Unreserved

'They don't know what they don't know': Teachers reach out for tips on integrating Indigenous content

It has been more than four years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 Calls to Action. Many of those calls focused on education, and integrating Indigenous content into school curriculums. So, how far have we come, and who is leading the way? Today on Unreserved, we hear from the teachers tasked with making it happen.
Primary students at Queen Alexandra Elementary School. (Photo: Terry-Dayne Beasley/Courtesy of Big Rock Candy Mountain)
Listen to the full episode49:01

This episode originally aired January 27, 2018.

It has been four years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 Calls to Action. Many of those calls focused on education, and integrating Indigenous content into school curriculums.

So, how far have we come, and who is leading the way? Today on Unreserved, we hear from the teachers tasked with making it happen.

A few weeks ago, we posted this on our social media:

And heard from a lot of teachers on Twitter, Facebook and through our email about their challenges, frustrations and desire for greater support.  

Niigaan Sinclair is an associate professor at the University of Manitoba and a "recovering high school teacher," who travels across the country, talking to teachers about education, reconciliation and how the two are intertwined. 

We'll check in on a Grade 5 class at Bras D'Or Elementary school in Cape Breton to find out how they're learning about Mi'kmaq culture through play.

Author Waubgeshig Rice's new novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, seamlessly combines historical accuracy with a dystopian narrative. He'll talk to Rosanna about the importance of getting the details right. 

Edmonton's Norquest College hosted a land-based learning symposium that saw elders and teachers heading out on the land together. Kyle Muzyka joined them on their trek at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre to learn about land-based learning through teachings.

Several teachers wrote to us and said for French and immersion teachers, the resources they need to integrate Indigenous content just aren't there. Ottawa-based librarian Andréa Schnell is putting together a presentation for the Ontario Library Association with tips on where to find Indigenous material in French.

As schools across the country try to answer the TRC's calls around education, the majority of that work falls on classroom teachers, who often have little connection, knowledge or even a clear framework of how to make this happen. To talk more about the issues raised by the teachers who wrote in, we've brought together a panel to respond to those questions and offer a little advice. Joining Rosanna are Niigaan Sinclair, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba, Carolyn Roberts, principal of Xwemelch'stn Etsimxwawtxw or Capilano Little Ones School in Vancouver and Colinda Clyne, who is the curriculum lead for First Nation, Inuit and Métis education with the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph. 

One issue that comes up again and again is the need to get more Indigenous teachers into the classrooms. One school division in Winnipeg is approaching this challenge in a very unique way, by recruiting potential teachers right out of their high school classroom. We'll head to St. John's High School to find out more about the Build From Within program. 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Waln (Supplied)
This Week's Playlist

Frank Waln - Treaties