

1977 ONION LAKE 25

Thunderchild Forum 2000-2003 15

1977 AURORA COLLEGE Inuvik Yellowknife Fort Smith

1976 LITTLEPINE & POUNDMAKER 24

Big River Forum 4-YEAR B.ED. 2005-2009 22 Pelican Ahtahkakoop Witchekan Mosquito Big River

107 | P A G E

1973-1989 ARCTIC COLLEGE

1982 NORTH BATTLEFORD TRIBAL COUNCIL 25

1984 SHOAL LAKE RED EARTH 22

1984 ONION LAKE

Ahtahkakoop TA 2007-2008

Northwest Nations Education Council 4YEAR B.ED. 2006-2010 Red 25 Pheasant Sweetgrass Moosomin Mosquito Makwa Sahgaiehcan Littlepine Poundmaker


First Nations community-based education models – Aboriginal ways of knowing First Nations community-based delivery models have the advantages of being in the community where ITEP graduates will be teaching. The community serves a major role in providing resource people/elders and knowledge keepers to be directly involved in First Nations teacher preparation. In asking the question: How are Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing present in First Nations teacher education? The answer is in another question: Where does First Nation Knowledge

come from, and who is the carrier of the Knowledge? These questions are to be the heart of how Indian Teacher Education is designed and delivered. At the outset, it must be clear that First Nations languages are critical and necessary for any First Nation/Aboriginal Teacher Education Program. It is interesting to note that there are universities that deliver First Nations teacher education programs that do not have adequate First Nations language courses offered. This complicates the delivery of First Nations knowledge. “If you do not have the language as a focal entity, then how can you have Aboriginal knowledge and knowing?� Likewise, if you do not have First Nations language speakers present in course and program delivery, how can you deliver the critical areas of Aboriginal culture, language, and tradition? Even though the mandate of First Nations Aboriginal Teacher Education is to preserve language, culture, and tradition through the facilitating of teacher education, it is difficult to see how Universities, Colleges, and Programs can facilitate the type of learning necessary to deliver the visions and goals of the communities and Peoples they serve. There is one thing for certain, if universities are to deliver First Nations teacher education and aspire to promote Aboriginal education, it is inconceivable to think that they cannot have First Nations language courses available as a university opportunity. One has to question the role and function of the institution in advancing Aboriginal education without these critical courses. Gift of language and culture In recent months, an exciting and challenging opportunity has been presented to Saskatchewan Universities, and specifically Aboriginal teacher preparation. The Gift of Language Program has been developing and piloting First Nations language curriculum in schools across Saskatchewan. The Project is now at the stage of approaching the Universities to develop and implement new approaches and strategies in preparing First Nations B.Ed. language teachers. ITEP has presented its model for the delivery of the Gift of Language teacher preparation focus. This model is an exclusive ITEP model and only represents the Program model. It is important to note that other Universities have equally strong models of delivery. The First Nations University of Canada has a very strong and well developed program that addresses the needs of the Gift of Language Project. The underlying premise of all models is that in order for Aboriginal knowledge, language, culture, history, and tradition to be the focus, there must be an extremely strong First Nations language component in whatever model is selected. ITEP hopes that it can deliver a Gift of Language teacher preparation model in its partner First Nations communities.

108 | P A G E


Where does First Nation knowledge come from?

Elders

Resources

Instructors College University BEd - Provincial

Schools - children

109 | P A G E


First Nations holistic learning Model It is critical that once a student enters ITEP, there will be a learning process that is represented by the interconnectedness of teaching, learning, and knowing. These learnings are related based on circular learning and do not proceed on the western linear model made up of compartmentalized sub categories that structure a BEd program These learnings are related based on by self identifying the teaching and learners as circular learning and do not proceed separate departmental responsibilities. ITEP on the western linear model made up has attempted to have interconnectedness of of compartmentalized sub categories learning throughout the Program. that structure a BEd program by self

identifying the teaching and learners

The First Nations, MÊtis, and Inuit Holistic as separate departmental Lifelong Learning Model presented by CCLresponsibilities. AKLC is a schematic approach to presenting models that capture First Nation lifelong learning, as well as MÊtis and Inuit learning. The holistic lifelong learning models are a compilation of proven and accepted practices. The content and knowledge base of the holistic models provides the means for continuous ways of knowing. It is interesting to note that in the mid-80s, ITEP developed and implemented a learning model based on the Cree language as a teaching specialization. This very model was introduced early in First Nations teacher education so that First Nations teachers would be the transmitters of language and culture in the classroom. It is evident that this early model must be re-generated and become a compulsory part of First Nations teacher education. The Gift of Language and Culture Project is an opportunity to foster the advancement of First Nations languages across all our school systems. The ITEP original holistic lifelong model Early in ITEP’s history, it was pronounced that First Nations languages were the vehicle for the advancement of First Nations teacher preparation at the University of Saskatchewan. ITEP prided itself in having students that were community leaders in the area of First Nations languages and cultural identity. The strength of the language in ways of knowing is the primary element in the success of a teacher being able to use best practices and strategies associated with the history, culture, and traditions of Aboriginal people. In the early days of ITEP, the majority of students had a strong connection to the language, community, and the land, but as time evolved, the student-body became more diverse and external influences became more prevalent. The influence of residential school era with its gutting of Indian language and culture was a reality in ITEP in the 1970s and 1980s and many students represented this time in Canadian history. ITEP is still feeling the effects of the Residential Schools and always has to be cognizant of how teacher education has to address the occurrences in this era. In essence, ITEP was seen as a Program whereby First Nations students could come to an institution and feel safe and comfortable in promoting cultural beliefs and understandings as an acceptable and valid way of teaching and knowing.

110 | P A G E


FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY BASED TEACHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL LEARNING

FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING LANGUAGE, CULTURE, ELDERS, TRADITION, SPEAKERS

UNIVERSITY – INSTITUTIONS TEACHER EDUCATION

FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY COMMUNITY BASED EDUCATON

LIMITED ABORIGINAL KNOWING

BELIEFS

MINIMAL LANGUAGE TEACHING/LEARNING

VALUES

FEWER RESOURCE PEOPLE

CEREMONY PRACTICES

PRESCRIBED CURRICULUM

GREATER KNOWING/LEARNING

INSTITUTIONAL SETTING

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

INSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS

RESOURCE PEOPLE COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS

“TAKE THE UNIVERSITY TO THE COMMUNITY”

111 | P A G E


Aboriginal ways of knowing – Native Studies course, instructor focus Many Aboriginal peoples believe that the purpose of life is to learn. Aboriginal learning or ways of knowing are grounded in the Aboriginal worldview, which sees everything and everybody as being connected and related in a holistic manner. This worldview encompasses the four dimensions of humanity—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual— Many Aboriginal peoples the four seasons, and the four directions of the natural believe that the purpose of world, and it develops through the seven stages of the life is to learn. Aboriginal human lifespan. Unlike the western secular paradigm learning or ways of knowing Aboriginal ways of knowing assumes a spiritual are grounded in the dimension to existence and insists that the Creator is a Aboriginal worldview, which force in all human activities. Aboriginal ways of sees everything and knowing is an epistemology which seeks to explore everybody as being inner rather than outer space and values introspection, connected and related in a subjectivity and intuition over objectivity and critical holistic manner. thinking. It is more comfortable with concrete and experiential learning rather than abstract or theoretical concepts. It is also an epistemology which encourages people to know themselves, their families, and their communities first, before addressing or exploring outside issues. Aboriginal ways of knowing are deeply rooted in connections with the land and see the land as both teacher and guide. Aboriginal ways of knowing also involve learning from and through ceremonies where learning has a healing dimension, which is both physical and emotional. Traditionally, Aboriginal ways of knowing involved the transmission of learning and knowledge through the oral medium in the form of stories and legends from Elders to younger members of the community. In contemporary times, many different media, including print and electronic, are used to disseminate Aboriginal Knowledge. ITEP strives to utilize as many elders, community resources, and ITEP alumni as it can, to enhance and enrich the learning process in its courses. A community voice is delivered through actual field trips, excursions, and arranged ceremonies for staff and students throughout the year. One of these notable journeys is the two day trip to the Cutknife-Poundmaker area. Elders and community resource people take the ITEP students and instructors on a “tour” of the Cutknife battlefield and provide vivid and accurate accounts of historic figures, events, and stories. This journey sets the stage for continued visits from the elders to the university to continue the learning process. There is no doubt that the ‘closer’ you can take students to an experience, the better the learning. In order to conceptualize and understand events, occurrences, and history, and the closer one can get to the primary source, the better the learning process. This supports the idea of taking the university to the community and bringing the community to the university. In order for this to happen, there has to be a place and resource base to facilitate this type of learning. The extension of teacher education to the ‘school’ is another way of making teacher preparation more real. ITEP has taken this model to the limit and is delivering First Nations Community Based Teacher Education at many sites in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. This focus will be escalated in 2008-2009 and a Secondary First Nations teacher education program is being proposed to be delivered in selected high school(s) in Saskatoon. Aboriginal languages – Native Studies

112 | P A G E


Aboriginal languages are crucial repositories of the accumulated wisdom of Aboriginal peoples and the preservation of Aboriginal languages is critical to the survival of Aboriginal ways of knowing. In the Native Studies classes at ITEP, we attempt to facilitate Aboriginal ways of knowing in a variety of different ways. For our first year cohort, we begin the first term with a Culture Camp that exposes students to cultural ceremonies and practices such as talking circles, the pipe and the sweat lodge. We also introduce our students to our various Elders and to our staff so that positive relationships are established and a family-type atmosphere is created. The Culture Camp is held at Wanuskewin, a place of great historical and spiritual significance to Aboriginal peoples, so that connections with the land are reinforced and the teachings of the land are appreciated. A variety of other field trips are organized during the year. The most important of these is to Poundmaker First Nation, where Elders share stories of the history of the area, especially the Battles of Cutknife Hill, and students visit the Poundmaker Cultural Center. The course content of the Native Studies courses covers the major historical events which have shaped Aboriginal communities in Canada. These include pre-contact social organizations, European colonialism and the fur trade, the Treaties and evolution of Treaty rights, reserve policies, Residential Schools, land claims, and self-government. While curriculum for the classes is set by the Native Studies Department, ITEP attempts to incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing into classes and encourage students to pursue this learning through their assignments. The first assignment completed by first year students is a Cultural assignment, where students attend a cultural ceremony and share what they have learned. Their second major assignment involves genealogical research, including interviewing an Elder, so that students become familiar with their extended families and appreciate the nature of change over time. In Native Studies 302.6 the major assignment is a community history. Here too, students are expected to conduct research, including interviewing Elders, to gain a better understanding of how their communities have evolved. As much as possible, ITEP utilizes research and scholarship by Aboriginal scholars as a means of incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing into our classes. This includes the work of scholars such as E. Ahenakew, Campbell, Stonechild, Wheeler, Battiste, Youngblood-Henderson, Paul, Cuthand, Adams and others. In addition, we invite our Elders from various First Nations of Saskatchewan to speak to our classes to provide a more traditional, oral perspective on Aboriginal ways of knowing. We believe that once students complete a major in Native Studies, they have a solid grasp of Aboriginal history, they are familiar with themselves and their communities and they are well-grounded in Aboriginal ways of knowing so that they can be effective transmitters of Aboriginal knowledge as educators. EdFdt 101.3 – Introduction to Education – Aboriginal ways of knowing The EdFdt 101 class covers three main themes: Becoming a Teacher - A Personal/Professional Exploration of Self; Becoming a Teacher – Self as Teacher; and Becoming a Teacher – Teachers and Schools: The Purposes of Education and Schooling. The knowledge base, or resources used in the units on self, self as teacher, and self as teacher in a school, is explored from both Aboriginal and nonAboriginal academic writings. In terms of strategies and class activities, students are required to reflect upon their choice to become a teacher from their own self first by writing reflective journals. We also take a trip to a First Nations community school and work with an Elder on the reserve as an introduction to the self as a teacher, rather than self as a student. Then, we look at the role of teachers as defined from Aboriginal perspectives by considering the different teachers in their lives. These teachers are viewed from the formal (teachers in schools) to the informal (from home or community) which allows students to consider Aboriginal strategies of teaching and learning as valid forms of ‘being a teacher’. Students are to consider the role of teachers in schools and the purpose of education and schooling by critically analysing the ideas presented by an Aboriginal educational scholar and a nonAboriginal educational scholar. Then, the students engage in a jigsaw activity where they discuss with another person how they think the purposes of education and schooling should be determined and 113 | P A G E


defined. Since all participants are Aboriginal, this process allows them to articulate self , self as teacher, and self understanding of the purposes and role of education and schooling from an Aboriginal perspective. The central idea here is to engage the knowledge that Aboriginal students bring to the class. The process validates their knowledge of self as Aboriginal people(s). EdCur 402.3 - Language Schools and Society – Aboriginal ways of knowing The EdCur 402 class covers three main themes: History of Education in Canada; Historical Legacy and Educational Response; and Contemporary Education. The knowledge base, or resources used in the units of study are explored from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal academic writings. In terms of strategies and class activities, students are introduced to writing formal academic papers by considering two alternative methods. One method recognizes and honours Aboriginal storytelling as a valid way to gather and pass on knowledge. The other method recognizes the process of writing a formal research paper as expected in a university setting. For both methods, discussions about using and citing sources are integral to the expectations of assignments submitted by students. In the second unit, students share the teaching role with the instructor in the classroom by an activity which is very structured but also gets students up to the front of the classroom. In groups, students are asked to prepare handwritten overheads of theoretical perspectives on the historical legacy and educational responses in society. We then, in a team way, go through their overheads. The purpose of this work is to cover theory and to get the students more comfortable at the front of the classroom. This purpose also further develops themes which were started in the EdFdt 101 class. The third unit of study takes us into the professional community. The strategies used in this unit are the reading of current works which discuss contemporary education and the actual experiences of ideas contained within those works. In order to accomplish this, we read about then visit Oskayak High School (formerly Joe Duquette High School), and/or Nutana High School, and/or Princess Alexander School, and/or a First Nations Elementary and High School (usually at Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation as they have both levels of schools and the reserve is close enough to travel to). The central idea here is for our Aboriginal students to know the history of public education and the history of education for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This history is different and from our explorations we understand why education exists in its contemporary form. From this understanding, we go into the community by visiting different schools to experience education in today’s context. This is an important understanding as I encourage students to recognize that their future contribution as teachers exists within the context of history. As Aboriginal students, often their history and the experiences of their families in education can be significantly different from mainstream educational experiences. Visiting contemporary educational facilities allows students to actually see that education and schooling are changing over time and that they can be contributors to positive change in the future with a solid understanding of the past. EdFdt 335.3 – Nature of Knowledge, History of Knowledge, and Inclusion & Exclusion of Knowledge The EdFdt 335 class covers three main themes: The Nature of Knowledge; The History of Knowledge Inclusion and Exclusion in Education in Canada; and Teaching for Social Justice. The knowledge base, or resources used in the units of study are explored from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal academic writings. In terms of strategies and class activities, this class begins with a discussion of the theory of the nature of knowledge in general, and specifically the nature of cultural knowledge and school knowledge. From this discussion, students explore the educational experiences of 8 different cultural groups in Canada, one of which is the educational experience of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The students prepare a time line activity in groups which they then share ‘as teachers’ with the rest of the class. They get to be in the role of teacher. From this experience, the students get the chance to teach the educational history of different Canadian cultural groups in Canada and discuss the practice of including or excluding knowledge in schools. This allows the students to develop concepts regarding cultural hegemony in curriculum and how they can practice inclusionary strategies when they become classroom teachers. In the third unit, students examine five theories which can either promote or deter 114 | P A G E


inclusionary knowledge in the classroom setting. The strategy prepares lectures from readings covering the topics of racism, classism, sexism, sexual orientation, and ability/disability issues. The material is covered, and then the students teach a prepared lesson on each of these topics. This process allows for understanding and discussion of each of these topics and then the students have the opportunity to apply theory to practice in a real teaching situation. The students change roles in this activity from teacher to student and student to teacher. In this way, they get to experience being both the student and teacher in regards to each of the above mentioned five topics. It also gives the students real opportunities to teach a real lesson and to experience this teaching/learning experience at different grade levels. The overall purpose of this class is to examine inclusionary and/or exclusionary teaching practices and the theory which promotes both an understanding of inequity and the ways in which a classroom teacher can practice equitable knowledge inclusion in the classroom. Since the topics of race and class in particular are predominant and evident in the everyday lives of our Aboriginal students, as emerging teachers they begin to conceptualize how these societal forces can be challenged in a nonviolent way through the practices of classroom teaching. Since all students are Aboriginal in the classroom, discussions and teaching/learning situations are always lively to say the least. EdFdt 435.3 – Critical Perspectivies in Educational Thought and Values The EdFdt 435.3 class covers three main themes: Teaching From Within; Teaching in the Classroom and Community; and Teaching in Society. The knowledge base, or resources used in the units of study are explored from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal academic writings. In terms of strategies and class activities, the central pedagogical practice is storytelling as method. All of the students in this class must have completed their internship experience and discussion of the above three themes is based on that in-school experience. In order to accomplish storytelling as method, the students are guided through readings and they are required to team teach based on readings, experiences, and structuring activities in the classroom. Each student is given the opportunity to teach. They are given material, then they engage the classroom in a learning activity. The students in the class must take the teaching lead. Guidance and support are given where needed. Themes are covered as mentioned above, with the internship as the central experiential guide, and through telling stories, the positive and negative aspects of their internships is allowed to emerge. The central idea behind this practice is twofold. First, respecting that the students are now ‘teachers’ in their own right so we teach as a team – synergy. Second, the students get the opportunity to discuss both their success and their struggles which happened in the internship experience. The purpose behind this practice is to allow students the opportunity to learn how to deal with the real life of being a teacher in a healthy way. When they are classroom teachers on their own, they will experience both the positive and the negative, and in developing a process to reflect and discuss any experience gives the students a positive skill set that they can take with them as they go out on their own. This concept is articulated directly to them in the classroom. Reflection is a way to examine ourselves as teachers with the purpose of learning skills to process both the positive and negative aspects of what will be their professional experiences as practicing teachers. The class is reflective, healing, and skill building all at the same time. Since most students are Aboriginal with only a few non-Aboriginal participants, we always have very intense and meaningful classes. Conclusions drawn from EdFdt 435.3 There are a few comments that I would like to make which apply to the entire course described above.  

Aboriginal knowledge comes first from our Aboriginal students if that is allowed to be expressed in the classroom From this center, academic writings are examined, Elders and community members and/or events and educational facilities all of which are both Aboriginal and mainstream 115 | P A G E


By allowing the student to develop experientially into the teacher in the classroom, they get the chance to begin with self, then teach to one other person, then teach as a small group to the entire class, then teach as teacher. This progression gives them a safe place to develop a teaching presence and voice. All of the strategies and activities are designed with a four year focus in mind – one concept builds on the next in this process of developing as a teacher. Strong professional relationships are developed with students. Groups and individuals are asked how the learning is going. This is done face to face for honest feedback. Relationships must be one of trust. Understanding of one’s own culture is the center to what should be done in the classroom. ITEP instructors have formal university training and use this as a classroom teacher, but culture comes first, then professional training second. This is an expression of the strategies and activities that have developed over time.

English 110.6 (81) ITEP ways of knowing English 110 is basic freshman English, a survey course meant to familiarize students with both a broad range of literary genres—from poems to novels, from short stories to plays—and a broad range eras— from anonymous lyrics and ballads of the 13th to 16th Centuries, through Shakespeare, the 19th Century British novel, and into the work of modern First Nations poets, playwrights, and novelists. The course is also meant to teach, or re-familiarize the student with the fundamentals of writing an analytical essay. The development of a solid argument, the organizing of ideas in the essay format, and good writing, with particular attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation, are all part of English 110. This particular English course in ITEP, has been tailored to the specific needs and interests of First Nations students. While staying true to the requirements of a first-year English course and taking students past some of the literary landmarks of the Western literary tradition—famous poems, a Shakespeare play, and a large 19th Century novel, all chosen with a particular sensitivity to a First Nations audience—the course also pays heed to the First Nations literary renaissance of the last forty years. Short stories, poems, plays, and novels by First Nations writers such as Beth Brant, Thomas King, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Sherman Alexie, Linda Hogan, Tomson Highway, Drew Hayden Taylor, Jeannette Armstrong, Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, Richard Wagamese, and others are featured in the course. Besides adding—with a certain amount of unexpected joy—a Shakespeare play to their repertoire of knowledge, ITEP students also recognize themselves in the First Nations literature they encounter and study. They hear stories with which many of them are familiar. They reach for more, and in so doing, find themselves again. In writing an essay on Louise Erdrich and Drew Hayden Taylor, they bring their own experience to bear and find out their lives have a validity and a recognizability, whether it be in a classroom in a big city university, or in a classroom in their old high school at home on the reserve. As they read and write they find themselves, and want to do so again and again. English 365.6 (29) – Creative Writing I am hungry for voice, though I live in terror. Unsure what shape will arrive. Voices in thought. A wish. A desire. A dream. A vision. ~Louise Halfe “Every Day is a Story” 116 | P A G E


English 365.6(29) is an Introduction to Creative Writing, specially designed for First Nations students. In this class we take a maximum of fifteen students, all of whom have a minimum of English 110.6 or its equivalent as a prerequisite, and teach, or encourage them to write poems and short stories. We accomplish this endeavour through the use of how-to texts on writing, through reading many varying models of good writing exercises designed to develop the writer’s skill, and, most importantly, through providing a safe and secure place in which the students can get to know one another and the teacher and eventually share their stories. This last effort is no mean feat. Many of our students are eager to please and will give back anything they believe the teacher wants. Others aren’t sure that what they want or have to say is acceptable, or important. Some are afraid of their voice, or their stories, while others are angry. By giving them models of various kinds of writing and by encouraging them to try out their voice, using one model or another, the students most often, tentatively at first, then with greater and greater assurance, locate their voice and their own stories and begin to speak. Here the students’ classmates and teacher offer only constructive criticism and helpful suggestions to enable the students to bring forward who and what they are inside. Sometimes this birthing comes with tears, often with great laughter and much joy. We insist on a safe environment where these students can feel secure and nourished, never marginalized or laughed at. Never scorned. And many of our students, never having written a poem or story before, stand proudly before the class and read their works. As Louise Halfe, Sky Dancer, says in “Afterword—Comfortable in My Bones”: “The map of oral storytelling had long been laid out for me….writing was a natural process. The stories inside me demanded face. They became my medicine, creating themselves in the form of poetry.” Rather than compete with one another for marks or publication, our students help one another to find their stories and themselves. As Armand Garnet Ruffo says in “Poetry,” this writing is, nothing to do with I can do better nothing like that, this honest desire that kicks like a new born calf jumping and disappearing into its own geography. And as Connie Fife says in “Communications class”: Picture me wide awake at 3:00 a.m. throwing ink upon blank white squares creating with your own language a universal formula for change. Now that sounds like Best Practices. HLTH 100.3 – Aboriginal ways of knowing & Best Practices Philosophically, the term ‘Aboriginal knowledge’ means teacher-educators and pre-service teachers, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal must: 1. Validate Aboriginal experiences. 2. Confirm Aboriginal people’s social and cultural systems, both pre- and post-contact. 117 | P A G E


3. Attend to Indigenous values, that, in many ways, interdigitate with European values, and in many ways do not. 4. Re-vitalize Aboriginal identities, but NOT within a Pan-Indian identity. 5. Understand the community-based models of health that First Nations People are setting up for holistic purposes, as well as the restorative justice procedures that are being implemented at the community level. The history, evolution and relevance of traditional beliefs to contemporary health and judicial “care” is only just beginning to emphasize First Nation’s perspectives. 6. Develop course work that utilizes procedures and strategies designed to assist students in developing attitudes and aptitudes necessary for academic success through principles of critical thinking and learning. Critical thinking has always been stressed through Aboriginal storytelling, as has learning. 7. Appreciate First Nations people’s thinking and principles of utilitarian reasoning. Thus, in the context of teacher education, ‘best practices’ involves using videos that are by, for, and/or about First Nations people in Health 100.3, and which prove relevant and interesting to the students. For example: The Gift of Diabetes Finding Dawn First Nation Blue Scoop on Wheels Eye of the Beholder by Jean Elliot Hollow Water, and Challenge of Old Crow. Practically, the term ‘Aboriginal Knowledge’ means a lot of time spent constantly looking for relevant and appropriate articles that are used in Health 100.3 Students read articles such as: a. “Resiliency and Holistic Inhalant Abuse Treatment” which is about the establishment of two residential treatment centres for addicted Aboriginal youth. One centre is in Ontario and the other one is in Prince Albert. b. “A Framework for Understanding Trauma and Healing” from the Final Report of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation—Volume III. This article outlines the community-based healing practices that seem to be working well in Aboriginal communities. c. “Nehinaw (Cree) Socioeconomic, Political and Historical Explanations about the Collective Diabetes Experience” from the book Indigenous Peoples and Diabetes—Community Empowerment and Wellness. This article deals with what we can learn from successful, communitybased/initiative programs to prevent and manage Aboriginal diabetes. Of course, the students must also read parts of the Donatelle book which focus on various issues of Health and that are not necessarily Aboriginal-related. Copies of The Aboriginal Food Guide are always available in the classroom when students look at the unit on “Nutrition.” The North Battlefords Tribal Council has a wealth of good resources in their resource room. Science Education – ITEP There is abundant evidence that Aboriginal people are under-represented in science and technology occupations and education programs. The school has the responsibility to prepare Aboriginal students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in these areas. ITEP has been fortunate to have instructors that are making every effort in providing the opportunity for students to be well versed in the

118 | P A G E


sciences as well as given the opportunity to present and understand science from an Aboriginal perspective and knowledge base. One of the focuses of the science program is to lessen the cultural gap between the two worldviews. This topic and discussion is much greater and extensive than can be presented in the Self-study, but it is an opportune time to present how ITEP is addressing the preparation of First Nations teachers to teach Science in their classrooms. The first step in this endeavour was to: 1. Develop an academic preparation phase to the introductory Biology course; 2. The Introductory Biology course served as a general introduction to the study of the environment, ecology, earth, the water and air; 3. A Senior Biology course was introduced that paralleled the study of ecology, and the environment introduced in the Year I course; 4. Students then are required to take a Science Methods course that focused on the presentation of content, perspectives, and worldview in science. Understanding the differences associated with the understanding of the uniqueness, role, and value of Aboriginal knowledge to First Nations people is the starting point for a presentation of the difference between Science and Aboriginal Knowledge.

SCIENCE

ABORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE

The Approach

Compartmental

Holistic

How it is Communicated

Written

Oral

How it is Taught

Lectures, Themes

Observation & Experiences

How it is Explained

Theory, Value void

Spiritual, Social Values, Cultural

ITEP has undertaken a major project in developing an Aboriginal Science teaching manual focusing on the months of the year. The manual relates to Aboriginal Knowledge in the context of the seasons, months, and the four elements. ITEP students have been involved in the development of teaching ideas that would facilitate the intent of the manual. The focus is on the land, the environment, ecology, and the human experience. ITEP’s Community-Based teacher education program provides an ideal natural learning environment for the delivery of the 18-24 credit unit Biology program. The introduction of a teaching area in Biology has expanded the opportunity to work with community resource people. The field based component of the Biology-Science courses provided the learning environment for the students, instructors, and parents.

119 | P A G E


ITEP will focus more on the delivery of Biology and intensified Science Methods courses in the redesign of the ITEP program. The focus will be to use the Sacred Circle/Medicine Wheel teachings as the foundational understandings in the courses. Math – A community perspective project ITEP used a new approach to assess and facilitate a better understanding of Mathematics from a child’s perspective. Students were required to construct a Project that would be centred around Mathematics in the school. The results of the Project were revealing in the sense that the teacher candidates had similar feelings about mathematics as the students they interviewed in the four First Nations schools. A community based learning experience allowed teacher candidates to reinforce why they choose to be a teacher. “These interviews brought up so many things that I have forgotten about my past and how going to school and finishing was a great accomplishment. I can only continue on my journey in striving for success and try to be a leader for others to follow. What I learned about myself throughout this whole ordeal is that everyone is always watching and they know everything about you, but I never thought of myself as a role model, I am just always in my own world. The day my daughter said she wanted to be just like me, I almost cried, the tears were there, I told her you can be anyone you want to be. The day I read my sister’s paper on role models I cried, I never knew that I had made such an impact on my brothers and sisters, I always told them try their best and finish school, I always thought that I was talking to myself.” (ITEP student) Involvement of ITEP students in action research – Community-based teacher education Big River forum An innovative and collaborate effort was initiated at Big River First Nation-ITEP whereby First Nation students wanted to be involved in the change process early in their professional preparation process. Action Research was a way teacher candidates and community members, especially parents and schoolage students, could be active in community research. The voice of the community became the forum for data collection, as well as the agenda for wellness, community development, and a voice to the schools and community leaders. First Nation Knowledge from the community was the vehicle for change. This knowledge came about as a result of the data collection each student was assigned and approved to undertake. Each student or group of students identified: 1. A research question they wanted to study as a research project; 2. The research question was refined and was addressed to ensure it would be a question or topic that would focus on the community the student were from; 3. The research questions then were vetted and consequences of the questions were defined; 4. Data collection was discussed and instruments, interviews and video footage was presented and vetted to ensure proper protocol and community ethics were followed. The interviews, questions and video footage served as the gathering of community voices and consequently, First Nations community knowledge. The entire research focus was directed at collecting, analyzing, and assessing knowledge in accordance to the values, beliefs, and knowledge of community members. The knowledge gathered represented the responses from many different members of the community. The elders served as the Knowledge Carriers and, at times, directed the students as to what knowledge was allowable and appropriate to share. 120 | P A G E


The long and the short of Community Action Research is that community members (teacher candidates) were the researchers who were familiar with and knowledgeable about the customs and practices of the community being studied.

The long and the short of Community Action Research is that community members (teacher candidates) were the researchers who were familiar with and knowledgeable about the customs and practices of the community being studied. This is a refreshing departure from external academic researchers coming to a First Nations community to do research and, at the very best, seconding community educators/researchers to be assistants in the major research project.

In summary, the Community Action Research Project was research being identified as meaningful and relevant to the First Nation community by community teacher candidates who in all likelihood would be teaching in the very community they were doing their research. The community became connected to the research and knew that the data and results would be assessed and analyzed in accordance with the visions and expectations of the community. This project has proven to be very successful and Big River teacher candidates have proceeded to continue their research projects. A funding proposal and submission has been presented so that teacher candidates would be paid researchers in the next phase of the Action Research Project. Aurora College – Bachelor of Education Capstone Project A similar course is being delivered in the Northwest Territories through Aurora College, Fort Smith. The focus of this Capstone course is presented for possible consideration for other Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs. ITEP has had great success using a similar idea with Math courses whereby teacher candidates went into the classroom and community to gather data as to what their expectations and viewpoints for the importance of mathematics in their school. Aurora Course/Module Outline—Bachelor of Education Capstone Project 1. Classroom Delivery 2. Research broad, current, and specialized knowledge of subject matter and communicate this understanding to others. 3. Develop greater expertise in an area of individual interest related to teaching, or one of their teaching areas, that they can apply during their teaching career. 4. Blend a body of professional knowledge with continuous lifelong learning and for future professional development. 5. Develop confidence with presentation skills, techniques, and style. 6. Have completed projects compiled with those of other students and published to keep and to be kept in the Aurora College library.

121 | P A G E


INNOVATIVE WAYS OF INVOLVING ITEP STUDENTS IN WAYS OF KNOWING & BEST PRACTICES ACTION RESEARCH YR I-YR IV

Year I Introduction to the teaching profession and Academic preparation

Year II Design Community School Based Experiences

Year III Action Research Research Questions

Community Voice

Elders/Student voice

Apply for research funding for Community Action Research Instruction in Research Methods

Community Protocol

Carry out Research

Action Research Results Presented to Community

Action Plan put in place

Teacher candidates continue Research when they receive their BEd

Establish Research/Parent teams

“Change the school from the inside out.”

First Nations Community School – Professional Learning

122 | P A G E

Parent/Teacher Voice


ITEP Students with First Nations knowledge and ways of knowing The diversity of ITEP allows for the selection of students from many different communities and demographic settings. Seeing that ITEP serves many First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, as well as a large contingent of students and communities in the Central and Western Arctic, it is not uncommon to have a student body made up of many representative cultures and communities. Some students bring their language and knowledge to ITEP, and others are on a journey of identification and finding their own culture and traditions. The number of ITEP students that are categorized as urban off-reserve are large in many cases, this group has often attended provincial schools, versus First Nations schools. It is interesting to note that the degree of language knowledge and knowledge of customs and practices varies, but in most cases, students from the reserve setting are more grounded in the foundational understanding of the community and Aboriginal ways of knowing because of their immersion in customs and traditions of the community. Gift of Language Teacher Training Model This model presents a long term model for the development of First Nations language teachers that will be able to deliver the objectives and goals of the Gift of Language Project. It is critical that First Nations educators advance to the Graduate level as soon as possible so that major changes can occur.

123 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe Notes: Carol Fulton ITEP Presentation – Orest Murawsky SUNTEP, Saskatoon Presentation – Murray Hamilton Common Themes

      

The importance of language and trying to regain Aboriginal languages The importance of culture – using the communities and land as a knowledge base Addressing the needs of the students – need for support; need for self esteem and to know who they are – histories The importance of decolonization in teacher education The tensions between trying to meet institutional demands/requirements and incorporating IK There has been a lot of progress but there is still a long way to go; started with main stream education but now moving toward regaining IK Graduates of programs coming back to do graduate degrees or working as cooperating teachers

Interesting Ideas

   

Would like to get beyond the poverty mentality and start dreaming and visioning about a space or place of our own Place can provide an identity (i.e. FN House of Learning – UBC) More communication between programs Use the communities more to put on Cultural programs rather than taking the students somewhere.

Visions

        

Get communities more involved – people have lots of knowledge More work with transfer credits so students could transfer between programs more Student/Faculty exchanges within Canada among the various TEP programs Have a real school attached to a TEP program with immersion in Cree or Michif or another Indigenous language. Get Indigenous knowledge recognized within institutions as valued ways of knowing Be able to pay more to Elders who are teaching courses Establish a performing arts centre Maybe each TEP could specialize in certain areas rather than competing for students Work on establishing relationships as that is an Indigenous way of knowing.

124 | P A G E


One of the fundamental purposes of  SUNTEP is to help us understand the world  and ourselves, and to transmit that  knowledge to a new generation of people.   It should also help us to explore and  analyze what it means to be a good person  with balance in our life.  This process of  conscientization is only possible when all  the layers of colonization have been peeled  away and examined.    ~Murray Hamilton, SUNTEP Saskatoon  Coordinator 

125 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education S ASKATCHEWAN U RBAN N ATIVE T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (SUNTEP), S ASKATOON , S ASKATCHEWAN

SUBMITTED BY MURRAY HAMILTON May 2008

126 | P A G E


Introduction First, we would like to acknowledge those people upon whose traditional land this meeting is being held. We also thank our hosts for the opportunity to share our views. We wish to dedicate this presentation to the late George Manuel and Howard Adams.

“We want our children to learn science and technology so that they can promote the

harmony of man with nature…not destroy it. We want our children to learn about other peoples in literature and social studies, and in the process to learn to respect the values and culture of others. Our philosophy of education looks at learning and teaching as an integral part of living, both for the teacher and the child. It is not a five hour, five days a week exercise for a dozen or so years. It is a life-long commitment.” ~George Manuel

“The employment of Indian and Métis teachers in native schools would be an improvement; but only those who are authentically native, and not those who are the Uncle Tomahawks. The children should be taught in their native language and the honest dignity of their culture; and not the superficially romantic culture, the myths, the primitiveness, nor the bizarre features. It is necessary to explain how the white man’s Imperialist society reduced and immobilized the Indian and Métis culture through forces of subversion and intrigue. If this is not explained properly and honestly, then the implication is vivid that the natives were by nature pathetically weak, hopelessly dependent; and were saved only the generosity of the white man. It is evident that the historical interpretation has been designed to destroy the language, culture and nationalism of the natives of Canada; a pattern which has been true for all colonial people of the British Empire. There is a gigantic task facing the Indian and Métis in combating the many forms of institutionalized and formalized racism in Canada; much of it is disguised as history or education. It has become necessary for the natives, themselves, to restore their pride, confidence, the meaningfulness and nobility of their traditions, history, and culture.” ~Howard Adams

We have been asked to respond to four questions:

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within courses, programs and practices? A short answer may be that Aboriginal ways of knowing cannot be actualized without a thorough understanding and development of a political and social consciousness for the individual and the collective to which he or she ascribes membership. Howard Adams and others have described this process as conscientization.

127 | P A G E


Adams stated that it was necessary for Métis people to develop a Métis consciousness which could only be achieved through a re-examination of us and our history.18 Adams further stated that colonial policies and structures of the academic world had not allowed the full development of Métis conscientization and the Métis were left with a tenuous hold of white western education. It is only at this juncture that some analysis of traditional ways of knowing can be studied and analyzed. Discussions of traditional knowledge and Aboriginal ways of knowing are relatively recent developments, at least in academic forums, and are more readily understood when provided with some historical context of the Aboriginal educational processes in Canada. In 1972, the National Indian Brotherhood, now the Assembly of First Nations, released a position paper entitled Indian Control of Indian Education. This document was a political reaction to the 1969 White Paper and argued that Indians ought to have control over their own education, both process and content. Indian control would enable Indian peoples to shape the education of their children in ways that would strengthen culture and provide a solid basis for greater social participation as Indians. Over the last thirty or more years, Aboriginal people in Canada have vigorously perused this policy direction. One of the results has been the development of a network of fifty-two Aboriginal-controlled post-secondary education institutions across the country. The development of these institutions and the general liberalization of this era created and stimulated discussions on all levels of education. Within university, Departments or Programs of Indigenous Studies or Native Studies, First Nation Studies or Aboriginal studies and other programs such as the ATEP’s emerged often as a way of attracting Indigenous students and making the respective institution relevant to the needs of the various Aboriginal communities. More specifically for our purposes, the Gabriel Dumont Institute was created in 1976 to address Métis educational concerns. A self-evident observation is that during this period there was very little discussion of traditional knowledge or Aboriginal Philosophy if you will. There was, in fact, no discussion of traditional epistemology or traditional knowledge systems. With successes gained through political action during the civil rights and Red Power eras coupled with the utilization of knowledge and skills developed within Aboriginal education institutions and programs, Aboriginal peoples across Canada had begun to speak out for themselves. They had resisted government policies, mainstream educational institutions and a society that only perceived them in a negative light. Howard Adams’ Prison of Grass, Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed, and Harold Cardinal’s Defeathering the Indian are a few examples of Métis and Aboriginal resistance to and analysis of the effects of colonization. These texts offered little or no insight into traditional knowledge, but were important contributions to the emerging decolonization movement. Both texts speak to the marginalization of Métis people from an internal colonial and class struggle framework. Decolonization is a multi-faceted process, but it can only start as Adams stated with the conscientization that I am a person, fully conscious, self-determining and able to think and speak for myself. One of the most concrete indications of Aboriginal ways of knowledge is the reassertion of

This knowledge has been transmitted orally from generation to generation, pondered, discussed, refined, discarded, reinforced and subjected to constant analysis and testing. This is the ‘mystery’ of Aboriginal ways of knowing, a process of reasoning and deduction similar, yet different, to processes used within all cultures.

As cited in Lutz, H. Hamilton, M., and Heimbecker, D. (Eds.) (2005). Howard Adams: Otapawy, The Life of a Métis Leader in his Own Words and in Those of His Contemporaries. Gabriel Dumont Institute.

18

128 | P A G E


independence, or at least some form of self-determination. Through the process of decolonization the Aboriginal people of Canada have rediscovered their history, their own belief systems, epistemologies and world views. Some of this knowledge has come to be called “Indigenous knowledge”, knowledge acquired and refined over generations. In some instances this knowledge includes genesis or creation stories; theories of the universe and how it works; the nature of the world and how to live within it; human motivation and community relations. This knowledge has been transmitted orally from generation to generation, pondered, discussed, refined, discarded, reinforced and subjected to constant analysis and testing. This is the ‘mystery’ of Aboriginal ways of knowing, a process of reasoning and deduction similar, yet different, to processes used within all cultures. The story of Raven and the story of the Ten Commandments essentially serve the same purpose, to instill a sense of moral purpose. Was it traditional knowledge or Aboriginal ways of knowing that spurred the process of decolonization? Was some form of traditional knowledge a prerequisite to understanding that the philosophical premise of the Canadian Constitution is based on the supremacy of the White Christian God, that Canada was founded by the French and the English; and to recognize that such a proposition is only a less extreme version of Manifest Destiny or Lebensraum? More likely the analysis is akin to the reactions of colonized people everywhere. One of the current themes of modern Aboriginal communities is the desire to use traditional knowledge as one of the means of understanding contemporary life and society. This is not to say that the knowledge of others is not useful or helpful. It is an attempt to learn from and understand traditional knowledge. To ignore other knowledge systems would be inconsistent with what most Aboriginal societies believe necessary to be an educated person. In fact, many but not all Indigenous scholars past and present, insist that we learn and engage with the knowledge of others, within reason. Speaking to the proselytizing efforts of missionaries, a chief of the Lake Manitoba area, said to a Father Darveau: You tell us there is but one religion that can save us, and that you have got it, Mr. Cowley tells us that he has got it; now which of you white men am I to believe? I will tell you the resolution and my people have come to; it is this—when you both agree and travel the same road, we will travel with you; till then however we will adhere to our own religion; we think it the best.19 In our view, one of the fundamental purposes of SUNTEP is to help us understand the world and ourselves, and to transmit that knowledge to a new generation of people. It should also help us to explore and analyze what it means to be a good person with balance in our life. This process of conscientization is only possible when all the layers of colonization have been peeled away and examined. The Canadian education system, in a fashion similar to that of residential schools, has inflicted untold psychological and cultural trauma on Aboriginal students. In many instances, the students we encounter have been totally and utterly colonized. Paulo Friere regards the colonial situation as the culture of silence. The colonial element in schooling is its attempt to silence, to rationalize the irrational, and to gain acceptance for structures which are oppressive. A nation or a people will not choose to be economically exploited or culturally dominated. They must be colonized to accept that role. Once colonized, their identity and loyalty rests with the dominant society’s institutions, economy and cultural pursuits.

19

A. Ross (1856). The Red River Settlements: Its Rise, Progress and Present State. London: Smith Elder Co., p. 280. 129 | P A G E


The models of colonization utilized elsewhere served the same purpose in Canada. administrator in 1834 India wrote:

A British

We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions who we govern…. A class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” ~Martin Carnoy David Newhouse, Associate Professor, Department of Native Studies, Trent University, states that, until recently, the knowledge of our ancestors as represented by Indigenous knowledge was not considered worthy of inclusion in universities dialogue. It was however, considered worthy of study as folklore or local knowledge. Indigenous knowledge/traditional knowledge/Aboriginal ways of knowing was not part of any university level curriculum until recently, even in Aboriginal institutions. The problem was that it was not produced as a result of the scientific method, did not result in peer reviewed publications, and was not therefore part of the dialogue that academics have with each other. The reasoning process behind it was not visible and, as a result, did not meet the test of verifiability that was necessary for it to be accepted as real and true. Another problem or impediment to the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge is the lack of Aboriginal control over Indigenous curriculum, particularly in mainstream universities. The facts and the evidence demonstrate that Aboriginal institutions with a greater degree of control over their development retain Indigenous knowledge personnel to a far greater degree than mainstream academic institutions. Hence we have the curious situation of mainstream institutions inquiring as to how quasi-Aboriginal institutions employ Aboriginal ways of knowing in their programs. Indigenous knowledge has some commonly accepted characteristics. It manifests itself as a result of a long intimate relationship with a particular environment, and is based upon careful, long term observation and testing of hypotheses. It is tested on a regular basis through use and practice, and is modified according to changing environmental conditions. Reason is rooted in indigenous understandings of the nature of the university. Many indigenous scholars maintain that Indigenous knowledge rests upon a spiritual foundation. By spirit, Professor David Newhouse says there is an interconnectedness of things and a sense that we live in a sea of energy which animates everything. The universe is alive, so to speak. This theory is supported by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and the more recent development of string theory by modern-day quantum physicists. Indigenous knowledge is multi-disciplinary in nature. Its most common and well-known discipline is TEK, traditional environmental knowledge. A recent example from the Métis world is Christi Belcourt’s (2008), Medicines To Help Us: Traditional Métis Plant Use. Belcourt works closely with Rose Richardson who writes in the publication: As Métis, our environment has influenced our lifestyle. Being Métis meant knowing how to survive in nature. Being Métis meant being in tune with nature. Being Métis meant being in tune spiritually with our surroundings. Our culture, our lifestyle, our spirituality was and still is influenced by our environment. Although my mother and my grandparents had little to no formal education, we still had many teachings.20 This statement by Richardson can serve as a brief encapsulation of Indigenous knowledge. Richardson also writes that many cultures share the same knowledge and uses for plants. A question for debate is whether all cultures share the same values and knowledge or concern for the environment. Indigenous knowledge/Aboriginal ways of knowing poses a complex array of questions, ideas, and practices based upon Indigenous world views:

20

Belcourt, C. (2008). Medicines to Help Us: Traditional Métis Plant Use. Gabriel Dumont Institute. 130 | P A G E


      

How do we bring Indigenous knowledge into mainstream universities? Can we create Indigenous knowledge scholars who research and teach within their intellectual spaces? Can we transmit Indigenous knowledge via university courses? What is Indigenous knowledge research? How does one evaluate Indigenous knowledge scholars? What values of Indigenous knowledge can be considered universally held? How do we convey and validate what Elders do?

There are other difficulties that face Aboriginal and mainstream institutions in the development and delivery of Indigenous knowledge course content. Most major Indigenous academic institutions have learned that a pan-Indigenous approach does not work and causes more confusion among students than it solves. The spiritual aspects of Indigenous knowledge/traditional knowledge pose particularly problematic issues. Aboriginal spirituality has been seen as inappropriate within mainstream universities. At the same time, the University of Saskatchewan has supported St. Thomas College, St. Andrews, and St. Pius College, all of whom delivered courses with a particular religious or spiritual intent. To support one and not the other is tantamount to condoning the old assimilationist practices of the university and is, at best, a blatant double standard. For many, not only Aboriginal peoples, the spiritual aspect of their being is a foundation and a reminder of their responsibilities in their work and personal lives, a framework, so to speak, of morals and values, a reminder to be a good person. It remains, also, as a rejection of colonialism and reclamation of themselves. There are still others who believe that all these things are possible without a spiritual foundation. The spiritual aspects of Indigenous teachings have posed some difficulties for academics in Métis programs. The Métis are bi-cultural and, historically, were largely adherents to Roman Catholicism. However, in contemporary times, many Métis have adopted other faiths including the traditional spiritual beliefs of their Indigenous ancestors.

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within courses, programs, and practices at SUNTEP Saskatoon? One of the most important objectives at SUNTEP Saskatoon is to develop a sense of place and community, an environment where the student feels comfortable and are able to involve themselves in dialogue with their peers and faculty on all issues pertinent to their program of studies and of course to the Métis community. Second, to achieve some understanding of traditional teachings or Indigenous Knowledge, it is necessary for students and faculty to engage in a process of conscientization, a re-examination of themselves, their history, and the effects of colonialism. Concurrently, students must examine and analyze the theories and questions previously posed. Third, the concept of Aboriginal ways of knowing needs to be thoroughly explored by reviewing the available 131 | P A G E

Traditional Aboriginal learning stresses self-directed learning and values of non-interference, non-competitiveness, sharing and a sense of personal and community responsibility.


theoretical literature on the topic and then by providing experiential exercises in our program of studies. In short, students and faculty require a broader understanding of Aboriginal ways of knowing. Some SUNTEP students face a number of cultural differences and challenges that make it difficult for many of them to be successful in university. Traditional Aboriginal learning stresses self-directed learning and values of non-interference, noncompetitiveness, sharing and a sense of personal and community responsibility. At SUNTEP Saskatoon we attempt to develop a thematic approach to our program of studies based on these themes. The SUNTEP Saskatoon program of studies attempts to incorporate or integrate Métis values and traditional knowledge with mainstream objectives. We also attempt to work closely with the Métis community by encouraging parental participation, involving community resource personnel to reinforce cultural concepts and practices. To practically apply the theoretical concepts of Aboriginal knowledge, we attempt to analyze and understand traditional Aboriginal approaches to learning, student and teacher self-concepts, curriculum relevance, and developing teachers’ interpersonal style that will be relevant to Métis/Aboriginal students.

How are student successes supported? As previously stated, one of the most important objectives at SUNTEP Saskatoon is to develop a sense of place and community. Academic courses and extracurricular activities are all designed and delivered with the intent of achieving maximum student potential while concurrently fostering a healthy selfconcept. The whole intent of SUNTEP Saskatoon is to serve as a support system. Small class sizes allow for a greater degree of individualized support. Courses in Métis and First Nation history, crosscultural education, and cooperative learning introduce students to their history and contemporary trends in education. Extracurricular activities include fundraisers, family barbeques, and cultural celebrations of significant events and occasions in the Métis world. Field trips to such places as the Batoche National Historic Site, the Hudson Bay Archives, and Métis communities serve to foster Métis identity and cultural awareness. Periodic educational field trips to New Mexico and world forums on Indigenous issues introduce students to international perspectives. Group visits to such venues as Saskatchewan Native Theatre and to special lectures by noted educators such as Alfie Kohn encourage an appreciation of the arts and cross-cultural understanding respectively. With the assistance of the Gabriel Dumont Institute and our partners at the College of Education, we are able to assemble a cadre of faculty and sessionals who are recognized in their various disciplines and who have chosen to work with us. We also encourage a limited participation of generic students to again build bridges and cross-cultural understanding. Staff and faculty also assist in finding employment, developing resumes, and act as advocates. The SUNTEP Saskatoon support network has many facets, but it also encourages student responsibility and accountability.

What plans/goals can be established for future cultural program development?   

Offer cultural programs for students and staff in conjunction with mainstream faculty to help them to become acquainted with culturally appropriate methodologies and resource materials Encourage students to develop more materials Greater and more frequent involvement with local and northern Métis communities and schools

132 | P A G E


     

Create more opportunities for students to learn about their identity by listening to the experiences and life stories of their elders and peers Encourage and foster more family involvement in Centre activities Explore ways to acknowledge validity of other forms of knowledge such as traditional knowledge transmitted through an oral tradition Develop opportunities and methodology to impart Métis song and dance through curriculum courses In conjunction with partners, develop more courses that speak to contemporary history and educational issues relevant to the Métis community Perhaps most importantly, develop processes to education generic students and faculty about issues of concern to the Métis community

What challenges and opportunities exist in realizing these goals? Aboriginal achievement needs to be examined and reformulated in the broader context. Achievement and advancement of the issues at hand will be limited without significant change to current programs and policies both within Aboriginal and mainstream institutions. Many policy challenges remain from the 1970’s vision of Aboriginal control of Aboriginal Education: 

There is no definition of, or substantive agreement about the notion of ‘Aboriginal control.’ As we have already seen, lack of progress in this area has limited understanding and progress of key issues in Aboriginal education, such as Native Studies and Indigenous Knowledge.

There is a need to recognize that pan-Aboriginal approaches to Aboriginal education initiatives do not work, just as leading Indigenous scholars have rejected pan-Indigenous approaches to Indigenous Knowledge. There is a need to develop group specific approaches to Aboriginal education. What works for the Mohawk or Haida may not work for the Métis.

Aboriginal control in many instances has often meant nothing more than Aboriginal management of mainstream education, or worse mere token participation in the management of mainstream policies. Greater Aboriginal control of education will not lead to education of Aboriginal students if no provision is made for enhanced support systems and yes, more funding. Wage parity, access to research funding, and a lack of post-graduate opportunities are but a few of the challenges. Greater Aboriginal control of Aboriginal education will not achieve the goal of reinforcing Métis and First Nations identity, heritage, and culture if Aboriginal programs and institutions simply mirror status quo curriculum, program, and policies.

There is a need to recognize that pan-Aboriginal approaches to Aboriginal education initiatives do not work, just as leading Indigenous scholars have rejected pan-Indigenous approaches to Indigenous Knowledge. There is a need to develop group specific approaches to Aboriginal education. What works for the Mohawk or Haida may not work for the Métis. Perhaps some of the greatest challenges are issues arising within the various Aboriginal constituencies.

133 | P A G E


Although the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project is focussed on Teacher Education Programs, the issues at hand need to be examined in the broader context. Achievement on campus, meeting community and institutional objectives requires greater success in the K-12 system. The Aboriginal community needs to put a higher emphasis on education by developing linkages between post-secondary institutions, the K-12 system, and the community. Greater control of Aboriginal education by Aboriginal people will also require new models of governance that are not only financially accountable, but also politically and culturally accountable to their respective constituencies. The ongoing difficulties arising from the current governance models utilized by the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the First Nations University of Canada, as well as other Aboriginal education institutions across Canada, demonstrate the need to develop more stable forms of governance. References Conroy, M.(1974). Education as Cultural Imperialism. Stanford University and Center for Economic Studies. Lutz, H., Hamilton, M., and Heimbecker, D. (Eds.) (2005). Howard Adams: Otapawy, The Life of a MĂŠtis Leader in his Own Words and in Those of His Contemporaries. Gabriel Dumont Institute. Belcourt, C. (2008). Medicines to Help Us: Traditional MĂŠtis Plant Use. Gabriel Dumont Institute. Navigating the Academy: A CAUT Forum for Aboriginal Academic Staff (February 1-3, 2008). Winnipeg, Manitoba [personal notes].

134 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe Notes: Carol Fulton ITEP Presentation – Orest Murawsky SUNTEP, Saskatoon Presentation – Murray Hamilton Themes Positives

       

The longevity of the programs Graduates are becoming leaders in the communities in other areas Focus on cultural identity Graduates are amazing role models Students in programs do a lot of community work they don’t get credit for in their programs just so they can maintain community ties TEPS good at supporting student teachers The lengths to which people will go to support students Becoming stronger – critical mass of graduates who will change things - hope

Challenges

          

Growing trend to have to recruit students into TEP programs as they are opting for industry Trying to support ESL students Need for legislation to put funding in place so TEPS don’t have to apply for funding each year – provide stability Workload of faculty – no time to do all the programs they would like to see developed Pay for faculty – lower than in other programs Loss of languages Student demographics changing – getting younger students without the same knowledge of language or connections to culture and community Need for higher level math and science courses Having IK validated Being told by institutions that a TEP can’t have a particular course b/c it would water down a program – different courses are needed for the north How do we make sure we’re not participating in colonization when we were raised in the colonial system?

Ideas

   

A clearing house website for ideas from the different TEP’s or a National Association of TEPS to keep communication going A TEP newsletter where each TEP has a couple of pages to share information Require teachers to learn an Aboriginal language – the gift of language Go out and recruit prospective teachers in grades 7 & 8

135 | P A G E


136 | P A G E


For Métis people, SUNTEP remains a  bastion of culture, community, and  educational influence.    ~ Russell Fayant, SUNTEP, Regina  

137 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education S ASKATCHEWAN U RBAN N ATIVE T EACHER E DUCATION P ROGRAM (SUNTEP), R EGINA , S ASKATCHEWAN

PREPARED BY RUSSELL FAYANT, with contributions by SUNTEP Staff: Russell Fayant, Christina Johns, Lorri Melnchenko, Joanne Pelletier and Erma Taylor March, 2008

138 | P A G E


Introduction In recent years, there has been a desire on behalf of the academic and Aboriginal communities to develop indicators as to what determines success in educational programming for Métis and First Nations students. For the non-Aboriginal community, these Like the versatile Métis sash, indicators provide a roadmap for adaptation to the woven from different threads, new demographic realities of our province and our Métis epistemology evolved to educational institutions. For Aboriginal educators, value and to utilize the various these indicators are a reaffirmation of traditional aspects of Euro-centric/First pedagogical philosophy, which has existed for Nations knowledge that suited hundreds of years, and which continues to guide our our purpose, place, and community’s vision of what learning is and should be. circumstances. Although Aboriginal pedagogical ideas may be as diverse as the nations which have developed them, Our sense of connectedness to almost all rely on a basic rule of accountability to self, the land humbles our community, and nation. Ideas such as holistic community and binds us in learning, experience-based constructivism, struggle, survival, and community service, and respect for oral history and community reliance. wisdom are familiar themes to Indigenous learning.

Our knowledge of western ways and languages has allowed us to integrate and participate, in a marginalized sense, into the economic structure of settler society.

Métis genesis was initiated out of mutual respect of culture, worldview, and ways of knowing. Since the earliest years of the fur trade, the delineated lines of our ancestry saw fit that their children received a bicultural education, in the hopes that they would be proficient citizens of two worlds. Like the versatile Métis sash, woven from different threads, Métis epistemology evolved to value and to utilize the various aspects of Euro-centric/First Nations knowledge that suited our purpose, place, and circumstances. Our sense of connectedness to the land humbles our community and binds us in struggle, survival, and community reliance. Our knowledge of western ways and languages has allowed us to integrate and participate, in a marginalized sense, into the economic structure of settler society. The strength and uniqueness of Métis culture is enhanced by the ability of Métis people to adapt to new realities, whilst not sacrificing their distinct identity. It is this common understanding which grounds SUNTEP’s and the Métis community’s philosophy of education.

Participating in the following TEP Review, has given the staff at SUNTEP Regina a valuable opportunity to reflect upon our successes and struggles as a program. In addition, it has allowed us to

139 | P A G E


evaluate how well we fulfill the educational mandate of the Métis community, and to articulate in a realistic sense to others, what is working for us.

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica?

SUNTEP teachers are grounded in their communities, and committed to continuing professional development. Upon commencing employment with SUNTEP, instructors are given access to previously used course curriculums and a detailed policy manual which explicitly states SUNTEP’s mandate, goals, and philosophy. Although principles of academic freedom are adhered to, it is understood by both full-time faculty and sessional Métis worldview is best lecturers that our students have specific needs as understood, and conveyed by Aboriginal learners, and these needs must be Métis people. addressed in the learning experience of our students. During discussions concerning how Aboriginal ways of knowing are realized in the program, courses, teaching and practica of SUNTEP, three themes emerged; the honouring of Métis specific knowledge and experience, the use of traditional learning methods such as experiential and constructivist theory, and the nurturing of relationship building within the context of post-secondary learning. Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized in programming Integral to the success of SUNTEP programming, is the basic foundational notion that a Métis worldview is best understood, and conveyed by Métis people. As an affirmative action program, under the Humans Right Code, SUNTEP has been given an exemption that allows it to give hiring priority to qualified Métis instructors. This has ensured that Métis students are taught by Métis people. As instructors, we are familiar with our student’s learning styles, their backgrounds, their struggles, and in many cases, their families. For many of our students who are disconnected from their communities, SUNTEP provides a reintroduction to Métis values, and ways of knowing and being. For our students who are already firmly grounded in their culture, SUNTEP provides a warm and welcoming environment in which they can validate their own ways of knowing, and incorporate and adapt them into the expectations placed upon them in the university environment. The result has been that SUNTEP Regina has graduated 199 teachers who are culturally and academically prepared to provide quality and relevant instruction to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. From Red River, to the Road Allowance, and finally to the urban cores of our cities, Métis history has been mired in marginalization. This oppressive past has served to retard the progress of our institutions, yet has given us solidarity of purpose to move forward. This desire to move forward, coupled with a strong capacity to build productive relationships has been key to our cultural survival as a people, and our record of achievement as an institution. Integral to SUNTEP’s success has been its ability operate as a self-directed entity while being accountable to our stakeholders and partners who include; the Métis community of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and the Ministry of Education. SUNTEP Regina instructors adhere to University of Regina protocol regarding academic grading, classroom conduct, and maintaining high attendance and performance expectations. Students of SUNTEP are expected to maintain a minimum 65% percent GPA, which is the same expectation for U of R, Faculty of Education students. Furthermore, SUNTEP students are expected to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance during the course of the semester; an expectation congruent with University of Regina student guidelines. It is understood by our students that there is a purpose to academic rigor and proper supports such as Math and English tutorials are provided to all students.

140 | P A G E


During the annual SUNTEP Regina open house, prospective students are told that, if admitted, they will be both students of the University of Regina, as well as the Gabriel Dumont Institute, which administers SUNTEP. As students of GDI, students are expected to adhere to both academic and cultural expectations. This means being committed not only to their studies, but also to their community. Thusly, there are many opportunities built into SUNTEP programming that allow for community development. Every month during the semester each group of SUNTEP students takes turns to prepare a meal and a SUNTEP ‘get-together’ that is referred to as an ‘All-Centre’ meeting. The elements of meal-sharing, storytelling and celebration provide the glue for Métis community cohesion, whether the venue is a church basement, or a university. Students hand-prepare a meal for other students, the SUNTEP staff, sessional instructors, Elders, family members, and community representatives. Often, awards are given out, winners of various scholarships are mentioned, and announcements are made regarding community events and the progress of each group of students. Students provide entertainment in the form of theatre and dance demonstrations. Themes of all-centers in the past have ranged from ‘Louis Riel Day’ to ‘Honouring our Métis veterans’. The sharing of laughter and food among friends and colleagues reminds the staff and the students that for Métis people, living and learning cannot exist independent of one another. There is further evidence of the fruit positive relationship building can bear in the work environment of SUNTEP Regina. Many SUNTEP alumni keep close ties with the program, long after graduation. SUNTEP graduates promote the program among their relatives, and are utilized consistently as cooperative teachers during field placements of pre-service teachers. As significant, SUNTEP graduates have returned repeatedly to act as instructors and faculty advisors for the program. Currently, the entire full-time instructional and administrative staff at SUNTEP Regina is Métis, including three instructors who are SUNTEP Regina graduates. The current SUNTEP Regina Coordinator, Joanne Pelletier, was among the program’s first graduates, publishers, and researchers. Collectively, SUNTEP instructors hold forty years of instructional experience, and were selected as instructors for their professional and cultural expertise. SUNTEP faculty share inherited connections, their own relatable SUNTEP experiences, and a similar worldview. This is an ideal scenario (28 years in the making) and is a reflection of the commitment Métis teachers have demonstrated to their community. Furthermore, it is a reminder of the powerful benefits realized through positive relationship building within our own community. The administration of SUNTEP and the Gabriel Dumont Institute is progressive, and honours the need for its staff to have the power of localized decision-making and the access to continuing professional development. As a staff, we regularly meet internally and with sessional instructors to identify and address issues of concern around academic performance, classroom behaviour, attendance expectations, and community obligations. SUNTEP classes and its operational autonomy allow for efficient and positive improvements to occur. Métis instructors have intimate knowledge of the backgrounds and worldviews of their students, and this makes change more relevant and expedient. SUNTEP instructors are encouraged to develop professionally and are supported in graduate and postgraduate endeavours. Quite often, SUNTEP instructors are engaged in graduate or post-graduate studies while instructing. As a result, SUNTEP undergraduate students often benefit from a filtration of contemporary research in the area of Aboriginal education theory and practice. Additionally, our instructors continually model the importance of life-long learning to our students. The acknowledgement of the importance of community building extends beyond our own programming in real and meaningful ways. SUNTEP staff engages with and support various University of Regina committees in the areas of scholarships, admissions, program renewal, and program and professional development. SUNTEP students are involved with U of R athletics, student societies and associations, 141 | P A G E


and have provided input to student conferences such as the E-Merging Conference, WestCast, and the Métis/Francophone Roundtable Discussions with the Baccalaureate Program. Students connect to their First Nations contemporaries by taking advantage of services offered at the Aboriginal Students Centre, and participating in the annual FNUniv winter carnival. By the time students graduate, they have developed a supportive network consisting of contacts from the U of R, FNUniv, other TEPS, and various elementary schools in and around Regina. Many SUNTEP students further distinguish themselves by giving back to the broader community. Students and staff often act as ‘Métis experts’ at the request of various organizations and institutions seeking Métis specific resources. Students have provided presentations and dance demonstrations to schools, other classes, corporate audiences, and organizations such as SaskTel, Kapachee Training Centre, and Mosaic. In addition to this, many students are active in the areas of politics, theatre, visual art, athletics and social activism. Several students and faculty recently initiated a social justice group, known as Project IDEA (Instilling Dreams of Equity for All). Members of the group meet weekly to discuss issues of social justice and work proactively on a grass-roots level to produce positive local change. These pursuits are encouraged, nurtured, and recognized by the SUNTEP community on a regular and consistent basis. In summary, Métis ways of knowing are incorporated into our programming through the maintenance of high academic and cultural expectations, the strengthening of support and relationship networks, and through the nurturing of self and community responsibility. Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized in courses The program course requirements for SUNTEP Regina students are similar to those of Faculty of Education students at the University of Regina. However, to reflect SUNTEP’s mandate of providing quality and culturally relevant post-secondary training to Métis students, there is a strong emphasis on cross-cultural education and Indigenous studies. In addition to KHS 185AB-Metis Jigging and INDG 221-Metis History and Culture, students must also take an Indigenous language, three additional Indigenous studies courses, and two cross-cultural education courses. At the end of their four year program, students emerge as confident and critical thinkers, grounded in a new sense of belonging and commitment. Many of our students do extremely well in their Indigenous Studies classes, sensing a validation of their own ways of knowing and lived experience. It is nothing less than transformative when students realize that their traditional knowledge is valued and needed, and indeed that they are ‘experts’. SUNTEP, as a program, is dependent on the diverse expertise of sessional instructors. The small size of the permanent instructional staff necessitates the ‘contracting out’ of SUNTEP classes. Classes remain small and students benefit from their years of teaching experience and being exposed to a wide variety of instructional approaches and philosophies. Although most of the sessional instructional staff is not of Aboriginal ancestry, SUNTEP faculty endeavours to work closely with them and provide assistance in the area of incorporating Métis content and instructional strategies. Staff meet with the sessional instructors at the beginning of the semester in an orientation, and subsequent meetings are held monthly to discuss individual student progress. Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized in teaching As mentioned previously, for the Métis, and indeed the great majority of Indigenous cultures, learning cannot be separated from living. This foundational understanding guides the instructional approach of SUNTEP teachers. Through field trips, use of alternative media, community experts’ consultations, guest speakers, and experiential learning opportunities, students learn to decolonize learning and embrace holistic values of land-based knowledge. Although much of student learning takes place 142 | P A G E


within the confines of the university, students are urged to connect their classroom learning with their lives and future careers in real and meaningful ways. SUNTEP students are privileged to have many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Culturally relevant trips are used to help reconnect students to their traditional ways of knowing, and to model for our students good practice in experiential learning. Although specific trips are taken to meet objectives for specific classes, the learning and experiences often hold transferable benefits observed in subsequent classes. Some of the experiential learning experiences students participate in include OCRE (Off Campus Residential Experience), a genealogical research trip to Winnipeg, the Riel Walking Tour, a Tipi Raising, visits to schools and projects such as the Hawk’s Nest at Herchmer School, the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, All Nations Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle, Pasqua Hospital Healing Centre, RCMP Heritage Museum, and Treaty Four Celebration Days. In addition to field trips, students are given access to the broader community through the contact they receive with community experts. Community guest speakers such as Elders, representatives from Regina Public Schools, and Michif speakers are brought into the classrooms to speak on a variety of topics from preservation of Métis languages, to the STF Code of Ethics. In the classroom, teachers use humour and storytelling to build relationships and trust. In many cases, Métis instructors are familiar with students’ families, which help to contribute to a sense of belonging and advocacy. SUNTEP instructors know a great deal about their students because of these connections and work to maintain a supportive and trusting environment. Because of the small size of SUNTEP classes, instructional techniques conducive to the Aboriginal learner can be employed readily. Cooperative, experiential and high-context learning are used to engage students. Examples of this would include the use of the Circle of Courage in the development of Professional Portfolios, jig sawing academic readings, small group in-class presentations and field trips. Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized in practica SUNTEP students experience the elementary classroom beginning in their first year. In addition to regular class time, students are provided with ‘supplemental learning modules’. In the first year of the program, several modules take place in an elementary classroom environment. Students usually visit a classroom three times as one large group and are responsible for developing a learning activity to share with a student in the classroom. This experience in the first year helps to reaffirm one’s commitment to the profession, as well as diminishes fears students may have about entering the schools. In the second year of the program, students participate in a school environment in conjunction with EPS 100. Students visit classrooms in pairs for a minimum of seven full days, and are responsible for team teaching several lessons. Here students are given a glimpse into the formality of teaching, while having the support of a peer, as well as the cooperative teacher. During pre-internship, students visit schools independently every Wednesday in the fall and two blocks totalling 15 days in the winter, and teach formal, developed lessons on their own. The focus is on professional growth and, in conjunction with EPS 215-225, students learn gradually to reflect and to set goals for continual improvement. They experiment with a variety of methods of instruction and First Nations/Métis content integration. This is a time of tremendous growth for our students. The supports they were given in first and second year come to fruition, as pre-interns develop into confident and creative risk-takers in the classroom. The final field experience is internship (Field 405). Although students take on the roll of classroom teacher and are rarely seen at SUNTEP, contact with former instructors and the SUNTEP staff is 143 | P A G E


maintained through phone and email. Support for interning students is maintained in the forms of advice, resources, and professional reminders such as the preparing for certification, one’s professional portfolio, graduation and job interviews.

What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program design?

As we move beyond acceptance of Aboriginal epistemology and into a mode of sharing it, our priorities remain the same. We must continue to build effective partnerships which mirror our own community values and partnerships that will continue to allow us to grow, succeed, and be understood.

For Aboriginal educators working in and amongst the remnants of a post-colonial education system, there are many challenges and opportunities to be experienced. Researchers and practitioners of Indigenous Knowledge have worked hard to share and have validated Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning in academic circles. As we move beyond acceptance of Aboriginal epistemology and into a mode of sharing it, our priorities remain the same. We must continue to build effective partnerships which mirror our own community values and partnerships that will continue to allow us to grow, succeed, and be understood. Strengths in program design for the incorporation of Métis knowledge Our greatest strength as a program is that we endeavour to involve those that we serve at every level of the decision-making process. In SUNTEP’s case, the main stakeholder is the Métis community, and, indeed, it was the Métis community of Saskatchewan that advocated for the creation of SUNTEP. The presence of a Métis voice in the administration of our program is reflected in the makeup of GDI’s Board of Governors, its administration, its instructional staff, and its body of students. This is significant for Métis people. Population dispersion and the lack of Métis specific institutions have left us ‘voiceless’ in many economic, social, justice, and educational arenas. For Métis people, SUNTEP remains a bastion of culture, community, and educational influence. SUNTEP has been successful in recruiting and retaining a full-time permanent staff of highly qualified Métis instructors. As previously noted, currently all SUNTEP Regina instructors are former graduates of the program, giving them intimate knowledge of the struggles and challenges Métis students face returning to school. Adult learners learn best when they have the ability to interact with others having similar experiences to their own. The ability of the instructional staff to relate to students contributes to the all around supportive environment. The staff also bring with them extensive knowledge of Métis culture and history; a strength which allows them to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into all subject areas taught, and to guide sessional instructors in their attempts to incorporate Métis ways of knowing into all classes. An integral aspect of strength in program design is the developmental nature of the program. The first year of the program is geared around identity development, as many students ‘reclaim’ their Aboriginal heritage and learn to value their lived experience in regards to their own learning. Second year is a mix of academic classes and project-based learning experiences, exposing students to a wide variety of learning theories and models. In the third year, independence is nurtured as students focus on methodology classes and experiences specific to being a teacher. Students continue to think and act like teachers, and gain a new sense of confidence in their ability to guide their own learning and the learning of others. During the final year of internship students are encouraged to experiment and explore as they settle into becoming full-fledged teachers.

144 | P A G E


A final strength worth mentioning is the degree of care and consideration given to the recruitment of students. Students are interviewed by a committee composed of: the coordinator (or designate) of SUNTEP, a community member, a member of the Faculty of Education--U of R and a SUNTEP student. They are asked questions concerning their academic ability, available support networks, financial stability, and commitment to the Métis community. Interview selection committee members are aware of and respect the fact that prospective students come from a variety of backgrounds. They represent both urban and rural areas. They can be mature, or straight out of high school. Some are firmly grounded in their Métis community, and others are disconnected from it. Flexibility and the honouring of diverse strengths play important roles in the selection process. What all prospective students must demonstrate is a strong commitment to the profession of teaching, and a wholehearted desire to learn about their culture. The result is diversity among hegemony, that is, a group of Aboriginal students who bring a variety of strengths to the process of dismantling similar barriers. Weaknesses/opportunities/challenges in program design for the incorporation of Métis knowledge Much of traditional Métis pedagogy is land and community based. Full understanding of Métis values, traditions, and teachings comes from intimate and experiential contact with nature, with traditional communities, with old people, with artists, and with stories. Colonialism added to the repertoire of Métis knowledge, yet initiated a process of educational marginalization through the imposition of compartmentalized style learning. Métis people have struggled to adapt to and succeed in classrooms which do not reflect who they are. SUNTEP faculty work to develop unique and creative ways to provide experiential and field-based experiences, but ultimately are limited in these attempts by the formality of the university environment, and the limitations that our funding agreement places on true educational self-determination. The partnership the Métis community has forged with the University of Regina and the Ministry of Education has been immensely beneficial for all involved. However, it has also limited a selfdetermining ability for the SUNTEP program. Limited space within the university marginalizes our sessional instructors, hinders our expansion, and ensures that our students are one of only a few groups on campus who do not have their own lounge. Steady and continual funding has allowed us to nurture 199 graduates. However, the limited increase of that funding has meant that SUNTEP student-intake numbers, as well as the numbers of permanent full-time faculty, have remained stagnant for 28 years. As a program, we continue to rely heavily on non-Métis sessional instructors. Although SUNTEP Regina’s sessional instructors are qualified to instruct in their field, they may or may not have the ability to reflect a Métis worldview in their instruction. Since most of our students’ instructional time is spent with non-Métis instructors, it is difficult to ensure strong incorporation of Métis knowledge on a consistent basis. An additional weakness of program design has come to light as the demographics of our student population quickly changes. During the first two decades of SUNTEP Regina’s existence, students tended to be mature, poor, grounded in their community and knowledge of Aboriginal values and had experienced marginalization in some form or another during their schooling. Today’s students tend to be young, middle class, and sometimes disconnected from their home communities and academically well adjusted. As a program, we find that we cannot take cultural understanding for granted, and we are challenged with the task of reconnecting our students to their Métis community. As a staff, we need to continually seek ways to assist our students in the decolonization process, understanding always that they exist within differing dimensions of cultural awareness. Being cultural facilitators as well as academic instructors has stretched SUNTEP faculty thin. The small number of full-time faculty members means there are fewer hands to assist with instruction, advising, field-trip organization, field supervision, community involvement, graduation/all-centre organization, 145 | P A G E


university committee involvement and program development and maintaining membership on provincial educational committees such as BTEC and Student Loans and Bursaries. Unlike their university counterparts, the SUNTEP faculty is not able to engage in research leave, limiting access to developing theory in Aboriginal education. Time constraints also limit the amount of collaboration with other SUNTEP centers, further isolating faculty and students from their own colleagues.

How is student success supported and what counts as ‘success’? Many students remark that SUNTEP is like a ‘family’. Indeed, SUNTEP is both a metaphorical and sometimes literal family. A sense of family stems from experiences of belonging, feeling welcome, laughing, sharing, and sometimes being ‘kept in line’. These are the supports which the SUNTEP program provides for its students in the hopes that they will succeed. For SUNTEP faculty, successful students are independent, critical, hard-working, knowledge seeking, supportive, giving, and proud of the richness of their Métis heritage. Following, are some specific strategies employed by the SUNTEP Regina program to promote and support students success. Celebrating Success Various awards and gifts are presented to SUNTEP students throughout their four year program. At monthly all-centers, recipients of faculty academic awards are acknowledged by the entire student body. The Spirit of SUNTEP award is also handed out monthly at all-centre meetings. To receive it, a student must be nominated by a peer, and exemplify Circle of Courage qualities of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The winner of the award is presented with a gift and a certificate from faculty members. At graduation, all students receive a small gift for completing the year. Graduates each receive a Métis sash, and handmade leather portfolios that are made by the staff each year. Two additional awards are presented at graduation. The first, the David Amyotte Memorial Scholarship, is presented to a grad that excelled in the area of First Nation and Métis content integration. The second award, the SaskEnergy Sharing the Warmth Award, is a star blanket which is presented to a graduate who was particularly supportive and giving to their community. Communication Open communication is the greatest contributor to the program’s ability to make effective and expedient decisions. A warm and friendly office environment ensures staff not only communicates openly with each other, but also with sessional instructors. Faculty members meet with sessional instructors on a monthly basis to discuss each individual student, allowing for immediate supports to be put in place if necessary. Having this knowledge of each student gives all staff greater understanding of student needs and strengths and how to adapt to them. 

Faculty members communicate with students on a frequent basis. Prospective students meet future instructors at their interview and at the student’s orientation. Each student year is assigned a faculty advisor who provides guidance, advocacy, and explains student rights, responsibilities and privileges as both a student of SUNTEP and the University of Regina. In addition to instructional time, field trips, outings, one-on-one meetings, faculty members also write semester end letters to their students outlining their areas of strength and areas for continual development. In some cases, individual student contracts are written to provide students with clarification regarding academic, professional and community expectations.

146 | P A G E


Academic Support  

 

Tutors are provided in the areas of Math and English for all SUNTEP students. Students may sometimes be contractually obligated to attend tutorial sessions based on instructor consultation. Accessible Resources – Because the Gabriel Dumont Institute Library is adjacent to SUNTEP offices, SUNTEP Regina students have access to a wide body of traditional and contemporary knowledge and resources in the areas of educational theory, Aboriginal education, and Métis and First Nations history and culture. The library also has educational kits, a wide selection of children’s literature, and audio visual equipment. There is also access to computers and printers in the library. Students are also encouraged to consult faculty members for advice, assistance, or educational resources. Students are provided with quality instructors, each an expert in his or her field. Instructors are expected to uphold and maintain strict standards of excellence. Although students remain responsible for living, transportation, and book costs, tuition support is key to their ability to remain in the program. Tuition is provided for Métis students. In addition, they are provided with a onetime start up allowance of $200.00 in their first year.

Class Structure 

Small class sizes offer many benefits for Métis learners, as they do most learners. They allow for personalized instruction, the building of close relationships, and the development of community. Students spend an enormous amount of time together in close quarters for four years. Like a family, they are forced to learn how to trust, support, and learn from one another. Cooperative learning and the encouragement to ‘share’ help to foster positive peer relationships among our students.

Cultural Development 

During the student intake process, prospective students are made aware of two sets of expectations: one from the University of Regina and Faculty of Education, and one from the Métis community and the Gabriel Dumont Institute. The expectations of the university, academic in nature, ensure educational standards are maintained. The expectations of GDI and the Métis community are inclusive of both professional and value-based expectations and ensure both cultural and academic standards are maintained. In addition to scheduled class times, SUNTEP students spend much time cooking for celebrations, volunteering, attending ‘class meetings’, and participating in field trips. These activities and the willingness to engage in them, reflect a wholehearted commitment to learning, identity development, and community involvement on behalf of our students. Métis and First Nations Elders, and other traditional carriers of cultural knowledge have an important place in SUNTEP programming. Without the specialized knowledge of Elders such as Jeanne Pelletier and Glen Anaquod, we would not be able to conduct tipi raisings, jigging classes or language instruction. More importantly, we would lose guidance, stories, and a fundamental connection to our history. Students are asked to attend supplemental modules in each semester. The modules may be technical, (navigating UR Self-Service, i-movies, etc.), academic, (how to write an essay, using APA, etc.), or cultural. Cultural modules offered to students in the past have included: jigging, sash-weaving, sharing circles, and field trips to sites of cultural significance such as Lebret and Batoche. Storytelling is the sinew of Aboriginal epistemology and is omnipresent in the SUNTEP environment. Storytelling informs us of the whereabouts and happenings of our community. It reveals aspects and dimensions of our students that give us deeper understanding of their lives 147 | P A G E


and circumstances. Often used with humour, it solidifies relationships and transmits history. Students are encouraged to value storytelling and oral transmission of knowledge. They are given time, in and out of class, to share their own stories. They are asked to incorporate aspects of themselves into projects. And, they are taught the value of personal and professional reflection; that to retell a story, or relive an experience facilitates learning and growth on a deep and meaningful level. Students receive many opportunities, both in and out of class, to reconnect to the broader Métis community. They engage in genealogy study, are introduced to Métis artists and leaders, and their families are encouraged to share in all celebrations including monthly all-centre meetings, Christmas celebrations, and graduation. Modeling is an important aspect of Métis education. Faculty members are diligent in their efforts to model respect and positive collaborative relationships. They strive for a sense of professionalism with warmth, dignity, integrity, discipline, and humour, and expect the same of students.

What counts as success? As previously mentioned, the Spirit of SUNTEP Award, is a monthly acknowledgment of a student who exudes qualities of a successful individual as articulated in the Circle of Courage, (Brokenleg, Brendtro, 2002). A student is nominated by their peers, and must have demonstrated in specific ways, how they have developed in the four areas of mastery, independence, generosity and belonging. The Circle of Courage is a useful and relatable model because it effectively articulates many of the same qualities valued by the Métis community. The model will be used here to provide indicators for what SUNTEP considers ‘successes for our students. Mastery 

Academic performance is one indicator of a student’s level of mastery. Although students understand that they must achieve a minimum 65% overall GPA, they are encouraged to strive for better, and are given the supports to do so. They are made aware of many various scholarships and given honour and mention for receiving awards. Students may also show development of academic mastery by being punctual, completing all coursework in a thoughtful manner, and participating in class activity. When students exhibit gratitude and humility, they demonstrate a continuing mastery of personal development. This may be characterized by the recognition of the time, effort, and thought put into their educational experience. The effective integration of a Métis worldview is one of SUNTEP’s primary goals. Students demonstrate mastery in this area by developing lessons, and unit plans, with meaningful First Nations and Métis content, and by consistently practicing a wide variety of instructional strategies that reflect indigenous perspectives in the field. Successful pre-service teachers are innovative and caring. When SUNTEP students begin to take qualified risks in their teaching and planning that reflect the needs of the whole child, they are on the path to becoming ‘masterful’ teachers.

Independence 

One way for students to demonstrate independence is to treat school like a job. Many students spend the entire day at school, even when they do not have class. Exhibiting initiative, work ethic, and internalized motivation are ways in which our students show us they have taken control of their learning.

148 | P A G E


Many of our graduates gain employment at schools where they are a minority. Away from the familiar environment of the Métis community, many new Aboriginal teachers struggle to resist socialization into the status quo. The pressure to conform and fit in is great. Independence is observed in teachers who strongly defend and utilize Aboriginal principals of learning, to resist this pressure. The ability to find and keep a job are obvious indicators of independence. Perhaps a more subtle indicator is the ability to take risks and transfer skills to a variety of fields which SUNTEP students have done in the areas of ESL, law, medicine, business, administration and consulting. Demonstrating leadership abilities may be part of growing independently. Taking initiative, and not being afraid to speak up or help guide classmates in a positive way is a trait of growing independence.

Generosity 

  

The ability to share consistently and genuinely is the hallmark of generosity. Students can demonstrate generosity by sharing in circles, tutoring peers, volunteering in the community, providing peer support, assisting in classes and gatherings, helping elders, and providing workshops. Many SUNTEP graduates agree to be cooperative teachers for our students. Not only does this enhance community linkage, it is indicative of a person willing to ‘give back’ to their community. As a staff, we are proud when our students demonstrate generosity of knowledge and volunteer to give cultural workshops, or to assist or present at conferences, gatherings and schools. Belonging SUNTEP students understand they belong when they; ask for help, exhibit pride in their culture and profession, and participate in SUNTEP and extracurricular activities such as Cougars Athletics or the ESS. Students help contribute to belonging when they; attend all-centers and SUNTEP gatherings, openly celebrate the accomplishments and successes of peers, help others overcome struggles, and demonstrate a value and respect for carriers of knowledge.

What new ideas/goals could be established for future cultural program development in your TEP and what first steps are needed to begin the planning and implementation cycle for them? Program renewal, changes in the school system, and contemporary research in the field of Aboriginal education are creating many opportunities for SUNTEP Regina to adapt and grow. SUNTEP faculty is committed to finding new ways to strengthen partnerships and utilize Métis perspectives to foster innovation and improvement in programming. Currently, all SUNTEP students must take one Indigenous language during the course of their studies. Many of our students opt to take Cree, Saulteaux, Ojibwe, Lakota, Nakota or Dakota for their linguistic links to the Métis language, Michif. There remain few Michif speakers, and those that retain the language lack the credentials or qualifications to instruct in a post-secondary institution. The mission of the Gabriel Dumont Institute is to “promote the renewal and development of Métis culture through research, materials development collections, and the distribution of those materials and the development and delivery of Métis-specific educational programs and services”. It would seem logical for SUNTEP faculty to advocate for the presence of Michif in the program. As a faculty, there are steps we can take to work towards this goal such as the use of Michif resources, Michif speaker contact, and working with our community to develop Michif curriculum and goals for Michif speaker instructional accreditation. We would like to have a Métis immersion camp where students could be immersed, if only for a few days, in Michif instruction and cultural teachings. There are many possibilities for the incorporation of Michif into our programming. What is certain however is that the language is disappearing at an 149 | P A G E


alarming rate. The training of Michif instructors for the post-secondary classroom would take years. What is needed is an understanding of this urgency. As a program and a staff, we need to work hard to advocate for the recognition of prior learning and cultural expertise among those who retain the language, and bring them into the classroom as soon as possible. Other areas identified for future growth of cultural programming included: establishment of a secondary program, post-graduate studies, a SUNTEP centre/building on campus, research leave, release time for course development and reflection on program renewal, and an alternative K-12 educational setting with direct connection to SUNTEP, reinstituting SASKTEP, reinstituting SUNTEP Review Committee, and challenging Ministry of Education to actualize integration of Métis content and perspectives into every curriculum and as a measure of achievement on provincial tests. Conclusion Participating in the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project has been affirming and productive. By engaging in collaborative reflection, we are empowered by the sense that what we do works for our students, our community, and for the children we teach. We are also reminded of the importance of partnerships, the inevitability of program evolution, and our continuing struggle to retain our Métis values in the sea of settler society. SUNTEP Regina remains open to incorporating new and innovative ideas demonstrated by other TEPs and academic research. We balance the need to continually learn with the desire for strengthened voice and autonomy. Although we may know what is best for our students, we balance that intimate knowledge of our community with a responsibility to be accountable to our stakeholders. Performing this balancing act provides us with a diverse perspective, but ultimately limits the degree that we may be self-determining in our programming. As a program, we look forward to maintaining the positive relationships we have built. Participating in the self-study has helped to highlight the importance of knowledge exchange. We are fortunate at the University of Regina to have the diverse perspectives of ITEP, SUNTEP, NTEP, and YNTEP. Through continual relationship building with the other TEPS and the Faculty of Education, SUNTEP Regina looks forward learning, growing, and sharing our own Métis ways of knowing.

150 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES Scribe: David Friesen, SUNTEP Regina Presentation Joanne Pelletier, Christina Johns, Russell Fayant Content presented:  To understand present, need to understand past (from fur trade to road allowance)  Long line of educated people . . . leaders i.e.: bicultural/bilingual fur traders  History as deeply conflicted  Education: survival, resistance, selfdetermination

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? Uniqueness: (as an organization)  Métis decision making power  curriculum development aimed at serving Métis community  goal setting  all Métis staff  experiential learning: field trips, e.g., archives Man; OCRE; field experiences (placement in pairs; as many in same school as possible). Also joining with SUNTEP, PA. Tipi raising; celebration/food to gain sense of community. Involved in students’ lives Expectations (students):     

attendance/average weekly class meetings community involvement – connections have participated in FN games genealogical research · · · · ·

small class sizes – “like a family . . . you become very close.” Students know this about SUNTEP. community-oriented use of cultural experts e.g., Red River cart/dance helping to build background cultural knowledge cooperating teachers (former grads if possible) intergenerational and land based transmission of knowledge through connection with Métis community

Partnerships  U of R, Faculty of Education  Macdermid School  Aboriginal student centre

151 | P A G E


Sessionals – help them with integration of Aboriginal knowledge through orientation  culturally relevant experiences e.g., Willowbunch, petroglyphs, etc.  why cultural relevance works?  Teach students to think critically  Make connection to real world  Community knowledge  Strong links staff & students  Respect all forms of cultural knowledge Comment. Joanne “education wasn’t for me . . . had never seen it . . . SUNTEP opened up the door to becoming a teacher educator.” Courses (Aboriginal content) 1. cross-cultural ECCU 200/300 2. Indigenous studies 221 Métis history & culture (specifically for SUNTEP) – field trip to St. Boniface area – visit H Bay & St. Boniface archives – helps students connect to their history & to find family connections (many Métis sites). 3. KHSA 185 – jigging “like immersing them [in their culture]” “learned new things . . . thought Riel’s body was one place but now in . . .” Treaty Four: celebration/pow wow Moose Jaw tunnels – history of racism Cultural modules Sash, TP, dream catchers, guests, Cultural experts Dance, Tipi raising Staff – also cultural experts Director one of first students to go through program . . . was a cultural consultant . . . others administrative experience. Use of humour. Practica  special relationship with specific schools  lots of field experience

What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program? Strengths:        

all Métis staff – similar places of origin Program design: experiential component Class structure: high expectations: program & community Local decision making-community oriented Community – land based pedagogy – culturally -relevant experiences Mentioned issue of administrative details in raising a tipi (non-permanent structure) Identity clarification: genealogy Recruitment: working thru locals-traditional ways – personal-direct 152 | P A G E


Library – historical-contemporary collection

Celebrate success:  Faculty student achievement awards celebration  Grad – acknowledge year 3s at grads gift giving  What counts as success self-reflection piece (Circle of Courage model) e.g., giving back (cultural carriers) Weaknesses:  Compartmentalized – contradictory to traditional Métis ways of learning (incorporating content rather than be immersed in it)  University environment – physical setting-qualifications, ways to behave, class time restraints  Separate – not federated college  Positive: library access, same grounds, not same family orientation, need more space, hard to find parking, etc (community interaction)  Financially organized  Same student seats as 28 years ago. Challenges:  Changing demographics: younger, less exp @ children  Lack of males  Community disconnect:  Funding: only 1 classroom; no student lounge  Have to book other rooms  Contract @SK learning hasn’t changed.  Heavy reliance on sessionals – don’t integrate A content Opportunities:  cultural development  to language  graduates: 85% hired last year & will give back to program  to share with other TEPs and graduate students  share with Faculty – both ways.  Families once a month; Christmas a big-significant event and also grad  Intimidating to come to university Moire: Wpg trip - travel very expensive in the Arctic more participation after this trip - transformative NTEP: many classes in English not Inuit – perhaps we could go to outpost camps Mostly women: roles but also new economic opportunities Reflection on Group Presentations and Discussions    

Presentations were much more than descriptive (context etc) and revealed a strong Aboriginal orientation for both SUNTEP Regina and Nunavut Teacher Education Program. Both programs used the full time allotted so discussion was limited to role-alike groups The presentations were positive. Although problems were talked about, there was a greater sense of accomplishment and celebration. Lots of examples were given of Aboriginal knowledge in the curriculum, staff, activities, structure etc of TEPs 153 | P A G E


154 | P A G E


The commitment to honour Indigeneity has  become “pervasive” (Nieto, 1996) and  there is normalized discourse about  Indigeneity within the School of Education.    ~  Joanne Tompkins and  Jeff Orr 

155 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education S T. F RANCIS X AVIER U NIVERSITY S CHOOL

OF

E DUCATION

PREPARED BY JOANNE TOMPKINS AND JEFF ORR in collaboration with John Jerome Paul, Jane Meader, Sherise Paul, Starr Sock and Dawn Toney Stevens May, 2008 This self-study document has been prepared for the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project in which ten Teacher Education Programs are responding to the question “How are Aboriginal ways of knowing (Indigeneity) understood and practiced in Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs?” This self-study builds upon previous self-studies and teacher education reviews at St. Francis Xavier University and includes perspectives of Mi’kmaw partners, in-service teachers and graduate students. As St. Francis Xavier University is unlike the other seven TEPs in the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project in that Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers is nested in a mainstream teacher education model, the context of the School of Education is provided to orient the reader, before the four key questions of the self-study are addressed.

156 | P A G E


Context of the School of Education St. Francis Xavier University offers a two-year post degree bachelor of education program. In 1995, a province wide review of teacher education was conducted in Nova Scotia. At roughly the same time the BLAC Report (Black Learners Advisory Council, 1996) and the Marshall Inquiry (1996) confirmed that Mi’kmaw and the African Nova Scotia communities continued to be underserved in the public schools in Nova Scotia with institutional and systemic racism in the education system cited as major factors. Teacher education needed to be changed in the province. A Memorandum of Understanding (1995) between the Mi’kmaw community and St. Francis Xavier University committed the School of Education to include in its mandate the training and preparation of Mi’kmaw educators to teach in band and provincial schools. That mandate and the School of Education’s own policies and practices related to addressing the underrepresentation of these groups, has enabled the School of Education to graduate 68 First Nations and 15 African Canadian teachers since its inception in 1997 and 41 First Nations and 11 African Canadian teachers since 2000. An additional 21 Mi’kmaw students from an on-reserve part-time cohort will graduate in the spring of 2009. The School of Education needs to acknowledge the important role Cape Breton University (CBU) has played over the past 15 years in attracting Mi’kmaw students and supporting them to complete Bachelor level degrees. Cape Breton University has the largest population of Mi’kmaw students in Eastern Canada and produces the highest number of Mi’kmaw graduates. The Mi’kmaq College Institute at CBU has “made it possible for Mi’kmaq students, educators, scholars, and researchers of Mi’kmaq cosmology to establish a curriculum and research agenda which contribute to the achievement of the educational and community goals set by Mi’kmaq communities.”21 The BA Community Studies program in particular allows many Mi’kmaw students to pursue Mi’kmaq Studies for which their lived experiences, cultural knowledge and interest form a great deal of the curriculum. Having such a robust pool of Mi’kmaw students graduating from CBU allows the St. Francis Xavier University School of Education to attract many well-qualified First Nations candidates into teacher education. Program Description Since 1995 St. Francis Xavier University School of Education has offered a two-year post degree program. There are approximately 100 students accepted into the program a year. Approximately 30% of the pre-service teachers are accepted into the St. Francis Xavier University Elementary Education program with the remaining 70% is unlike the TEP programs studying in the Secondary Education program. St. represented at this Francis Xavier University is unlike the TEP programs symposium because represented at this symposium because Aboriginal Aboriginal education is education is nested within a mainstream teacher nested within a mainstream education program and not a stand-alone program. The teacher education program overwhelming majority of Aboriginal students who and not a stand-alone attend the teacher education program at St. Francis program. Xavier University are from Mi’kmaw First Nations but from time to time there have been pre-service teachers from First Nations communities further west. Generally Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers make up between 5-8% of the total pre-service teacher population. None live in the town where the university is located. Some commute to their community on a daily basis while others live in town during the week and return to their First Nations community on the weekend. Almost all of our Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers are parents and several are grandparents. Their ages range from 22 to 55 years old. Travel, parenting, navigating cross-cultural 21

Retrieved from CBU website (2008). 157 | P A G E


space, economic challenges, and intense program demands create a high level of complexity in the lives of most of our Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers. In spite of these challenges, the retention rate among Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers is very high with almost 90% of those who start the program completing the program. Table 1.1 Graduation totals from underrepresented groups 2000-2007 Year First Nations African Nova Scotian Other visible minority 2000

3

1

1

2001

5

0

0

2002

3

3

0

2003

7

1

0

2004

4

1

0

2005

10

0

1

2006

6

3

0

2007

3

2

1

Total

41

11

3

The education program at St. Francis Xavier University rests on four key strands – social justice and equity, professionalism, technology and integrated field experiences that permeate the entire two-year experience. The program is divided into four terms. Each term includes nine weeks of course work followed by five and six weeks of field experience. Pre-service teachers are enrolled in four courses in each of four terms. All pre-service teachers are placed together for the core courses of Sociology of Education, Inclusive Practices One, Inclusive Practices Two and Contemporary Issues in Public Education. Pre-service teachers in the elementary program take their curriculum and instruction (C &I) methods courses together. Secondary pre-services take curriculum and instruction courses in their two teachable areas. Pre-service teachers may also pursue various elective courses. The four field experiences (Introduction, Initiation, Development, and Consolidation) allow pre-service teachers to apply course learnings to actual classroom situations and throughout each field experience pre-service teachers assume more and more responsibility for the full learning in the classroom. Pre-service teachers are able to return to their home communities for field experiences and this allows Mi’kmaw students to gain experience in band schools or provincial schools serving Mi’kmaw students.

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing (Indigeneity) Understood and Practiced in Aboriginal Teacher Education Program? Program Design The restructuring of the teacher education program at St. Francis Xavier University in 1995 provided an important starting place for a refocusing teacher education and considering the place of Indigeneity in it. The Memorandum of Understanding with Mi’kmaw communities marked a clear commitment to 158 | P A G E


address the historical and contemporary imbalance in power relations between Mi’kmaw and non Mi’kmaw communities and hence school achievement within the Nova Scotia schools. Social justice and equity became key program strands that were to be threaded through the entire two-year experience. This public articulation represented an important commitment by the School of Education to acknowledge issues of power, privilege, exclusion and marginalization in schools, the university, and the larger society. Graham Smith (2005), working in Maori education, states that it is not enough for educators to name what they are for; they must also name what they are against. Such a public statement by the School of Education was also a statement against Eurocentrism, assimilationist practices in schools and reductionist, ‘training’ models of teacher education which do not prepare teachers to work successfully across difference. Social justice and equity were to be threads pulled through each course but they also served as key concepts for two foundation courses offered in each term of the first year program. Sociology of Education and Inclusive Practices One explicitly deal with concepts such as power, privilege, hegemony, the residential school experience, cultural capital and social exclusion. They are courses that are co-planned and often co-taught by a team of faculty, thus building equity capacity among the faculty and allowing for congruence among different sections of the same course. These courses invite pre-service teacher candidates to examine their own taken-for-granted assumptions and experiences in schools. Critical autobiographical writing helps both Mi’kmaw and non-Mi’kmaw student unpack and share some of their learnings in class. Small group learning settings allow for a great deal of dialogue among pre-service teachers. In this way, the knowledge and experience of Mi’kmaw students (Indigeneity) is explicitly welcomed into the formal teacher education learning setting and becomes part of the lived curriculum in these foundation classes. Rather than having to “leave their identities at the gate,”22 the lived experiences of Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers form part of the formal curriculum. Because safe intentional space is created into which Mi’kmaw voices and experiences can enter, the hegemony of Eurocentric epistemology is challenged as Indigeneity begins to inform the foundations for teacher education knowledge.23 Importantly, since the Sociology of Education course is offered in the first term of the program Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers become convinced almost immediately that their knowledge and experience is welcomed and honored in the teacher education classroom and for Mi’kmaw students this builds their Rather than having to “leave confidence to continue to use bring their cultural identity their identities at the gate” into their other courses.

(Bishop and Glynn, 1998), the lived experiences of Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers form part of the formal curriculum.

Since all students have been exposed to these core courses, social justice and equity become a shared vocabulary in the School of Education. The degree to which all faculty understand and live out these concepts varies but the public articulation of these qualities and the team teaching approach to these courses provides a strong platform to attempt to live these qualities out in our teacher education program. As more and more faculty (as opposed to a small select group) implicitly and explicitly acknowledge the importance of Indigeneity into the program a collective critical consciousness develops within the school. One consequence of opening up of this space for equity and social justice in the core course is that other courses in curriculum and instruction (C&I) often acknowledge and welcome the lived experiences of Mi’kmaw students into their classrooms. In many methods courses, Mi’kmaw students are encouraged to develop units or class assignments around their “cultural practical knowledge.”24 The Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (1999). Culture counts. Changing power relations in education. Zed Books: London. UK See Tompkins & Orr (2008 in press) for a more detailed explanation of how small group learning settings enhance Aboriginal teachers’ learning. 24 Orr, J., Paul, J.J., Paul, S. (2002). Decolonizing Mi’kmaw education through cultural practical knowledge, McGill Journal of Education, 37(3), 331-354. 22 23

159 | P A G E


cultural and political consciousness of the Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers is deepened as their experiences become the focus of study. As they share their Aboriginal knowledge with peers they are themselves affirmed and are at the same time increasing the cultural competence of their non-Mi’kmaw peers, many of whom will be teaching in classroom where Aboriginal students will be present. Many of the first Mi’kmaw teacher education candidates at St. Francis Xavier University were in the Secondary program with teachables in the areas for Diverse Cultures and Social Studies. Links to cultural knowledge and experiences were explicitly supported in these discipline areas. As the program develops Mi’kmaw students in courses such math and science methods, outdoor education and physical education methods, language arts, guidance and visual arts are bringing their Aboriginal knowledge into those classroom spaces. Leadership “As goes the principal, so goes the school” is an axiom used in public school. What the principal values, pays attention to, will generally be passed on to the staff and the students. At the time of the restructuring process the School of Education was fortunate to have a Chair who had direct teaching, leadership and research experience in Aboriginal contexts and who brought his passion for social justice in schooling to his position. He had the ability to articulate a vision of excellence and equity for schools and he had the necessary skills to translate the vision into action. Hargraeves (2003) states, “we must invest and develop institutions which are ‘learning systems’ that is to say, systems capable of bringing about their own continuing transformation.”25 The Chair was Discussions about curriculum, able, then, to bring this critical lens to help resources, and faculty responsibilities begin the on-going journey of transforming of within the School became framed the School of Education into a more around principles of social decolonizing place. Discussions about justice/equity. Policies and practices curriculum, resources, and faculty were and are scrutinized to ensure responsibilities within the School became they did not work against Mi’kmaw framed around principles of social pre-service teachers, students or justice/equity. Policies and practices were and communities. are scrutinized to ensure they did not work against Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers, students or communities. One particular policy area which requires advocacy and education is admission and recruitment of Mi’kmaw students and the role affirmative action practices play in addressing issues of historical underrepresentation by marginalized groups. Equally important was the leadership exhibited in Mi’kmaw organizations that were deeply committed to building capacity in Mi’kmaw teacher education. John Jerome Paul, Director of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Patrick Johnson, Mi’kmaw College Institute at Cape Breton University were relentless in their efforts to work with the School of Education at St. Francis Xavier University to attract and retain Mi’kmaw students into the pre-service teacher education program. John Jerome Paul understood the importance of a mainstream educational institution supporting efforts in Mi’kmaw education and a trusting and caring partnership has developed between the School and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. The formal relationships which involve partnering on projects and programs and the informal relationships developed from the traveling and working together in between the formal projects serve to greatly enhance the communication, dialogue and capacity of the both organizations. 25

Hargreaves, D. (2003). Education epidemic. Demos. London, UK. 160 | P A G E


Several members on the faculty also have experience and research interests in Aboriginal education and enthusiastically support the direction of the School in to improving schooling for Aboriginal children. Their commitment, coupled with their practical experience and research interests, and relationships with members of Aboriginal communities have given them credibility within the School and with the larger Mi’kmaw community. These faculty members keep articulating that our collective work in Mi’kmaw education is vitally important to our overall work in the school. Those same faculty bring that decolonizing lens to faculty discussions, committee work, wider campus conversations and promoting and supporting Mi’kmaw education is now seen as important an part of what we do in our School of Education and the university. As new faculty have joined the School, they sense this attitude that our commitment to Mi’kmaw education is taken seriously and many new faculty, some with no previous experience in Aboriginal contexts, have embraced this now shared vision. In a sense, the commitment to honor Indigeneity has become “pervasive” (Nieto, 1996) and there is normalized discourse about Indigeneity within the School of Education. Paul, (2008) speaks about this moral imperative as understood by Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers. It is your hearts that give us so much. You are not doing this for the sake of saying that you are aiding the Mi’kmaq, you believe in what you do. That makes a big difference. Your hearts are in the right place which allows our Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers to feel a sense of worth in the educational system. This allows those with insecurities to bloom and realize their self worth in the educational system.26

Deep working relationships with Mi’kmaw communities The credibility that the School of Education has developed with Mi’kmaw communities has also been gained from having several faculty members ‘roll up their sleeves’ and work alongside Mi’kmaw partners in change initiatives. For example, since 1997 the School of Education has been a key partner in hosting and co-organizing the biannual L’nui’sultinej Mi’kmaw Language Conference which brings together over 250 educators, parents, elders, The will and commitment to partner researchers, language specialists from the Mi’kmaw with Mi’kmaw organizations on Territory to work on issues of language such decolonizing programs over a preservation, revitalization and reclamation. This ten year period has been conference represents a great deal of time, energy demonstrable proof that many and effort on the part of several faculty but it has faculty are attempting to shed the been for those faculty a demonstrable act of historical colonizing role of many working together on a decolonizing project. teacher education programs. L’nui’sultinej has been the place where members of the School of Education can show their support for Mi’kmaw education by ‘walking the walk’. Paul (2008), notes the importance of building relationships between the university and the communities, saying, “We are seeing a support network extending to the staff at St.FX. These people [STFX faculty] are now not strangers to our communities, as they are involved in other venues such as the L’nuisultinej conference.”27 Building upon the spirit of ‘working alongside’ Mi’kmaw partners, faculty from the School of Education have been involved in the following initiatives over a ten-year period: the preparation of a provincial Foundation document of Mi’kmaw language with Mi’kmaw educators; on-going research in documenting best practices and successes in Mi’kmaw language immersion programs; school reviews 26 27

Paul, J. (2008). [Self-study review committee]. Ibid. 161 | P A G E


and the development of School Improvement Planning process which supports band schools; the development of alternate part-time models of teacher education programs for Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers unable to attend the campus based program; program reviews of post-secondary funding agreements for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey; and providing leadership for Mi’kmaw teachers through professional development programs and graduate school experience. Paul (2008) states, “You guys continuously show your dedication to our culture and language through your support in the Mi’kmaq Immersion Program in the Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School.”28 Opportunities to visibly promote Mi’kmaw education abound. The simple act of providing meeting space within the School of Education for in-service Mi’kmaw educators to meet on Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey related issues increased the visibility and presence of Mi’kmaw education within the everyday running of the School. The will and commitment to partner with Mi’kmaw organizations on such decolonizing programs over a ten year period has been demonstrable proof that many faculty are attempting to shed the historical colonizing role of many teacher education programs. Equally important these working relationships have allowed us to know our Mi’kmaw colleagues more deeply and many personal relationships have grown out of these professional relationships. Sister Dorothy Moore (CSM), esteemed educator, honored Elder, member of the Order of Canada and long-time advocate for Mi’kmaw education spoke of the importance of the trust that has been created over time between Mi’kmaw students and the School of Education. “You are like the underground railroad here. When the Mi’kmaw students come here they know there are people here who will help them make it across this journey.”29 We have learned that Aboriginal epistemology and ontology need to be linked if the teacher education program is going to make sense of Aboriginal pre-service teachers and so developing relational connections is a very important aspect of Indigeneity. Relatively small class size (usually no more than 30) allows students and faculty more possibility to come to know each other. The prevailing culture in the School is that faculty is accessible and available to all pre-service teachers. Our social justice lens reminds us to look at situations from the point of view of the least advantages and so most faculty understand the extra burden that Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers carry as they leave their First Nation and venture into a predominantly non Mi’kmaw university setting. With that in mind, extra effort is made to ensure that Mi’kmaw students feel they can approach faculty. Sock (2008), a graduate of the program, comments on how important this was to her success in the program. I felt that what made the difference at St. F.X. was how close I felt with faculty members in the Education Program. The professors addressed you on a first name basis and that made me feel more at ease. I can truly say I made friends with professors at your school that will last a lifeline.30

Informal gatherings such as a weekly lunch for First Nations and African Nova Scotian pre-service teachers provides a space where they can gather and connect with each other. Formal supports exist as well in the form of Black and Aboriginal student advisors who serve as advocates for students in the entire university community. Mi’kmaw students themselves act as supports for one helping each other with projects and assignments. Informal study groups often occur as many Mi’kmaw students also travel and live together while on campus. The important support that minority students and their families can offer each other is best summed up by the quote of one Mi’kmaw pre-service teacher who said “we like to travel in packs”. John Jerome Paul speaks of how the first Mi’kmaw teacher education graduates and their families gained knowledge of what it takes to survive and thrive given the intensive demands of our professional program. This Paul, J. (2008). [Self-study review committee]. Moore, D. (2000). [Personal communication]. 30 Sock, S. (2008). [Self-study committee]. 28 29

162 | P A G E


“collective knowledge of sacrifice” (Paul, 2008) helped provide the moral, financial and logistical support that Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers and their families required during the two-year program. Subsequent Mi’kmaw teacher education candidates benefited from this collective knowledge and their path was made easier because of it. Connections with Schools and School Boards The current literature on successful teacher education programs31 suggests that for teacher education programs to be successful they must be in on-going dialogue with schools and school boards so as to continue to offer the appropriate blend of theory and practice. In the long run, those who are concerned about the ability of all teachers to teach all students well must join their concerns about improvements within local schools and schools of education with a commitment to create policy environments that foster the development of powerful preparation for effective teaching. This will require the involvement not only of teacher educators but also superintendents, principals, and practicing teachers who join forces to insist upon solid professional learning opportunities before and during their careers.32

In the late 1990s the School of Education initiated Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian Liaison committees to advise the School on ways to recruit, support, and retain visible minority students. Since then, the Mi’kmaw community has been integrated into the XTEAC (Xavier Teacher Education advisory Committee) that enables a voice at a high level policymaking table dealing with teacher education issues across the province. XTEAC provides an important vehicle to ensure that the School of Education is being responsive to community needs. Equally important it becomes another place in which personal and professional relationships can be developed and strengthened. Many of the graduates of the School of Education now welcome back Mi’kmaw pre-service teachers into their classroom and act as cooperating teachers mentoring beginning Mi’kmaw teachers and supporting them through successful field experiences. It has been our experience that the general level of crosscultural competence is still relatively low among many non -Mi’kmaw teachers in Nova Scotia and many field When Mi’kmaw teachers placements are problematic for pre-service Mi’kmaw who have been through our teachers. When Mi’kmaw teachers who have been program are able to serve as through our program are able to serve as cooperating cooperating teachers field teachers field placements have generally tended to be placements have generally more nurturing and fruitful. tended to be more

nurturing and fruitful.

Over 20 Mi’kmaw teachers have completed or are completing graduate education at St. Francis Xavier University. Mi’kmaw pedagogy, leadership and cultural knowledge have been the topic of several Master’s theses and projects by Mi’kmaw graduate students. These same educators are gradually assuming more formal leadership roles at the school, board and provincial levels. These relationships keep the dialogue open for the School of Education at many different levels all of which help teacher education be informed by practitioner knowledge and experience.

31 32

Darling-Hammond & Baratz-Snowdon, (2005) p.69 Ibid. 163 | P A G E


What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program design? The response to Question 1 has addressed most of the strengths and opportunities that exist for Indigeneity in our program design. Probably the biggest challenge lies in being keeping the vision for social justice and equity alive and shared. The greatest threat to equity work, like democracy, is the belief that it has been achieved. Issues of power and privilege, access and exclusion are embedded in our daily work, at every level of our institution and society. Colonizing patterns of behaviour endure. Colonization is always “shape-shifting” (Alfred, 2005) and presenting itself in new, subtle forms. Challenging ourselves to remain open the possibilities for ‘recolonization’ or ‘neo-colonization’ is an ongoing task. It takes constant effort to be sure that our commitment to Indigeneity is a collective effort and not marginalized as the work of only a few, or to certain curriculum content areas. Excellence and equity need to be part of the work we all do. Another challenge the School of Education faces results from our geographic location and the inability, to date, to attract and retain First Nation scholars to work alongside us in the School of Education. Our faculty does not yet represent the diversity that it should, particularly Aboriginal representation. We are not alone in facing challenge and we remain hopeful that as more Mi’kmaw graduate students further their studies we will be able to attract First Nations faculty. Meanwhile we hope that the relationships and on-going, intentional dialogue that we do have with Mi’kmaw communities and educational leaders help us to honour Indigeneity. Serving various Mi’kmaw communities in differing ways is another of our on-going challenges. Our current model has been successful in reaching Mi’kmaw preservice teachers who are able to travel to St. Francis Xavier University to attend our full-time campus based program. The greatest threat to The majority of our Mi’kmaw graduates have come from equity work, like Unima’ki (Cape Breton) with mainland Mi’kmaw democracy, is the belief communities being less well-served. Since 2005 the School that it of Education has focused its new program development has been achieved. energies upon by inviting Mi’kmaw graduate students to teach and co-teach in both the graduate and undergraduate program.. We also aim to cultivate one or more Mi’kmaw doctorate candidates in the near future given the launching of an inter-university province-wide doctoral program. Where this has been done in the past the results have been beneficial for all involved. It is our intention to continue the process of making these goals public and intentional. Conclusion There is a moral imperative in the School of Education at St. Francis Xavier University to support Mi’kmaw education. It is understood by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, by the Mi’kmaw learners in our program and by the faculty. It is a foundational part of who we are and it must be reflected in a deep way in the ‘way we do things around here’. Over a ten-year period we are able to see the radical transformation that can take place when Mi’kmaw educators bring their critical consciousness to their practice and make schools decolonizing places. Our current work is laying seed for the next decade to be more hopeful and fruitful for more Mi’kmaw students, families and communities.

164 | P A G E


References Alfred, T. (2005). Wasase: Indigenous pathways of action and freedom. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press. Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (1999). Culture counts. Changing power relations in education, London, UK: Zed Books. Hargreaves, D. (2003). Education epidemic. Demos. London, UK. Meader, J. (2008). Self-study review committee. Moore, D. (2000). Personal communication. Nieto, S. (1996). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural Education. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers. Orr, J. (2008). Response to the Minster of Education regarding the Teacher Education Review. Orr, J., & Paul, J.J., & Paul, S. (2002). Decolonizing Mi’kmaw education through cultural practical knowledge. McGill Journal of Education, 37(3), 331-354. Paul, J. (2008). Self-study review committee. Paul, S. (2008). Self-study review committee. Smith, G. (2001, April). Critical transformations in New Zealand Education: Theorising Indigenous education and struggle. Seattle, WA [Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association.] Sock, S. (2008). Self-study committee. Tompkins, J., & Orr, J. (in press). “It could take 40 minutes, it could take 3 days”: Authentic small

group learning for Aboriginal education. In C. Craig (Ed.) Yearbook of Teacher Education.

165 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES SCRIBE: VAL MULHOLLAND ST. FRANCIS XAVIER PRESENTATION -JOANNE TOMPKINS & JANE MEADER How do we work Aboriginal ways of knowing and doing, being? Make the road by walking . . . additional mandate: Mi’Kmaw Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange – thanks for the opportunity  African marginalized  described program (2 years after degree)  Draw on Mi’kmaw college – one strand of memorandum 1. Social justice and equity are key. Sociology, (power, privilege, cultural capital, systemic . . . 2. Critical autobiography  examine lived experience  lives part of curriculum Tension Q: Are you able to do both in one class?  I agree – very tricky – small classes  Emotional challenge – anger and denial  Incredible learning space  “Time for me to educate non-Native”  Ceremonies – berry fast – celebration  Coming of age – accepted into society of women  Sweats, Pipe. Experience provided.  Bead – cultural compliance of non-Natives very low. Cooperative learning used  Comments out of ignorance – Jeff Orr written about possibility of pair  Power imbalance is huge. Hard to navigate Q: How are Aboriginal ways of knowing See power point: Mi’kmaw knowledge valued  cultural competence among faculty – C & I encouraged to build units - cultural knowledge  little resistance from faculty to influence 

Cultural practical knowledge – C & C

     

leadership takes memorandum seriously Own admissions – same old system doesn’t work Vision and people in power – necessary Walk the walk. Mi’kmaw language conference – biannual decolonizing space documenting the best practices of language instruction

John Jerome Paul & Patrick Johnson – leadership from the community – recruiting students by “doing everything to make this happen.” Advocacy/research by faculty – w/communities Journey difficult for Aboriginal students consciously promoting informal atmosphere 90% retention rate – intensive 2 year program Small racist communities – difficult practice On-going relationships with School Boards. Challenges?

166 | P A G E


Q: Isn’t this a huge barrier to require a BA before entry?  CBU – Mi’maw college graduates 250 bachelors  science - western/Indigenous parity – concurrent bachelor programs. Jane – Colonization – Ceremony very helpful, in content of program Q: What is the incentive to get core group into teacher education? (after 4 years/3 years)  30 – Elementary; 70 – Secondary  Culture & identity missing: Donalda Marshall inquiry – Things need to change.  Shapiro did not think of this issue. Q: How does this work?  9 week classes/5 weeks field – same as internship – divided over 2 years – always return to home communities. Q: What is done outside school, in community, to support cultural knowledge?  supporting women w/children  communities – supplied clothes, had community feasts, to support students  Political issue  Aboriginal program resisted pressure to have 2 year after degree Commentary: - UBC/Education – talking about restructuring teacher education – concurrent model – provides time for teacher identity - Dual trade – suggested – lucky to hang on to 2 year program Q: Teacher Education Advisory Council – meets monthly  burning issues discussed monthly  Mi’kmaw & AfinXX – informal exchange  School boards and board discussions – Talking together – about what we want to see in schools. “Keep talking about what we do.” “Knowing each other” – Work too big to be done alone. Bring in as many people as possible. “Be in relationship around common agenda.”  Atlantic Native Teachers Conference – 500+ teachers. Exchange of ideas and socializing. Too short. Honoured First Native N. S. grads – 25 years ago. Spirituality valued in schools. Q: What’s happening in neighbouring provinces?  PEI – a few faculty – small specialization certificate  St. Thomas/UNB – not sure – some activity  Memorial – not much done there  CBU – starting 2009 Q: Any Mi’kmaw faculty?  No. Huge challenge. Location is an issue. PhD a barrier as requirement.  Antigonish not a draw – non-traditional  Not a diverse representation on faculty  How to not recolonize? Tension: colonize children. System more important than the child – alive, shared and authentic? Location: homogenous, white communities MEd – 20 students – how to attract to academy? What alternatives are there – off-campus program? 167 | P A G E


Very tricky to deliver. Q: What do you think works best in resisting neo-colonialism/recolonization?  honest relationship, honest feedback  privilege difficult to challenge  university structure imposes rigidity  someone trusted to “give us shit” Q: Does the Faculty recruit Mi’kmaw?  Yes, mechanism is present. Antigonish is not a comfortable for outside (rural, closed, 50s)  credential piece is a block BEd teachers  came from faculty – vision and interest  Shapiro Report resistance Q: Tell us about Mi’kmaw entity – Dept of Education FN Helpdesk – Tradition and Cyberspace  similar to a consortium – very good value for the dollar. Collection approach to education. Bring group together for MK visioning, equal to school boards. On provincial scene.  See Power point slides.  How is success defined? Language activists – reclamation, immersion. Becoming more political about language word “Mi’kmaw spaces” Q: What % is MK? 40-50 K, numbers increasing 800 in 1885 – population has grown. Almost 10% majority in Cape Breton – 60-70% How is this achieved? Q: 88% retention rate? Undergraduate degree; peer support very strong; not much time away. Q: Technology is it NB in program? Video conferencing a disaster – not much done. “Not enamoured, nor were students” Not good in emotional spaces. Spirit absent in programs devoted to intellect. Permission to feel awkward – tools to deal with emotional baggage. How to pray, deal with effects of colonization. A release.

168 | P A G E


NTEP is a great place to change curriculum  and develop the education system.  We  have to believe in who we are to be  successful.    ~ Peesee Pitsiulak , Dean  Nunavut Arctic College 

169 | P A G E


Self-Study and Report: Aboriginal ways of knowing in Teacher Education NUNAVUT TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM (NTEP) NUNAVUT ARCTIC COLLEGE IQUALUIT, NUNAVUT, NORTH WEST TERRITORY

PREPARED BY SHUANA NIESSEN based on notes taken of group discussions and presentations at Nunavut Symposium (Fall 2008) and in consultation with Ooloota Maatiusi, Jim Legge, Michael Tymchak, David Friesen, and Del Fraser

November 2008

170 | P A G E


Lighting the quillig (a seal oil lamp) is a

traditional Inuit ceremony recognizing the importance of light and heat in the survival of the Inuit people. Traditionally lit for warmth and cooking early in the morning by the woman of the home, lighting the quillig is now a symbol of the Inuit value for continued enlightenment — looking to both the past (traditional culture and language) and to the future (technology) for knowledge that will facilitate preservation and success. The Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) is an important medium for the preservation of Indigenous knowledge and enlightenment for future success.

The Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) formed in 1979. Initially, NTEP was part of the “TEP” program (founded in 1969, in Yellowknife and run out of Arctic College, NWT); the Iqualuit campus was created in 1979. At that time, the program was associated with McGill University. After division, Nunavut Arctic College gained independence and NTEP became one of its flagship programs. In partnership with the U of R, NTEP currently offers both an on-campus BEd Degree program in Iqualuit, as well as community-based program options in 5 other sites throughout the Territory. These programs prepare primarily Inuit students to become classroom teachers in Nunavut elementary schools where instruction is carried out in Inuktitut, Inuiacqtin (a dialect of Inuktitut), and English. Within NTEP, students are instructed in both Inuktitut and English. “The program seeks to meet the specific needs of Nunavut teachers by including core courses in Inuktitut orthography and phonology, Inuktitut reading and writing, as well as education administration.”33 At NTEP, “Inuit teacher candidates have the

opportunity to work together to master pedagogy, strengthen their academic skills, and work to develop a substantial body of content in a distinctively Inuit curriculum.”34 Peesee Pitsiulak, Dean and dedicated educator says, “NTEP is a great place to change curriculum and develop the education system.”

NTEP emphasizes training for primary and elementary teachers, but opportunity is given for students to practice at the Junior High and High School levels. Through its partnership with the University of Regina, the program is developing a strong focus on field experience; theory learned in courses is applied in classroom situations through observation and teaching. It also combines theory of classroom and course load with practical experience. Daniel Vandermeulen, Nunavut Arctic College President says, “We learn by doing and by thinking about what we are doing. This is the reflective teaching model.” The program is currently undergoing a renewal process as part of its new partnership with the U of R, moving from an older practice-based model, to an internship model.

1. How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? The content of this teacher training program is similar to the one offered at the University of Regina with adaptations to meet the needs of Nunavut students. The four year program embodies the concept of an off-campus, school-based teacher education program. In order to deliver classes to students from many different communities, a modular system is utilized. The program attempts to reflect the particular needs 33 34

Rosenthal, J. (2000). Handbook of Undergraduate Second Language Education, p. 204. Gallagher-Mackay, K. (2008). A Reply to John Bainbridge. Canadian Journal of Education 31, 3: p. 767-772.

171 | P A G E


of Nunavut education. Adaptations to meet Nunavut cultural and linguistic factors will be incorporated. Other changes will center on the development of relevant pedagogical content for use in Nunavut schools.35 Besides the classes adapted from the University of Regina BEd and BEAD programs, NTEP offers the following unique courses that facilitate the realization of Aboriginal ways of knowing and the preservation of Aboriginal knowledge through technology: EDCS 100 (3 credit hours) Cultural Skills 1 This is the first course out of four Cultural Studies courses. The course will provide students with teachable skills and knowledge: to generate teaching materials in Inuktitut to be used in Nunavut schools; to improve students’ Inuktitut speaking, reading and writing skills; and to show students how to work with non-professional resource people-elders and others.

Through these programs, we are gaining back our pride and knowledge.

EDCS 200 (3 credit hours) Cultural Skills 2 This is the second course out of four Cultural Studies courses. This courses will provide students with teachable skills and knowledge in Traditional Food Preparation: to generate teaching materials in Inuktitut to be used in Nunavut classrooms; to improve students’ Inuktitut speaking, reading and writing skills; and to show students how to work with non-professional resource people-elders and others EDCS 300 (3 credit hours) Cultural Skills 3 This is the third course out of four Cultural Studies courses. This courses will provide students with teachable skills and knowledge in Medicinal uses of Nunavut Plants and tattooing: to generate teaching materials in Inuktitut to be used in Nunavut classrooms; to improve students’ Inuktitut speaking, reading and writing skills; and to show students how to work with non-professional resource people-elders and others. EDCS 300 (3 credit hours) Cultural Skills 4 This is the fourth course out of four Cultural Studies courses. This course will provide students with teachable skills and knowledge in creating traditional/modern clothing: to generate teaching materials in Inuktitut to be used in Nunavut classrooms; to improve students’ Inuktitut speaking, reading and writing skills; and to show students how to work with non-professional resource people-elders and others EDMS 200 (3 credit hours) Educational Media Studies Educational Media Studies 200 is a 3-credit introductory desktop publishing course utilising Microsoft Office & Adobe Creative Suite software packages. The course, through a series of exercises and assignments related to skill-acquisition and practical school application, provides the knowledge and skills to use commonly available software successfully in the classroom and for educational publishing projects. The primary aim of the course is to facilitate the development of computer skills and desktop publishing/design knowledge that is applicable to educational environments.

35

Adapted from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program Overview prepared by the U of R Student Program Centre

172 | P A G E


EDMS 400 (3 credit hours) Educational Media Studies Educational Media Studies 400 is a 3-credit project-based course offered by NTEP and the University of Regina. It is an intermediate digital publishing course utilising Adobe Creative Suite software package, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Apple’s iMovie & iDVD, and Microsoft Office when needed. The course, through a series of curriculum focused projects, provides the knowledge and skills to use the software in the classroom and for educational publishing projects. Curriculum materials developed in other education courses will be the source materials used for many of the course’s projects. Students will work through the teaching materials they developed to produce interactive student/teacher resources. Emphasis is placed on digital publishing in Inuktitut. Course Number: 012 – 800 (3 credit hours) Introduction to Inuit Traditional Stories: Mythology, Legends and Folktales This course is designed to give students the opportunity to examine and explore the characteristics and purposes of traditional Inuit stories through (a) detailed study of a representative sample of written work and (b) by interviewing elders from various regions of Nunavut.

We have to believe in who we are to be successful.

Second Language Courses Language courses are housed at Nunavut Arctic College and include but are not limited to Inuktitut Orthography & Grammar, Inuktitut Reading & Writing, and Dialects. Course Number: 012-102 (3 credit hours) Inuktitut Orthography & Grammar This course is designed for Inuktitut speakers who already have some ability in writing Inuktitut, either in syllabics or roman orthography. The aim is threefold to improve skills in the use of the Inuit Cultural Institute Dual Orthography, to explain the phonological base to the orthography, and to establish a phonological base for 012-225. *** Prerequisite: Students must already be fluent in oral Inuktitut. It is preferred that they also have some ability in syllabics and/or roman orthography. *** Course Number: 012-114 (3 credit hours) Inuktitut Reading & Writing Students will practice methods of reading and writing in Inuktitut. They will explore ways of sight word reading, applied syllabics, reading observation, material development, along with guided instruction. Students will explore the significant developments in the field of Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun reading and writing. *** Prerequisite: Course 012-102 - Inuktitut Orthography & Grammar *** Course Number: 433-344 (3 credit hours) Inuktitut Dialects Inuit from the Bering Strait to East Greenland have one language. The dialects of the Inuit require some effort of the speaker and the listener. The phonemes, survival words, and grammatical rules are similar. This makes Inuktitut as one language with many dialects. Within this language there exist groups of more closely related speech forms. In this course we will study the similarities and differences amongst Inuit groups. We will ask this question: What role is there for discrete dialects in a world made smaller by increasingly sophisticated forms of a working language?

173 | P A G E


2. What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program design? Of all programs at Nunavut Arctic College (NAC), the Nunavut Teacher Education Program has the greatest emphasis on traditional knowledge. The profession of teaching is highly regarded in Nunavut. Students need to learn to be professionals. There is opportunity for far-reaching impact as the students of this program become leaders, not only in their classrooms, but also in the TEP, their communities, and other professions. Many government leaders are graduates of this program. One student noted, “We are

our own leaders in our own towns. We have to succeed so other children of Nunavut have a role model to follow.” “The students in schools do not belong to us, they belong to the community and to their family,” says Vandermeulen. And, Pitsiuluk says, “We must develop children’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. How are we going to do this? Our job is to teach children how to learn; content is just a small part of that. The spiritual is nurtured by teaching kids to believe in themselves. We have to believe in who we are to be successful.” Success, then, is seen as instilling pride and knowledge in the students’ traditions and heritage, and preparing students to meet the challenges of the future.

NTEP demonstrates values to incorporate individual strengths. We work collaboratively in decision making. NTEP honours personal initiatives and change. NTEP demonstrates how traditional knowledge has shaped us. NTEP staff demonstrates high respect for each other and for students. Everyone is valued and respected at NTEP

Strengths: 

Culture and Language courses: For Nunavut, the most important aspect of the Teacher Education Program is that the program instills pride in Inuit culture and language. Current public school teachers have little to no traditional knowledge and do not know how to teach for this. If NTEP is going to teach Inuit knowledge, it needs to know Inuit knowledge and create links between IQ’s and cultural studies. To facilitate this knowledge, the program ensures that some NTEP instructors speak both Inuktitut and English, and there are opportunities for students to submit work in Inuktitut or English. Still, there is balance in NTEP’s approach to teaching culture and language because the leadership is not only looking to the past, but also to the future. Peesee Pitsiulak says, “We

need to look both to the past and the future. We must be proud of our heritage. The ancestors had everything: pride and self-reliance. At the same time, we must make sure the youth know about the global world through technology.” Technology is also a resource that can be used to preserve and capture the past. “Today’s technology allows us to capture this traditional knowledge.” Ooloota Maatiusi, Director of Teacher Education Program, says she, “feels fortunate to teach Inuit language and culture at NTEP. Still, we need to work more on curriculum in Inuktitut at the college level.” During group

discussions students made many positive comments regarding traditional culture and language at NTEP36: Mary Anne: Tradition learning from the college is very strengthening. I knew a traditional song, but I was hungry for the meaning behind the words. There are secret codes behind the words, but not a lot of people understand the code. The cultural

36

These comments were made at a symposium held December 3, 2008 in Iqualuit: “Inuit Language and Culture in Teacher Education”

174 | P A G E


component in NTEP has helped me a lot. I grew up with traditional songs. The songs are a way of helping a community to function. Brenda: I found strength in learning about my culture. Throughout the program, I have grown closer to my parents. The program helps to build relationships. I learned that parents wait for the children to approach them, to ask questions. I was able to help my parents realize that they missed teaching their children things because they stepped back from teaching the Inuit traditional ways. J.: There is a gap—missing traditional life—and we are slowly starting to bring tradition back. It would be interesting to learn old “Inuktitut.” In smaller communities, Inuktitut speaking is very rich. There is a willingness to teach, but weakness comes from when a student hesitates to ask. I knew something was missing, but didn’t know what. We need to build into the program, more research in language and culture.

I am really interested in traditional stories. In high school, I was learning Inuktitut in reading and writing, but not the stories behind how life is and was lived. The stories hold a lot of meaning for how to live. They teach us about life. We need a curriculum of traditional culture and life. There is movement towards a program, towards building a curriculum with traditional knowledge and avoiding western civilization taking over the culture. This is the only program at the college (NAC) that is promoting values in traditional culture. 

Elders: Another strength of the program is its use of Elders. The teaching styles of the Elders must be learned and passed on. The students are keen to learn more and need more research projects that involve Elders. Students need to reflect on the past traditional knowledge. Various cultural skills are learned through the Elders’ stories. Learning is not isolated from culture.

Respect for students and each other: NTEP values and supports its students. Daniel Vandermeulen, president of Nunavut Arctic College says, “Effective teacher education involves learning from students.” One student, during group discussion observed that, “Students are agents of recovering Inuit knowledge and culture. Students have more weight on their shoulders than students down south because they are practicing how to be teachers while also preserving their culture.” Further, NTEP students are adults and their perspectives need to be respected, as do instructors’ perspectives. Students are motivated and feel responsibility to keep Inuit culture alive. Also, the faculty and staff are approachable so students are able to build relationships and work collaboratively with their instructors. Projects that involve preserving Inuit knowledge require faculty and students to work collaboratively. These projects nurture relationships, and allow connections with students in other programs, too. The value of students is to be continued – NTEP instructors and staff are very focused on the students. During discussions, students noted that, “There is a lot of communication which happens between faculty and students. The environment feels like a family.”

Beginning to “write things down”: The process of writing, publishing, and recording traditional knowledge is currently underway. Students are involved in the process, too.

175 | P A G E


Weaknesses: We need: 

More language and culture teachers: There are currently only two Inuktitut instructors to teach cultural skills--Monica and Eva. We also need to identify more links between I Q principles and cultural skills.

More resources in Inuktitut: Most resources and texts are not in Inuktitut. The variety of dialects spoken is one difficulty which accounts for this lack. We need to share more, publish/record more, and share more ideas. Elders’ knowledge was never written down. Materials by instructors are a great resource, but not widely known—unfortunately many resources remain in boxes in school. Resources have to be adapted and each community takes resources and makes changes for dialect, etcetera. Environmental print is important for fostering culture in students and for making connections to Inuit Community.

More field experiences and opportunities for students to practice teaching: There are gaps between theory and practice—in the application of learning from college courses to the classroom. The difficulty is the costs involved in sending students to schools all over the region. NTEP has been negligent in creating administration links with schools. A coordinator responsible for establishing links with communities and school is needed. Also, there is need for more teacher preparation for Jr. and Sr. high schools. NTEP needs to take an active role in communities with schools—be proactive.

More space for Elders to do preparation and all the other work that is required, so that cultural skills can be taught.

More Elder participation: Students expressed their desire for more Elder participation saying, “We want to see more Elders or tradition knowledgeable faculty members. We want to have Elders for each of the courses that we teach. There are a lot of social issues that Elders could help us with. It gives students a secure, comfortable feeling just to have an Elder with us. The college just hired 2 full time Elders: There are knowledgeable people just waiting to be asked, and their knowledge is needed in text, too. We need more courses on traditional storytelling, etc.

More time: Within our program there is a difficulty in that ‘time’ is restrictive as it relates to teaching cultural skills. There is not enough time to finish projects. For example, a man’s parka takes a lot of time to make–once per week is not enough time. Too, materials are hard to find. Skins from south are not waterproof. Most people, now, don’t know what to do with skins. This needs to be taught.

More “Common Ground”—a last piece/time/generation. There is difficulty in moving from Institutionalized program to a cultural program. It is like fitting together a puzzle. There is also a need for more integration—teaching themes as opposed to subject disciplines. 176 | P A G E


More Professional Development opportunities such as Institutes, TEP alumni Seminars, pedagogical development workshops for current struggles, such as student assessment.

More partnerships: In Inuit culture, respect is a big trait. NTEP values and respects the IQ principles that the NAC embraces. NTEP needs to be valued, acknowledged and celebrated. We are stronger together than apart. “It takes a whole village to raise a child” We need more collaboration. It is also important to make connections with the larger community. This would ensure that the Inuit knowledge is not just documented but implemented in the classroom as well. Instructors should encourage students to connect with people in the community.

More reflective opportunities, to identify weaknesses and implement change

Opportunities: 

We live in a society that supports the development of resource material. We need to set up a research budget.

We need to write a proposal for communications, research, publishing, and curriculum development

Participation in conferences, such as WestCAST, are a great way to make new connections, and to share indigenous knowledge. We participated in WestCAST, bringing traditional knowledge and using it to explain mathematics. There are lots of opportunities to discover and rediscover knowledge.

Documentation: We can bring the knowledge into the curriculum. It is up to the instructors to stress to students the traditional knowledge. It needs to be put into text and used throughout the college. Everything we know needs to be documented.

Iqaluit has opportunity for exposure from other regions. It is good to have a mixture, to learn from other’s cultures.

Challenges: 

It is a struggle in Iqaluit to get Elders to commute from other regions. We could create research DVDs from Elders from many communities, and integrate them into every course.

New program requirements for Inuktitut but western region students are English speaking. I Q is different per person, per family, per region. Dialects are a big challenge. All dialects are different. People want to

177 | P A G E


go their separate ways and get the knowledge from their own regions. It is hard to get the information from other communities. Students speak in English because they can’t understand each other’s dialect. It is hard to keep language alive. 

We are in a continuous struggle for legitimacy. People have the attitude that “it’s just NTEP; it’s not a BEd.” We need to offer graduate studies in the future.

3. What new ideas/goals could be established for future cultural program development in your TEP and what first steps are needed to begin the planning and implementation cycle for them? 

Create an Institute – a centre for research by faculty and students to create resources/communications. We have need for more research opportunities. We are currently exploring projects and studies for faculty members to develop, initiate, and preserve Inuit knowledge.

Create a portfolio of “Inuit Knowledge” streaming from Year 1 to 4. The portfolio is something that would grow: it would not limited to one class. It would include traditional knowledge: starting with the self and expanding ideas as the student gains experience and knowledge. The portfolio includes DVDs, folders, objects, traditional clothing, etcetera. The portfolio can be used as a resource with students in the classroom. It would make it easier to see personal and professional growth and to evaluate what traditional knowledge the student has and how it affects the classroom.

Form an after school program (kids 8-10). Children are very hungry for the knowledge. We need to teach them traditional stories and songs, creating links with our language.

Implement a BA in Inuit Studies to be done following or concurrently with BEd 5 year program. This way there would be more opportunities to take cultural courses and less pressure on Bed program.

Conclusion NTEP is readying itself to meet the growing demand for Inuit professionals in the Arctic. Kelly Gallgher-Mackay says, “NTEP is the prototype of professional training in Nunavut. It has a distinguished history and fairly good funding.”37 Specifically, NTEP is well positioned to meet the growing demand for Inuit teachers who will train and teach in the North. Thomas Berger says that the key for improving Inuit representation in the territory’s labour market is to expand the bilingual EnglishInuktitut education from K-12.38 NTEP’s bi-cultural emphasis preserves Aboriginal knowledge through its language and culture courses, as well as providing our students with an opportunity to bring socioeconomic advantages to themselves, their families, and their communities through the advantages associated with preserving the best of both worlds: the Inuktitut and English cultures and technologies. Despite language shifting, isolation due to numerous dialects and distance between communities, and colonial systemic socio-economic disadvantages, NTEP continues to meet the challenge of preserving and passing on Aboriginal knowledge and language to the pre-service teachers who will pass it forward to future generations of students. The lighting of the quillig in Nunavut will continue to enlighten and warm us, despite many challenges. With a long history of survival in a harsh environment, Inuit peoples have developed the ingenuity and resilience to meet the challenges ahead. We are in the process of Gallgher-Mackay, K. (2007). Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Review Essay. Canadian Journal of Education, 30,3: p. 1093-1104 38 March, 2006. Conciliator’s Final Report: The Nunavut Project 37

178 | P A G E


further developing the program and courses, recovering Aboriginal knowledge through our elders, stories, language, and traditions, and bringing socio-economic advantages to Nunavut communities. NTEP is a light that shines in the North, bringing warmth and sustenance to our people Graduates of the program are enriched by the education they receive; the pride that results from the recovery of Aboriginal knowledge, language and culture; and through the connections made with one another and with the instructors at NTEP. References Berger, T. (March, 2006). Conciliator’s Final Report: The Nunavut Project. Gallagher-Mackay, K. (2008). A Reply to John Bainbridge. Canadian Journal of Education 31, 3. Rosenthal, J. (2000). Handbook of Undergraduate Second Language Education.

179 | P A G E


SCRIBE NOTES SCRIBE: DAVID FRIESEN NTEP PRESENTATION – OOLOOTA MAATIUSI

Question 1 - How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? History: Eastern Arctic TEP 1979 (prior to that in Ft. Smith) 1981 – McGill connection (added 1 yr – 3 yr program) diploma 3 Deans in each arctic region Peesee (1 of the Deans) first grad of EATEP (2 yr program) certificate 2007 – 300+ grads from McGill program 1986 – became a 4-yr program (degree) 1986 – Nunavut Arctic College (Ted became a part of this college) Dept certifies teachers Today: 100 teachers c/o degree & coming to NTEP to finish degree 1999 – Nunavut established 30,000+ Inuit, high children, not enough teachers Program:                

Elementary (K-9) program (still trying to fill elementary classrooms (oldest grads retiring). First grads got higher paying government jobs. Some teachers teaching Inuktitut at higher grades. Need 300-400 more grads “Not everyone wants to be a teacher; or cut out to be a teacher.” focus: Inuktitut speaking teachers - therefore language entrance requirement (bilingual) access/foundation year added 3 years ago to prepare them for year one. (time to sort out if they want to go into teaching) students go from communities into access year U of R – BEd program instructors: integrate culture e.g., Monica: linguistics, translates text language for students “they know this inside . . . puts knowledge into words” . . . the knowledge they get from parents & elders” clothing making: catch seal/prepare/sealskin kamaks, mitts, pants, etc. Psych courses – elders used – childrearing Annual return of the sun celebrations Participating in the community Use translation of knowledgeable guests (Mututut language) Want to have I language in every classroom/grade Community programs (3 regions)

Baffin Region – (largest region): Arctic Bay/Igloolik – Iqaluit – 1 program in this region. Rankin Inlet K Region 1 program in this region  elder role very important  appreciate support of U of R  financial support for students/residence in Iqaluit communities: have own housing 180 | P A G E


 

biggest challenge: no problem integrating but each community has its own dialect

Question 2 - What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program? Strengths  # of graduates – over 300 – able to teach in their own language.  1950-60s – origin of education system  have gone a long way in a short period of time.  support from elders e.g., for vocabulary-terms  people who know the land & the animals. (elders and knowledgeable people.)  teaching children to be survivors in the north  Inuit instructors in the community & at the college  tutors for needs at college  elders are given some money for their involvement  children were given away to the school without knowing … have better knowledge now and can help … available if they are needed.  were seen as models because we have formal schooling … but we always go back to them (elders) for traditional knowledge. Weaknesses  need more Inuit teachers at H.S & college level (beginning to be more adult Inuit educators)  don’t teach enough language courses  don’t teach specialized subjects e.g., PE, Math – deal only with general elementary  only 1 local instructor in communities; others come from outside. Need 2 or 3 in each community  no support in communities – no library, staff, etc.  grads don’t get support in 1st and 2nd year: grads don’t have choice; some put in language position Opportunities  650 teachers in Nunavut – many vacancies  policy – NTEP grads first priority. 85% jobs to be filled @ Inuit  good role models in home communities  funding not base funded for community programs – so don’t know from year to year Challenges  recruiting – very expensive – publications – posters go out to communities – course schedules to schools  student exchanges with circumpolar countries (e.g., Norway exchange, Alaska). Students have limited options (e.g., language course doesn’t work). U of R internship seminar in Iqaluit in Fall 2008  erosion of language

181 | P A G E


ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSION SCRIBE NOTES ANSWERING THE QUESTION: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas

are applicable to the program I represent? SCRIBE: DAVID FRIESEN, ROLE- ALIKE GROUP: FACULTY AND STAFF SUNTEP Comments

Do things well, but language retention a problem . . . difficult because of language . . . look to NTEP for hope NORTEP pres: language talked about, activities to augment language context of northern experiences. How context works for A & non-A students “Aboriginal structure” – unique/connection to community partners . . . how dependent on good will – school divisions/university. NITEP Comments  BC will have to look at language  Need to keep stats  SUNTEP: Camps – community ITEP Comments  SUNTEP peer work-buddy system utilize leadership by having students organize NITEP Comments  not addressed in NITEP; too many languages  Sciences: offer in their communities – taking courses out to them.  * need to give values to elders – need to do more NTEP (Nun)  SUNTEP: community involvement-oriented cultural programs  Nunavut: traditional knowledge in policies  elders: knowledge coming out now – through involvement in the classroom  small classes, partnerships, Aboriginal content  focus on language has been important for NTEP (revitalizing) SUNTEP PA Comments  importance of languages … how embedded cult in lang.  how to use elder ideas – how to incorporate science  need to publish student work (cultural knowledge)  YNTEP: 5 day culture camp St Fx comments  NITEP: importance of Aboriginal structures for Aboriginal programs knowledge-credential tension  Framework: family-home base intellectually-spiritually) nice models for this.

182 | P A G E


St Fx: how different the contexts are – cant assume we know each other’s contexts

NTEP comments  student academic deficiencies & ways to address this.  NTEP has access year  ITEP: 5th year on storytelling  SUNTEP: genealogy NORTEP Comments  TEP: becoming familiar with this environment  FNU: growing program; PhD faculty; trying to increase Aboriginal content (Instructor coming from a more academic background)  different development of TEPs. SUNTEP Comments:  SUNTEP-NTEP – cultural disconnect of students coming into program. Have to work harder on this to gain cultural pride ITEP Comments  NITEP-St. Fx: struck by funding challenges (marginalized space) potential for faculty-student exchanges for community building. Common decolonizing journey YNTEP Comments   

FNU: common challenges; as grad looking at our program – no elder involvement in year one (YNTEP); need to do this. Many ways to do this. Holistic ways to lesson plan as opposed to traditional western model Exciting time – more politically friendly environment e.g., Yukon – curriculum development; native language teacher development

2:45: Role-Alike Groups: Faculty-Staff SUNTEP Comment  Getting to the next step – grad studies-admin work NTEP Comment  co-principals (NTEP grad) cultural connections YNTEP Comment  involved in mentorship as V.P. Dept has mentorship program looking for Masters programs (work with teachers assoc) SUNTEP  confidence comes with mentorship YNTEP  Simon Fraser – community

183 | P A G E


St Fx   

Funding Synergy – Council of Min of Ed – firm funding for TEPs, sustainability, so few doing so much. Economic connections – e.g. NORTEP and the land wage parity – e.g. SUNTEP faculty paid less than teachers in the system – road allowance mentality (SUNTEP)

NORTEP  Student funding – have monthly allowance – but many struggling  Equipment funding – business funding so student funds don’t go towards this eg. science equipment NTEP partnerships  Schools & TEPs not working hand in hand. Some programs offered out of schools. Some relationships very bad. NORTEP – Faculty meetings  Need to maintain this to develop new ideas SUNTEP  Dependency on political climate of the day; how to become more autonomous; safer programs even though they have been so successful. Political restrictions – Min of Learning AND Métis Nation. NITEP  Tension in 2 kinds of students: traditional-older & new grads who are less traditional SUNTEP: in old days, were elders  Colonization: Will TEPs be colonized

(younger, more socialized, etc)

SUNTEP  Newer grads not necessarily will have academic success ITEP 

ESL issues: more of these – e.g. from ESL locations. Need to do more to assist with this.

NORTEP  E.g. Dene: strong connection to language, so unclear on many concepts (science) in English.  Academic vs. traditional language

184 | P A G E


DAVID FRIESEN’S REFLECTION ON ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSIONS FACULTY AND STAFF REFLECTIONS ON ALL THE PRESENTATIONS (10 TEPS)

       

     

Language is a big issue. There appears to be a general consensus that TEPs need to include Aboriginal language in the programs since it is the carrier of worldview/culture. Michif should be the language in Métis programs. Native language teacher development was discussed. Erosion of Aboriginal languages is pervasive. ESL issues brought up TEPs need to be well connected to the Aboriginal community and not just the academic community Connection to the elders is paramount, not just for the benefit of the TEP, but also so that elder knowledge is recovered through their involvement Younger students in the TEPs has resulted in more cultural disconnect that has to be addressed in programs. Funding challenges/inequities (TEP salaries often lower than teachers) Recognition of a common “decolonizing journey” in the TEPs Notion of “community-based/land-based pedagogy” discussed “identity clarification” was brought up as a strength of TEPs Issue of the strong tension between traditional pedagogy/learning structures and the formal education system discussed. Strong support for move towards recognition of traditional knowledge carriers (even though not qualified in western standards) as instructors, and Aboriginal content in courses. Issue of a predominantly western school system brought up as a barrier to recognition of Aboriginal knowledge. Still difficulty getting beyond the elementary level Seems to be more Aboriginal faculty in TEPs than in the past Funding for students still not sufficient TEPs seem to be dependent on the political climate of the day. They need to become more independent and autonomous through more secure funding Concern that the TEPs could be colonized through heavy hand of universities and school systems

There is a sense that working against the system is hard work and that encouragement from each other is needed. This event seemed to meet that need. I generally got the impression that there is strong commitment to the TEPs but that they do work in isolation. Each one has a unique identity but at the end of the day the same journey…decolonization. I think this theme is stronger than I have ever seen it. There was little comparison of programs going on. Rather there was more of a camaraderie exhibited. Certainly the presence of more Aboriginal people at this event could have been part of this. I think the mix of TEPs from across the country made the event and the tone less parochial than if it had been only Saskatchewan TEPs. There was a genuine openness to the ideas/reports of other TEPs.

185 | P A G E


ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSION SCRIBE NOTES ANSWERING THE QUESTION: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas

are applicable to the program I represent?

SCRIBE: ANNA MCNALLY REFLECTION ON ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSIONS DIRECTORS Question: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas are applicable to the program I represent? 

        

Program needs are fundamentally different. TEPS on campus, being part of the larger (picture) campus have their drawbacks for it is difficult for students to have their own ‘space’ to express ways of Aboriginal knowing. The whole of education, K – 12, needs to include more Aboriginal knowledge – ways of thinking. This needs to begin early in the curriculum. The closer you are to the institution (in this case, the university), the worse the programs are at a disadvantage…everything has to be legalized. TEPS (on campus) need to take a more aggressive approach The profile of students have changed on campus (not so with community-based programs). Students come in without knowing who they are, lacking in their own Aboriginal history. They learn this on campus, learning to preserve their language and culture. The challenge is how do we, the TEPS, divest ourselves of the Institute (the university) and, at the same time, knowing we need them! TEP community-based programs are much stronger; cultural camps are very effective there as well as the role of the Elders. Ways of knowing is having a sense of community. Elders are important to the program but need to be given a role, e.g. ask them what involvement they would choose. Otherwise, you have too many Elders not being effective in the program; you have to build a relationship that is meaningful. The Master model apprentice program, a 30 week credit course offered from Simon Fraser, BC, seems effective in addressing the struggle with the many different languages in the program

2:45: Role-Alike Groups: Directors Question: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas are applicable to the program I represent? Some of the strengths:  The long-term commitment of faculty to the TEPS;  Graduates return to the program for further study;  Children of grads enter the TEPS.  The persistence and perseverance of the TEPS.  The TEPS’ displays (well done!) are diversified, pointing out the importance of the role of each community, in Aboriginal knowledge (Cree, Inuit, Dene, etc) and experience in its specific geographical location.  Some TEP students were the presenters, assisted by faculty.  Partnership with the U/R has been a positive experience.  TEPS continue to be small, dynamic and not economically stagnant. 186 | P A G E


The TEPS benefit from the in depth research done by the Universities.

Some Weaknesses:  Need for Math/Science teachers in the TEPS. A suggestion was offered that maybe the TEPS could collaborate among themselves in having a small group of Math/SC people sharing of resources in this area. Having a unified voice may be stronger and the way to go.  More focus needed in Aboriginal knowledge with community-based education.  Funding is somewhat limited.  For the next symposium, have more TEP students as presenters.  To boost enrolment in the TEPS, employ more ‘face to face’ recruitment of students, i.e. more personal contact with each community.

187 | P A G E


ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSION SCRIBE NOTES ANSWERING THE QUESTION: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas

are applicable to the program I represent?

SCRIBE: VAL MULHOLLAND REFLECTION ON ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSIONS ELDERS/GUESTS/OBSERVERS What did we hear in small group? What ideas are applicable to the program I represent? Betty McKenna Encouraged, come a long way. Stories very important. Empowering. Too long marginalized. To find our voices are missing from literature. Stand up for Mother Earth. Moose meat and blueberries – that’s where you’re from – What’s your daughter made of? Butter tarts. Bring us back to Mother Earth – take from her – learn to blossom – find our purpose in life. Pain to find purpose. Jerry Cozine Culture and language – losing language worries me – teach in physical education – “You won’t understand what we’re saying?” “No, I’ll know what you’re teaching?” Important to use language. Jigging – teaching community school 500 – small groups. Del “Knowing what I know” – learning from my people, through eyes of elders. I wasn’t aware of what I was bringing to teaching – negative and positive, cultural narratives guide me through areas. Sakej FNU/Yukon Systemic discrimination – Elder treatments – unless you know or learned the language. Elders need a self-regulating model, based on Physicians. Be comfortable – Decontaminate that Elders have huge colonial mentality – residue of past discrimination. Further north – the worse it is. Japanese – authorized Elder craftsmen – nonprofit corporations. Heritage Masters – perpetuate craft and knowledge. Acknowledged as National Treasury. All advantages of chanters, sit as a council, receive stipend, 50K. Structure elder’s knowledge – overcome burden of not knowing. Younger people find this hard to believe. Elders brought in as strangers to the system. INUIT – where would we go – Certified by group that they belong to . Henry Roberts Honoured and moved – to revive disappearing languages. At first I hesitated – Creator wanted me to be involved. Didn’t know what I was getting into. This – didn’t repeat. What we take from the earth, we use. The spirit part will be alive – interesting – only natural to learn from elders – we’re here for the time being, to the spirit world. We have 2 choices: good or bad. Motivated by what I’m learning. Community supporter. Tried to belong to people . . . to be equal, fair – be the same. . No one left out .

188 | P A G E


PeeSee Q – provides Inuit knowledge to college. My new uncle Henry. Uplifted – Southern cultural and Northern Traditional cultural background. Small family camp – 30 people. Forced into settlements in 1960s. Keeper – cared for collective items. Seal meat and bannock. 1 teacher where I came from. Relate to people’s stories. Hear the sound of the sled, the smell of dogs, seal skin rope. My children don’t have that: TV, microwave, telephone. Pull of 2 worlds “It came at the time I needed it – things are lined up how to live – you will veer off – I was born to do what I’m doing.” Credit hours – you become well enough to be comfortable doing it. College is to serve young people – culturally illiterate young. -earning normal way of living. “I’ll have all these stories to help the college where credentials rule all.” Rita Bouvier    

remembering historical content of the TEPs excited that we’ve moved out – moving back when into school. Maybe that’s natural, given the colonized content. Hopeful question. Language so critical, and place Trans-systemic knowledge systems – so important.

Lara Doan The Beginning Time Program – specialization elective program – 16 students per year. Local community elder. CAN/AM friendship centre. Cultural camp – learn from land – engage in traditional practices. Students placed with % of Aboriginal students. Secured some Gov’t funding – small research in tv Jane “Greetings from my heart to yours.” Encouraging to see universities embracing traditional knowledge and practices. I was made to fee ashamed – no knowledge – nothing to offer. I find through teachings - personal healing – more of that was true. The human beings. People are colonized – no longer value language and traditions – to decolonized people. Long way to go. Just about the mind, need to talk about Spirit. Identity and connection to ancestors, creator, earth. Look deeper into ceremonies. Uplift the spirits. Sakej Emerging elder. 2:45: Role-Alike Groups: Elders/Observers/Guests Initiatives:  National publication highlighting the TEPs  CSSE – Indigenous – CAISE studies  AERA – SIGS – Indigenous Education  Social workers 189 | P A G E


Nurses

Del Fraser  power of people here – dissipated – permanent website – encourage everyone to participate  Webmaster – all the programs and ideas will not be lost Michael  invited to attach other sources to site  in 2 years – a broader forum for TEPs  should we broaden the forum and stay here, or turn the idea over the others? Rita

   

Maori/NZ/Australia – CXX – in-house committee at Aboriginal experiences. Find ways to support on-going work. A lot lost if the concept is not organized Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre – this is our role to promote the agenda Promising practices – good here, may be promise there (Honouring place)

Michael Another event? Sakej  empower the alumni of the TEPs. Working and teaching – a need to gather  Renew and restore – a ceremonial meeting annually to help current directors and programs. They have the real life answers to questions  $$ pressures need to be placed on agencies  organize to mobilize Other Issues: *ESL – better support needed to enhance success. -- Betty Lisa Delpit – discourse markers – mentors needed *Nunavut – immersion – bilingual approach more 80-20/60-40. Introduce ESL at slower rate. Language regionally eroding; invasive presence of English. Commentary: Good to hear what other programs are doing. Nunavut is learning from what is done in the south – trying to undo what formal education system tried to do. Destroyed Inuit system. “We need schools” – imported foreign culture. Reclaim our way of learning and teaching. (Further west – residential schools) Restore – schools. Push out rate 75% drop out.

190 | P A G E


ROLE-ALIKE GROUP DISCUSSION SCRIBE NOTES ANSWERING THE QUESTION: What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas

are applicable to the program I represent? SCRIBE: JAMES MCNINCH ROLE-ALIKE GROUP STUDENTS

The one main point that came through this session was the importance of the preservation and teaching of Indigenous Languages and the students from all programs said that TEP programs need to think clearly about the best way to better integrate language instruction into their programs because Language IS Culture. My reflection on the whole process is: This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved to meet face to face and better understand their similarities and differences. The question of what constitutes Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing stimulated and provoked much good discussion. I think opportunities for student and faculty exchanges among the TEPs should be vigorously pursued.

191 | P A G E


APPENDICES

192 | P A G E


Appendix A

Letter TEP Friends:

September 21, 2007

Warm greetings! Please find enclosed a package of materials relating to the possibility of your TEP joining the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project consortium. Participation will involve your conducting a Self-Study and sending representatives to the Symposium we hope to sponsor in May/08. Materials relating to the Self-Study and the Symposium are included in this package. One of the most important items in the package is the ACCORD that we are asking you to sign if you wish to be part of the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange project. If you do sign, we will send you some funding support for the Self-Study phase of the project. At the moment support is limited to $3,000. This support is based on the initial funding we received from the Canadian Council on Learning. We are seeking additional funds; if we are successful, hopefully we can increase the amount of support we are able to provide. We also encourage you to seek matching funding if you have any other potential sources available to you. We encourage you to sign the ACCORD as soon as possible and, in any case, not later than October 31 – after which we will need to finalize participation for the 2007 – 2008 phase of the study. This project represents a most exciting initiative in the world of TEPs. It allows us to explore an important academic and cultural aspect of our programs, and it also represents an opportunity for us to create an (intentional) learning community: by means of the Self-Study and Symposium cycle, and the creation of an interactive website (ATEPNET), we are attempting to establish a sustainable TEP community. So, this is only the beginning! For the purposes of this project we are limiting the invitation to 8 TEPs only; of course, we do not know if all 8 will confirm their participation. But obviously, there are many others who might like to join. Our plan is that if this phase is successful, then in Phase II, we would try to make the consortium more inclusive. For Phase I, however, financial constraints limit us to not more than 8 TEP participants. There may be a few observers at the Symposium, but again, we intend to limit the Symposium to primarily the 8 TEPs. We leave to you – those who join by signing the ACCORD – to decide how many participants you send to the Symposium in May/08 here in Regina. We hope you will be able to send both faculty and some students. As we make progress in the search for additional funding, we will let you know if we can provide any help with travel costs. Sincerely, Lori Eastmure (Director, YNTEP), Alec Couros (Assistant Director, SIDRU), Michael Tymchak (Dean of Education, U of R). Please Note: Shuana Niessen, Project Facilitator at SIDRU, has kindly agreed to serve as contact person for this project: TEL (306)585-5143 and shuana.niessen@uregina.ca ABORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE PROJECT

193 | P A G E


Appendix B

ACCORD Preamble This ACCORD summarizes the common understandings, expectations and objectives shared by all of the participants in the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project. The ACCORD expresses the terms and conditions within which Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs participate in the Project. The ACCORD is an expression our mutual agreement relating to this Project and our common ownership of it. Objectives: The goals of our project, including the Self-Study and the Symposium, are to provide an opportunity for all participating TEP programs: 

To reflect carefully on the role of “Aboriginal Knowledge” in their own teacher education program and to share the results of this reflection with one another, and then…

To share understandings, and to identify best practices and strategies, as well as common challenges

To celebrate TEP achievements, and raise the TEP profile within our own province/territory, the larger educational community in Canada, and beyond

To create and sustain an (intentional) learning community that is focussed on Aboriginal Knowledge in the context of teacher education.

During the coming year (2007 – 08) the Project will work towards this goal by … 1. engaging in a self-study exercise relating to the role of “Aboriginal Knowledge” within your TEP programs. Through self-study, partner programs will be able to identify unique practices within a common framework of themes. 2. sharing at a Symposium, scheduled for Spring/08, where the participants in this ACCORD can present the results of their Self-Study, and engage in a broad-based discussion of the issue(s) are identified by the Self-Study Reports. The Symposium will provide a profession venue where participants from each program can interact, exchange knowledge and build relationships.

194 | P A G E


3. supporting and continuing collaboration and exchange among members by participating in and contributing to a digital knowledge exchange network (ATEPNET). Expectations and Commitments 1. From September 2007-January 2008, conduct a self-study that examines four themes: a. How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within courses, programs and practices? b. How are student successes supported? c. What plans/goals can be established for future cultural program development? d. What challenges and opportunities exist in respect to realizing these goals? 2. Produce and submit a proposal for a presentation for the Symposium to be held in May 2008. 3. Attend and make a presentation at the Symposium. 4. Provide questions/issues for roundtable discussion. 5. Participate in our shared digital community (through the creation of the ATEPNET website). 6. As part of the digital community - agree to share self-study findings and submit digital learning resources/materials/ideas for the ATEPNET website. Participation and “Deliverables” We agree to….. 1. Engage in a “Self-study” exercise and prepare a self-study presentation for the Symposium, including a written document. 2. Make a presentation at the Symposium. 3. Submit digital learning resources/materials for website archive from our TEP. 4. Prepare and submit a Reflection/Evaluation document for the Project (see Guidelines below) . Reflection/Evaluation GUIDELINES 1. Identify value of the self-study exercise, and the Symposium and their effectiveness for knowledge exchange. 2. Evaluate the Symposium: Did the meet expectations? What else could be done to help meet expectations? Did it help establish a professional learning community? Were new ideas gained? What new goals can be established based on the ? What challenges and opportunities exist in respect to realizing these new goals? 195 | P A G E


3. Suggest “next steps” for achieving our goal of establishing a TEP-based Aboriginal Knowledge network and community. 4. Suggest other themes for the next phase of self-study and (a possible) Symposium. How will you evaluate the new actions being taken to support Aboriginal ways of knowing? Support Participants in the study will become eligible for various kinds of support. The project is currently funded by the Canadian Council for Learning, under the “Knowledge Exchange” program within the Aboriginal Knowledge Learning Centre. The Working Group is also seeking other sources of funding. It is intended that support will be provided to assist the self-study portion of the project, as well as support for the Symposium and the development of ATEPNET. Signatures Our TEP

is supportive of this ACCORD [name of TEP]

and wishes to participate in the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Project. I am signing on behalf of our TEP: Coordinator or Director

Date

I confirm that the above-named TEP Program is officially confirmed as a member of the Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange Program study and is eligible for appropriate support: Signed on behalf of the Project:

Date

Lori Eastmure, Alec Couros, Michael Tymchak Please sign and return to: Shuana Niessen, Project Facilitator, SIDRU, Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2 Please return the signed Accord document at your convenience and no later than: November 31, 2007. Your Accord will be signed at SIDRU and a copy returned to you, together with monies to support your Self-Study.

196 | P A G E


Appendix C

SELF-STUDY GUIDELINES Question: How are Aboriginal ways of knowing (Indigeneity) Understood and Practiced in Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs? Purpose of the Self-Study This aspect of the project is intended to provide participating Aboriginal teacher education programs with an opportunity for reflection and self-understanding with respect to Aboriginal ways of knowing. This self-study phase is also an important precursor to sharing your understandings with other TEP programs. Definition: sometimes for convenience the term “Aboriginal” is employed in this document; it should be understood to refer to the distinct peoples and nations comprising – First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Themes/Questions Recognizing the complementary and competing expectations placed upon your teacher education program with respect to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, public schools (& their curriculum), and other stakeholders, consider: 

How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica?

What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge in your program design?

How is ‘student success’ supported, and what counts as “success”?

What new ideas/goals could be established for future cultural program development in your TEP and what first steps are needed to begin the planning and implementation cycle for them?

Funding Support Each participating program will be given access to a maximum of $3000 to assist in supporting the self-study process. These funds are intended to cover some of the incurred costs for self-study. Some programs may choose to supplement these costs

197 | P A G E


through in-kind and additional monetary support. The funds provided may be used to support the project in the following ways:        

Compensation for a self-study facilitator Research assistant costs for recording, collecting and detailing the discussions Honoraria for Elder/expert involvement Food and refreshments for participants Travel costs for attendees (for off-site self-study location) Document creation costs: transcriptions, copying, publication, dissemination Possible communication with a wider audience Compensation for participant time (possible release time costs)

Time-Frame and Reporting Format This phase of the project should: ▪ Take place between October/2007 – February 22/ 2008. ▪ The Self-Study will normally take the equivalent of two full days of program participation. Deadline for submission of Self-study: February 22, 2008 The Self-Study should include: 1. A written report (8 – 12 pages) of your findings, derived from the SelfStudy process; to be included in the “Proceedings” document we hope to publish after the Symposium (your TEP will be credited for this document); 2. A showcase presentation for the Symposium of your choosing (PowerPoint; video; oral report; other digital presentation). Please send your written report to:

Shuana Niessen Project Facilitator SIDRU, Faculty of Education University of Regina Regina, SK S4S 0A2

198 | P A G E


Appendix D

Organizational Schematic Funded by: Canadian Council on Learning (Knowledge Exchange Project), and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation

Building an Intentional, Sustainable, Collaborative Community

NORTEP

FNUniv

SUNTEP (SK, PA, REG)

YNTEP

NTEP

NITEP

ITEP

STFX

Community of Learning and Practice

Sharing and Reflection Legacy and Renewal

Collaboration

Celebration Support

Relationships

199 | P A G E

Indigeneity


Appendix E

Infor mation Poster

200 | P A G E


May 26th – May 28th, 2008 University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan

*TEP presentations and roundtable discussions *An Opportunity to share and exchange Unique programming ideas and successes *Planning for the next phase

201 | P A G E


Appendix F

Program Design

202 | P A G E


Program

May 26th – May 28th, 2008 University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan Hosted by: SIDRU, Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, SK Teacher Preparation Centre, ED 228 (2nd Floor of Education Building)

*TEP presentations and roundtable discussions *An Opportunity to share and exchange Unique programming ideas and successes *Planning for the next phase

PROGRAM 203 | P A G E


Monday, May 26 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Registration Table (Residence key and room # will be in registration package) Display set up in Teaching Preparation Centre

7:30 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Elder Prayer : Betty McKenna Opening of the Symposium: Co-MCs: Lori Eastmure (YNTEP) and Michael Relland (SUNTEP – PA) Co-Keynote Address: Sakej Henderson and Michael Tymchak Reception Time to view TEP displays

9:00 a.m. –12:00 noon

Welcome, Project Overview -- groups Elder Prayer: Betty McKenna

South Entrance to Education Building Teacher Preparation Centre Ed 228

Tuesday, May 27 Session 1: TEP self-study presentations on QUESTION 1 How are Aboriginal ways of knowing currently realized within your teacher education program, courses, teaching and practica? mixed small groups(45 minutes) (5 TEPs presenting in 5 small groups for half an hour with 15 minutes for questions) Session 2: TEP self-study presentations on QUESTION 1 mixed small groups (same groups as session 1) (45 minutes) (5 more TEPs presenting in 5 small groups) Home Group Session: Reflecting on the TEP presentations role-alike groups (directors, faculty, students) (45 minutes) What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas are applicable to the program I represent? 12:00 noon – 1:15 p.m. 1:15 p.m. p.m.

Lunch –4:00

Session 3: TEP self-study presentations on QUESTION 2 What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges exist for First Nations, Inuit and Metis knowledge in your program? mixed small groups (different groups from morning) (45 minutes) (5 TEPs presenting in 5 small groups for half an hour with 15 minutes for questions)

Teacher Preparation Centre Ed 228 Break out into Floor 2nd Classrooms

Teaching Preparation Centre

Education Building Cafeteria Break out into 2nd Floor Classrooms

Session 4: TEP self-study presentations on QUESTION 2 mixed small groups (same groups as session 3) (45 minutes) (5 more TEPs presenting in 5 small groups) Home Group Session: Reflecting on the TEP presentations role-alike groups (45 minutes) What did we hear in the small group presentations? What ideas are applicable to the program I represent? Reflecting on the Day: Rita Bouvier (30 minutes)

204 | P A G E

Teacher Preparation Centre


5:30 p.m

Barbecue and Cultural Event

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Elder Prayer: Betty McKenna Presentation on ATEPNET: Dr. Alec Couros (30 min.) Panel: Stories of Aboriginal Knowledge from three Aboriginal educators: Sarah Longman, Herman Michell, Ooloota Maatiusi (1 hour) Planning Session and Business Meeting(1 hour)

Luther College North Side on Lawn

Wednesday, May 28 Teaching Preparation Centre Ed 228

Closing Remarks: Rita Bouvier 12:00 p.m.

Bag Lunch

Faculty Lounge

205 | P A G E


Mixed Groups

Session 1: 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Question 1: Self Study Presentations Ray Smith (Presenter) Elie Fleury (Presenter) Brittany Johns SUNTEP Regina Nicole Morrow SUNTEP Regina Yvette Arcand ITEP Lori Eastmure YNTEP Ooloota Maatiusi NTEP Michael Relland SUNTEP PA

NORTEP Presentation Ed 215 SCRIBE: James McNinch Susan Akikuluk NTEP Meeka Angutautok NTEP Linda Lysyk SUNTEP Saskatoon Sandy Sherwin-Shields SUNTEP PA Betty McKenna Elder Sarah Longman RBE Karen Blain NITEP

Indigenous Education - FNUniv Presentation Ed 228 Angelina Weenie FNUniv (Presenter) SCRIBE: Sister Anna Clinton Charlie NITEP Darlene Taqtaq NTEP Bente Huntley SUNTEP PA Murray Hamilton SUNTEP Saskatoon Jade Yee SUNTEP Regina Naomi Carrierre NORTEP Erin Kramer SUNTEP Regina Deborah Gibson-Dingwall Jim Taylor ITEP Jeena Mikki NTEP Carrie-lyn Robinson YNTEP Sakej Henderson Peesee Pitsiulak NAC/NTEP SUNTEP Regina Presentation Ed 210 Christina Johns SUNTEP Regina (Presenter) SCRIBE: David Friesen Russell Fayant SUNTEP Regina (Presenter) Sipuraq (Aapak) Allurut NTEP Tracy Sylvester NITEP Laura Burnauf NORTEP Corey Teeter SUNTEP PA Gerry Cozine Fac of Ed Lanie Tourangeau YNTEP Lara Doan U of Windsor Jim Legge NTEP Henry Roberts NORTEP Sarah Alooloo NTEP Monica Ittusardjuat NTEP Sita Rani-MacMillan NITEP

Orest Murawsky ITEP (Presenter) Marny Point NITEP Liza Brown SUNTEP PA Lorri Melnechenko SUNTEP Regina Ben Schenstead Indigenous Ed FNUniv Lucetta George Corant NITEP Noli Eastmure YNTEP Eva Noah NTEP

ITEP Presentation Ed 209 SCRIBE: Carol Fulton Jane Meader St FX April Chiefcalf NORTEP Alec Couros Fac of Ed Ina Kigutikakjuk NTEP Del Fraser Fac of Ed Michell Herman FNUniv

NITEP Presentation Ed 223 Jo-ann Archibald NITEP (Presenter) SCRIBE: Val Mulholland Leah Dorion SUNTEP PA Nicole Amiotte SUNTEP Saskatoon Joanne Pelletier SUNTEP Regina Joanne Tompkins St FX Linda Goulet Indigenous Ed FNUniv Joel Durocher NORTEP Michael Cottrell ITEP Jennifer Malmsten NORTEP 206 | P A G E


Kari Unrau YNTEP Neil Christopher NTEP

Michael Tymchak Rita Bouvier ALKC Connie Kilukishak NTEP

Session 2: 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Question 1: Self Study Presentations SUNTEP Prince Albert Presentation Ed 215 Michael Relland SUNTEP PA (Presenter) SCRIBE: James McNinch Susan Akikuluk NTEP Sandy Sherwin-Shields SUNTEP PA (Presenter) Karen Blain NITEP Meeka Angutautok NTEP Brittany Johns SUNTEP Regina Linda Lysyk SUNTEP Saskatoon Nicole Morrow SUNTEP Regina Betty McKenna Elder Yvette Arcand ITEP Sarah Longman RBE Peesee Pitsiulak NAC/NTEP Ray Smith NORTEP Elie Fleury NORTEP

Lori Eastmure YNTEP Carrie-lyn Robinson YNTEP Angelina Weenie FNUniv Clinton Charlie NITEP Bente Huntley SUNTEP PA Jade Yee SUNTEP Regina Erin Kramer SUNTEP Regina Jim Taylor ITEP

YNTEP Presentation Ed 228 SCRIBE: Sister Anna Darlene Taqtaq NTEP Naomi Carrierre NORTEP Deborah Gibson-Dingwall Jeena Mikki NTEP Sakej Henderson

Ooloota Maatiusi NTEP Christina Johns SUNTEP Regina Russell Fayant SUNTEP Regina Tracy Sylvester NITEP Corey Teeter SUNTEP PA Lanie Tourangeau YNTEP Jim Legge NTEP Sita Rani-MacMillan NITEP

NTEP Presentation Ed 210 SCRIBE: David Friesen Sipuraq (Aapak) Allurut NTEP Laura Burnauf NORTEP Gerry Cozine Fac of Ed Lara Doan U of Windsor Henry Roberts NORTEP Monica Ittusardjuat NTEP Michell Herman FNUniv

SUNTEP Saskatoon Presentation Ed 209 Murray Hamilton SUNTEP Saskatoon SCRIBE: Carol Fulton Orest Murawsky ITEP Jane Meader St FX Marny Point NITEP April Chiefcalf NORTEP Liza Brown SUNTEP PA Alec Couros Fac of Ed Lorri Melnechenko SUNTEP Regina Ina Kigutikakjuk NTEP Ben Schenstead Indigenous Ed FNUniv Del Fraser Fac of Ed Lucetta George Corant NITEP Sarah Alooloo NTEP Noli Eastmure YNTEP Eva Noah NTEP

Joanne Tompkins St FX (Presenter) Jo-ann Archibald NITEP Leah Dorion SUNTEP PA Joanne Pelletier SUNTEP Regina Linda Goulet Indigenous Ed FNUniv

St FX Presentation Ed 223 SCRIBE: Val Mulholland Nicole Amiotte SUNTEP Saskatoon Joel Durocher NORTEP Jennifer Malmsten NORTEP Michael Tymchak 207 | P A G E


Michael Cottrell ITEP Kari Unrau YNTEP Neil Christopher NTEP

Rita Bouvier ALKC Connie Kilukishak NTEP

Session 3: 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Question 2: Self Study Presentations Ray Smith (Presenter) Elie Fleury (Presenter) Brittany Johns SUNTEP Regina Nicole Morrow SUNTEP Regina Yvette Arcand ITEP Lori Eastmure YNTEP Ooloota Maatiusi NTEP Michael Relland SUNTEP PA

NORTEP Presentation Ed 215 SCRIBE: James McNinch Susan Akikuluk NTEP Meeka Angutautok NTEP Linda Lysyk SUNTEP Saskatoon Sandy Sherwin-Shields SUNTEP PA Betty McKenna Elder Sarah Longman RBE Karen Blain NITEP

Indigenous Education - FNUniv Presentation Ed 228 Angelina Weenie FNUniv (Presenter) SCRIBE: Sister Anna Clinton Charlie NITEP Darlene Taqtaq NTEP Bente Huntley SUNTEP PA Murray Hamilton SUNTEP Saskatoon Jade Yee SUNTEP Regina Naomi Carrierre NORTEP Erin Kramer SUNTEP Regina Deborah Gibson-Dingwall Jim Taylor ITEP Jeena Mikki NTEP Carrie-lyn Robinson YNTEP Sakej Henderson Peesee Pitsiulak NAC/NTEP SUNTEP Regina Presentation Ed 210 Christina Johns SUNTEP Regina (Presenter) SCRIBE: David Friesen Russell Fayant SUNTEP Regina (Presenter) Sipuraq (Aapak) Allurut NTEP Tracy Sylvester NITEP Laura Burnauf NORTEP Corey Teeter SUNTEP PA Gerry Cozine Fac of Ed Lanie Tourangeau YNTEP Lara Doan U of Windsor Jim Legge NTEP Henry Roberts NORTEP Sarah Alooloo NTEP Monica Ittusardjuat NTEP Sita Rani-MacMillan NITEP

Orest Murawsky ITEP (Presenter) Marny Point NITEP Liza Brown SUNTEP PA Lorri Melnechenko SUNTEP Regina Ben Schenstead Indigenous Ed FNUniv Lucetta George Corant NITEP Noli Eastmure YNTEP Eva Noah NTEP

ITEP Presentation Ed 209 SCRIBE: Carol Fulton Jane Meader St FX April Chiefcalf NORTEP Alec Couros Fac of Ed Ina Kigutikakjuk NTEP Del Fraser Fac of Ed Michell Herman FNUniv

NITEP Presentation Ed 223 Jo-ann Archibald NITEP (Presenter) SCRIBE: Val Mulholland Nicole Amiotte SUNTEP Saskatoon Joanne Tompkins St FX Leah Dorion SUNTEP PA Joel Durocher NORTEP Joanne Pelletier SUNTEP Regina Jennifer Malmsten NORTEP Linda Goulet Indigenous Ed FNUniv Michael Tymchak Michael Cottrell ITEP Rita Bouvier ALKC 208 | P A G E


Kari Unrau YNTEP Neil Christopher NTEP

Connie Kilukishak NTEP

Session 4: 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Question 2: Self Study Presentations SUNTEP Prince Albert Presentation Ed 215 Michael Relland SUNTEP PA (Presenter) SCRIBE: James McNinch Susan Akikuluk NTEP Sandy Sherwin-Shields SUNTEP PA (Presenter) Karen Blain NITEP Meeka Angutautok NTEP Brittany Johns SUNTEP Regina Linda Lysyk SUNTEP Saskatoon Nicole Morrow SUNTEP Regina Betty McKenna Elder Yvette Arcand ITEP Sarah Longman RBE Peesee Pitsiulak NAC/NTEP Ray Smith NORTEP Elie Fleury NORTEP

Lori Eastmure YNTEP Carrie-lyn Robinson YNTEP Angelina Weenie FNUniv Clinton Charlie NITEP Bente Huntley SUNTEP PA Jade Yee SUNTEP Regina Erin Kramer SUNTEP Regina Jim Taylor ITEP

YNTEP Presentation Ed 228 SCRIBE: Sister Anna Darlene Taqtaq NTEP Naomi Carrierre NORTEP Deborah Gibson-Dingwall Jeena Mikki NTEP Sakej Henderson

Ooloota Maatiusi NTEP Christina Johns SUNTEP Regina Russell Fayant SUNTEP Regina Tracy Sylvester NITEP Corey Teeter SUNTEP PA Lanie Tourangeau YNTEP Jim Legge NTEP Sita Rani-MacMillan NITEP

NTEP Presentation Ed 210 SCRIBE: David Friesen Sipuraq (Aapak) Allurut NTEP Laura Burnauf NORTEP Gerry Cozine Fac of Ed Lara Doan U of Windsor Henry Roberts NORTEP Monica Ittusardjuat NTEP Michell Herman FNUniv

SUNTEP Saskatoon Presentation Ed 209 Murray Hamilton SUNTEP Saskatoon SCRIBE: Carol Fulton Orest Murawsky ITEP Jane Meader St FX Marny Point NITEP April Chiefcalf NORTEP Liza Brown SUNTEP PA Alec Couros Fac of Ed Lorri Melnechenko SUNTEP Regina Ina Kigutikakjuk NTEP Ben Schenstead Indigenous Ed FNUniv Del Fraser Fac of Ed Lucetta George Corant NITEP Sarah Alooloo NTEP Noli Eastmure YNTEP Eva Noah NTEP

Joanne Tompkins St FX (Presenter) Jo-ann Archibald NITEP Leah Dorion SUNTEP PA Joanne Pelletier SUNTEP Regina Linda Goulet Indigenous Ed FNUniv Michael Cottrell ITEP

St FX Presentation Ed 223 SCRIBE: Val Mulholland Nicole Amiotte SUNTEP Saskatoon Joel Durocher NORTEP Jennifer Malmsten NORTEP Michael Tymchak Rita Bouvier ALKC 209 | P A G E


Kari Unrau YNTEP Neil Christopher NTEP

Connie Kilukishak NTEP

210 | P A G E


Building an Intentional, Sustainable, Collaborative Community MAY 26-28, 2008 Faculty of Education, University of Regina 3737 Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan

Location Map

Lot 17 M Reserved Parking

Registration

Wascana Parkway

Faculty of Education University of Regina

University Drive South

Lot 17 M Reserved Symposium Parking – May 26 - 28 Education Building – Symposium on 2nd Floor Registration table – 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. May 26 Accommodation – Residence North Tower

211 | P A G E


Appendix G A

TEPNET

www.atepnet.ning.com

212 | P A G E


Appendix H

Sur vey Results: Aboriginal Knowledge in Teacher Education Symposium 1. With which TEP are you associated?

College of Education, U of S YNTEP SUNTEP Saskatoon SUNTEP Regina SUNTEP Prince Albert StFX NTEP NORTEP NITEP ITEP Indigenous Education FNUC 0.0%

10.0%

20.0%

30.0%

2. What is your role in your TEP?

0.0%

10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%

College of Education, U of S Director or Coordinator Faculty or Instructor Staff Student Teacher supervisor of interns 

213 | P A G E


3. What was your overall experience of the symposium?

0.0% 11.8%

poor 23.5%

average good excellent

64.7%

Comment Text 1. I think this was a really important 'reawakenening' of the common ground all ATEPs share even if the cultural differences, geopolitical setting among groups is vastly different (and it is)...remembering that we need to 'struggle together not alone' (Enid Lee) was really important...much has been done but much is left to do....The symposium was very hopeful and affirming and yet challenged us (at least me) to rethink.... 2. As a "student" I felt there was little opportunity to talk with one another. Our afternoon session was cancelled. There was little chance to interact with each group and listen to more than two TEP presentations. I would have liked the opportunity to see more of each with more interaction. 3. I learned a great deal from and about the other programs. It was stimulating and gave me some new energy for my work. 4. I am looking forward to a follow-up conference. Having presenters respond to pre set questions focused the discussion. Would have been interesting to hear all the presentations. 5. It was great to hear from all the TEPs and meet new people. It's reassuring to know that we are all on the same page and struggle with the same issues. It was great to hear from all the TEPs and meet new people. It's reassuring to know that we are all on the same page and struggle with the same issues. 6. I was very interested in the discussions and idea that were proposed. Now, I am hoping that some of the great proposed initiatives are followed through with.

214 | P A G E


7. It was great to see all the other TEP programs from across the country. Since this is my first experience, I would've liked more interaction within the sessions. 8. I'm looking forward to the continuation of these gatherings; I feel the students, staff and community members will benefit from them. 9. I really enjoyed meeting all of my old friends at the other TEP's as well as meeting the people from other Provinces and Territories. It was really interesting to hear what was going on in other programs. The only suggestion I would make is to mix up the groups so that we get a broader perspective. For example, I presented for SUNTEP Prince Albert and we were paired with NORTEP. Because we know each other's program fairly well, I would have preferred to hear from one of the out of Province presentations. 10. A great way to meet students, faculty and other Canadian Aboriginals in TEP programs. The ATEP website is another bonus that I find valuable (thx to Alex Couros). 11. I learned about other Aboriginal programs across Canada and have begun developing stronger relationships with their staffs. Building this strength was so very evident at the final session. I could feel the hope and the power in the room. 12. My experience was very good. This was my first time meeting and talking with faculty and staff from other TEPS across the nation. It provided an opportunity to share ideas and experiences and to compare our various programs. I found it very interesting learning about the background and life story of people from very different geographic and cultural locations. 4. How do you rate the food for the symposium?

On‐Demand Refreshments BBQ at Luther

N/A excellent

Lunches

good Breakfast Baskets  served to rooms

average poor

Reception 0.00%

20.00%

40.00% 60.00%

80.00% 100.00%

Comment Text 1. The logistics were amazing - incredible service - the breakfast in the room was such a classy touch. 215 | P A G E


Fantastic! 2. I loved all of the fruit and cheeses! Thank you for the delicious veggie burger and veggie wraps. 3. Food overall was excellent. I have no complaints. We were well-fed and the treats and drinks all day long was awesome as we had such a tight schedule so it was good to have drinks and snacks all day long. 4. The BBQ was amazing! Food there was fantastic. The lunch bags were a nice touch on the last day. Great idea! 5. More cereal or whole wheat product for breakfast, even boiled eggs would have been better then the sugar loaded muffins...haha 6. Barbecue was excellent 7. For the most part, the food was wonderful. I did have some concerns about the breakfast though. In my breakfast basket, the food was quite high in sugar content (juice, jam, fruit, muffin, and croissant) and lacking protein. There are high levels of diabetes in our communities, so I suggest adding protein such as peanut butter and whole grains. The second day, I think our room got missed for the breakfast(?) 8. It was wonderful to receive breakfast and it was always on time and the service cheery however it was very heavy and greasy...maybe boxed cereal and milk or yogurt for protein and dairy would be an option. The coffee was wonderfully hot and the fruit fresh and cold. Thank you. All other food was excellent. 9. It was nice have a choice of chicken or beef. The minestrone soup for lunch was good, and my only suggestion is that it be with a vegetarian stock rather than a chicken stock (although I eat chicken). The BBQ was great and I appreciated being able to have chicken rather than beef. Tasty! (my only complaint --and it is very small-- is that the coffee available at the symposium wasn't great.)

216 | P A G E


5. How do you rate the symposium location?

Accommodation

N/A

Classrooms

excellent good

Teaching Preparation  Centre

average poor

Parking

0.0%

20.0%

40.0%

60.0%

80.0%

Comment Text 1. Again - fantastic - maybe it's just coming from the Maritimes but I was blown away by the high quality of services, buildings etc... 2. Student housing was nice and close. 3. Having the main session and breakout sessions on one floor was great, especially for people not familiar with campus. 4. I was not sure if the vehicle would be safe because it seemed to be so far out in the open (walk is good though). One of our vehicles (not mine) was parked too close to the ball field so the windshield got smashed- probably just a friendly reminder for this time of year (ball season). 5. It was nice because we were at home. I can't wait to travel to new locations in the future; that will be fun to see where others work. 6. beds were a little hard

beds were a little hard

7. Long walking distance to parking.

beds were a little hard

.

8. The stay at the dorm was okay, the facilities were great, classrooms conducive, and the parking could have been closer. okay, the facilities were great, classrooms conducive, and the parking could have been closer. 9. I would have liked to have had access to the internet in my room (air). 10. I did not drive, but the parking lots looked ample. I would have enjoyed having a tour of the 217 | P A G E


education building prior to the conference just to see what other universities offer their students. Accommodations were amazing, and the security of the buildings was comforting. 11. The accommodations were excellent however we were very cold in our room and could not get this adjusted. People sharing the apartments had a common conversation area and could also invite visitors to join us in discussions. They were comfortable and roomy. It was wonderful to have cleaning service. A worthwhile support to the conference. Parking was somewhat inconvenient but we got exercise. The fact that it was free was a pleasant surprise. 12. It makes sense to have the event at the U of R which hosted it. However, I would suggest that next time, at least part of the events be held at the First Nations University building, since it is a gathering of Indigenous TEPS and the building is architecturally an inspiration. 6.

How do you rate the symposium presentations?

41.2% TEP presentations

58.8% Rita Bouvier

N/A excellent

58.8% Michael Tymchak

good average poor

47.1%

Sakej Henderson

0.0%

20.0%

40.0%

60.0%

Comment Text 1. They were all amazing speakers - particularly found Henderson and Bouvier's speeches powerful in bracketing the symposium. 2. Felt it was a little rushed and I wanted to hear both questions answered at the same time so I could visit more TEP presentations, but overall they were well done and interesting. 3. I felt that every presentation had something great to think and ponder upon. All presentations were on task and gave the information needed. The only regret is that I would’ve liked to attend more TEP presentations as I only attended to 2 out of 9 so it would be good to attend more instead of staying in the same group all the time as some tended to repeat. 4. I was not able to attend the first night (I am taking classes). I wish I would have, though, as some 218 | P A G E


of the content was mentioned in Rita's Keynote. I would have liked the opportunity to have seen more of the presentations. 5. some were a bit long 6. I learned a lot from the TEP presentations. Heard great things about Ms. Bouvier, real disappointed in her presentations. Didn't seem fully prepared. 7. In the future it would be of my own interest to choose which TEP presentation I would like to listen to. Plus, it felt as though the presenters were rushing through their information, perhaps a bit longer of a session time would be more relaxed. I was truly inspired by Sakej Henderson and Rita Bouvier's keynotes! 8. All speakers had valuable information to share. One downfall that I did find with the TEP presentations was the fact that only 2 TEP presentations were available for the day. It would have been nice to see more presentations from other TEP programs. I do know that time was an issue...perhaps the next conference could add an extra day to ensure that all presentations could be heard. 9. Sakej was difficult to hear when he would turn away...his message was excellent. All other presentations were excellent. It would be nice to have heard them all. More time for questions and discussion please. 10. I really enjoyed being able to get both the macro and micro perspectives. Sakej gave us the big picture of what's happening in Indigenous affairs in various parts of the world; other speakers described their local situation and experiences. 7. How do you rate the design of the symposium?

41.2%

Panel Discussion Role‐alike group session

52.9%

Mixed small group session

52.9%

Roundtable presentation    and  discussion

41.2%

N/A excellent good average poor

52.9%

Symposium length 0.0%

20.0%

40.0%

60.0%

Comment Text 1. Thought the facilitation was excellent and allowed us to build small group knowledge into larger 219 | P A G E


and larger understandings. Could see the principles of adult education being lived 2. Little time spent in small role-alike groups. Our afternoon session was cancelled by our facilitator. 3. Would have liked more time to hear from other TEPs--I only got to sit in on one other session. 4. I would have preferred to hear all of the presenters rather than just the two. Also, I would have liked to have chosen which presentations I attended rather than being assigned. 5. I can't recall what the roundtable presentation and discussion was- was it the reflecting on the day or the business meeting? I thought everything went quite smoothly and the only thing I would change is more time in the role-alike groups. It was difficult to fit in what everyone had to say- or maybe a little time in the beginning to really focus on what it was that we were trying to say. 6. I'm not sure if there is another way to structure it so that we can hear all of the TEP's presentation throughout the course of the three days, or had been able to choose the ones we wanted. Just food for thought. 7. panel discussions were too long, and the 9-9 day was tiring 8. I think more participants could have attended. 9. The panel discussion was very interesting and I also think the role-alike sessions did not need as much time as was given. 10. Considering all that was covered in such a short time, the conference was amazing. The groups were well mixed with a variety of students, teachers, and faculty. Perhaps students could become more involved in future discussions during the conference. 11. My only comment is that at times I felt rushed so a full day on Wednesday would have been nice in order to fully engage with the presenters 12. The cultural event was a good idea. However, I would suggest that time limits be placed on performers. I appreciated the MĂŠtis elder's role in the proceedings; however, I must admit I found his presentation needlessly long. He did not seem to respond to cues (such as the MC walking on stage), so for cases like this (and this is not uncommon), some thought should be given as to how to tactfully but effectively move the program along. 8. In what way was the symposium of benefit to you? Comment Text 1. Doing the self-study forced our institution to clarify and articulate our unexplored assumptions and clearly begin to see what variables make a difference in creating success for Aboriginal students. It also made us feel 'connected' to the larger project of Aboriginal education - it was very positive in terms of picking up ideas from other TEPs....It also strengthened the relationship between myself and my colleague Jane as we shared the experience. 2. I learned more about other TEP programs and spoke with others about the advantages and disadvantages of their program area. A better understanding of what is happening nationwide with 220 | P A G E


Aboriginal Education. 3. Self-study was an excellent exercise and useful for us in determining immediate and long term goals and an action plan. 4. There are issues that I feel our program deals with in isolation. It was nice to connect with other programs and find they are experiencing similar issues. I learned about ways that other programs have dealt with these issues and feel I have some strategies to bring home. Also, I made connections with other people that I can dialogue with. Overall, the symposium was inspiring to me. 5. There was recognition that everyone is experiencing similar challenges, an affirmation that everyone has made a huge contribution to Aboriginal education. A positive attitude toward challenges. A need for a global TEP organization to better lobby for our students. Each program was unique and served its clients well. 6. It was an opportunity for me to focus on these important issues as they originate from people's hearts and minds and it is very critical that we do not forget these ways of knowing. These understandings need to be passed on to the youth and what better way than through Aboriginal teacher education programs. 7. So much of the time these programs work in isolation, it was nice to see the connections, the similarities and differences between all of us. I agree that times are changing and maybe the time has come that we need to work more collaboratively by exploring ways of mentoring, partnerships and networking. 8. The symposium provided me with an overview of other models of Aboriginal teacher education that exists in Canada. I was exposed to different program philosophies, contexts, barriers and success. Overall, it was a rich learning experience. 9. learning about all the programs, and how they similar and how they are different 10. Learned more information on the other TEP programs. 11. The symposium gave a larger picture of the nature of our programs in a very real sense. It was also a good reminder of how our work is connected to one another in a very community based way. The struggles and triumphs the various TEPS have faced offer empathy and encouragement to one another as well. I found this symposium inspiring for my own professional growth. 12. I found conducting the research helped us to re-examine how and why we do things the way we do. I also appreciated the opportunity to share with the other TEP's and to hear what they have been doing and the strengths and challenges of their program. I came away from the symposium somewhat reinvigorated with a stronger sense of purpose and direction. 13. It was good to hear about the activities that the other TEP's were doing within their program. Some of the struggles were the similar to ours. It was good just to make connections from the various TEP's around Canada. 14. It was wonderful to meet people from others TEPS and hear about what they were doing. Overall, I found we had much in common. It was wonderful to meet people from others TEPS and 221 | P A G E


hear about what they were doing. Overall, I found we had much in common. 15. This symposium brought a larger vision of what Aboriginal knowledge is across Canada. I enjoyed hearing the many languages and stories, meeting new people from other TEP programs, and learning what other programs offer their students to help Aboriginal students and teachers become more successful in Aboriginal education. 16. I gained knowledge from many people and their programs. I made connections to faculty who are teaching similar areas and this has opened up dialogue for us. I enjoyed the cultural event and sharing of talent specific to each TEP. I feel I was a part of a beginning of what will become a very influential and powerful community in Aboriginal Knowledge and teacher education. 17. It helped define the various institutions and people who work for them. 9. What topic of conversation emerged during the symposium that would be of interest to you in a future self-study? Comment Text 1. The concept of locating Aboriginal education in the larger context of equity work overall - it can't become a silo on its own.... 2. Having Aboriginal education a part of all BEd programs. 3. How to keep programs dynamic, but still remain true to original objectives. 4. The first issue is the loss of language. I feel that the TEPS could be at the forefront of truly reviving and preserving Aboriginal languages. We need to revisit the way we teach Aboriginal languages in our programs. I would like to see more work done in this area. Also, I think we discussed the issue of assimilation - are the TEPS promoting teacher accreditation in a EuroCanadian manner versus Aboriginal education. Do we need to continue to be a part of the university? Or can we have an independent TEP accreditation? 5. Maintaining Aboriginal culture without sacrificing excellence 6. The topic on how to incorporate language and culture effectively. I believe that we could learn from one another in this area. Everyone is doing a little bit but there needs to be more of a consistent plan that is accountable. For example: How do we incorporate Elders teachings into the programs and how can the teachings can be used and viewed critically without upsetting protocols. 7. Directions for the future, expansion ideas and renewal 8. I wasn't involved in the self-study, but I would be interested in looking at how the TEP could support each other (at least politically). 9. too many to mention, but mostly making contacts was beneficial, so the things that interested me, the people were there to go in-depth etc. 10. More visible connections between all the TEPs, so that they are seen as a cohesive unit.

222 | P A G E


11. For a start, TEP student exchanges sound very exciting. 12. I think that the Cultural Camps were of interest to me, along with the language based curriculum, culture. I would like to take a look at implementing something for our students here. 13. The English language skills competency requirement for graduation with a BEd within all the TEP programs as well as our own. 10. Please provide any comment regarding your experience or learning at the symposium that you would like published in the Newsletter. Comment Text 1. Colonization has created such distance between different Aboriginal groups to the point where many are working alone, in isolation from the very groups that could be supporting and mentoring each other. This symposium was decolonizing in that it broke down some walls and increased solidarity. 2. I found it very empowering to meet and connect with the students and faculty/staff/directors of other TEP programs. I hope this is the start of something! 3. I have not thought about a specific topic to focus and to comment on. I will just wait for the final proceedings to be drafted up and go from there. 4. nothing comes to mind 5. I appreciated the time to share information and gain knowledge about the other TEP programs. I look forward to the next gathering! 6. Perhaps highlights from the PowerPoint presentations from each TEP could be noted in a reader friendly format. 7. Excellent. We need to do it again.

223 | P A G E


224 | P A G E


225 | P A G E

Profile for Shuana Niessen

Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange  

Ten Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs did self-studies and came together at the end of the studies for a symposium. This is a compilatio...

Aboriginal Knowledge Exchange  

Ten Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs did self-studies and came together at the end of the studies for a symposium. This is a compilatio...

Advertisement