Northern Ontario is uniquely privileged to be home to a significant First Nations population. This diverse and culturally-rich community offers our region a historical perspective that is both varied and important to our future growth. Embracing the diversity and gifts First Nations people have to offer has long been a goal and priority of Northern College. As part of our continued commitment to recognizing our Indigenous heritage and roots, we are now taking the next steps forward to formally encourage the inclusion of Indigenous-based learning models, content, and design in our programming. More information can be found on the Indigenous Portal link from our college website.
What are some ways in which I can begin to embed Indigenous content/curriculum/culture?
Traditional Teachings, Oral Histories of Peoples, Traditional Knowledge, and Legends
Creation stories will provide an Indigenous point of view to the broader world view and give insight into the world view of indigenous peoples. This will help non-Indigenous people understand and become more aware of the Indigenous perspective.
Contact with Elders, as support for students and as resources for faculty where they may be able to guide projects, provide the Indigenous perspective to course curriculum and provide opportunities for authentic learning.
Studying First Nation Issues & Governance
Examine issues related to First Nations communities/people and study impacts of these issues on individuals, peoples, and community. Relate the issues to other issues that exist in other areas of Canadian society and the world. Topics can include resource development, Residential schools, land claims, the Indian Act, and living conditions.
Community-Based Examples and Resources
During community-based programs, resources come from the community itself so students relate well to course material because it is concrete, authentic and familiar. Examples include questions containing subject matter from the community or area, community resource people, and Band expertise. Also, material used comes from everyday life of community members.
Invite speakers from First Nations communities to address students on topics connected to course content. Guest speakers may include political leaders, community elders, people engaged in delivering services to First Nations people/communities, resource people from organizations like Friendship and cultural centres, and business leaders spear-heading current community development.
Situations involving First Nations communities and people that make the news for some reason. Issues can be studied and analyzed with an eye to drawing parallels, connections, and contrasts between the Indigenous experience and the European experience. Past examples may be the Dudley George shooting, Kashechewan water crisis, Ring of Fire, Viktor Diamond Mine etc.
Delivery and Methodology
Incorporating the traditional way of teaching into the classroom by getting away from books and lectures and more into observing and then doing with kind guidance and support. This teaching approach uses traditional values (respect, kindness, acceptance) and attitudes (of sharing and support). Further this, activities/projects incorporated into a course to illustrate a part of Indigenous culture and way of doing things can provide students with first-hand awareness and understanding of Indigenous peoples. Finally, conducting activities that emphasize the feelings of being connected and supported (others, community) give an Indigenous feel to curriculum delivery.
First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning – The First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning Model is part of an ongoing initiative ‘Redefining how Success is Measured in Indigenous Learning’ of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) and its Indigenous Learning Knowledge Centre, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis organizations. The objective of this initiative is to develop the tools needed to more accurately measure learning progress for Indigenous people through the application of a comprehensive framework of three Holistic Lifelong Learning Models. The models are living documents that explore the learning processes and purposes of First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and are intended as starting points that can be adapted to communities needs.
GoodMinds.com – Educational Resources for Native American Studies, First Nations Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Aboriginal Studies. View our on-line catalogue of Indigenous and Native American Educational Resources for schools, libraries, and the general public, for grades K to Post Secondary.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – Federal government Indigenous resources.
Aboriginal Multi-Media Society – The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society is an independent Aboriginal communications organization committed to facilitating the exchange of information reflecting Aboriginal culture to a growing and diverse audience.
Wataway News – Wawatay Native Communications Society serves the communication needs of First Nations people and communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It does this through the distribution of a bi-weekly newspaper, daily radio programming, television production services and a multimedia website that seeks to preserve and enhance indigenous languages and cultures of Aboriginal people in northern Ontario.
Established in 1974, Wawatay also provides translation and interpretation services.