Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives
The Langley School District has initiated the: Aboriginal Worldview and Perspectives Department Head position. Through the leadership of the Aboriginal Department, monthly meetings have been held to educate and mentor department head representatives from all the secondary schools in the district. This community of educators have begun the process of learning how to effectively and sensitively incorporate Aboriginal content, Aboriginal traditional knowledge, Aboriginal history and First Peoples Principles of Learning, all the while, learning from the unique and valuable voices of our local Aboriginal communities. This aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Please view R.E. Mountain Secondary School’s progress through the lens of these education specific Calls to Action.
Calls to Action: Education and Reconciliation
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015. Pg. 11.
- We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:
Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
- Creation of Aboriginal Worldview and Perspective Department Head.
- Support of Department Heads at a district, and school level for leave to attend Pro-D.
- Aboriginal Worldview and Perspectives Department Head staff meeting presentations on:
- Impact of Residential Schools (Paper Bag activity)
- Education on the Langley School District Aboriginal Program purpose and initiatives.
- Education on achievement of Aboriginal youth on a provincial level within our education systems.
- The sharing of specific classroom activities, strategies, resource links, and handouts that link to the First Peoples Principles of Learning
- Sharing specific ways to connect classroom activities to local First Nations culture.
- Photocopying and distributing resources from: 9000 Years of History in the Land of the River Peoples: The Sto:lo
- Highlights of the use of age appropriate resources and curriculum include:
- PE Department: Pow Wow Dance Instructor, all PE classes impacted
- Art Department: Young Artist Warriors presenter, all Art classes impacted
- Social Studies Department: Cecelia Reekie cultural presenter in several capacities including Residential School presentation and the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, select classes impacted
- English Department: Use of Aboriginal fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts including authors Sherman Alexie, Tomson Highways and Thomas King, all English classes impacted.
- French Department: Acquiring Indigenous picture books, short stories, department wide
- Drama Department: Truth and Reconciliation Assembly with authentic Indigenous monologues including Chief Dan George’s Lament for Confederation, school wide.
- Math Department: Using Indigenous imagery and art in the study of symmetry, several classes impacted.
- Electives Department: Family Studies using circle formation for sharing, one class impacted.
- Math Department: Using the traditional salmon spawn in ratio studies, one class impacted.
Next steps towards this Call to Action:
- Continued focus on strategies verse content.
- Improvement in explicitly identifying when a strategy stems from Indigenous knowledge or ways or knowing.
- Consistent use of First Peoples Principles, to the extent that students can identify and explain principles.
- Strengthening the school relationship with Kwantlen, Katzie and Matsqui First Nations.
[Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions] to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
- A successful model at R.E. Mountain Secondary School this year has been the simultaneous experience of both students and teachers learning alongside one another.
- Example: Young Artist Warrior’s week long presentation served as both direct student exposure to Indigenous content but also professional development for all three Art teachers.
- FNESC continues to be an invaluable professional development website, resource provider and connection to First Peoples Principles of Learning.
- Mentorship and Instruction for all Student Teachers doing long or short practicum at REMSS on Aboriginal curriculum inclusion.
- Collaboration Workshop on: How to use Consensus Circles in your Classroom
- One-on-one teacher support for topical resources, lesson plan ideas, guest speaker bookings, assistance with cultural presenters and pro-d opportunities.
Next steps towards this Call to Action:
- Professional Development on cultural safety and cultural sensitivity for all staff.
- Collaboration on cross-curricular opportunities to embody holistic nature of First People Principles.
- A developed budget to support in the booking of presenters, resources and field trip opportunities.
- Utilizing the Aboriginal Department sponsored application program, and ensuring proposal meets deadline
These actions have been determined in addition to the following which were implemented in the 2015/16 school year either school-wide or with individual teachers:
- Poster in all areas of the school acknowledging that the school resides on Kwantlen, Katzie and Matsqui First Nations Territory.
- A board in the hallway explaining Truth and Reconciliation
- A school-wide Truth and Reconciliation Assembly
- Readings containing Aboriginal texts have been supplied to the English Department
- Science classes are comparing the periodic table to traditional Aboriginal knowledge of the elements as well as both the Math and Science departments infusing story-telling into their classes
- The Social Studies department is reading through “The Inconvenient Indian” and discussing treaty rights
- The Drama department was instrumental in providing monologues to enhance our Truth and Reconciliation Assembly
- The PE department is including a unit on Aboriginal dance
- The Business Education department is researching aspects of business related to Indigenous peoples including food price inflation and business ownership on unceded territories
- The Art department is looking at the protocols of using Indigenous art
- Weaving is being introduced in Textiles and Art classes
- Planning classes are incorporating the medicine wheel into their classes in relation to balancing life
Data will be gathered in Spring of 2018 to determine how teachers and students feel implementation of these Calls to Action are impacting student learning.