Aboriginals want a say in teaching of history

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Aboriginals want a say in teaching of history



Québec Solidaire today presented a petition to the National Assembly on behalf of Femmes Autochtones du Québec (Québec Native Women), aimed at Aboriginal involvement in the current revision of history courses in Québec schools:


We, the citizens of Quebec, ask the Quebec government:

1. To reform the high school history curriculum to include the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, including the painful episodes of residential schools as an example of assimilation policies that the Canadian government has implemented throughout the country to eradicate Aboriginal peoples’ presence in Canada;

2. To include Aboriginal representative organizations and experts in the process of reforming the history curriculum.

More here: [url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Aboriginals+want+history+teaching/83... Gazette[/url]



This is great, and I'm glad the petition got traction. It runs directly counter to Stephen Harper's will to impose "history from above", that is history taught from the winners' point of view.


The History from above is just not a Harper thing but a colonial thing in which Liberals have also been complacent on. Also, this is a national movement of correcting Canadian history of FN, I, M in our history books taught in schools.


I believe lagatta is referring to obscenities like the War of 1812, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the like. Yes, the Liberals are awful and horrible, but Québec solidaire is actively listening to and working with Indigenous peoples to bring about change. They are the only party in Canada (at least with elected representatives) that are doing so, unless you have some news for us to the contrary.

From the article:


[QS MNA Françoise] David said the Truth and Reconciliation process is broadening knowledge of aboriginal life, adding it would been better for Quebecers to learn about aboriginals when they are 14 or 15 than when they are 50 or 60.

Canada turned away Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution in the prewar years and there was anti-semitism in Quebec, David said.

These unpleasant truths, like the role of religious communities in residential schools, are facts Quebecers do not like to hear.

“It doesn’t give us a good image of ourselves,” David said.

But it is important that this history be taught.


kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

They are the only party in Canada (at least with elected representatives) that are doing so, unless you have some news for us to the contrary.

In BC the Education Ministry is trying to include the aboriginal perspective across the curriculum and not just in a single course. This is not so much a partisan issue in BC except for the racist parties like the BC Conservatives. The dialogue in BC since the start of the treaty process has led to some major improvements in resources for teachers and an integrated approach to teaching the history of BC's FN's throughout the curriculum. As you can see from who is thanked at the end of the document this is an aboriginal driven approach.

SHARED Learnings: Integrating BC Aboriginal Content K-10


The Ministry of Education would like to thank the Working Group, which defined the final format and content of Shared Learnings: Integrating BC Aboriginal Content K-10.

Working Group (1997/98)

Mike Akiwenzie (Anishinaabe)

Lyn Daniels (Cree)

Margo Greenwood (Cree)

Mike McDiarmid (Tagish)

Gwen Point (Sto:lo)

Libby Hart Dixon Taylor (Kwakwaka’wakw)

The Ministry of Education would also like to acknowledge the following individuals who created the original Aboriginal Education resource for teachers, Integrating BC First Nations Studies: A K-10 Guide for Teachers:

First Nations K-10 Resource Guide Committee (1996)

Flora Cook (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Margo Greenwood (Cree)

Theresa McMillan (Nisga’a)

Paul Stevenson Gloria Raphael (Nlaka’pamux)

The Ministry wishes to acknowledge members of The First Nations Studies Curriculum/Assessment Framework Committee (1991-92):

Gayle Bedard (Tsimshian)

Robert Matthew (Secwepemc)

Nella Nelson (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Jean York (Nlaka’pamux)

Jack Miller Deanna Nyce (Nisga’a)

Thanks are extended to the many educators around the province who submitted materials and reviewed drafts of Shared Learnings: Integrating BC Aboriginal Content K-10 and Integrating BC First Nations Studies: A K-10 Guide for Teachers and provided valuable feedback and input.The Ministry also acknowledges the work of GT Publishing Services Ltd., Vancouver, in editing, designing, and preparing this document for publication, and Mostly Salish Consulting Ltd. for providing updates to the second edition.


kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

As well there is a push for a mandatory high school course. Again this is an educators led initiative not a political issue. The BC education system has aboriginal input and has had for many years. My grand kids liked the Social Studies course when they were taught about the First Peoples.


While they already learn about aboriginal issues during Social Studies classes, this proposal would require students to also take a separate course, such as B.C. First Nations Studies 12 or the First Peoples course offered in Grades 10, 11 and 12.

"Assuring that all students graduating from the B.C. school system have at least some understanding of aboriginal perspectives and knowledge serves as an important step in moving forward positively to build better relationships, and begins to address stereotypes, racism and discrimination," Deborah Jeffrey of the K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table said in a letter Monday to Education Minister Don McRae.

Jeffrey's group includes about a dozen B.C. organizations representing first nations, university deans, school superintendents, principals and vice-principals, trustees, teachers and parents.

The B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) made the same recommendation in a brief last week to the Education Ministry, which is currently reviewing the B.C. graduation program.

The Aboriginal Education Partners Table meets regularly to discuss strategies for improving outcomes for aboriginal learners and building an understanding in school communities of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and history.

No matter which government has been in power since the 1990's aboriginal input into the eduction system has occurred.



The First Peoples Principles of Learning are affirmed within First Peoples communities and are being reflected in the development of all K-12 curriculum and assessment. First identified in relation to English 12 First Peoples, the First Peoples Principles of Learning generally reflect First Peoples pedagogy.  The term “First Peoples” includes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada, as well as indigenous peoples around the world.




I don't know about the NDP in terms of policy, but both Charlie Angus and Roméo Saganash are strong on this. And of course being Aboriginal is no guarantee - I doubt Penashue was particularly interested.

I'm also very glad that David spoke out about ugly aspects of Québec's history (other than our part in the Residential Schools); "None is Too Many" and the SS St-Louis were more anglo-Canadian, but there was certainly a lot of nasty anti-semitism specific to Québec, and great admiration for fascism (not so much Nazism as the more Catholic-Latin versions) here.


Thanks very much for that information about B.C., kropotkin! I think Québec is seriously behind on this front, and it's always useful to be able to point to progress elsewhere.



I like the idea of specifically working on the history curriculim, because what we have is certainly filled with a lot of lies and omissions, and it is left to those teachers who care to try and balance that out. 

There are some ongoing initiatives in the school division here, which are a good start. We went to the school where our son will be going in the fall, and one of the projects in the front hall (where every visitor had to walk past it)  was a chart of the seven Saskatchewan treaties, the agreement on paper, what that meant in real terms, and what was and was not honoured. While many of us are familiar with the broken promises, it was an eye-opener to see them laid out on a chart.

There was also a resolution (trying to find the source) which recommitted Saskatchewan schools to better recognizing and use our Native languages.

As it happens, we were at a supper last night for the Open Door Society at our school. It was very well attended, and I didn't know until last night that every school here has a liason from that immigrant and cultural services group.

Unionist may be right about QS being the only party to call for that specific initiative, and there is always more to be done. But it is heartening to see some people actively trying to make the school system more inclusive and less biased.

On the other hand, we also have this:



I think that's excellent. Not just to ask that they change the curriculum, but to actually give them a ROLE in curriculum reform. I hope it gains traction.