For the past few years, faculty and teacher candidates in the School of Education have been developing and compiling resources that support Indigenous days of recognition. These days include Orange Shirt Day (September 30), followed by Sisters in Spirit (October 4), Treaties Recognition Week (first week of November), International Inuit Day (November 7), Indigenous Veteran’s Day (November 8), and Louis Riel Day (November 16).
As curator of these resources, senior Indigenous advisor and associate professor in the School of Education, Dr. Nicole Bell stated, “If we want to repair the relationships that exist between this land’s first peoples and settler societies, we simply need to do a better job in education to create awareness, respect, understanding, and ultimately action.”
The resources provide simple entry points for educators to facilitate conversation and learning around why we recognize these days, the history, and how we can continue to learn and work together. Included in the resource packages are brief historical overviews, links to age appropriate books and lesson plans, definitions of aspects within Indigenous culture, and hands-on activities.
“Much of the work we do with our teacher candidates integrates Indigenous ways of learning and knowing, along with specific course content around Indigenous environmental sustainability education,” says Professor Bell. “As a result of using some of these resources with our students, additional contributions are added as necessary, from the new learning we see in our classes.”
As an example, links to more robust lesson plans such as ‘The Secret Path Project’, ask students to use Gord Downie’s music and visuals as a prompt for reflection, through reading, writing, art and media-based activities and culminating tasks; this project was jointly created by instructors, teacher candidates and elementary school students.
All resources available on the School of Education’s resource page are free to use and share.