Another interesting site I found addresses Indigenous Education. It has a North American focus. This organization, Bowman Performance Consulting, LLC has done its homework and has included an enormous amount of links to other sites, alphabetically organized, to Native American Educational Resources for various types of Indigenous: youth camps, caregivers, language, children’s blogs, conferences, study programs, associations, councils and organizations and specific Indigenous people’s education sites to name a few. This site also includes information about grants and scholarships, evaluations, business development, certifications and publications. The contact us information is included at the bottom of every webpage. I would recommend this site to anyone who needs information about and links to many North American Indigenous people’s organization website.
This site fits nicely with Module 4’s theme of Ecological Issues in Indigenous Education and Technology. This site is courtesy of the Saskatchewan Eco Network. This website includes a variety of information about First Nations and Metis peoples and more specifically related to Saskatchewan. This site’s ecological theme is about teaching youth to have respect for nature and develop good relationships with the earth by learning through the cultural practices and traditional teachings of Indigenous peoples. The site has a number of other curriculum resources for the classroom created by Indigenous educators as well. They include unit topics such as:
• Traditional Plants
• Dances of First Nations
It has specific resources including lots of links to many such as ones about. Sections A-D are taken from the site:
A. Perspectives on Indigenous Education and teaching our young people about healing relations with the earth.
• Interview with Darlene Spiedel
from the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre
B. Resources on Indigenous Education and Environment in Saskatchewan
• Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre -SICC Interviews with Elders
• Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre – Languages Site
C. Practising the Law of Circular Interaction: First Nations Environment and Conservation Principles – the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre.
D. Rekindling Traditions : Cross-Cultural Science & Technology Units (CCSTU) Project
Rekindling Traditions is a project undertaken by the Ile la Cross School Division. Elders, teachers, and curriculum developers from different schools came together to develop the materials. They describe the goal of the curriculum as follows:
To make Western science and engineering accessible to Aboriginal students in ways that nurture their own cultural identities; that is, so students are not expected to set aside their culture’s view of the material world when they study science at school.
There are units on:
• Nature’s Hidden Gifts
• The Night Sky
• Survival In Our Land
• Wild Rice
The site also provides a list of organizations and interviews with educators that one can access for additional information to perhaps provide context to the resources. This site has quickly become one of my top favourites and will be included as a resource for my final paper as it includes relevant information about my topic of the Evolution of the Role of Elders with the Rise of Digital Technology. Really excellent website!!!
Recently, the Vancouver School Board announced that it is moving forward with its plans for an Aboriginal-Focused School of Choice. This school is scheduled to open, at least partially, as early as September, 2012. Interestingly, the school will be one of choice and be open to all students, although Aboriginal students may be given priority (more about the school in a future post). Given this development, I thought it would be interesting to examine a couple of existing First Nations schools
First Nations School of Toronto. This school was initiated by a group of Aboriginal parents in the 1970’s who were concerned about the high numbers of FN children who were not completing elementary school. The parents felt that the children lacked self respect and were significantly at risk. They believed that education was key to teaching them about their Aboriginal heritage, and instilling pride for their identity. The initial school was called the “Wandering Spirit Survival School.” After joining with the Toronto BOE, the school became the First Nations School. Today, it serves 70 students from JK- Grade – 8 and is located at Dundas and Broadview, sharing a site with public school.
Some of the supports provided to students:
- Half Time Librarian
- Full Time Ojibway Teacher (in lieu of French), serving students from K-8
- Half Time Traditions and Culture Instructor, serving students from Gr 1-8
An Honour Feather Society was created to help build self-esteem. Individual students are recognized for their various successes, and awarded a feather in a traditional ceremony to honour their clan.
Some interesting programs:
- Diabetes Education Program (including parent component) with Toronto Public Health
- Dodem Kanonhsa’ Aboriginal Cultural Facility: partnership to access Traditional Elders to support Literacy
- Antibullying/Anti Gang Workshop
Native Learning Centre Alternative High School (grades 9 – 12)
In October 1998, the Native Learning Centre (NLC) was piloted as a high school program for at-risk First Nations students. The NLC began with 15 to 20 students in a one-classroom setting, located at 456 Yonge Street. The school includes an art program, recreational outdoor activities, traditional canoe trips, and cultural excursions led by elders. The NLC has now expanded its programs and now is able to provide all compulsory credits necessary for students to achieve an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. In November 2005, the NLC received a City of Toronto Access Award (Equity). The school is now housed within Church Street junior public school. Approximately 40 Native high school students currently attend.
Native Studies courses available to NLC students:
- “Aboriginal Beliefs, Values and Aspirations in Contemporary Society”
- Aboriginal Governance: Emerging Directions
- Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
- Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada
- English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices
- Issues of Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context
This list of courses goes well beyond the First Nations 12 that is available to BC students and is indicative of a strong commitment towards Aboriginal education by the TSB.
Here’s a link to a page on the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences blog (Fedcan blog). The article I have directly hyperlinked to was written by Martin J. Cannon and is called “Changing the Subject in Teacher Education: Indigenous, Diasporic and Settler Colonial Relations.” It discusses a topic that I thought was relevant to Module 3 – namely decolonization as a non-indigenous issue where “settlers” are asked to confront their own relationship with colonization, instead of viewing it as strictly an indigenous concern.
This article is part of a series presented on this blog on Indigenizing the Academy and Indigenous Education and is loaded with indigenous content and links to resources.