providers and instructors own their responsibility to take part in ongoing reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people who call Canada home. In their practice, they seek to learn and transform, centre Indigenous voices, dismantle racism, and foster reconciliation.
94. EAL providers acknowledge that they have a role in ensuring that the Calls to Action issued by The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) result in long-term reconciliation across Canada.
- recognize and honour the historic and ongoing presence of in the community, and the treaty obligations between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people who call Canada home.
- Recognizing that building is a shared responsibility between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the program facilitates the establishing of relationships between Indigenous people and newcomers to Canada.
- As recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada , newcomers to Canada are called to be part of this long-term reconciliation process as part of settlement and language classes. (Best Practices #96-#98 below identify ways that newcomers can be part of the reconciliation process.)
- Programs support instructors to incorporate Indigenous contributions, histories, worldviews, and ways of learning and knowing into language and settlement programs and to recognize Canada’s colonial past.
- The program seeks to recruit staff from the Indigenous community in the hiring and promotion process.
95. Instructional staff take part in professional development activities that increase background knowledge, encourage reflection of their own biases and assumptions, incorporate other ways of knowing and learning, and expand their capacity and confidence as they incorporate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in their classes.
- Professional development and workshops are facilitated by or knowledge keepers in the community. (Note: They are fairly compensated and offered tobacco/traditional gifts as appropriate.)
- Professional development opportunities address some of the following:
- , including, for example, and learning, the medicine wheel, the land, celebrations, stories, natural remedies, foods, etc.
- The need to understand truths in the Calls to Action for , including historical accounts of Treaties, , , , the 1885 Resistance, the Métis land dispossession through scrip, Inuit High Arctic relocation, and the ongoing consequences of these injustices in the form of and ongoing racism, inequities, and injustices
- Reflection on their responsibility as individuals (settlers or descendants of settlers) and instructors in responding to the call for truth and reconciliation
- Decolonizing or anti-colonial teaching approaches and anti-racist or abolitionist teaching approaches
- Professional development activities go beyond knowledge transfer and include opportunity for instructors to engage in critical self-reflection, talking circles, experiential learning, visual learning, peer mentoring, collaboration, transformative learning, , and affective learning, etc.
- Instructors are encouraged to seek input, support, and mentoring from willing Indigenous colleagues and Elders when incorporating teaching and learning materials that relate to Indigenous cultures, worldviews, histories, historical or contemporary events, etc.
- Program staff and instructors are encouraged to enroll in courses/training about Indigenous cultures and histories, in Indigenous language courses, and/or in courses/training related to transformative teaching approaches to support anti-racism, , and decolonization. (See PD Resources for examples of courses/training)
96. The program centres Indigenous relationships and voices as essential to newcomer settlement and language training.
- Indigenous advisors, mentors, and Elders are welcomed in EAL programs and classes to share their way of life, experiences, histories, education, governance, knowledge of the land, values, etc. (Note: They are fairly compensated and offered tobacco/traditional gifts as appropriate.)
- Indigenous peoples speak for and represent their experiences, worldviews, histories, cultures, traditions, and so on, through the following:
- Indigenous guest speakers
- Recordings/videos featuring Indigenous perspectives and voices
- Literature by Indigenous authors
- Learning materials designed by Indigenous educators and authors
- Empathy-building activities such as blanket ceremonies, storytelling, presentations, etc., facilitated by Indigenous people
- Learners begin building relationships with Indigenous people from all walks of life.
- Learners engage with narratives of Indigenous people with whom they can relate on other dimensions (e.g., as parents, as students, as teachers, as members of other professions, etc.).
97. Indigenous content is woven into language and settlement classes in a way that honours Indigenous peoples’ longstanding histories and heritages in the lands now called Canada, dismantles racism and misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples, and fosters relationships and reconciliation.
- Class content incorporates the teachings, images, legends, art, and cultures of the Métis, First Nations, and Inuit peoples of Canada, from their own perspective or in their own voices through the following:
- Public celebrations (e.g., , National Indigenous Day)
- Beliefs and values (e.g., Seven Sacred Truths, the medicine wheel, Métis kinship connections, significance of the land)
- Natural remedies, food, music, dance, etc.
- Class content encourages learners to connect to Indigenous cultures through shared experiences and values, and through a shared understanding of the importance of maintaining one’s identity and culture.
- Class content honours and recognizes Indigenous peoples’ resilience, contributions, and continued presence in the Canadian cultural landscape by highlighting the following:
- Indigenous people’s contributions to works of literature, media, arts, etc.
- Indigenous people’s contributions to the community
- Stories of struggle and resilience
- Materials that centre Indigenous people’s perspectives
- National Indigenous History Month (June); National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21); and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30)
- Class content focuses on the significance of the land where the program is located, through the following:
- to connect learners to the land they are in and honour the Indigenous peoples of that place
- Stories of encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on that land, highlighting the need for reconciliation
- Class content recognizes and the need for reconciliation as a result of treaties and Residential Schools, along with some of the following:
- Other historical injustices including the pass system, , , dispossession of lands from Métis, etc.
- Present inequities and injustices (e.g., access to healthcare, ongoing apprehension of children, homelessness, and poverty) as rooted in colonial injustices and not individual deficits
- The moral obligations of people living and working in Canada to be involved in political and social efforts, including the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action; Prime Minister Harper’s apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential School system; the REDress project, the Daniels decision, etc.
- Current events related to Indigenous issues (e.g., the lobster fishery dispute, decades-long land claims, and Métis rights recognition) are explored in class in light of the significance of the land, historical injustices, settler responsibilities, and the need for reconciliation.
- Cultural appropriation and misrepresentation is avoided by ensuring the following:
- Indigenous voices are heard when their cultures, experiences, worldviews, perspectives, ways of knowing, and sites of knowledge are discussed (whether in person, or through video/audio/written accounts).
- Objects associated with Indigenous cultures or beliefs are not used or presented in a way that disrespects their role or value.
- Curriculum content and textbooks are free from biases and stereotypes, or, where they exist, those biases and stereotypes are identified and challenged. For example:
- Proper terms are used when discussing Canadian Indigenous peoples: First Nations, Inuit, Métis. Terms such as “native,” “Eskimo,” “Indian,” “half-breed,” and “red man” are not used.
- Movies, TV shows, print media, songs, textbooks, and videos that are used in class do not portray or depict fictional or stereotyped stories of Indigenous peoples.
- Characters representing Indigenous peoples are accurately portrayed.
- Learners recognize the role of stereotypes and racist ideas as colonial strategies to diminish and oppress Indigenous peoples.
- Teaching and learning resources provide Indigenous perspectives from vetted sources.
98. Instructors incorporate pedagogies that value Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, highlighting connection to place, collective orientation, and shared learning.
- EAL instructors recognize that, like the Indigenous peoples of Canada, many of their students come from learning traditions that prioritize spiritual teaching, and that emphasize connection to place, communal harmony, and shared learning over individuality, competition, and linear thinking. As such, instructors seek to balance Eurocentric pedagogical approaches by incorporating pedagogies that privilege communal learning and the sharing of learners’ experiences and voices through, for example:
- Talking circles
- Experiential learning
- Visual learning
- Peer mentoring
- Instruction related to Indigenous content goes beyond the confines of the classroom in the form of , museum exploration, celebrations, advocacy, volunteering, etc.
- Learning activities on Indigenous topics prioritize problem-solving, reflection, affective inquiry, and anti-racist/decolonizing approaches.
- Instructors recognize that, like Indigenous peoples, many of their learners have experiences, stories, and histories of colonization and cultural oppression. As such, instructors do the following:
- Provide warnings and permission to leave when content has the potential to trigger memories of past traumatic experiences
- Give learners a choice in whether and how much to share of their past experiences
- Provide a space and opportunity for learners to reflect on and share their own experiences, stories, and histories related to colonialization and cultural oppression
- Foster a critical, anti-colonial approach where learners recognize systemic inequalities, and analyze and deconstruct systems of power and oppression
English as an Additional Language. Recognizing that learners may speak many more than just two languages, we have chosen to use the acronym EAL rather than ESL (English as a Second Language) in this document.
Acknowledging the land is a traditional way that Indigenous peoples welcomed others onto their land. Land acknowledgement and treaty recognition statements are a way in which non-Indigenous peoples can honour and respect the Indigenous peoples of a particular place. Land acknowledgements can be visual (posters, signs, written statements); audio/visual presentations (videos); and short statements of welcome or greeting.
For further information, see the following:
Calgary Foundation. (2021). Land acknowledgment. https://calgaryfoundation.org/about-us/reconciliation/land-acknowledgement/
The original inhabitants of a territory or place. In Canada, the Indigenous peoples comprise the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
“Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behavior. We are not there yet. The relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples is not a mutually respectful one. But, we believe we can get there, and we believe we can maintain it” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, p. 6–7).
Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is an ongoing process that will take time and work. Individuals contribute to reconciliation in their own ways.
For more information, see the following resources:
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
Fraser, C., & Komarnisky, S. (2019). 150 acts of reconciliation for the last 150 days of Canada’s 150. In A. Eidinger & Krista McCracken (Eds.), Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History (p. 24). https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/beyondlecture/chapter/150-acts-of-reconciliation-for-the-last-150-days-of-canadas-150/
Larochelle, C. (2019). Reconciliation in the classroom: The #150 acts as a pedagogical tool. In A. Eidinger & K. McCracken (Eds.), Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History (p. 25). https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/beyondlecture/chapter/150-acts-of-reconciliation-for-the-last-150-days-of-canadas-150/
CASS Alberta. (2021). Reconciliation. In Guide to Relationships and Learning with the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta. https://cassalberta.ca/indigenous-education/reconciliation/
A part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement between First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Residential School Survivors, and the federal government and church bodies responsible for the schools. The TRC’s mandate was to document the truth about what happened in Residential Schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened.
National Center for Truth and Reconciliation. (2021). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. https://nctr.ca/about/history-of-the-trc/truth-and-reconciliation-commission-of-canada/
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Executive_Summary_English_Web.pdf
Indigenous people who are “recognized by their community as having attained a high degree of understanding of First Nations, Métis or Inuit history, spirituality, traditional language, cultural teachings, ceremonies or healing practices. Elders have worked and studied over a period of time with other Elders to earn the right to pass on this specialized knowledge and give advice on personal and community issues. Elders are highly revered and respected role models and mentors for all people. They embody First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture through their words, actions and being” (Alberta Teachers Association, n.d., p. 1).
Alberta Teachers Association. (n.d.). Elder protocol. Stepping Stones: Walking Together Project. https://www.teachers.ab.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/ATA/For%20Members/ProfessionalDevelopment/Walking%20Together/PD-WT-16g%20-%20Elder%20Protocol.pdf
It is important to recognize that there are vast differences in culture, language and beliefs across Indigenous communities in Canada and around the world (with 630+ First Nation communities in Canada, representing more than 50 Nations and 50 Indigenous languages).
Government of Canada. (2021). Indigenous peoples and communities. https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013785/1529102490303
A broad term that recognizes that value and diversity of Indigenous ways of learning and teaching, anchored in the central truth that “everything in the universe is part of a single whole; everything is connected in some way.”
Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortium (ARPDC). (n.d.) Weaving ways: Indigenous ways of knowing in classrooms and schools. http://empoweringthespirit.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Weaving-Ways-Introductory-Document-10-09.pdf
“The mass removal of Aboriginal children from their families into the child welfare system, in most cases without the consent of their families or bands.”
First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Sixties Scoop. In Indigenous Foundations. https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/sixties_scoop/
Social Policy in Ontario. (2018). How Canada created a crisis in Indigenous child welfare. https://spon.ca/how-canada-created-a-crisis-in-indigenous-child-welfare/2018/05/10/
Federal law that relates to Indian status, bands, and Indian reserves. This law allowed the Canadian government to “regulate and administer in the affairs and day-to-day lives of registered Indians and reserve communities,” from broad political control over Indigenous communities and band councils, to severe restrictions related to the ability to practice their cultures (e.g., participate in celebrations, wear traditional clothes, raise their children). The goal of the Indian Act was assimilation.
First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Indian Act. In Indigenous Foundations. https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/the_indian_act/
A system of boarding schools set up by the Government of Canada and administered by churches which mandated attendance by Indigenous children. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that Residential Schools were “a systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages and to assimilate Aboriginal peoples so that they no longer existed as distinct peoples” and a “cultural genocide.” (National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, 2021, p. 153)
For further information, see the following link:
First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Residential School System. In Indigenous Foundations. https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/residential-school-system-2020/
When the impacts of traumatic events are passed down from generation to generation, and continue to be evident after the original trauma took place.
“For Indigenous peoples in Canada, intergenerational trauma is rooted in imposed social and legal injustices in the form of racist, colonial and genocidal policies such as the Indian Reservation System and the Indian Residential School System. These injustices are documented extensively in the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples/RCAP (1996) and the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada/TRC (2015), among others. These reports also document the consequences of these injustices, including geographic isolation, lack of opportunities, poverty, brokenness, and poor health outcomes.”
Adams, E., & Clarmont, W. (2016). Intergenerational trauma and indigenous healing. https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/indigenous-people-vol11/intergenerational-trauma-and-indigenous-healing
Learning that takes place outside, recognizes the importance of the land to the Indigenous peoples, explores Indigenous teachings related to the land, and promotes living in connection and harmony with the land.
See the following link for Alberta resources related to learning from the land:
CASS Alberta (2021). Learning from the land. In Guide to Relationships and Learning with the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta. https://cassalberta.ca/indigenous-education/learning-from-the-land/
“A process of naturalizing Indigenous knowledge systems and making them evident to transform spaces, places, and hearts. … The goal is not to replace Western knowledge with Indigenous knowledge, and the goal is not to merge the two into one. Rather, Indigenization can be understood as weaving or braiding together two distinct knowledge systems so that learners can come to understand and appreciate both.”
BCCampus. (2018). Understanding Indigenization. In Pulling together: A guide for curriculum developers. https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationcurriculumdevelopers/chapter/indigenization-decolonization-and-reconciliation/
An Indigenous cultural celebration where people gather to celebrate family and community through song, dance, food, crafts, traditional clothing, and ceremonies. They take place in the summer on First Nations lands and in cities across Canada.
See the following link for a list of Powwow gatherings in Alberta: https://www.alberta.ca/powwow-gatherings.aspx
Protected from or free from harm/danger/loss, both in physical and virtual environments. This includes actual physical safety, as well as the sense/feeling of being safe.