Connection to Research Topic – Moore

It was five years ago today, that Stephen Harper stood in front of the country and apologized for the government’s role in Residential Schools.  In my school at the time we watched it live.  A number of students refused to watch and I found out later they had family members go through the residential school ‘system’ and refused to believe in the sincerity of the apology.  I freely admit to being aware of Residential School problem, but almost unaware of the local impact.

There was a Residential School an hour south, and an hour north, so many Aboriginal families in Quesnel faced the atrocities these schools brought.  The goal was to assimilate the First Nation peoples and make them ‘Canadian’ by destroying the culture that they had built over a millennia.  YouTube Preview Image

The clip is from a local Residential School.

My project will be to research the history of local Residential Schools and their impact on residents.

I would like to make it movie format, complete with interviews of survivors from the system.  The atrocities the people faced were terrible.  Students were beaten (or worse) for using local language or dress.  Students were ripped from their homes, given hair cuts and   taken from the only lives they’ve known to be forced into a school which didn’t value them.

Residential Schools should not be forgotten.

I look forward to hearing from classmates with ideas, concerns, suggestions…..

June 10, 2013   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog 5 – Dakelh Language

Dakelh Language –

This is a First Nation map of the Dakelh language also known as the Carrier.   The reasoning for this post is simple.  Today at a meeting we discussed incorporating Aboriginal content, and some ideas included carvings, drum-making, dance, etc.  Once the discussion started however, we brought forth the point that incorporating content just to do so isn’t important unless it is relevant.  The Carrier aren’t carvers like the Haida so why would we carve.  In addition, drums have a spirit, to make one just to make one is simply a trinket in the eyes of local elders.  If we are to bring in content we need to ensure it is relevant to the local Carrier.

The Carrier name comes from the idea once a person died, they were cremated and their ashes would be ‘carried’ around.  The language is in various states as you can see in this table:

First Nation Population Fluent Speakers Understand or Speak Somewhat Learning Speakers
Lheidli T’enneh Band3 316 5 7 0
Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation 1994 unknown unknown unknown
Lhtako Dene Nation 1524 unknown unknown unknown
Nadleh Whut’en5 435 25 5 60
Nak’azdli Band6 1500 189 390 114
Nazko First Nation7 3344 75 70 0
Saik’uz First Nation8 1000 50 30 80
Stellat’en First Nation9 399 18 16 35
Takla Lake First Nation10 720 53 42 22
Tl’azt’en Nation 11 1659 154 213 46
Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake)9 104 7 12 20
Ulkatchot’en12 850 145 136 88
Wet’suwet’en First Nation9 213 10 10 88
Yekooche First Nation 2174 unknown unknown unknown
Total 8098 731 931 553


This is important because it can show how important it is to keep language alive and kicking.


June 3, 2013   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog 4 – Closing the Gap – Moore

“Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Students.” Dr. Emily Faries


This site (Ministry of Education – Ontario) contains many articles and links, one of which is Dr. Faries, “Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Students.”  I believe my focus for my final project is going to be something on the integration of Aboriginal culture into curriculum and courses.  My district is currently offering English: First Peoples 11-12 for the first time and has offered BC First Nations 12 for a number of years.  I know there is a heavy emphasis on Aboriginal grad rates here, due to our relatively high Aboriginal population.  I want to examine what we are doing and maybe look at what we can do better. I digress…

The article, “Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Students,” is a discussion on how to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students.  Faries believes without knowing and understanding the plight of First Nation peoples in Canada, it is difficult to engage and interact educationally with Aboriginal students.  A bit of history, from residential school to federal day school was discussed.  It must be recognized that schools were designed to destroy the culture and as a result, there is an inherent mistrust of the educational system.

To combat this, schools must embrace and enhance Aboriginal culture.  It is imperative to start building the bridges between school and success with Aboriginal systems.  Education can be used to revitalize language and culture.  In order to do so, the curriculum must be changed to incorporate culture.  Courses could be offered in native languages.

Although not geographically relevant to my province, it does demonstrate different ways culture can be incorporated.  I cannot stress enough the importance of the statement that due to the negative history (residential schools, etc.), education is viewed with distrust.  Hopefully, the implementation of Aboriginal culture goes a long ways to rectifying that situation.



June 3, 2013   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog 3 – Dying Languages

Dying languages?


This article deals with the slow desecration and death of many traditional Canadian First Nation languages.  Canada once house over 70 distinct languages, but according to the latest census only 60 still exist and of those, only 3 remain strong.  This is very true.  In my district, Carrier is till spoken and understood, but it is hard to find instructors to teach and maintain the language.  This seems somewhat common across Canada.

The Mohawk language is another one which is barely hanging on, but a program has taken steps to re-teach to young students to speak it.  Residential schools played a large part in the destruction of language.  It is well documented that students who spoke their native tongue were beaten or worse.  Unfortunately, knowledge of culture is passed through generations through language.  If the language dies, the culture and knowledge will follow.  It is a lose-lose situation for communities when language dies.

The bleakest area is British Columbia, where over half of the First Nation languages call home.  Only 1 in 20 First Nation persons is fluent in their language and most of those are elders.  Young people are not picking up the language as much as is needed for survival.  There is a push to rectify that situation.  More can speak the Native tongue in comparison to 2006, but the language is still in danger.

Racist beliefs (many left over from Residential School ideology) have lead some First Nations to believe they are somehow ‘more’ Canadian if they don’t speak their Native tongue.  In addition, a lack of opportunity hurts the language.  Some believe outside of teaching, what is the point of getting a second, albeit, their first language.   Moreover, only NWT recognizes some Aboriginal languages as official languages.

This is great article, albeit not very scholarly, to demonstrate the re-emergence of cultural ideas and language in First Nation communities.  If I were to use it in a final project, I would focus on how Aboriginal language is used in curriculum.



June 3, 2013   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog 2 – Incorporating Aboriginal Culture

Incorporating Aboriginal Culture into Curriculum


This is the Ministry of Education’s site, specifically the Aboriginal Education portion.   I thought about showing this:  However, I quickly discovered Quesnel Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement is expired.  This was strange to me as we are working on it today at our District Non-Instructional day.  The Ministry document will be invaluable to my final project as it lays out how to incorporate culture into curriculum.  Moreover, it was produced in 2006, so many of its PLOs (prescribed learning outcomes) will be outdated.  But, that will not limit its effectiveness.

The document begins by discussing how to set up instruction to effectively teach Aboriginal content.  The teacher needs to develop strong local community links to access the expertise that exists locally.  In addition, the teacher must always be cognizant that some of the history and issues discussed may be sensitive and cause emotional distress.  The article then briefly discusses the history of Aboriginal people in BC, but fails to mention many of atrocities faced.  Also, oddly enough, page 14 contained a hand drawn Circle of Courage or medicine wheel, yet no mention of it is made…

The reminder of the document gets to the meat and potatoes of the topic, integration.  The article is divided by grade groupings.  Instructional strategies are divided into primary, intermediate, and high school, and then further divided by subject matter.  Ironically enough, the document is very comprehensive and offer not only integration ideas, but teaching tips, resources, vocabulary, etc.  The document is well done, but for some strange reason, does not extend past grade 10.  Perhaps this is due to the singularity of subject in grade 11 and 12.

The appendix of the document provides sample lesson plans for teachers to use to bring in some outer sources.  Each lesson plan is tied to an IRP (integrated resource package) goal or PLO, so they seem very focused.  As well, each lesson plan offers assessment advice.  The lesson plans, albeit a little dry, would be a great starting point for a teacher looking to integrate some Aboriginal content.

The ministry site will be a great site for my project as it contains the most current data on Aboriginal graduation rates, as well as satisfaction survey results.



June 3, 2013   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog1 – Perspectives and Curriculum – TM

Aboriginal Perspectives and Curriculum

By Dwayne Donald

This website discusses the shift in Alberta education to incorporate Indigenous or First Nations teachings into ‘regular’ curriculum.  Given Canada’s checkered history as it pertains to First Nations, at first it appeared to some that of the program was a reactionary move to apologize for past injustices.  In addition, some teachers were resistant to the change.   They felt they were doing enough or that they didn’t have enough Aboriginal students to warrant the change.

Aboriginal populations are among the fastest growing in Canada, especially in urban areas.   The Aboriginal population is often viewed as outsiders, so they feel disconnected.  It makes sense to engage this growing population through the curriculum.  In addition, Canada is slowly recognizing its sordid past as it pertains to the treatment of First Nation peoples.  To not invite them into the conversation or curriculum, educators are once again guilty of the exclusion of a distinct society.  Moreover, the perspective of Aboriginal knowledge and tradition is very important and viable.  It teaches students to look at the world through a different lens.

Cultural and linguistic preservation is also an important element to First Nation peoples.  Many believe the only way culture will survive is if language survives as well.  Moreover, bringing in more Aboriginal content to curriculum will promote diversity among students.  They will gain a deeper understanding of the plight facing Aboriginal people.

This article is valuable because it provides reason for curriculum change.  It outlines a few of the important reasons for adopting Aboriginal content.  One extremely important point outlined in the article is the fact that many believe if language dies, culture goes with it.  Many believe language is the most important element of culture.


June 3, 2013   No Comments