Education Is Our. A Teachers Resource for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education in Alberta - PDF

Education Is Our Buffalo A Teachers Resource for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education in Alberta Education Is Our Buffalo ii Education Is Our Buffalo Copyright 2006, revised 2007 and 2008 by the Alberta

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Education Is Our Buffalo A Teachers Resource for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education in Alberta Education Is Our Buffalo ii Education Is Our Buffalo Copyright 2006, revised 2007 and 2008 by the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta T5N 2R1 Reproduction of material in this monograph is authorized for classroom and professional development use, provided that each copy contain full acknowledgement of the source and that no charge be made beyond the cost of printing. Any other reproduction in whole or part without prior written consent of the ATA is prohibited. One copy of this monograph is available free of charge to all ATA members. There is a charge ($7.50) for additional copies and also for non-ata members. Pricing and ordering information is available on the ATA website at services/publications or from ATA Distribution at (Edmonton); toll free within Alberta Design and photography: Yuet Chan ISBN PD Education Is Our Buffalo iii The rare birth of a white buffalo on the Great Plains was considered a sacred event that represented hope, rebirth and unity for the tribes who depended on the buffalo for their sustenance. Many tribes have passed down legends that explain the symbolism of the white buffalo. We have used the white buffalo to show respect for Aboriginal history and culture in the hope that, as teachers become more familiar with Aboriginal culture, they can foster hope, rebirth and unity among Aboriginal students. iv Education Is Our Buffalo Table of Contents Foreword vii Message from the Executive Secretary viii Acknowledgements ix The Principal Writers x Many Peoples, Many Cultures 1 Many Peoples, Many Cultures 2 Present-Day North American Aboriginal Population 2 Who Are First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples? 3 Definitions of Terms 4 The Indian Register 5 Who Is an Indian? 6 Alberta s First Nations 7 Understanding Aboriginal Histories 9 The First Nations Way of Life 10 Colonialism 10 First Nations Treaties 11 Treaty Areas 12 Treaty 6 13 Treaty 7 13 Treaty 8 14 The Impact of Indian Treaties 14 A Map of Alberta First Nations 15 The Métis 16 A Map of the Métis Nations of Alberta Association (MNA) Regional Zones 17 Métis Accords 18 Inuit Land Claims 19 Education Is Our Buffalo v A Timeline of Historical Events Involving Aboriginal People in Canada 20 Moose 24 Aboriginal Spirituality and Teachings 25 Spiritual and Social Renewal Among First Nations Peoples 26 The First Nations World View 26 The Inuit World View 26 The Missionary Arrives 27 The Sacred Circle 28 First Peoples Spirituality 30 Elders 30 Medicine People 30 Inuit Spirituality 31 Alberta Métis Spirituality 32 Cultural Traditions 33 Handing Down Cultural Traditions 34 First Nations Symbols and Their Meanings 35 Métis Symbols and Their Meanings 36 Inuit Traditions, Values and Languages 36 Inuit Symbols and Their Meanings 37 Cultural Protocols 37 Elders 37 Approaching an Elder 38 First Nations Powwow 39 Gift-giving 39 Grand Entry 39 Honour Songs 39 The Dances 40 Grass Dance 40 Round Dance 41 Prairie Chicken Dance (Pihewisimowin) 41 Métis Culture 41 Recognizing the Achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit 42 vi Education Is Our Buffalo Moving Forward 43 A Brief History of Aboriginal Education in Alberta 44 Alberta s Aboriginal People Today 44 Recollections of Residential School Days 45 School Can Be a Scary Place 46 A 2006 Snapshot 46 Population Growth 46 Employment Issues 47 Language 47 Housing 47 Incarceration 47 Suicide 47 Misconceptions About Aboriginal People 47 Recent Developments in K 12 Aboriginal Education 48 The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework 48 Aboriginal Teacher Education 49 Aboriginal Teacher Education Instructional Modules 50 First Nations, Métis and Inuit Curriculum Initiatives 50 Aboriginal Languages Program 51 Aboriginal Studies Social Studies K 12 Curriculum 51 Infusion of Aboriginal Content into K 12 Curriculum 51 Handbook for Aboriginal Parents of Children with Special Needs 51 Instructional Funding for Aboriginal Learners 51 Aboriginal Liaison Workers 51 Incorporating Aboriginal Teaching into Today s Classrooms 52 Guidelines for Teachers 52 Circle of Courage 53 Talking Circles 54 To the Seventh Generation 55 Glossary 56 Web Resources 58 Bibliography 60 Education Is Our Buffalo vii Foreword Education is our buffalo is a phrase often used by First Nations elders to signify the importance of education to their communities (Christensen 2000). As one Treaty 7 member stated (Alberta Education 2002), I believe that education is our buffalo. If any changes for the good are to be made it will be education that does the job. It doesn t matter where you send your kids; you need to support them to succeed to give them a chance to succeed. The Alberta Teachers Association s Diversity, Equity and Human Rights program supports the development of inclusive classrooms where all students feel included, safe, valued and supported in their learning. In recent years, teachers have become more aware of prejudice toward, stereotyping of and outright discrimination toward Aboriginal peoples in this society. Teachers can do their part to address this issue by increasing their awareness and understanding of Aboriginal histories, cultures and perspectives. In doing so, they will be better able to implement instructional programs that support Aboriginal students and teach Aboriginal learning outcomes to all students. The Association has developed a workshop titled First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Taking Root, Branching Out, which complements Education Is Our Buffalo. The workshop involves teachers in examining the history, world views, cultures and current perspectives of Alberta s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Teachers will learn better ways to meet curriculum outcomes, address racism and help Aboriginal students succeed in school. This highly interactive workshop models pedagogical approaches for meeting the learning needs of a wide range of students, both Aboriginal and non-aboriginal. Education Is Our Buffalo A Teachers Resource for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education in Alberta will be provided to workshop participants free of charge. It is strongly recommended that a full day be devoted to this workshop. To book this workshop, contact The Alberta Teachers Association, Professional Development program area Phone: (direct) or (toll free in Alberta) Fax: the program assistant at viii Education Is Our Buffalo Message from the Executive Secretary The logo of the white buffalo stamped on the pages of this volume embodies a time-honoured symbolism that is particularly esteemed by the First Nations peoples of Alberta. It is a symbolism worthy of both exploration and appreciation. As part of its ongoing commitment to public education and to the professional development of teachers, the Alberta Teachers Association regularly develops resource materials. Education Is Our Buffalo: A Teachers Resource for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education in Alberta is one such resource. In addressing the particular needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit teachers and learners, this collection of materials sheds light on issues of diversity, equity and human rights as they touch the day-to-day life in Alberta schools and society. On behalf of the Association, I want to thank the contributors to this work Aboriginal educators who have prepared resources to help non-aboriginal classroom teachers recognize the richness of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures as well as the wisdom that lies within these traditions. Education Is Our Buffalo is part of a set of resources that will be of use to a wide cross-section of Alberta teachers and learners as well as to First Nations, Métis and Inuit teachers and learners. Gordon Thomas Executive Secretary Alberta Teachers Association Acknowledgements Education Is Our Buffalo ix The Alberta Teachers Association would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people in the development of this publication. Principal Writers Contributors Editors Leo Fox Ed Lavallee Liz Poitras Amoudla Sataa Glenda Bristow Michelle Ranger Allan Ross Josy Russell-Pakes Barbara L Maheu Vicki L Mather Jacqueline K Skytt Karen Virag Community Advisors Adele Arcand, Sharon Armstrong, Eva Bereti, Carol Brzezicki, Rosalie Cardinal, Donna Crowshoe, Deb Davidson, Margaret Epoch, Terry Fortin, Tom Ghostkeeper, Evelyn Good Striker, Greg Jeffery, Christy Jellett, Greg King, Kathleen Laboucan, Donna Leask, Denise Legge, Leona Makokis, Patricia Makokis, Debbie Mineault and Harold Neth As novelist Thomas King states, Stories are wondrous things and they are dangerous. Once a story is told it cannot be called back. Once told it is loose in the world. The publisher of this resource has taken steps to ensure the accuracy of all information included in this resource. However, if you have concerns with any aspect of this publication, please contact the Alberta Teachers Association. x Education Is Our Buffalo The Principal Writers Leo Fox Leo Fox is a member of the Kainai First Nation and has worked in the area of Blackfoot language since As coordinator for the Ninastako Cultural Centre until 1976, he was involved in standardizing Blackfoot orthography. In 1976 he enrolled at the University of Lethbridge to earn his teaching credentials. In 1978, Leo began teaching at St Mary s Junior/Senior High School (now Kainai High School) on the Blood Reserve. Along with his Grade 8 class, Leo published a Blackfoot Language Handbook in Later, he was transferred to Levern Elementary School (now Aahsaopi Elementary School). He was appointed principal of that school in 1985 and remained in the position until December 1999, at which time he was seconded to write a program for alcohol and drug abuse education for the Kainai Board of Education. In addition to Kipaitapiiwahsinnooni, which was published in 2001, Leo has been involved in the writing of the four volumes of Kitomahkitapiiminnooniksi Stories from Our Elders. He has also worked on other tribal publications and with Alberta Education. He is currently the coordinator of the Kainai Studies Program with the Kainai Board of Education. Leo received his undergraduate degrees in history and secondary social studies from the University of Lethbridge. He did graduate work in Western Canadian history at the University of Calgary and has a diploma in journalism from Lethbridge Community College. Ed Lavallee Ed Lavallee is a traditional Plains Nehiyaw (Cree) of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Saskatchewan and worked as coeditor of the Native People newspaper, published by the former Alberta Native Communication Society, now the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta. He has studied Aboriginal history, spirituality and philosophy with elders for many years. He concentrated his studies with elders during a five-year stint at the Indian Cultural College, now affiliated with the First Nations University of Saskatchewan. He has worked with Aboriginal organizations across Canada and for federal and provincial governments in various management positions. Liz Poitras Liz Poitras is a Cree woman who grew up in Slave Lake, Alberta. She has been a member of various boards, the most recent being the provincial Child and Family Services board. She is a family-oriented educator and administrator. In addition to being a certified nursing aide, she has a bachelor of education degree from the University of Alberta and a master of arts in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She has taught all levels, from elementary to postsecondary to adults. She has also taught in a treatment centre for troubled youth. Amoudla Sataa Amoudla Sataa was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and is the second-oldest daughter in a family of 10 children. Her father, Akaka Sataa, is from an old whaling camp between Iqaluit and Cape Dorset, and her mother, Qimaqut Sataa, is from a camp 70 miles from Iqaluit. Amoudla attended college in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she received a diploma in personnel management and industrial relations. She transferred her credits to the Public and Business Administration Diploma program at Nunavut Arctic College, which had just opened and offered limited courses. Later she was accepted into the Sivliuqtit Senior Management Training program in Ottawa. This program was a partnership initiative between Nunavut and the federal government. Throughout Amoudla s 21 years of public service, with the governments of Education Is Our Buffalo xi the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and the federal government, she has had opportunities to work in a team environment, independently or as a team leader. She has also worked with various national Aboriginal organizations and local Inuit organizations, and was a founding member of the Edmonton Inuit Cultural Society. Amoudla, who speaks Inuktitut, is a strong supporter of diversity and the issues that arise from it. She enjoys promoting her Inuit culture and heritage, dispelling myths and breaking down barriers. It is with great pride that she encourages the sharing of knowledge of her culture. many PEOPLES, many CULTURES many PEOPLES, Many Peoples, Many Cultures many CULTURES many PEOPLES, many CULTURES many PEOPLES, many CULTURES many PEOPLES, many CULTURES many PEOPLES, many CULTURES Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love, our self-esteem weakens. Without it, our courage fails. Without love, we can no longer look confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed upon our own personalities, and little by little, we destroy ourselves. With it, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others. Chief Dan George 2 Education Is Our Buffalo Many Peoples, Many Cultures North America has always been home to many Aboriginal peoples, each with their own language, religion, beliefs, customs and laws. Many Aboriginals were living in North, Central and South America at the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 1400s. Estimates range from 8.4 million to million persons. In any case, from the Incas to the Navajo to the Plains Cree to the Inuit, the Americas have long been home to developed, sophisticated and rich Native cultures. Aboriginal populations declined dramatically through the process of colonization, which brought about wars and starvation and also wave after wave of smallpox and influenza epidemics throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. These deaths occurred because the immune systems of Aboriginal peoples did not protect them from diseases that came with Europeans. It is estimated that as many as 80 per cent of the entire Aboriginal population of the Americas were ravaged by these diseases. Present-Day North American Aboriginal Population Canada s Aboriginal peoples include Inuit, Métis and peoples designated as First Nations, and the combined indigenous population is estimated at close to 1 million. The status of these peoples is recognized by Canada s Constitution Act of In Canada s north, the 1999 creation of Nunavut gave the Inuit a degree of administrative autonomy. According to the 2003 American census, the combined populations of Native Americans, Inuit and other indigenous people in the US was 2,786,652 (which is about 1.5 per cent of the population). The US government recognizes some 563 scheduled tribes at the federal level, while state governments recognize a number of others. In Mexico, approximately 30 per cent of the total population identify themselves as indigenous. It is difficult to estimate the present total population of the world s indigenous peoples because of the difficulties of identification and the inadequacies of census data. Recent UN estimates range from 300 million to 350 million by the start of the 21st century. This includes at least 5,000 distinct peoples in over 70 countries and equates to just under 6 per cent of the total world population. Many indigenous societies survive, even though they may no longer inhabit their traditional lands because of such things as relocation (sometimes forced), migration and resettlement, or because they were supplanted by other groups. According to Statistics Canada (2001 census), about 25 per cent of Canada s Aboriginal population live in eleven major census metropolitan areas. Winnipeg has the highest Aboriginal population, at about 52,400, more than Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Edmonton is second, with almost 41,000, followed by Vancouver, with slightly more than 36,000 (Statistics Canada). In addition, the Aboriginal general population is much younger on average than the Canadian population. The average age of the Aboriginal population in 2001 was 24.7 years, 13 years younger than the average of 37.6 years in the general population. Children under 14 accounted for 33 per cent of all Aboriginal people, compared with 24 per cent of Canada s total population. And school performance continues to be a pressing problem according to Statistics Canada (2003) only about half of Aboriginal students finish high school. The proportion of young people aged 15 to 24 was also greater among the Aboriginal population than in the total population. These young people represented almost one-fifth (17 per cent) of all age groups within the Aboriginal population, compared with about 13 per cent in the general population. With such concentrations in the younger age groups, there were relatively few Aboriginal people in older age groups. For example, only 4 per cent of the Aboriginal population was aged 65 and over, compared with 13 per cent of the general population. Sadly, the world has lost entire groups of indigenous people and, along with them, their cultural knowledge, ways of being and language. Education Is Our Buffalo 3 The Beothuk of Newfoundland are an example of a people that was entirely wiped out. Still other groups are threatened, while some indigenous populations are undergoing a recovery or expansion in numbers. Who Are First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples? In Canada, various acts of government over the past 150 years have attempted to define the identity of Aboriginal peoples, resulting in a complex system that can be hard to understand and that often divides people from the same family into different groups. The Indian Act of 1867 defined the natural North American inhabitants as Indians. The Constitution Act of 1982 subdivided Aboriginal peoples into Indians, Métis and Inuit. Indians were further divided into Status/Registered and Non-Status Indians. Complicating things further, Status/Registered Indians were further separated into Treaty and Non-Treaty Indians. Each designation has different rights and privileges. Though use of the term Indian has declined because of its association with colonialism, the term is commonly used by many Aboriginal people and embedded in much legislation, including the names of government departments, for example the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. (See page 6 for a first-hand description of one Aboriginal woman s experience with the often confusing and problematic government nomenclature related to Aboriginal people.) The flow chart below illustrates the main designations for First Nations peoples: Indians according to the Constitution Act, 1982, Métis and Inuit peoples. In 1980, all the chiefs of Canada declared that the term First Nations People would from that time forward refer to all their members. All tribes have their own terms for their individual nations in their own languages, which in most instances translate as the real people. The Cree in Alberta refer to themselves as Nehiyawak. The Kainai (Blood), the Siksika (Blackfoot) and the Piikani (Peigan) Aboriginal Peoples Canadian
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