Indigenous Literature and Education

Integrating First Peoples’ Perspectives and Principles of Learning

Integrating First Peoples’ Perspectives and Principles of Learning by Education Librarian

Listed below are selected teacher resources and non-fiction related to integrating First Peoples’ perspectives and principles of learning into the classroom.

Teacher Resources

In our own words: Bringing authentic First Peoples content to the K-3 classroom, by the First Nations Education Steering Committee

Grades: K-3. This resource provides an array of ideas and suggestions that can be applied in whole or in part to incorporate First Peoples content into a K-3 classroom. By using this resource and remaining open to respectful dialogue and consultation with members of the local First Peoples communities, teachers will benefit their students and expand their own comfort with this material. Also available online. See also Authentic First Peoples resources: For use in K-7 classrooms.

Strong body & mind yoga cards, written by Kathy Beliveau and Terri Mack, illustrated by Laura Timmermans and Bill Helin

Grades: K-7. Explores the connection to each other, animals, nature, spirit, and the body through yoga. Consists of two sets of cards which can be combined into different sequences. One set emphasizes yoga practice and the other focuses on reflective practice based on the Seven Sacred Teachings and Indigenous values.

Bridging cultures: Scientific and indigenous ways of knowing nature, by Glen Aikenhead and Herman Michell

Grades: K-12. This book supports science teachers, teacher candidates, and science educators preparing to implement science curricula that recognize Indigenous knowledge as a foundational way to understand the physical world.

Potlatch as pedagogy: Learning through ceremony, by Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson

Grades: K-12. Educator Sara Florence Davidson saw how the Haida tradition of the potlatch – which she learned from her father, renowned artist Robert Davidson – could be integrated into contemporary educational practices. In this book, father and daughter present a model for learning that is holistic, relational, practical, and continuous.

Learning and teaching together: Weaving indigenous ways of knowing into education, by Michelle T. D. Tanaka

Grades: K-12. This book recounts how pre-service teachers immersed in a cross-cultural course in British Columbia began to practice Indigenous ways of knowing. Working alongside Indigenous wisdom keepers, they transformed earth fibres into a mural and, in the process, transformed their own ideas about learning and teaching.This book opens a path for teachers to nurture indigenist cross-cultural understanding in their classrooms.

Resurgence coverResurgence: Engaging with Indigenous Narratives and Cultural Expressions in and Beyond the Classroom, by Christine M’Lot & Katya Ferguson

Grades: K-12. In Resurgence, poetry, art, and narratives from Indigenous authors and educators guide teachers in incorporating Indigenous stories, knowledge, and pedagogies into the classroom. The book is organized into the following four sections: Resistance, Resilience, Restoring, and Reconnecting.

 Decolonizing education: Nourishing the learning spirit, by Marie Battiste

Grades: K-12. The author argues that the preservation of Aboriginal knowledge is an Aboriginal right and a right preserved by the many treaties with First Nations. Current educational policies must undergo substantive reform. Central to this process is the rejection of the racism inherent to colonial systems of education, and the repositioning of Indigenous humanities, sciences, and languages as vital fields of knowledge.

Aboriginal worldviews and perspectives in the classroom: Moving forward, by the BC Ministry of Education

Grades: K-12. This resources is designed to answer a number of questions, including what is meant by Aboriginal education and by Aboriginal worldviews and perspectives; what is required of teachers and of the education system in order to provide appropriate and authentic teaching in line with the First Peoples Principles of Learning; and where teachers can turn for guidance and support in modifying their practice to incorporate new content and approaches. Online resource only. See also, Shared learnings: Integrating BC Aboriginal content K-10.

Culturally Relevant Aboriginal Education, by Nicole Bell and Terrylynn Brant

Grades K-12. Provides teacher candidates and in-service teachers with relevant information to help them integrate Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit content, customs, and traditions into the classroom, providing students with a broader perspective of Canada and its population.

Learning, Knowing, Sharing: Celebrating Successes in K-12 Aboriginal Education in British Columbia, Edited by Jo-ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem, and Jan Hare

Grades K-12. Published by the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association and the UBC Faculty of Education, this book highlights practices in British Columbia relating to Aboriginal Education. Topics include Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous language revitalization, Aboriginal family and community engagement and partnerships, and more.

Full circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit ways of knowing, by Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.

Grades 8-12. Lesson plans which encourage teachers to incorporate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit ways of knowing into the classroom in the four thematic areas of identity, health, Residential Schools, and land.

Chapter Books

First Nations 101, by Lynda Gray

Grades: 9-12. Overview of the diverse and complex lives of First Nations people with subjects including veterans, youth, urbanization, child welfare, appropriate questions to ask a First Nations person, feminism, the medicine wheel, Two-spirit (LGBTQ), residential schools, the land bridge theory, and language preservation.

Braiding sweetgrass for young adults : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer ; adapted by Monique Gray Smith ; illustrations by Nicole Neidhardt.

Grades: 7-12Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer’s best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass is adapted for a young adult audience by children’s author Monique Gray Smith, bringing Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

Strength and struggle: Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada,  educational advisors, Rachel A. Mishenene and Pamela Rose Toulouse, reviewed by, Denise Augustine et al., contributions by various authors and artists

Grades: 10-11. A rich array of short stories, poetry, music lyrics, graphic art, articles, essays, and other pieces that will have students laughing, crying, talking, and thinking. It is a true celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Métis writing and art. Part of McGraw-Hill Ryerson’s Lit Collection of supplementary student resources for high school English courses. Also includes an accompanying Teacher’s Resource here.

Finding More Resources

To find more resources in this area, try the following:

  • Search using the General tab on the UBC Library website to look for material in all UBC Library branches.
  • Search using “Search Education Resources” box in the left hand bar on the Education Library website to limit your results to materials in the Education Library.
  • Use specific search terms to narrow your results, such as “Indigenous peoples – Education – Canada”, “Indigenous children–Education–British Columbia”, “Indigenous peoples–Study and teaching–Canada”, “Indigenous pedagogy”.
  • To find lesson plans, include “lesson plans”, “lesson planning”, or “activity programs” in your search terms.

For more help with searching, please visit the Library Service Desk or e-mail

Story written by Education Librarian


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