Issue 99

Community Engagement

Source: Cochrane Library

Summary: This is a protocol for a Cochrane Review (Intervention). The objectives are as follows: To assess the effects of family-centered interventions for Indigenous early childhood well-being, delivered by primary healthcare services in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA, on a range of physical, psychological and behavioral outcomes Indigenous children, parents and families.

Description of the condition

The clear need for improved approaches to the health of Indigenous families is evidenced by the striking disparities in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. Disparities are evident in infant mortality rates which are 1.7 to 4 times higher than those of non-Indigenous infants (Smylie 2009). In addition, higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome, child injury, accidental death, suicide, ear infections, respiratory tract illness and mortality, dental caries and exposure to environmental contaminants have been reported (Smylie 2009). Health inequities are consistently reported across the four countries examined in this review, although there is diversity in indicators across and within their Indigenous populations: the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia; First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada; the Maori of New Zealand; and American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian peoples of the USA (Cunningham 2003; Welch 2015). To inform health equity, it is important to examine and use diverse data from these different populations; yet consistent with Cochrane Library Special Collections on the health of Indigenous peoples (Welch 2015), restricting the review to Indigenous populations of the four included countries allows identification of important differences.

Exemplary Classroom Practice: Elementary

Source: Glenbow Museum. Virtual Museum Canada
Focus: Grades 4-6

Summary: This web site was created as a companion to the Niitsitapiisini Virtual Exhibit created by the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta and is divided into two main sections: Blackfoot Culture and Learning Resources.

The Blackfoot Culture section of the toolkit provides an overview of the culture and history of the Blackfoot people. This section introduces teachers to the Blackfoot world and how it has changed and adapted over the centuries.

The Learning Resources section informs teachers of the protocols involved in teaching First Nations students, provides access to instructional units and a list of additional resources. The units are designed to complement and extend the Virtual Exhibit web activities and include cultural and historical resources, activities and assessment strategies.

Exemplary Classroom Practice: Secondary

Source: Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APCFNC) Circle of Knowledge Keepers
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: The book, Stories from our Elders: Stories and Teachings from an Atlantic Circle of Knowledge Keepers, was published by Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (AAEDIRP) in response to a need to advance understanding and education of Atlantic Aboriginal customs and traditions. Elders from Maliseet, Mi’kmaw, Innu, and Inuit communities gathered and contributed narratives, pictures, and information on their respective ways of life. The book may be of special interest to those who are engaged in education and/or building capacity and understanding of Aboriginal cultures.

Media

Source: Pincher Creek Voice

Summary: Napi's Playground School at Piikani Nation hosted a reopening ceremony for their extensively renovated library on November 15. Guests in attendance included representatives of the Fu Hui Education Foundation (FHEF) and the Martin Family Initiative (MFI). Both organizations provided financial support to the school to refit the library. The guests were toured through Napi Playground (Piikani Nation's elementary school) and visited with students in their classrooms before the presentation.

The School Staff, the Students and the Community all demonstrated a renewed interest in making their library an integral part of the school. Based on these factors as well as the school’s commitment to provide personnel to oversee the maintenance of the collections and to encourage multiple uses of the facility, it was decided that the Napi’s Playground Elementary School and Piikani Nation Secondary School Library would be an excellent choice for support through the Model School Library Project.

Martin Family Initiative (MFI) representative Carlana Lindeman explained the organization's intent to support students to help them reach their full potential. Federal funding eligibility is across the country. Originally there were two First Nation schools in a pilot project. Napi's Playground is the third school. MFI's Julia O'Sullivan later explained the organization's ongoing efforts. "We have a goal to be in 20 schools, by the year 2020." Napi's Playground is the first of six schools which MFI is supporting. Each school will work with MFI for six years. "We work with schools who have applied to work with us to improve the children's reading and writing within their school.”

Judy San of Fu Hui Education presented a commemorative plaque to the school. San said the foundation is aiming at helping build 6 schools across Canada in the upcoming year. San also presented the library with a number of unique bookmarks made of real maple leaves, laminated, with inspirational messages, to be given to the students.

Multi Media

Source: University of British Columbia. First Nations and Indigenous Studies
Focus: Senior Secondary and Post-secondary students

Summary: Classroom discussions of Aboriginal issues often leave students feeling alienated and angry. “What I Learned in Class Today”: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom is a video-based research project developed by two undergraduate students in FNIS. It asked both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students at the University of British Columbia to share their experiences of these situations in videotaped interviews in order to find ways of having more productive and professional classroom discussions.

To view the project materials, including the screening video, interview archive, and accompanying support materials, click here to visit the project’s website.

Professional Development

Source: Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP)
Focus: Intermediate students

Summary: AMP offers two primary resources to support the establishment of new mentoring programs. For community groups or organizations, the “Create a Community-based Mentoring Program” Toolkit or for schools, the “Framework for Mentoring in Schools.”

The following Considerations for Mentoring within Indigenous Communities are a supplementary resource to support primarily non- Indigenous organizations that desire to develop and deliver quality mentoring programs for and with children, youth, and families of Indigenous descent. They are based on research and the combined expertise of those who are already engaged in this important work.

These considerations complement the existing mentoring resources available on the AMP website by providing specific suggestions to strengthen your mentoring work with Indigenous communities in service of young people. These ten considerations are intended to help you support the development and implementation of quality mentoring programs that build on the strengths of the community, children, and youth.

We also encourage you to use this resource in conjunction with other community-based resources from the Alberta Government and the Alberta Mentoring Partnership such as the Handbook for Aboriginal Mentoring and Mentoring Programs for Aboriginal Youth.

Related Links

Source: Government of Manitoba

Summary: This support document is aimed at promoting school divisions, schools, teachers, parents, and students to undertake critical and courageous conversations on racism to create inclusive and equitable classrooms and schools for First Nation Métis Inuit students and all students. The document helps to inform and encourage educators, describes the levels and effects of racism, acknowledges history, stimulates dialogue through critical and courageous conversations and contributes to the TRC's Call to Action.
Creating Racism-Free Schools through Critical/Courageous Conversations on Race (1.41 MB)

Relevant Research

Source: Joseph Martin, Richard Manning, Larry Steeves, Josephine Steeves, and Jon Reyhner

Summary: North American Indigenous students lag academically behind their non-Indigenous peers (Native Americans, 2013). This trend shows no sign of reversal unless changes are made to how Indigenous students are educated. Leadership within schools is an essential and vital component to student success, regardless of demographics or other factors like access to resources. As research on Indigenous student achievement is still a limited subject of study, we must look for ways to build on the knowledge we have. Experienced Indigenous educational leaders and teachers have a wealth of knowledge about how to educate their people.

The study reported in this chapter builds on previous studies that sought the knowledge of Indigenous educators to learn what is needed to improve education for Indigenous students in North America (Cleary & Peacock, 1998; Huffman, 2008, 2013). Five experienced Navajo educators in the United States and four experienced First Nations educators—including one non-Indigenous educator who had worked extensively within Indigenous education—in Saskatchewan, Canada, were interviewed about student achievement and their experiences within Indigenous education structures. We approached this study with a recognition that Indigenous education—as recognized by Tribal Crit theory (Brayboy, 2005)—is burdened by a history of colonialism and needs to be decolonized by listening to Indigenous peoples, including experienced Indigenous school administrators who know what is important and needed for their children’s education.