PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...

 
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
PRINCIPAL
  C AT H O L I C

                   ONTARIO
  PRINCIPALS’
                             Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2

    CONNECTIONS
  COUNCIL

ABORIGINAL EDUCATION
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not:
                                                                            behold, I bring you good tidings of great
                                                                             joy, which shall be to all people."
                                                                                                                                                   Luke 2:10

                                                                                   May the Lord bless you this Christmas and always.
                                                                                                 Catholic Principals’ Council | Ontario

                                                                        The CPCO office will be closed for the        If immediate legal advice is required,
                                                                        Christmas holidays, commencing Monday,        contact Protective Services Coordinator
                                                                        December 21, 2015, and will reopen            Joe Geiser at 1.888.621.9190 ext. 34 or
                                                                        on Monday, January 4, 2016.                   email at jgeiser@cpco.on.ca.

                                                                        Voice and email messages received             If assistance is required for CPCO’s
                                                                        over the holidays will be returned on         Long Term Disability Program, contact
                                                                        January 4, 2016.                              Johnson Inc. at 1.877.709.5855.

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PRINCIPAL
CONNECTIONS                                                                          CPCO BLOG
We are always looking for interesting articles. Submissions                          We want to know what’s happening in your school community.
should be 800-1000 words. Images should be 300 dpi                                   Send stories about new initiatives, events and any other
minimum and in jpg, tif, or png formats. Please do not                               special happenings.
reduce the size of digital images.
                                                                                     Submissions should be 300-800 words. Images should be in
Send the articles in Word format only to Editor,                                     jpg or png formats.
Deirdre Kinsella Biss at dkinsellabiss@ cpco.on.ca
                                                                                     Send your stories in Word format only to Communications Officer,
Upcoming themes and deadlines:                                                       Andie McHardy-Blaser at amchardy-blaser@ cpco.on.ca

SUMMER 2016 - Transformative Education
Articles due by April 8, 2016                                                                         blog.cpco.on.ca

CPCO reserves the right to edit all materials. Please understand that                CPCO reserves the right to edit all materials. Please understand that
   a submission does not automatically guarantee publication.                           a submission does not automatically guarantee publication.
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
                                                                                                                                     C AT H O L I C

                                                                                                                                                          ONTARIO
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                                                                        PRINCIPALS’
                                                                                                                                     COUNCIL

                                                                                                          EDITORIAL, ADVERTISING & SALES
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
                                                                                                          Deirdre Kinsella Biss, Editor
Exploring Math through Indigenous Culture | 4                                                               dkinsellabiss@ cpco.on.ca

Fostering Indigenous Inclusive Schools | 8                                                                Ania Czupajlo, Senior Designer/Principal Connections Art Director
                                                                                                            aczupajlo@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 25
Sharing Cultures - Shaping Futures | 10
                                                                                                          John Nijmeh, Advertising Manager
The Metaphor of the Circle | 13                                                                             events@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 28
10 Steps to Start the Conversation | 16                                                                   Gaby Aloi, Manager of Corporate Operations
Indigenous Education | 18                                                                                   galoi@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 26
Native Spirituality and Catholic Praxis | 22
3 Good Ideas | 24                                         Sharing Cultures - Shaping Futures    10        CORPORATE, PROGRAMS & SERVICES
Recognizing Student Voice | 43                                                                            Wayne Hill, President
Reflections by Richard Wagamese | 46                                                                       president@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 22
                                                                                                          Paul Lacalamita, Executive Director
                                                                                                            placalamita@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 23
                                                                                                          Hannah Yakobi, Marketing & Communications Manager
                                                                                                            hyakobi@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 38
KEEPING YOU INFORMED
                                                                                                          Andie McHardy-Blaser, Communications Officer
                                                                                                            amchardy-blaser@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 30
Creating Conditions for Success | 20                                                                      Luciana Cardarelli, Program & Member Services Coordinator
The Need for Reconciliation | 27                                                                            lcardarelli@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 37
Creating Space for Elder Knowledge                                                                        Vanessa Kellow, Professional Learning Assistant
in our Catholic Schools | 28                                                                                vkellow@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 31

The First Nations, Métis and Inuit                                                                        Joe Geiser, Protective Services Coordinator
                                                          3 Good Ideas                          24          jgeiser@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 34
Collaborative Inquiry Initiative | 32
                                                                                                          Ron McNamara, Protective Services Assistant Coordinator
Storytelling, Art & Indigenous Knowledge | 34                                                               rmcnamara@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 27
Crossing the Borders of Catholicity,                                                                      Maria Cortez, Administrative Assistant
FNMI Teachings and Technology | 36                                                                         mcortez@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 32
Leadership that Supports Indigenous                                                                       Bessy Valerio, Receptionist
Ways of Knowing and Learning | 38                                                                           bvalerio@ cpco.on.ca | ext. 21
The Art of the Medicine Wheel | 40
Using the Medicine Wheel | 44                                                                             We thank all those who contributed to this issue.
Pow Wow | 48                                                                                              Please note, however, that the opinions and views
                                                                                                          expressed are those of the individual contributors and are
                                                                                                          not necessarily those of CPCO. Similarly, the acceptance
                                                                                                          of advertising does not imply CPCO endorsement.

                                                          The Art of the Medicine Wheel         40        Publications Mail Agreement No. 40035635
IN EVERY ISSUE
                                                                                                          No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or
                                                                                                          in part without written permission of CPCO.
Education is for Everyone! | 2
A Time for Inclusion | 3                                                                                  Copyright ©2015 Catholic Principals' Council | Ontario.
                                                                                                          All rights reserved.

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                                                                                                          Catholic Principals’ Council | Ontario
                                    Aboriginal Education                                                  Box 2325, Suite 3030, 2300 Yonge Street
                                                                                                          Toronto, Ontario M4P 1E4
                                    Cover design by Ania Czupajlo
                                                                                                          1.888.621.9190 toll free • 416.483.1556 phone
                                                                                                          416.483.2554 fax • info@ cpco.on.ca
                                    As principals and vice-principals, we embrace the diversity           www.cpco.on.ca
                                    and uniqueness that exist in our schools. Our Catholic schools
                                    should be a place of welcome, a place of respect and caring, and        We would like to acknowledge that the CPCO
                                    a place of acceptance and friendship.                                   office is on the traditional territory of the
                                                                                                            Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

                                    Our call is to ensure that the needs of all our learners, including
                                                                                                                    @CPCOtweet
                                    Aboriginal students, are being met through the education we                     #leadCPCO
                                                                                                                                              linkd.in/1vBkhw3
                                    deliver and the inclusive environment we create.
                                                                                                                    blog.cpco.on.ca           youtube.com/CPCOtoronto
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
FROM THE PRESIDENT
                                                                      Wayne Hill

                                                 Education is for Everyone!

                                                                  As educators and
             A while back I read a column in the                    Catholic school                traditions and beliefs of Canada’s
             Globe and Mail written by Naheed
             Nenshi, the Mayor of Calgary. In
                                                                leaders, we now have               First Peoples. We have asked school
                                                                                                   leaders to share their own success
             expressing his concern for the potential               the opportunity                stories in their schools.
             of bias and racism to isolate segments of
             our society he writes,                               and responsibility               We cannot pretend that we are getting

                    At our best we’ve figured out a simple
                                                                     to build on our               everything right. After all, this is a
                                                                                                   journey and there is much work to be
                    truth: we’re in this together. Our            common strengths,                done. But we are in this together. We
                    neighbour’s strength is our strength.                                          can learn from each other and build on
                    The success of any one of us is the            to create changes               each other’s strengths. Together, we
                    success of every one of us. More
                    importantly, any one failure is all
                                                                     that make our                 can ensure that education is inclusive
                                                                                                   for everyone and that no child or young
                    our failure, too.                             schools welcoming                person feels left out. I thank you for
                                                                                                   your work, your dedication and your
             This quote clearly connects to Aboriginal           and inclusive to all              commitment to each and every one of
             Education in Ontario. Even though we                                                  your students.
             have shone the light on our Aboriginal                   our students.
             students and identified issues and                                                    I want to take this opportunity to
             concerns, we have much yet to do to                                                   thank all of our practising Associates
             nurture student success and well-being.                        for their steadfast resolve and support of our students and
                                                                            school communities over the course of the labour disruption.
             As school leaders, we must address the achievement gap
             with our Aboriginal students. We must ensure equal access      I know how difficult a task it has been, how many long hours
             to education, improved literacy and numeracy skills, in-       you have put in, and the demands that this has placed on you
             creased graduation rates and problem-solve drop out rates.     and your families. What was evident throughout was your
             We must find ways of engaging these students in post-sec-      commitment to your school community and to Catholic
             ondary studies.                                                education. We all knew that this would end, and on that day
                                                                            we needed to emerge with our relationships intact and our
             As educators and Catholic school leaders, we now have the      communities whole. You have seen to that and your efforts are
             opportunity and responsibility to build on our common          to be applauded!
             strengths, to create changes that make our schools welcoming
             and inclusive to all our students.                             May the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love represented by
                                                                            the birth in Bethlehem fill our lives and become part of all that
             This issue of Principal Connections focuses on various         we say and do this Christmas and throughout the school year.
             aspects of Aboriginal Education. We have invited Elders
             and FNMI community leaders and educators to share their        May God continue to bless you in your work.
             stories, teachings and wisdom. We have examined many
             of the commonalities between our Catholic faith and the

2   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
                                                   Paul Lacalamita

                                        A Time for Inclusion

                                                  I trust this issue
The reasons why I believe in CPCO are             will provide new                           learn to respect and grow familiar with
many. But none are more important
than the fact that as a professional as-
                                                    learning and                             the heritage and traditions of Canada’s
                                                                                             Aboriginal peoples.
sociation CPCO serves as a unifying
voice for the principals and vice-princi-
                                                 inspiration as you                          As you read this, labour relations
pals who work to bring exemplary lead-          work to ensure that                          continue to be a priority for CPCO
ership to Catholic school communities                                                        staff as we prepare for principal/vice-
across our province.                              the needs of our                           principal negotiations with trustees
                                                                                             and the government.
The type of leadership our Associates           First Nations, Métis
are called to practise – and indeed
what CPCO teaches in our Principal
                                                 and Inuit students                           CPCO has met several times with OPC
                                                                                              and ADFO to prepare for upcoming
Qualifications Program – is that of
servant leadership. Our leadership is
                                                   are met in your                             provincial government and Trustee
                                                                                              meetings regarding Principal/Vice-
steeped in the model of Jesus. Through                schools ...                              principal terms and conditions of
Jesus we learn about truth, leadership                                                        employment. We anticipate beginning
and the importance of community.                                                              this process in earnest in January 2016.
                                                                      In the meantime, our Protective Services staff continue to work
This issue of Principal Connections is themed around                  diligently on your behalf by preparing and engaging members’
Aboriginal Education. It explores our role, as Catholic school        lead negotiators through regional meetings. Interest-based
leaders, who are called to embrace inclusiveness and create           bargaining , review of contracts and data collection are but a
successful schools that are welcoming to all.                         few topics that will be covered at these meetings.

Many of the articles reflect the 4Rs of Indigenous pedagogy:          Recently CPCO launched an online mental wellness re-
Respect, Reciprocity, Relevance and Responsibility. I’m sure          source, available to Associates. Starling Minds provides
you will find that there are strong parallels between these           education and training to help manage stress and over-
4Rs and our Catholic faith values, especially when viewed             come anxiety and depression. This service came about as
through the type of trust and relationship building that is key       the result of feedback from Associates, who have indicat-
to successful servant leadership.                                     ed the need for support in managing their mental health,
                                                                      increasing their coping skills and helping them become
The benefits of incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and          more resilient to stress. This online resource is available
learning in our schools are too obvious to ignore. The cross-         to Associates at www.cpco.on.ca/starlingminds. Should
overs with leadership in particular seem very relevant as we          you wish to learn more about Starling Minds itself you may
come to appreciate that it is not only ideas and vision that are      do so at starlingminds.com.
prerequisites of great leaders but also beliefs and convictions.
                                                                      As the blessed season of Christmas approaches I want to thank
I trust this issue will provide new learning and inspiration as you   you all for being a gift to your school communities and for your
work to ensure that the needs of our First Nations, Métis and         commitment to Catholic education. May this holy season of
Inuit students are met in your schools, and that all our students     Advent root us all in faith, hope and love.

                                                                                              Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   3
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
Dr. Ruth Beatty, Lakehead University

Exploring Math through Indigenous Culture

C
             hristina enters the Grade 3 classroom and sits on a low stool    and appreciation of Indigenous perspectives and values. This project was
             in front of a group of cross-legged students. She opens up a     developed to explore how to co-design and co-teach units of instruction
             small box and, smiling at the children, hands out some bead      that are culturally responsive and conform to the National Council of
             bracelets for them to look at. “So, loomwork is done with        Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards and practices.
glass and sometimes plastic beads. A very long time ago this kind of work
was done with the sinew from animals – that’s the muscles from animals’       Research has shown that creating connections between math instruction
legs – you dry it up and it would make thread. And then beads were made       and Indigenous culture has had beneficial effects on students’ abilities
from shells, and porcupine quills and all kind of things that you’d find in   to learn mathematics (Cajete, 1994; Lipka, 1994). Long-term studies
nature. And then after that, when people started trading for glass beads,     by Lipka (2002, 2007), Brenner (1998) and Doherty et al. (2002) found
we started using glass beads, and then plastic beads.” Christina then shows   that culturally responsive education in mathematics had statistically
the students a loom with some beadwork on it.                                 significant results in terms of student achievement. Reform-based
                                                                              mathematical instructional practices are aligned with many aspects
This is the beginning of a Grade 3 mathematics unit, focusing on              of Indigenous teaching in that both emphasize experiential learning,
multiplicative thinking, and algebraic and proportional reasoning.            modelling, collaborative activity and teaching for meaning over rote
Christina is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation          memorization and algorithm efficiency.
and is the Operations Manager of their cultural centre. She is also an
expert loomer. She and the classroom teacher Anne are part of a larger        One of the most important components of this project has been
research project investigating the connections between Indigenous             placing Indigenous cultural practices at the heart of an inquiry-based
cultural practices and the Western mathematics found in the Ontario           approach to teaching mathematics. Four research teams, made up
mathematics curriculum.                                                       of Indigenous educators and artists and non-Native educators, have
                                                                              explored the powerful mathematical thinking that emerges when
Ministries of Education across Canada have recognized the need to             First Nations community members are invited to co-create and co-
explicitly incorporate Indigenous content to support identity building        deliver units of instruction.

4   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
In Renfrew County, Christina and her
team worked with Grade 1 students to
create bead bracelets, with an emphasis on
proportional reasoning and spatial sense. In Grade 6,
students have designed round beaded medallions and, in the
process, discovered mathematical concepts such as fractions,
algebraic relationships, and pi. In Kenora, Kindergarten
students worked with members of the Wauzhushk Onigum
First Nation to explore the mathematics of dreamcatchers,
while Grade 4 students delved into the complicated spatial
reasoning of the peyote stitch. In Barrie and Orillia, teachers
with Simcoe County worked with an expert loomer to explore
patterning, fractions and spatial transformations. And in Moose
Factory, we have begun work with Cree educators and teachers to
think about the mathematics of creating fishing nets.

One of the most positive outcomes cited by participants has been
further developing the relationships between school and First Nations
communities. Prior to starting any of the research the teams met with
community leaders who shared their insights and guidance. As the work
progressed, regular meetings were held with members of the community
to share updates through short videos and/or newsletters. Each research
team has worked to strengthen these connections and facilitate ongoing
communication so that First Nations perspectives are incorporated in a
cohesive and authentic way.

The research teams have been extremely enthusiastic about the robust
mathematical understanding that has emerged from the work (e.g.,
Beatty & Blair, 2015a; 2015b). As Tamara Whiteduck, another member              The students were then given this Grade 3 EQAO question that asks
of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and part of the Renfrew          students to predict what the eighth shape in a repeating sequence of five
County team put it, “These projects just seem to be overf lowing with           shapes will be.
math opportunities!”

The teams have also been amazed at the connections to the curriculum
documents. For instance, Grade 3 teacher Anne realized that looming
could potentially be the basis for all of her mathematics teaching. “I kept
coming across big ideas in every strand of the math curriculum that
connected with the beading,” she explains.

The understanding students constructed while engaged in these First
Nations activities also carried over to more artificial “school math”
questions. For example, students in Anne’s class explored the structure of
the five-column core of a pattern and were able to predict what any column
would look like further down the sequence – that any column ending in a “5”
would be identical to the fifth column, any column that was a multiple of “5”
subtract “1” would look like the fourth column.

                                                                                                       Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   5
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
This item can be answered by simply extending the pattern and counting           This project demonstrates the importance, and powerful potential, of
to the eighth shape. However, the students who had previously had many           using Indigenous content as a way of delivering mathematics instruction.
conversations about the mathematics of looming realized they were                Valuing the cultural perspectives from the local First Nations
analyzing the same kind of structure as their beading patterns and were          community, and involving community members in the design, delivery
able to use algebraic reasoning to predict the correct shapes anywhere in        and assessment of mathematics lessons has resulted in meaningful and
the sequence. They reasoned that any multiple of “5” subtract “1” would be       engaging learning experiences. As much as this research has been about
a circle, or that the 108th shape would be a square because the 110th shape      math, it has also been about a process of reconciliation, and valuing a
(a multiple of 5) would be a triangle, then subtract (go back) two shapes.       distinct worldview and knowledge system that has historically been
                                                                                 excluded from the classroom.
The teachers speculate that, in part, this powerful thinking is due to the
fact that students are able to explore mathematics as they create beautiful
works that have cultural and emotional significance. Students can learn          This project was conducted in partnership with Danielle Blair, Provincial
                                                                                 Mathematics Lead, on assignment with the Ontario Ministry of Education.
complex math concepts not by having these superimposed on an activity,
                                                                                 Funding was provided through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, and
but rather as they arise from the activity naturally.                            through the Ontario Ministry of Education.

                                                                                 References
 For First Nations students, this project has provided an opportunity
                                                                                 Beatty, R., & Blair, D. (2015a). Indigenous pedagogy for early mathematics:
 to heighten their sense of pride. As one community member states                Algonquin looming in a grade 2 math classroom. The International Journal of
“Sometimes our kids face social barriers. But this puts their culture at         Holistic Early Learning and Development, 1, 3-24. (refereed)
 the centre. At first, the non-Native kids are curious, and then they’re
                                                                                 Beatty, R. & Blair, D. (2015b). Connecting Indigenous and western ways of
 interacting with art and math in a hands-on and fun way. It gives the
                                                                                 knowing: Algonquin looming in a grade 6 math class. Proceedings of the 37th Annual
 Native kids an opportunity to show their identity.” It has also been            Meeting of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, North American Chapter.
 important for all students to learn from community members teaching
 in the classroom, and see that the knowledge brought by these members           Brenner, M.E. (1998). Adding cognition to the formula for culturally relevant
                                                                                 instruction in mathematics. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 29(2), 214-244.
 is honoured and respected.
                                                                                 Cajete, G., (1994). Look to the mountain: An ecology of indigenous education.
Placing Indigenous culture at the heart of mathematics instruction, and          Durango, CO: Kivaki Press.
learning through that cultural perspective, has led to our re-thinking what
                                                                                 Doherty, W.R., Hilbert, S., Epaloose, G., & Tharp, R.G., (2002). Standards
it means to teach and learn mathematics. Mike, a Grade 6/7 teacher from
                                                                                 performance continuum: Development and validation of a measure of effective
the Renfrew County DSB laments, “I feel like as kids we were robbed in           pedagogy. The Journal of Educational Research 96(2), 78-89.
terms of how we were taught math! Incorporating traditional ways of
knowing, and working with Christina and the team has totally changed my          Lipka, J., Sharp, N., Adams, B., & Sharp, F., (2007). Creating a third space for
                                                                                 authentic biculturalism: Examples from math in a cultural context. Journal of
viewpoint on how I teach math now. The kids are so much more engaged
                                                                                 American Indian Education, 46(3), 94-115.
and excited, and there’s so much context for the mathematics.”
                                                                                 Lipka, J. (2002). Connecting Yup’ik elders knowledge to school mathematics. In M. de
And as an artist, Christina has reflected how this experience now impacts        Monteiro (Ed.) Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Ethnomathematics
                                                                                 (ICEM2), CD Rom, Lyrium Communacao Ltda, Ouro Preto, Brazil.
her artistic process. “It’s easier to create patterns once you understand that
there are numbers there, not just beads, so I’ve started looking at it from a    Lipka, J. (1994). Culturally negotiated schooling: Toward a Yup’ik mathematics.
totally different perspective.”                                                  Journal of American Indian Education, 33, 14-30.

6   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
PRINCIPAL - ABORIGINAL EDUCATION - Canadian Association of ...
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Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse, Laurentian University

                                            FOSTERING INDIGENOUS
                                            INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS

                                                Integrating Indigenous teachings and values into the school community is a challenge that
                                                principals and vice-principals are entrusted with today. This comprehensive task is one that
                                                is framed within the Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework (2007);
                                                however, the implementation of this framework in provincial schools is varied in its results.

                                                School leaders are the day-to-day champions of inspiring and facilitating transformational change.
                                                Principals and vice-principals have the unique opportunity to foster a school culture that honours
                                                Indigenous peoples and their worldviews. So, how can this be done? What are the strategies, factors
                                                and resources that contribute to a school that is First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) inclusive?1

                                               This article explores the challenge through key questions (with suggestions for change) in the
                                               physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual domains.

THE PHYSICAL                                                           THE EMOTIONAL

The physical domain refers to the spaces (walls,                        The emotional domain refers to authentic connections
architecture, signage, outdoor areas, branding) that                    made with the FNMI community. It is further described
your school represents and occupies. It goes beyond                     as the concrete and co-developed strategies for FNMI
bricks and mortar and responds to the presence that                     community engagement. Questions to reflect on and
your school emits. Questions that focus on the inclusion                further research are:
of Indigenous peoples in these spaces are:                              •    Is there a parental/guardian engagement plan in
                                                                             place that focuses on FNMI families? Are there
•    Does the school environment reflect FNMI                                linkages in this plan made with various agencies to
     culture? Take a concrete look at the entry, library,                    support FNMI families?
     bulletin boards, cafeteria, gymnasium, offices and                 •    Do you have connections to FNMI groups and
     other rooms.                                                            resources that are available in the area? Fostering
•    Is there language that reflects the FNMI                                these connections will be critical to your linking
     communities in your area? Have you identified the                       FNMI students, families and teachers/staff with
     Nation 2 – the FNMI community – that the school                         appropriate services and knowledge keepers.
     community resides upon? Every school in Ontario                    •    Do you know who your FNMI students are?
     is built on Indigenous lands or treaty territories.                     What about their familial status? Many FNMI
     Acknowledging the territory upon which the school                       families include extended members that are
     is built is fundamental to respectful leadership.                       highly involved in child rearing. Accessing
•    Are there Indigenous symbols or teachings                               this information may be as easy as examining
     visible for students and staff? Once you have                           the nominal roll through existing tuition
     done this inventory, it is critical to do a member                      agreements with First Nation communities, or
     check. This means working with your FNMI                                through information acquired in a board-wide
     Lead, FNMI education counsellor or respective                           planned FNMI self-identification strategy, or
     Indigenous organization to assess the quality of                        (the most sustainable) your connections with
     these spatial messages.                                                 FNMI human resources.

8   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
THE INTELLECTUAL                                                                CONCLUSION

The intellectual domain refers to the curriculum, policies and profes-          A holistic approach that addresses the physical, emotional, intellectual and
sional learning communities that are available in the school and board at       spiritual domains is one of the ways for principals and vice-principals to
large. Questions to consider as part of this journey towards Indigenous         integrate Indigenous teachings and values into the school community. It
inclusion are:                                                                  is a task that requires a school leader to be open-minded, committed and
•    Does the school curriculum include FNMI resources at all levels            responsive to change. The benefits of infusing Indigenous worldview
     in a meaningful way? Examine long-range plans to determine                 into the school environment goes beyond building relationships, it is
     opportunities for Indigenous enrichment. Assess the availability and       fundamental to learning communities that are constructed upon principles
     diversity of FNMI resources in your library.                               of compassion, truth, citizenship and reconciliation.
•    Who is your board’s FNMI Lead? And if there isn’t one, what steps
     are needed to create this critical position for your school? There
     are FNMI Leads all across Ontario that are doing amazing work in           References
     raising the profile of Indigenous pedagogy in schools.                     1
                                                                                 FNMI is the abbreviated term for First Nation, Métis and Inuit. FNMI and the
•    Are there professional development opportunities for teachers to learn     word Indigenous will be used interchangeably in this article.
     about implementing FNMI resources? Many educators are hesitant
     about infusing FNMI teachings out of fear of getting it wrong. Relevant
                                                                                2
                                                                                 Nation refers to the FNMI community that the school is located on. Every school
                                                                                in the province of Ontario is built on Indigenous lands or treaty territories.
     PD can address these vulnerabilities in a supportive manner.
•    Has your board created and/or adapted an Indigenous Presence in            Ontario Ministry of Education. (2007). Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit
     Our Schools Handbook (2013)? There are many examples across the            Education Policy Framework. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer.
     province of Ontario that are wise practices. These handbooks are
                                                                                Lakehead Public Schools. (2013). Aboriginal Presence in Our Schools: A Cultural
     valuable for teachers and staff in understanding basic information
                                                                                Resource for Staff (Edition 3, Working Document). Thunder Bay, ON: Same as Author.
     about FNMI peoples in the area, as well as implementing culturally
     appropriate teaching and communication strategies.
•    What types of relationships exist with Indigenous organizations in
     the critical areas of assessment, literacy, numeracy and mental health?
     These organizations are leaders in Indigenous research and have
     access to information/tools/services that are relevant for all students.

                                                                                                        Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is an Associate Professor in
                                                                                                        the Faculty of Education at Laurentian University in
THE SPIRITUAL                                                                                           Sudbury, Ontario. She is also a proud Ojibwe woman
                                                                                                        from Sagamok First Nation.
The spiritual domain refers to the school culture and evidence-based con-
scientiousness in appreciating Indigenous worldview. It further signifies
the building of meaningful relationships with the Indigenous community
in a reciprocal and respectful way. Questions to investigate are:

•    Are Elders, Métis Senators and FNMI cultural resource people
     accessible to the school? These human resources provide a first-hand
     learning experience that cannot be duplicated. Their knowledge and
     skills are examples of primary sources.                                              How Important Is It To See Yourself Reflected In
                                                                                          School? Video by Pamela Toulouse
•    Are there opportunities for classes to link with FNMI geographical
                                                                                          bit.ly/1OeKJFW
     sites of significance? Going to a location where history lives OR a
     place that has special meaning for Indigenous peoples is central to
     experiential learning. A school leader has the opportunity to provide
     connections to the community and access funds for classes to attend
     a place of cultural importance.                                                      Learn More
•    What types of FNMI events does your school plan OR attend in an
     FNMI setting? June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, however, there                     Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy
     are so many Indigenous events and celebrations that can be infused                   Framework (2007)
                                                                                          www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/fnmiFramework.pdf
     into the school calendar.
•    How do you assess the integration of FNMI teachings/resources/
                                                                                          Teaching First Nations Children: Lakehead University
     connections and their impacts on the school (students, teachers,
                                                                                          www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/1ALakehead.pdf
     staff, administration)? This is crucial and requires a multi-layered
     inquiry approach. Evaluating change (positive/negative) is needed                    Capacity Building Series: Student Voice
     as signs for the direction your school needs to take in the area of                  bit.ly/1Gwcya4
     Indigenous inclusion.

                                                                                                          Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   9
Kevin Greco, Principal
        St. Marguerite d’Youville
        Dufferin-Peel CDSB

       SHARING CULTURES
       SHAPING FUTURES
       St. Marguerite d’Youville bridges schools
       of the North with schools of the South

              student/teacher excursion to Iqaluit, Nunavut, is just one of
               the many ways St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Secondary
                School is working toward building a bridge and meeting the
                 goals outlined in the Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit
                    Education Policy Framework, 2007.

This framework and the Ontario Indigenous Education Strategy state
that the ministry, boards and schools must work together to improve
the academic achievement of Indigenous students and close the gap in
academic achievement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.
The ministry has identified a number of overriding issues affecting
Indigenous student achievement. St Marguerite d’Youville Catholic
Secondary School is attempting to address the issue that there is a lack of
understanding within schools and school boards of First Nation, Métis
and Inuit cultures, histories and perspectives.

Our school has engaged in many approaches to foster greater understand-         THE IQALUIT EXCURSION
ings. These include staff professional development, First Nations, Métis,
Inuit Studies course offerings, school-wide presentations, classroom            The Iqaluit excursion is an extension of our learning and our vision to
workshops, enhanced resources for our library, incorporating Indigenous         build awareness and understanding of the complexities of Inuit culture
education into our Alternative Education Program and, most recently, a          and history and to begin to provide a curriculum that facilitates learning
nine-day student excursion to Iqaluit, Nunavut with Archbishop Romero           about all Canada’s First Peoples. The intent is also to help develop
Catholic Secondary School.                                                      community partnerships and implement strategies that facilitate increased
                                                                                participation by First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities in Catholic
 With extensive support at the system level and through collaboration           school curriculum.
 with the Dufferin-Peel CDSB Program Department we were able to
“facilitate professional development opportunities for teaching staff           During their time in Nunavut, our students had opportunities to dialogue
 to assist them in incorporating culturally appropriate pedagogy into           with Inuit Elders, explore the vast and beautiful northern landscape, and
 practice to support Aboriginal student achievement, well-being and             sample traditional country food including arctic char, ptarmigan, beluga,
 success” and “identify opportunities for the sharing of promising              polar bear, caribou and bannock. They also spent time with the Inuit
 practices and culturally appropriate/responsive resources to better meet       community. Here they were able to learn about amauti, sing and drum
 the learning needs of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students” as outlined      with Inuit throat-singers, listen to traditional story-telling, build igloos,
 in the Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework       practise Arctic Winter Games and make traditional tools such as ulus. Our
 Implementation Plan 2014.                                                      students heard first-hand from experienced hunters about the traditional

10   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
All students in Ontario will have knowledge and appreciation of contemporary and traditional
                    First Nation, Métis and Inuit traditions, cultures and perspectives.
                                                                                                     Ontario First Nation, Métis, and
                                                                                             Inuit Education Policy Framework, 2007

                                                                             LEARNING BESIDE EACH OTHER
ways of surviving out on the land in a harsh landscape in unforgiving        Fundamental to the Iqaluit excursion are activities that highlight Reciprocal
weather. They went dog sledding, hiking, visited Hudson Bay Ridge            Teaching. This coincides with the Four Rs of Indigenous education reform
and, during their Arctic College tour, they were invited to a fashion show   and is aligned with our Catholic School Graduate Expectations. Both
hosted by the Fur Design Program.                                            teacher and students are discerning believers formed in the Catholic
                                                                             faith community, intent on participating in the transformation of society.
Students were also able to tour Nunavut’s Legislature. Students              Learning beside each other on a journey to better understand human
engaged in discussions with Elders, professors and politicians around        dignity and equality.
social and geopolitical connections between the developed and
developing parts of Canada. Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna and                In our pursuit of lifelong learning and in an attempt to be responsible
Commissioner and Assistant to Premier, Ed Pico spent time with               citizens embarking on this excursion helped our Non-Indigenous students
our teachers providing first hand insight into some of their current         to better understand from where Indigenous students operate. Significant
challenges. Pre and post learning activities exposed students and staff      learnings came from the visits to Iqaluit schools. Our students facilitated
to the unique contemporary and traditional First Nation, Métis and           fun interactive workshops for elementary students. Through dialogue
Inuit cultures and histories. They were also learned about social justice    and presentations with the secondary students, they compared adolescent
issues and outreach within our own Country.                                  experiences, issues and concerns in the north and south cultures.

                                                                                                    Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   11
BUILDING OUR BRIDGE
                                                                 Through our Iqaluit excursion our students experienced first hand
                                                                 Indigenous sovereignty issues, and the barriers facing Indigenous
                                                                 peoples in education and employment. They heard directly from
                                                                 teachers, students, Elders and government officials about the
                                                                 challenge of maintaining cultural identity while living harmoniously
                                                                 within modern Canadian society. They critically analyzed negative
                                                                 stereotyping of Indigenous peoples and learned how Indigenous
                                                                 identity is closely linked to the physical environment. They have begun
                                                                 to understand Indigenous peoples’ strong relationship to the land.

                                                                 Another significant focus of the project was exploring the need to
                                                                 promote dialogue and reconciliation in the relationship between
                                                                 Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, as well as attempting
                                                                 to understand the historical relationships between Indigenous
                                                                 peoples and the Canadian government and Church. Our students
                                                                 entered into authentic, realistic and sometimes blunt discussions on
                                                                 social, political, and economic issues important to Inuit individuals
                                                                 and communities in Canada. Our days spent at the Iqaluit
                                                                 schools allowed our students to hear from other students about
                                                                 the challenges facing Inuit youth in Canada and contemporary
                                                                 Indigenous education and health issues.

                                                                 Our hope for our students is that they will begin to unravel truth
                                                                 and wholeness of our Canadian history. If we ignore any part of our
                                                                 Canadian history; our history is not complete. As Catholic educators
                                                                 we are called to build these relationships and share with First Peoples
                                                                 of Canada as allies in the pursuit of reconciliation with all Canadians.

                                                                 We believe this type of experiential learning empowers our students
                                                                 with first-hand knowledge so they can act as agents for change
                                                                 in the future. This outreach extends beyond a charity model to
                                                                 understanding the complexities of resources, governance, politics
                                                                 and the global citizenship as steward of our God-given resources.
                                                                 As part of this yearlong project the students built strong positive
                                                                 connections with local First Nations and Northern Inuit groups.

                                                                        Sharing Cultures, Shaping Futures - Nunavut 2015
                                                                        video: bit.ly/1XczPWX

                                                                        TeachOntario Talks multimedia blog
                                                                        www.teachontario.ca/community/explore/
                                                                        teachontario-talks/blog

                                                                        Learn More
                                                                        Capacity Building Series: Cultural Responsive Pedagogy
                                                                        bit.ly/1gnN1hP

                                                                        As Solid Foundation: Second Progress Report on the
                                                                        Implementation of the Ontario FNMI Education Policy Framework
                                                                        www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/ASolidFoundation.pdf

12   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
Pam Garbutt, Principal, St. Timothy Elementary School
Tammy Webster, FNMI Consultant, Waterloo CDSB

       THE METAPHOR OF THE CIRCLE
        Infinite possibilities for leading and learning: the circle in First Nations and Christian cultures

       Without beginning or end, circles commonly represent unity, wholeness and
       infinity. Circles are often seen as protective symbols. For example, standing
       within a circle can shield a person from dangers or influences from the outside.
       The circle itself signifies inclusion, safety and belonging.

        Many of the world’s religions and cultures refer to the symbol        Since the beginning of man, the human experience of real-
        and metaphor of the circle to depict and explain inclusivity          ity and mystery has been linked to the symbol of the circle.
        and equality. In our Catholic tradition, circles are inferred in      The directions on a compass, the positioning of the sun, the
        many faith-based concepts. Christ is worshiped as the Alpha           progression of the seasons, the relationship between the ele-
        and Omega, meaning He is the first and the last, the beginning        ments of life, the earth, sun, water and air, the journey from
        and the end of all creation. Our liturgical year follows a cyclical   life to death, all follow cyclical patterns. The circle itself is
        pattern including the liturgical seasons of Ordinary time, Advent,    a metaphor used to describe all aspects of life and a person’s
        Christmas, Lent and Easter. The most revered of our beliefs, the      unique and yet interconnected role within God’s creation of
        Resurrection cycle and Paschal Mystery connect to the cycle of        the universe.
        dying and rising above our earthly sufferings.

                                                                                                    Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   13
ESS                                    BA
                                                               EDN                                         LA
                                                                                                             NC
                                                              T
                                                            EC                                                 E
                                                                           WEST              NORTH

                                                       N

                                                                                                                     /R
                                                     ON
                                                                       emotional             mental

                                                                                                                       ES
                                                   -C

                                                                                                                         PE
                                                                        personal             cultural

                                                 ER

                                                                                                                           CT
                                              INT
                                                                     generational        epistemological
                                                                         reason            movement
                                                                     "figure it out"          "do it"
                                                                     heart & head           language

                                                                          SOUTH                EAST
                                                                       physical              spiritual
                                                                      ecological        local knowledge
                                                                         time          cultural, worldview
                                                                     "relate to it"           vision
                                                INT

                                                                         land                 "see it"
                                                  ER

                                                                                                                      SS
                                                                                            teachings
                                                    -R

                                                         AT

                                                                                                                     NE
                                                      EL

                                                                                              stories        E
                                                            I   ON                                        OL     H
                                                                     SH                                      W
                                                                          IP

                   Bell, N. (June 2014). Teaching by the Medicine Wheel: An Anishinaabe framework for Indigenous education. Education Canada, vol. 54(3)

          First Nation peoples, recognize the importance of the circle                  Bell’s Medicine Wheel diagram included with this article,
          in much of their teachings. The circular “Medicine Wheel”                     reviews the circle divided into quadrants. These symbolize the
          represents Wakan-Tanka or “The great everything” or universe.                 gifts of the four Directions. In the East, the gift of vision is found,
          The Medicine Wheel is among the oldest of the First Nation                    where one is able to see. In the South, one uses the gift of time in
          traditions and essentially teaches the meaning of life through                which to relate to the vision. In the West, the gift of reasoning is used
          their central belief that promises unending and judicious care for            to figure out the vision. In the North, one uses the gift of movement
          the land and each other.                                                      to do or actualize the vision. (Bell, June 2014) The fourth gift
                                                                                        importantly, involves creating healing and change. Change and
                                                                                        understanding is only possible when the other directions have
         The Medicine Wheel                                                             previously been considered.

          The First Nations concept of medicine is not the same as the                  According to Bell, “Understanding First Nations knowledge
          modern medicine that we think of today. It is not a procedure or              and worldview begins with Medicine Wheel teachings (vision,
          pill that can cure a person’s physical ailment. The First Nations             time, reason, movement ) and the actions of these gifts; see it,
          people refer to medicine as the vital power or force that is inherent         relate to it, figure it out, do it. These actions in turn connect to
          in nature itself and to the personal power within one’s self which            the learning processes of awareness, understanding, knowledge
          can enable one to be whole, complete and well.                                and wisdom. (Bell, June 2014)

            MEDICINE = ENERGY = POWER = KNOWLEDGE                                       First Nations spirituality as depicted in the Medicine Wheel, can
                                                                                        easily be compared to our Catholic faith, tradition and culture.
          It is important to note that the Medicine Wheel can mean many                 We grow and develop in a natural and holistic way, whereby
          things on many levels. It has been said that the grains of sand               teaching and learning are lifelong quests nurturing our mind,
          on the beach can outnumber the teachings and mysteries that                   body and spirit toward understanding God’s purpose and plan
          the wheel or circle can attempt to explain. The Medicine Wheel                for our existence. Catholic social justice teaching calls us to be
          depicts a circle of self-awareness and knowledge that gives one               a visible and active source of healing in the world, connecting
          power over one’s life. Each First Nations clan may have their                 the human mind, body and spirit in deep caring for each other.
          own interpretation of the wheel based on their location. Nicole               Catholic liturgical expression emphasizes the cycle of repentance
          Bell comments, “There is no right or wrong way to represent the               (see), listening to the Word (time), relating the Word to our
          wheel.” The common understanding is that the wheel represents                 lives (reason) and going forth, (movement) to make a positive
          the interconnectedness and interrelatedness, balance, and                     difference in the world in the name of God The Father, The Son
          respect of all things in nature and the universe.                             and The Holy Spirit.

14   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
Circles Forward
The Medicine Wheel, can represent limitless metaphors          Health and Physical Education Curriculum
related to our earthly experience. This is worthy of
consideration and reflection in contrast to our experience
of Catholicism. How can we find personal wellness and
                                                                      Catholic Administrators' Toolkit
wholeness by adopting a mindset that actively seeks, accepts
and connects us to the cycles found within our lives? How
does our spiritual wisdom grow and change throughout our
lives? How can we use our God-given/creator-given gifts
and talents to benefit others on their life journey?

The teachings of the Medicine Wheel in comparison to
the teachings of our Catholic faith offer an educational
framework that can be applied to any spiritual learning
and discernment. Good leaders understand the power
found in the metaphor of the circle. This is because the
fundamental concepts of connectedness, inter-relationship,
balance and respect are valuable for all. (Bell, June 2014)
These values resonate in the hearts of all humans. This is
the place where the mind, body and spirit converge and the
opportunities to learn about oneself are endless.

We are holistic beings seeking understanding and to be
understood. The circle when used in a faith-based con-         This online toolkit will:
text can provide limitless possibilities to celebrate our
sense of self, belonging, power, justice and joy. Catholic     •    Include presentation materials (slides) for
leaders can ref lect on the symbol of the circle when estab-        parents and for educators, responses to
lishing and maintaining a school culture that builds upon           frequently asked questions and a facilitator’s
positivity, inf luence, healing and change. The possibili-          guide with tips and strategies
ties are truly infinite.
                                                               •    Build administrator understanding of the key
Reference:                                                          components and key changes in the curriculum
Bell, N. (June 2014). Teaching by the Medicine Wheel: An
Anishinaabe framework for Indigenous education. Education      •    Support administrator dialogue with parents
Canada, vol. 54(3)
                                                                    (individually or in groups), community partners
                                                                    and Catholic educators about the updated
                                                                    Health and Physical Education curriculum
     Want to go deeper and learn more about
     using circles with students? Check out the                •    Support partnerships between educators and
     following resource:                                            parents to positively impact the health and
                                                                    well-being of all students.
     Boyes-Watson C. and Pranis K. (2015)
     Circles Forward: Building a Restorative School
     Community, Institute for Restorative Justice              This FREE resource is available to all our
     Press, St Paul MN.                                        Associates on www.cpco.on.ca under:
     www.livingjusticepress.org
                                                               Associates ▶ Resources ▶ Health and Physical Ed
      Learn More
                                                               Serve. Advocate. Lead.                       www.cpco.on.ca
      For personal mental wellness and restorative
      practice, see CPCO’s new resource:                                  C AT H O L I C             Box 2325, Suite 3030, 2300 Yonge
                                                                                           ONTARIO

      Starling Minds (Associates only).                                   PRINCIPALS’                Street, Toronto, ON M4P 1E4
       www.cpco.on.ca/starlingminds                                       COUNCIL                    1.888.621.9190 toll free

                                                                                Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   15
Sandra Mudryj, Principal, St. Patrick Catholic School, Toronto CDSB
                                         Dr. Frank Pio, ED.D., Program Support Teacher, Toronto CDSB FMNI Program

                                                             10 STEPS
                                 TO START THE CONVERSATION
     Acknowledging the 500+ year narrative of Canada’s Indigenous people for your Catholic school community

WHERE DO YOU START A MORE THAN 500-YEAR-OLD STORY TO                              church-run boarding schools far from their home communities. In these
BUILD AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY IN A CATHOLIC SETTING?                               schools children endured emotional, physical and sexual abuse, which
                                                                                  has left lasting impacts on Indigenous communities and culture. The last
As school leaders we have a moral imperative to establish tangible steps          residential school in Canada closed in 1996.
to create an inclusive educational community where the narrative can be
heard and shared in a safe and respectful forum. The narrative of Canada’s        As Catholic educators, we must be mindful of the past as we educate our
Indigenous peoples is one of a history of cultural and physical abuse.            students in learning about the narrative of our country’s Indigenous
                                                                                  peoples and how as Canadians we can move forward. Engagement of
This narrative begins with the Royal Proclamation of 1493 by King                 students, parents and staff of First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI)
Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Pope Alexander, through the                background requires us to be conscious of the history and legacy of
Doctrine of Discovery, decrees that non-Christian nations may no longer           Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The pedagogy must be respectful of the
own land in the face of claims made by Christian sovereigns. In effect,           traditions, culture and spirituality of Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous people were placed under the guardianship of Christian
nations. Next is the 1867 British North America Act and the 1876 Indian           The following 10 steps provide examples of how the Toronto Catholic
Act, which further confirmed that Canada’s Indigenous people were under           District School Board (TCDSB) began this conversation, and how
the direct control of the Canadian Federal Government.                            the board has set the direction for acknowledging the narrative of
                                                                                  our FNMI students and sharing of the story of Indigenous peoples in
Through the Indian Act, the government denied Indigenous peoples the              Canada. Central to this is the building of relationships and connections
basic rights that most Canadians take for granted. This was followed              with the FNMI community to help provide schools with the necessary
by the federal government’s removal of Indigenous children from their             resources to engage Catholic school communities in meaningful
communities from 1820 to the 1970s. Indigenous children were placed in            learning experiences.

16   Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2
1. BUILDING COMMUNITY                                                          7. CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
•   Engage in dialogue with family connections within your school              •    Include class activities on topics such as the Blanket ceremony (www.
    community (e.g. parents, students, grandparents) by creating an                 kairosblanketexercise.org), drum and dance presentations, treaties,
    environment where the student sees themselves and their heritage                demystifying false stories, stereotyping and dream catchers.
    both in the school and in the curriculum.                                  •    TCDSB initiated the The Northern Spirit Games in 2007. Each year
•   TCDSB created a poster campaign entitled “I AM…,” which is made                 1800 elementary students from Grades 4, 5 and 6 are hosted by six
    up of a mosaic of current self-identified students in the board and is          high schools. The students participate in traditional First Nations,
    displayed prominently in all schools.                                           Métis and Inuit games, which focus on physical strength, agility
                                                                                    and endurance. This includes a hand drum session led by a FNMI
2. ROLE OF SCHOOL LEADER                                                            Knowledge Keeper. Over 20,000 students have participated over the
•   As school leaders, actively seek out opportunities to participate in            past nine years.
    FNMI ceremonies so that you better understand the intricacies of
    the heritage and cultural traditions (smudging, etc.)                      8. CATHOLICITY & NATIVE SPIRITUALITY
•   TCDSB hosted a CPCO conference in 2012 for Catholic principals             •    Invite storytellers to share FNMI oral tradition and teachings that
    which featured a session entitled “Leading The Instructional                    convey a moral lesson that connects to our Catholic virtues and faith,
    Program: Fostering An Understanding of Aboriginal Perspectives in               incorporating traditional spiritual ceremonies such as smudging.
    An Inclusive School Community.”                                            •    TCDSB is piloting an Elder in Residence Program. Working in
                                                                                    collaboration with community partners, an Elder will identify and
3. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS                                            address topics relevant to the health, including mental health, and
•   To enable teachers to continue the story telling after the experts              well-being of Aboriginal students in our board.
    leave; establish professional development for teachers to ensure that      •    Since 2013 a traditional storyteller has visited elementary and
    the message and community connections are sustainable and viable.               secondary schools across TCDSB.
    This comes through only when you develop a sense of trust with
    community members, which is authentic and respectful.                      9. MENTORSHIP
•   TCDSB has hosted yearly Teacher Symposiums since 2010. Topics              •    Develop mentorship programs for your school that connect to local
    have included FNMI curriculum, teaching and learning, culture and               communities by inviting FNMI members and academic experts
    identity, community and student voices.                                         from OISE, York University, University of Toronto and McMaster
                                                                                    University. Mentors include Elders and mentees who are FNMI
4. RESOURCES                                                                        undergraduate and graduate students, sharing their personal journey
•   Each board is mandated by the ministry to have a FNMI lead teacher              and stories.
    to create a Board Action Plan to obtain funding and resources to           •    A TCDSB school mentorship program started in 2014. In partnership
    support FNMI projects and initiatives. FNMI credit-bearing courses              with OISE/University of Toronto, the TCDSB Aboriginal Mentorship
    also receive direct ministry funding.                                           Program is an opportunity for OISE Aboriginal undergraduate and
                                                                                    graduate students and First Nation Elders to work as peer mentors
5. FNMI PARTNERSHIPS                                                                with students in the classroom from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
•   Foster partnerships with the Aboriginal community by inviting
    Elders and FNMI organizations to develop and lead workshops for            10. OUTSIDE AGENCIES
    teachers and students.                                                     •    Access agencies outside of the FNMI community such as public
•   TCDSB has partnered with members of FNMI communities to                         libraries, the Royal Ontario Museum, The Bata Shoe Museum and
    create opportunities for elementary and secondary school visits on              the Aboriginal Education Office at the Ministry of Education.
    topics that include: History and Treaties; Contemporary Issues of          •    Since 2011 the TCDSB and the Toronto Public Library have hosted a
    FNMI Peoples; Myths; Stereotypes and Misconceptions of FNMI                     series of workshops detailing First Nation, Métis and Inuit Children’s
    Peoples; Protocols; Melding of Traditions and Contemporary Life.                Books for Elementary teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

6. SCHOOL-WIDE ACTIVITIES
•   Introduce tangible initiatives to your school, such as including prayers   As school leaders, we need to work in partnership with the FNMI
    for morning announcements, displays in hallways, and recognition of        community to tell this story to all our students. This narrative varies
    June 21st National Aboriginal Day                                          from region to region and community to community particularly within
•   Since 2010, the TCDSB has hosted National Aboriginal Week with             larger urban settings such as the Greater Toronto Area. The continual and
    FNMI speakers, dancers, storytellers, art exhibitions and music.           collaborative effort requires engagement and input with all stakeholders:
    These events are open to elementary and secondary students,                students, parents, staff and the FNMI community. These 10 steps are just
    teachers, staff and administrators, and provide a forum to showcase        the beginning. It is your role, as the Catholic instructional leader, to ensure
    student work relating to FNMI themes.                                      that the narrative continues, is shared, and becomes part of your school
                                                                               culture and community.

                                                                                                       Principal Connections • Winter 2015 • Volume 19 • Issue 2   17
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