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Think Indigenous – An Initiative Supporting Indigenous Knowledge

The Think Indigenous initiative inspires educators to think about education through an Indigenous knowledge lens.

Chris Scribe is the Executive Director and Board Chair of Think Indigenous, an initiative that seeks to support programs, innovations, and education that focus on Indigenous knowledge. Scribe believes that Indigenous knowledge is “an embodiment of life, it’s all levels of understanding relative to the area in which we live.” Scribe explains that what is needed now is for Indigenous people to create curriculums based on Indigenous knowledge that can be used within our education system. We need to invite our Knowledge Keepers into our classrooms so that traditional  knowledge is valued and honoured. As well, leaders in education need to make room for educators to try Indigenous methods and approaches to learning.

Bringing nēhiyawēwin Home

Learning nēhiyawēwin through language acquisition methods that have informed the success of Bringing nēhiyawēwin Home, a program designed by Belinda Daniels and offered through READ Saskatoon. 

Belinda Daniels, onikanew (she who leads), runs a program through READ Saskatoon called, Bringing nēhiyawēwin Home. The program was born from the idea of learning language in a natural setting by enjoying food at the kitchen table, intergenerationally, with family members. The nēhiyawēwin (Cree) language classes are offered to anyone who wants to learn nēhiyawēwin in Saskatoon and encourages learners of all ages.

Language learners come to the class in a good way by introducing and positioning themselves in the community. The group offers tobacco to the language spirit and follows protocol by saying a prayer and smudging at the beginning of class. By learning Cree around the kitchen table, learners are able to learn food terminology in a coincidental way. Some terms and vocabulary include learning how to ask and say: Are you hungry?; I am hungry; What is this?; this is good; I would like some more; soup, bannock, pop, juice, milk, salad, pizza, etc.

In the classes, Daniels employs three language learning methods which are the direct method, task-based learning, and accelerated second language acquisition. Daniels hopes that her students become intrinsically motivated to bring language home and pass it on to the next generation of nēhiyawēwin language learners. By reclaiming language we work to restore identity, nationhood, and make gains towards sovereignty and self-determination.

4 Seasons of Reconciliation

4 Seasons of Reconciliation is a multi-media teaching unit that promotes a renewed relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians, through transformative multi-media learning.

This educational initiative, developed for secondary, post-secondary and the workplace, incorporates teacher guides, slideshows, videos and films along with engaging online portals.

The reconciliation education resources are produced under the guidance of the ‘4 Seasons of Reconciliation Indigenous Advisory Circle.’  We work in a spirit of collaboration and co-creation with the Indigenous contributors featured throughout our resources and education units.

This resource is available for professional development use and educational purposes in workplaces and education sectors and aims to assist in meetings some of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

For more information, please visit: https://www.reconciliationeducation.ca/.

4 Seasons of Reconciliation was produced by Productions Cazabon in collaboration with First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and with support from FNUniv, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education.

A double major: Management and Itaukei

The University of Fiji offers a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a double major in management and Itaukei (language and traditional knowledge of the Indigenous people of Fiji). Whether in the private or public sector, managers make decisions that have consequences for the land, plants, and both human and non-human animals. Without an understanding of […]

The University of Fiji offers a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a double major in management and Itaukei (language and traditional knowledge of the Indigenous people of Fiji). Whether in the private or public sector, managers make decisions that have consequences for the land, plants, and both human and non-human animals. Without an understanding of all the relationships, managers can make decisions beneficial here but deleterious there.

First Nations Technical Institute

First Nations owned and operated post-secondary education institution.

First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) is a First Nation owned and governed educational institute specializing in applying Indigenous knowledge to both formal and informal learning experiences. Many of our programs and services are delivered at locations across Ontario. For more than 30 years, FNTI has played an essential role in making post-secondary education relevant for Indigenous students and communities. We work closely with our partners to build unique, cutting-edge Indigenous learning experiences and environments.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut

Inuit educational and cultural institution

Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) is a silattuqsarvik (Inuktitut for “a place and time to become wise”), dedicated to providing Inuit youth with unique cultural and academic learning experiences that will allow them to develop the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes needed to contribute to the building of Nunavut. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the school gives urban Inuit a place to learn and prepare for other post-secondary or professional opportunities.

Tungasuvvingat Inuit – Education Support Program

Inuit Education Support Program

Tungasuvvingat Inuit – Education Support Program
o The goal of the Education Support Program is to provide supports and resources to Inuit learners in the Ottawa, Ontario region. Included in programming are skills-based learning opportunities, social events, cultural sensitivity training if needed at post-secondary institutions and emotional guidance. They work with Indigenous centres on campus to provide the necessary supports and knowledge to encourage the success of Inuit students. Some programming within the organization has outdoor activities and interactions with the land in the surrounding area. The program supports Inuit students throughout the academic calendar year while they study at local post-secondary institutions. The education support programming offered is for all Inuit learners aged 18-30’s and their families in the Ottawa area.

Is there a website for more information? What is it?
o http://tungasuvvingatinuit.ca/

Tłı̨chǫ Government

John B Zoe, Senior Advisor with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, talks about the importance of Tłı̨chǫ traditional knowledge, Land, Language and Culture. John also sits as the Chairperson of Dedats’eetsaa: the Tłı̨chǫ Research & Training Institute.

John B Zoe, Senior Advisor with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, talks about the importance of Tłı̨chǫ traditional knowledge, Land, Language and Culture. John also sits as the Chairperson of Dedats’eetsaa: the Tłı̨chǫ Research & Training Institute.

Executive Director of Niagara Regional Native Centre (NRNC) – Walking in Two Worlds

Chris Shawanoo speaks about the role of the Niagara Regional Native Centre (NRNC) in providing holistic educational opportunities to the Niagara Region urban Indigenous community. He also speaks about NRNC’s partnership with the Catholic District School Board to start up Soaring Eagles Indigenous school as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “Calls to Action”. Chris uses personal stories and teachings throughout this talk to illustrate the wholistic education model of NRNC’s womb to grave services and to answer questions about Indigenous education.

Chris Shawanoo speaks about the wholistic programming provided by NRNC to urban Indigenous community members as well as the start of the Indigenous school Soaring Eagles. Chris uses personal stories and passes down teachings given to him to illustrate the importance of a wholistic education and a western education. Walking in two worlds involves cultural revitalization to ground an individual to a strong identity while providing culturally sensitive educational opportunities to combat systemic oppression, colonization, and poverty. Recognition is given to the importance of a non-western education as well as the importance of language revitalization.

Indigenous Cultural Arts Engagement

Holly Rae Yuzicapi uses Indigenous cultural art techniques as a tool for teaching Indigenous history and culture, connecting to identity, personal expression, and defining relationships to the land.

Holly Rae Yuzicapi is a proud Dakota/Lakota woman from the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation in southern Saskatchewan. She is an instructor of cultural arts, traditional food, and traditional games, facilitating workshops for all ages throughout Canada and the United States. Her workshops are predominantly offered to schools, from early elementary to high school, and have been adapted for teacher professional development engagements.

The cultural arts workshops are offered over the course of several classes so that students understand the history of both culture and art, establish their own connection with what they are learning, and to ensure their spirit is engaged while their mind and body are expressing themselves through art. In her workshops, she focuses on cultural parallels instead of cultural differences and discusses six common elements of culture: language, kinship, process and transferring of traditional knowledge, connection to the environment, ceremonies and celebrations, and forms of expression.

For Yuzicapi, it is essential that individuals come to understand their identity and cultural art engagements offer a gateway to connecting identities to art forms of expression. She harvests traditional and natural materials like: porcupine quills, fish scales, and moose hair for quillwork, beadwork, and embroidery. Yuzicapi’s workshops enhance school programs by using art to build cross-cultural understanding while being infused with Indigenous history and art.