Five Module 4 Posts

1) Dr. Emily Faries is a First Nations person of Cree Nation from Moose Factory, ON.  She has four university degrees, including a Ph.D (1991).  She offers community-based aboriginal-specific services.

Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Students – a paper which provides a historical snapshot of education for FN in Ontario which includes residential schools. Dr. Faries writes that meeting the education needs of aboriginal students requires a deep understanding of their culture, worldview and historical experience.    She points out that the dire need of educational resources which contain accurate and relevant content about Aboriginal people, their history and culture is identified as a a  major challenge in all FN schools in Ontario.    Three areas of improvement are indicated for Aboriginal students to succeed academically: parental encouragement, positive role models and Aboriginal content.

2) The main objective of the Chiefs of Ontario office is to facilitate the discussion, planning, implementation and evaluation of all local, regional and national matters affecting the First Nations people of Ontario. The intention of basing the central office in Toronto is to maintain a presence for First Nations in Ontario that is non-government and non-political in order to communicate with government officials on an urgency basis.  It was on this site where I first learned about The New Agenda:  A Manifesto for First Nations Education in Ontario which includes reports and findings on numerous FN education topics.

3)  Students Tell Chiefs They Want Language Back Nov. 24, 2011 Wawatay News Online.    Five Aboriginal students recently had a chance to be heard by the Chiefs of Ontario at an education conference in Thunder Bay Oct. 26-27 that featured a student discussion.  The students indicated that  language restoration and retention were the most important aspects to strengthening First Nations education.    This article illustrates their FN student voice.   Key comments from the students:

– FN content in high school is lacking.  “There’s not enough language and there’s not enough Aboriginal people in administrative positions.”

– “the language is losing us”

– not having the language nor having a strong understanding about the history of their Aboriginal roots is confusing to students making the transition from high school on a reservation to university in a city.

– students can feel lost and overwhelmed because they don’t have a strong foundation about who they are

– “We want our language back. The young people want to be able to speak the language. The chiefs need to put into place whatever policies are needed to do it”

– More opportunities are needed to figure out what student  passions are.  “Not just force them to go to school right away just because it’s the norm. If you let them figure it out first, they will do better and get better grades.”


4) First Nations Women and Postsecondary Education in Canada: Snapshots from Census

“Postsecondary education holds widely-recognized benefits for both the individual as well as society. Research has shown that attainment of postsecondary education increases employment and income opportunities and provides a stronger base for communities for economic and other forms of community development. These relationships hold for Aboriginal peoples, just as they do for the population as a whole.

This article explores the postsecondary educational attainment of First Nations women in Canada. While many do not complete high school, there is evidence that Aboriginal peoples return to school later in life and as such, have different pathways to postsecondary education than individuals in the overall Canadian population. This article provides information regarding these and other topics related to postsecondary educationnal attainment for First Nations women.

The article presents data based on the 2001 and 2006 censuses regarding the postsecondary educational attainment of First Nations women aged 25 to 64, including comparisons between First Nations women and men, as well as between First Nations women and women in the total Canadian population. Variations in First Nations women’s postsecondary educational attainment are explored across a number of socio-demographic characteristics such as age, geography, and area of residence (on- versus off-reserve; urban versus rural areas). Also examined are the fields of study most common for First Nations women and the relationship between postsecondary education and employment.”


5) A Profile of Aboriginal Peoples in Ontario, by Noelle Spotton     This background paper provides the reader with a general demographic of Aboriginal peoples in Ontario. It is an overview of some key population, cultural, social and economic characteristics of Aboriginal peoples, based largely on data from the 2001 Canada census.


November 27, 2011   No Comments

Five Module 3 Posts

 1) First Nations House, St. George Campus, University of Toronto where Aboriginal students can seek culturally appropriate services.  It is home of the Aboriginal U of T students, but also provides a link to Toronto’s aboriginal community, allowing others in the university to learn and network.

2) First Nations House Magazine, provides a “glimpse of the richness that the Aboriginal community has to offer at university and society at large”.   It appears 5 issues were created and magazine covers are provided, as well as, the test of a  few feature articles, “Identifying in Film: Exploring Indigenous filmmakers about exploring identity through their work”, “Take a Number Please: A First Year Student dishes on being identified by her Indian status”, “My Degree and Me: a personal narrative of a graduating student”.

3) Aboriginal Education at Universities and Colleges Portal   Our discussions led me to want to know more about programs of study geared to FN students in  Ontario universities and colleges.    I explored the various programs offered for teacher education, undergraduate, graduate work.   Further exploration in to the various  sites and programs provided greater insight regarding research.

4)  Educate Youth in Communities: Thunder Bay mayor, Keith Hobbs. Northern Ontario’s First Nations Voice.   An article examining the  practice of sending Aboriginal teens from across northwestern Ontario to Thunder Bay for high school as they are put in a vulnerable position.   Schooling in northern communities to grade 12. Online education was not mentioned.

5) Fighting Racism with Facts on Crime  An article from  Aboriginal leaders in Thunder Bay are criticizing the media’s role in creating a “climate of fear” underlined with racism in the city, following the high profile given to the latest death of a young Native man and recent media reports of Thunder Bay being the “murder capital” of Canada.  This comment at the end of the article was very interesting ….”  much of the growth of the Aboriginal population in Thunder Bay is due to Native people coming into the city for education opportunities, either in high school or post-secondary education.  What’s the best way to get people away from crime? Give them an education.”

** Nov. 28 – I returned to link #5 to find that the article is no longer available.  Here is a link to all education stories from Wawatay News Online.






November 11, 2011   No Comments

Moraviantown FN Local Recruiting Post-Secondary Candidates for Trent U

This article from Chatham Daily News Online, October 7, 2011 features information about Trent University’s, Aboriginal Post-Secondary Recruitment Program. Adam Hopkins from Moraviantown FN (Southwestern Ontario) is an Aboriginal Enrolment Advisor.

“We go to nearly every part of the province to recruit students in high schools and friendship centres and on reserves,” Hopkins said.  The official mandate is to increase the number of aboriginal learners in post secondary institutions.

The local story led me to Trent U’s website where I found a similar article showcasing Adam as the university’s first aboriginal, Aboriginal Enrollment Advisor (Feb. 22, 2010).

October 17, 2011   No Comments

Walpole Councillor, Rex Isaac Won’t be Silenced

My research interests have taken me to Southwestern Ontario’s Bkejwanong – Walpole Island #46 education practises.   I came across Councillor Rex Isaac presenting to Senate in Ottawa and posted a link to such. In that webcast he discusses a need for monies toward FN resources for education.

Today I came across this article where Councillor Rex Isaac feels that his job may be in jeopardy as he questions financial practises and decisions made by the band and Chief Joseph Gilbert.  It has been made known that the band had lost more than $670,000 through bad investments – money never recovered.

It will be with much interest that I continue to follow this story regarding Councillor Rex Isaac and the response of the Band Council toward him.  In Isaac’s own words, “There are just certain things I don’t agree with, and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed, or even hesitant to voice my opposition.”

October 17, 2011   No Comments

Bkejwanong FN Public Library

Portal for the Bkekwanong FN Public Libraryresources, borrowing, catalogue, e-resources.  Bkejwanong FN Public Library began in 1967.   With respect to technology, there are 11 public computers that are available at no charge. Computers have Internet access, word processing, and are all networked to a printer.   Free wireless internet is also provided for individuals who wish to bring in their own laptop computer.


October 17, 2011   No Comments

Walpole Island FN School A National First for Numeracy Program

This is an article from Chatham Daily News showcasing the 5 year project partnership focusing on numeracy between Hon. Paul Martin, Aboriginal Educational Initiative, a charitable organization and Walpole Island First Nation School.  Paul Martin announced that Walpole Island will become a flagship school for numeracy among First Nation schools across Canada. It is hoped that the numeracy program will eventually spread across Canada.  The project will be based on the curriculum and teaching strategies that came from Ontario’s at-risk elementary schools.  Programs will include providing professional development to assist teachers, fund lead teachers who have training about the best practices and most effective techniques, developing a school improvement team that meets regularly to review school data and plan next steps, hire external experts to visit the school for a few days a month to assist the principal and teachers and plan for parent involvement and community engagement.

October 17, 2011   No Comments

Issues Concerning FN Education (Federal)

This  is a link to a webcast presentation by Rex Isaac, Councillor – Education Portfolio, First Nation Bkejwanong (Walpole Island #46). Walpole Island is located in Southern Ontario.
This presentation occurred on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 to Senate (Ottawa).  Councillor Isaac presented regarding issues concerning First Nations Education. His presentation is followed by a Q/A between senators and Mr. Isaac. He discusses an initiative between Walpole Island and Kettle Point with Hon. Paul Martin regarding Literacy, lack of resources, the gap in service delivery for FN students, the role of legislation, and the contribution of FN contributions to legislation, the gap between FN education and mainstream education.

October 17, 2011   No Comments

Five Module 1 Links

1. David Bouchard,  (Author, Educator, Presenter)

“An acclaimed author of children’s books”.  Many of David’s books could be used as mentor texts to introduce the theme of First Nations people and provide background knowledge to the students.   David is Metis and admits he grew up not knowing of his heritage.  He has produced more than fifty books for readers of all ages.  In 2010, David was named to the Order of Canada.

2. Dr. Daniel Paul – Author, We Were Not the Savages – First Nation History

Mi’kmaq Elder, Dr. Daniel Paul has created a comprehensive website of information to help readers develop a better understanding of the history, hopes, and aspirations of First Nations People.   Dr. Paul was named to the Order of Canada in 2005.  He is an advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination.  He is an author and journalist who has received numerous awards.

3. Aboriginal Peoples Channel – National Film Board of Canada

28 films (from clips, to documentaries) providing an in-depth look at important issues in Aboriginal communities.   The videos within the NFB website have been licensed for use in all publicly funded Ontario schools.  The license grants performance rights for use in classrooms, libraries, and auditoriums.  Teachers and students can view 24/7.  I plan to review specific films for inclusion in my research.

4. Aboriginal Perspectives – Teachers’ Toolkit – Teaching Resources and Strategies for Elementary and Secondary Classrooms,  Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009

The Teacher’s Toolkit has been developed to provide Ontario teachers with the support they need to bring Aboriginal perspectives to life in the classroom.   The kit consists of two parts:  great ideas for teaching and learning and practical teaching strategies.  Part 1 helps teachers bring First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives into the classroom.   Part 2 provides teachers with professionally developed teaching strategies created by experts from across Ontario.

5. Theytus Books 

Theytus Books is First Nation owned and operated and a leading North American publisher of indigenous voices.   K-12 resources include a diverse collection of books.   Goodbye Buffalo Bay by Larry Loyie is the story of Lawrence who has just made it through his final year of residential school.    Despite his best efforts, he finds himself in a few predicaments.   When he returns home, he is not yet a man but no longer a boy.  He struggles to find acceptance in a community that seems to have forgotten him.



September 28, 2011   No Comments

Connections to Reseach

My research interests currently lie in two areas  (I believe I will require a narrower focus).

1) resources for teachers/students at the intermediate (gr.7-8)  level to support indigenous education.  Online resources, websites, multimedia, video will be explored along with the use of mentor texts.  A focus may be on the residential school system in Ontario.

2) interactive resources/online resources which could be used for aboriginal students in Ontario to earn or recover credits.

An Aboriginal Education Strategy was launched in Ontario in 2007 with specific initiatives to support the learning and achievement of Aboriginal elementary and secondary students.   Part of the strategy  includes initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives among all students.

Within the strategy, initiatives include:

  • Supporting eight Alternative Secondary School Programs to address the learning and cultural needs of urban Aboriginal youth.  The programs are run through Native Friendship Centres and help students complete their secondary school diploma.
  • Developing and implementing curriculum resources for teachers to reach Aboriginal students and to teach all students about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, traditions and histories.
  • Developing effective strategies to engage First Nation, Métis and Inuit students living in large urban centres and meet their learning needs through the Urban Aboriginal Education Project. Three pilot projects are currently underway in Toronto, Barrie and Thunder Bay.
  • Providing support to school boards to develop policies for voluntary, confidential Aboriginal student self-identification. This will help school boards gather reliable data to support Aboriginal student achievement. More than 80 school boards and school authorities have adopted or are developing policies.
  • Helping colleges, universities and Aboriginal institutions develop programs and new curriculum and provide services to ensure that more Aboriginal students participate and graduate.



September 28, 2011   No Comments