Ontario librarian creates online guide for teachers to find available Indigenous course content

Desmond Wong at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has compiled a list for educators of Indigenous education content, in response to the recent cancellation of Truth and Reconciliation curriculum writing sessions.

Librarian from OISE compiles accessible sources on TRC course content after curriculum writing cancellation

Desmond Wong, a librarian at the OISE library, compiled a list of 50 Indigenous education resources that are accessible for teachers in Ontario to continue integrating Indigenous content into the curriculum. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

A librarian at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto has compiled a list of Indigenous education content available.

The resource compilation is a response to the recent cancellation of Truth and Reconciliation curriculum writing sessions that were to build upon Ontario's curriculum by infusing Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy across all subjects and grades

"I compiled these items so that teachers would have something that they could look to that are largely created by Indigenous educators, artists, and authors to bring those authentic world views into their classrooms," said Desmond Wong.

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Wong is the outreach librarian at the OISE library at the U of T campus. He is not Indigenous but he works closely with Indigenous staff, students and faculty and is responsible for the Indigenous education materials in the library.

"I think it's a responsibility for all of us as settlers to learn about these things and to celebrate Indigenous people and Indigenous students for the gifts that they have and the knowledge that they carry," he said.

It's important now for settlers, whether they're educators or not, to step up, said Wong.

"If there is no commitment from our education authorities, we need to take on the commitment to have these conversations, to talk to the people in our families, our children, our nieces and nephews, about Indigenous education."

'Supporting our communities' 

The resources range from books to lesson plans as well as Indigenous language materials and TRC materials for educators.

"These sorts of initiatives they don't just benefit Indigenous students," said Jeffrey Ansloos, a professor at OISE.

"They lift the entire community up, so I think it's something that we need to care about, not just because it's helping some Indigenous kids or families but it's something that can really transform our entire community."

'He is doing the work that's supporting our communities,' says Jeffrey Ansloos, an assistant professor of Indigenous Mental Health and Social Policy at OISE, about Desmond Wong's compiling of Indigenous educational content. (Submitted by Jeffrey Ansloos )

Ansloos, who grew up in Winnipeg and is from Fisher River Cree Nation, teaches Indigenous education, mental health and social policy.

He said Wong "is doing the work that's supporting our communities."

"I think that that's really the measure of a true ally — somebody that's putting themselves into the work, committing to that process."

Since it went live on July 12, Infusing Indigenous Perspectives in K-12 Teaching has so far been visited 9,000 times.