This paper, written by an Ojibwe PhD student at Trent University, addresses a number of “serious and complex environmental issues” facing Indigenous communities in the Canadian context. It is focused predominantly on post-secondary environmental education programs, and touches on the importance of Indigenous philosophies in education, including elders in program development, language, Indigenous ways of knowing, the connection to land. This document also touches on the ways in which Western science plays into supporting Indigenous education. I found it particularly interesting to explore the ways in which Indigenous education is addressed and promoted at a post-secondary level, and my predominant focus has been on earlier education.
Indigenizing Environmental Education: Conceptualizing Curriculum that Fosters Educational Leadership
This article reviews various reforms that have taken place in the public education systems across Canada that continue to exacerbate a gap between Indigenous knowledge and mainstream environmental education by highlighting two dichotomous perspectives. It further considers how to bridge this gap, by suggesting activities and ways for students to develop a meaningful understanding and sense of importance for place. Topics include oral story-telling, intergenerational knowledge sharing, and how to incorporate one’s environment into curricula in alternative ways.
This website provides information on a variety of educational programs available to students and adults to broaden their understanding of the Squamish Nation territory in British Columbia. The Cheakamus Centre was formerly known as the North Vancouver Outdoor School, and as the name implies, its main focus it centred on providing educational experiences based in nature and the surrounding environment. It also has an active role in the conservation of various areas on the North Shore.
TEDxDarwin – Chris Garner – Transforming the Teacher in Indigenous Education
This Ted Talk sees Australian educator Chris Garner challenge the ways in which educators can evolve in their practice to meaningfully improve Indigenous student success by engaging in school and increasing their graduation rates. Stories and example are in an Australian context but are very relatable and transferable to our communities in Canada. Chris Garner asks how we can make activities relevant to each student’s real life and desired outcomes, versus treating and assessing each student the same way.
CLEARING is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that serves as “an online and print magazine for environmental literacy education in the Pacific Northwest and Cascadia bioregion.” It is a useful resource for educators looking for tools and strategies to connect environmental education/issues with their curricula, and offers best practice strategies. The bottom of the Monthly Newsletter section provides a useful, wide-ranging search option that allows you to browse information by theme or topic.
This source comes from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), and is a collection of various topics relevant to indigenous education, ranging from incorporating indigenous ways of knowing into mainstream curricula to video interviews with Elders sharing their perspectives on education. Formats include books, videos, resource guides, and websites. This curated selection is noteworthy for its range of perspectives.
The Challenge of Indigenous Education: Practice and Perspectives
This document from UNESCO is divided into 3 parts: challenges to indigenous education, criteria for good practice, and lastly, case studies surrounding quality education of indigenous peoples. It is especially interesting to view the case studies, as they are focused in various parts of the world, and the way in which challenges were presented and dealt with in the given cultural setting. Not all case studies pertain to preK-12 education, but also highlights training, and community learning settings.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Towards Equity and Inclusivity in Ontario Schools
This document from the Government of Ontario provides short points that are easy to read, and hence offers an efficient reminder of characteristics of a culturally responsive classroom, and ways to achieve it. It is a well-organized document for reading purposes, and provides guiding questions along the way to help facilitate one’s own practice. It also includes a plethora of relevant references at the end, on related topics. This source is developed in collaboration with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
As stated on the website’s homepage, the resource was developed “to help educators in British Columbia understand how they might incorporate the First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL) into their classrooms and schools.” It is set up as a blog that includes background information on the FPPL, and insight into what “authentic” resources are. There is also an activity section created to coincide with each of the principles, and to promote conversation about indigenous learning in the community.
This website is a resource full of books related to the First Nations in Canada, as well as in the United States. It is a great resource for educators looking for supplementary material about indigenous cultures, by providing books and lesson plans for sale. The site is definitely a “store,” and thus will work for anyone looking to buy materials for their classroom, but not useful for gaining any free knowledge.
First Nations Eduction Steering Committee
As an added source, I thought I would shed light on this one again, though I have previously posted relevant information from it, but only regarding specific content on the site. It offers many resources, links, information about programs and events, and more on indigenous education. As our discussion has grown to incorporate a large variety of topics and challenges, it seems fit to include the wider site as relevant, since it also provides information on language, local education agreements, special education, and relevant publications. The Committee behind the website was founded in Vancouver by a group of participants at a First Nations education conference.
After the last several weeks of readings and discussions, I have become more keenly aware of the resources I use in the classroom, or at least where I look for those resources. My goal is to create a bank of useful resources that are created with an indigenous perspective, or at least in collaboration with authentic cultural input. Some of these links I have posted below are not necessarily teaching resources, but ones to instil a sense of awareness for all educators to be more culturally aware in their practice.
Working Toward Transformation and Change: Exploring Non-Aboriginal Teachers’ Experiences in Facilitating and Strengthening Students’ Awareness of Indigenous Knowledge and Aboriginal Perspectives
This resource is a graduate thesis that includes a discussion about culturally responsive teaching for the non-indigenous teacher. The latter half of the document delves into a qualitative research study about how non-Aboriginal educators incorporate Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives into their instruction. The conclusion falls short of making suggestions or offering resources for use in the classroom (intentionally), but does offer a critical reflection and insight on practices used, including student opinions. It could resonate with many non-indigenous educators who find themselves facilitating lessons that are similar.
Indigenous Principles Decolonizing Teacher Education: What We Have Learned
I predominantly like this paper for its Figure 1 chart titled “Ways of knowing” which highlights the differences between Euro-American-Centrism/Neoliberalism and Indigenous curricula. However, it is also local, and created in collaboration between non-indigenous and Lil’wat First Nation educators. Figure 2 highlights the Lil’wat principles of teaching, which I see as being valuable to incorporate into a variety of classroom practices.
After discovering a few great articles that came from this site, I realized it is a useful platform that is a peer-reviewed, open access journal, based in the field of education. It is also out of the University of Saskatchewan, offering Canadian specific content.
Best Practices for Teaching Aboriginal Students
Adapted from: Best Practices in Teaching Aboriginal Children: From an Aboriginal and Non- Aboriginal Perspective. By Theresa Wilson, (Master’s Thesis: Conversations with First Nations Educators) 2001 UVic
This short pdf doc is an easy to read, bullet pointed document that could be shared and distributed amongst teaching staff as a daily reminder to stay mindful of how to differentiate our teaching for indigenous students. I see it being very accessible for everyone.
Beyond Words: Creating racism-free schools for Aboriginal learners
This BCTF document has a few sections I find particularly impactful for myself, and to share with my colleagues. Three sections serve as a self-reflection on one’s own teaching, as well as one’s school culture:
Questions for Teachers to Consider (p. 19)
A Self-Assessment Guide for Teacher (p. 25)
School Review of Inclusiveness for Aboriginal Students (p. 45)
In thinking about what my final assignment will be focused on, I have two somewhat differing ideas and routes in consideration. Watching films such as Nanook of the North, however archaic it may be, has me interested in ways in which third-person/outsider narratives can positively contribute to Indigenous identity and self-representation. Of course putting the film-making process into the hands of the culture itself would be most impactful, but it is evident that film-making is not always a self-representation, but rather a representation of an “other.” Therefore, how can we mitigate this misappropriation of cultural identity that inevitably comes from this process?
On the other hand, instead of focusing on the mishandling of Indigenous identity, culture, and values by the media, how can educators help lessen the “us vs. them” mentality that is still perpetuated. Now more than ever, the BC school system is acknowledging the deep-rooted historical legacy and importance of the First Nations in our province, by having incorporated more facets of Indigenous culture into the curriculum. But frankly, teachers won’t always be equipped with appropriate or accurate strategies/knowledge to shed light on this culture in a fruitful way. Educators are part of the third-person narrative that so often harms Indigenous (self) representation. How can we better equip our teachers to offer an Indigenous curriculum that not only discusses the culture based on observation, but relays the feelings and cultural understanding experienced by those that are a part of it.
In thinking about what I would like to do my research on, I was brought back to a concern or sense of confusion I have about the new BC curriculum. I teach grades 2-3 in North Vancouver, and have several students with First Nations ancestry. In rolling out the new curriculum this year, I have found that the curricular outcomes targeting First Nations content in the primary years are extremely broad, and I’m finding it challenging to find appropriate relevant resources to target those particular outcomes. It would be beneficial to explore authentic, meaningful resources developed by the First Peoples for First Peoples and others.
Here are a few I have come by so far…
Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/aboriginal-education/awp_moving_forward.pdf
This document provides useful background information on engagement, a vision for the future, and discusses attributes for responsive schooling, including those of teachers. It falls short of providing classroom lessons and examples of how to role out the process, but offers a more general idea of the way to move forward in the realm of education.
Authentic First Peoples Resources http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PUBLICATION-61460-FNESC-Authentic-Resources-Guide-2016-08-26.pdf
An annotated list of resources written by First Peoples for a student audience. It is a collection of informational and fiction works, but is quite language heavy, and would work well for teaching themes and issues in the older grades.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1302889494709/1302889781786
Government of Canada resource with links to reading and listening activities, primarily for the younger grades.
In Our Own Words http://aboriginal.sd34.bc.ca/sites/default/files/In-Our-Own-Words-final-Apr-16-web_0.pdf
A collection of practical lesson ideas for the K-3 classroom by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (see below)
First Nations Education Steering Committee http://www.fnesc.ca
FNESC is a regional (BC) committee of First Peoples who work “at the provincial level to provide services in the areas of research, communications, information dissemination, advocacy, program administration and networking.” As they work in a multitude of areas in the public sphere, one avenue of information dissemination is through schools in the K-12 education system. As such, they provide a variety of links to curricular resources divided into relevant topic areas.
I will keep searching for relevant information and tailor my research interests from here.