National Gathering for Indigenous Education

Workshops

Transforming Education through Reconciliation
At this annual gathering, we bring together educators and partners from across the country to share their experiences and strategies for educating K-12 Indigenous students.

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Indspire reserves the right to substitute workshop sessions as deemed necessary.

DAY 1/DAY 2

SESSION A
Thursday, November 8 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
(Click on each topic to view description)

Conversation Circles provide an opportunity for networking. Participants will gather and engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers on topics relevant to K-12 Indigenous education. Topics that have been submitted during the registration will be selected prior to the event and attendees can select which session they would like to attend. Topics can also be seen in the EventMobi App when the National Gathering begins. Participants are encouraged to select the conversation circle that they are interested in for an opportunity to network with conference attendees from across the country.

This presentation covers how one school district increased Indigenous student success with a tiered support framework. It will cover four themes:

  1. Mental: How partnerships increased outcomes and improved educators’ understanding of colonialism, residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  2. Emotional: Explaining the community liaison support model, parent engagement strategies and student mentorship programs.
  3. Physical: How schools can integrate land-based learning such as hide tanning, engage students in service-learning initiatives and support a focus on graduation from junior kindergarten onward.
  4. Spiritual: How to integrate cultural teaching into the classroom, connect with Elders, and increase access to culturally relevant resources.

Hayley Christen, Coordinator, First Nations, Métis and Inuit learning Services, Red Deer Public Schools, Alberta
Brian St. Germain, Teacher, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning Services, Red Deer Public Schools, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Hayley Christen is a coordinator with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Learning Services, past president of the Council for Inclusive Education, the central representative for the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council and a vice-principal and a teacher for over 20 years. Hayley works to create culturally inclusive schools for Indigenous students.

Brian St. Germain is an award-winning teacher for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning Services with Red Deer Public Schools with over 35 years’ experience. Brian is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and is also Cree. Brian presents on history, cultural teachings, residential schools, treaties and inter-generational trauma.

Selected by Indspire as a Successful Practice: Showcasing Strategies that Work project

This presentation shares the success of an innovative pilot project from Conne River, Miawpukek First Nation, Newfoundland, to bring an Olympic wrestling program into the community. The combination of physical activity and the traditional roles of wrestling in some Canadian Indigenous cultures has produced extremely positive results, improving physical and mental wellbeing among Indigenous youth in the communities where it has been implemented. Learn about the importance of sport in improving educational and health outcomes, the benefits of Olympic wrestling in particular, and how to create different sport programs to match the wants and needs of different communities.

Dustin Silvey, PhD Student, Memorial University of Newfoundland, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Dustin Silvey is a PhD student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and currently resides in Victoria, BC. His research focuses on the impacts that sports have on Indigenous youths’ physical and mental health. He is currently working with Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation and the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops to create an Olympic wrestling program.

Learn how one school district aims for all children to understand Aboriginal world views and perspectives. Knowing the truth of who students are and where they come from sets the stage for reconciliation. Understand how the district uses digital technology to support educators and keep in mind this quote from then Justice Murray Sinclair: “Education is what got us into this mess and education will get us out of it.” Participants will learn the foundations and elements that needed to be in place, including a tour of the district’s website used to support teachers and students in the work of Truth and Reconciliation.

Leona Prince, District VP of Aboriginal Education, School District No. 91, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Leona Prince is a member of the Lake Babine Nation and belongs to the Likh Tsa Mis Yu (Beaver) Clan. She the district Vice-Principal of Aboriginal Education and her focus is on language revitalization, curriculum, and supporting educators in a time of Truth and Reconciliation. Leona is a participant of the Indspire Peer Support program.

Speaker Bio

This presentation provides an overview of a partner-research project, between the Calgary Board of Education and Werklund School of Education, the University of Calgary, and Alberta Education, examining the implementation of the new early childhood educational program for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. The study explored the impact on student achievement and overall well-being of the integrated, culturally-responsive environment at the Niitsitapi Learning Centre in Calgary. Presenters evaluate how the program weaved community-based, community-driven participatory research and Indigenous methodologies, and the best practice in reconciliation through education, early education and holistic education.

Michelle Ranger, Principal, Calgary Board of Education, Alberta
Dianne Roulson, Director, Calgary Board of Education, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Michelle Ranger is a Métis educator whose homeland is St. Laurent Manitoba. Her career has been devoted to Indigenous education. She is currently the principal of the Aboriginal Learning Centre in Calgary. She was previously principal and assistant principal of Piitoayis Family School and a learning leader with the local board’s Aboriginal Education Team.

Dr. Dianne Roulson was born and raised in Calgary and has roots in northern Saskatchewan. She is a Learning Director with the Calgary Board of Education in curriculum, assessment and Indigenous Education with 29 years-experience. Over the past 6 years her work with the board’s Elder Advisory Council has had a profound impact on her life and career.lo.

Come explore the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s suite of Indigenous education resources. During this participatory session, attendees will explore a giant map of Canada with no colonial borders, discover the 18 activities that dive deeper into a number of issues – from climate change to original place names – and access a host of online resources. The giant maps (8m x 11m) are available to borrow free of charge to schools in Canada – this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Sara Black, Manager, Education Programs, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Ottawa, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Sara Black is the manager of education programs with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. For the past 5 years Sara has been working with Canadian teachers to develop engaging and accessible programs for k-12 teachers in the subjects of geography and social studies. As a certified teacher in Ontario, she is passionate about getting students outside doing fieldwork and inspiring students to explore the world around them and beyond. She currently resides on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation.

This presentation illustrates how the North Vancouver School District is working with staff, students, and the community to build relationships and improve education of colonial history that allows all members of the community to better understand how they can move forward with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The presentation focuses on the challenges of changing a system that is entrenched in a Western point of view and strategies to create change within the system and integrate an Indigenous worldview into education. The presentation concentrates on how educators can drive systemic change within their schools and districts.

Brad Baker, District Principal, North Vancouver School District #44, British Columbia
Stephanie Maki, Aboriginal Success Teacher, North Vancouver School District #44, British Columbia
Chris Atkinson, Assistant Superintendent, North Vancouver School District #44, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Brad Baker is a proud member of the Squamish Nation, who carries the ancestral name Tsnomot, which he shares with his late grandfather and father. Brad is an award-winning educator with 24-years of experience. He is currently a District Principal in North Vancouver with portfolios of Aboriginal Education and Safe Schools.

Stephanie Maki has been teaching for 22 years in the North Vancouver School District. She currently works as an Aboriginal Academic Support Teacher and Aboriginal Secondary Resource Teacher. She holds a Masters of Education in Leadership: Indigenous Education. Stephanie has contributed to many curriculum initiatives, including co-authoring materials for the National Film Board.

Chris Atkinson empowers others to grow and learn through his openness and experience in creating pedagogical dialogue, which serves the North Vancouver School District well as it strives to provide the best educational system for its students. Chris has recently focused on Aboriginal education as he works to become a better educator.

In this session, Adam Ambrozy will share two teaching resources developed to engage Junior High students in education through reconciliation. The first resource is a 5-lesson plan series with additional resources to assist in the teaching of Secret Path by Gord Downie. The second resource is a 5-lesson plan series that can be used in the teaching of all Junior High Students about the Moose Hide Campaign, which is a nation-wide grassroots movement to raise awareness and end violence against Indigenous women. Participants will learn how to use Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy to teach students about culture, building healthy relationships, and social justice.

Adam Ambrozy, Teacher Consultant – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education, Edmonton Public Schools, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Adam Ambrozy is currently working as a teacher consultant for the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Unit with Edmonton Public Schools. He spent the previous 5 years teaching Social Studies and Aboriginal Studies at Centre High School in Edmonton. He has worked in several First Nations communities in Alberta.

SESSION B
Thursday, November 8 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(Click on each topic to view description)

Conversation Circles provide an opportunity for networking. Participants will gather and engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers on topics relevant to K-12 Indigenous education. Topics that have been submitted during the registration will be selected prior to the event and attendees can select which session they would like to attend. Topics can also be seen in the EventMobi App when the National Gathering begins. Participants are encouraged to select the conversation circle that they are interested in for an opportunity to network with conference attendees from across the country.

This presentation leads participants through The Brain Architecture Game, an experience that builds understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development. Using pipe cleaners and straws that represent positive or negative experiences during early childhood development, the goal is to build a brain that is as tall as possible, which represents functionality, and as sturdy as possible, which represents the brain’s ability to withstand stresses. Weights are then hung from the “brains” to test whether they can handle the stressors of life. Afterward, groups discuss how experiences strengthened or weakened the architecture of their developing brains.

Sandra Sharp, Indigenous Social Studies Consultant, Edmonton Catholic School District, Alberta
Erin Reid, Indigenous Language Arts Consultant, Edmonton Catholic School District, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Sandra Sharp has been with the Edmonton Catholic School District for 13 years. She is currently the Indigenous Social Studies Consultant at Indigenous Learning Services. She has taught in regular classrooms and district programs, used modular and on-line tools, and worked in teacher-support roles. Sandra is Métis and has worked extensively with the Indigenous population.

Erin Reid is the Indigenous Literacy Consultant with Edmonton Catholic Schools and a proud member of the Métis Nation. Erin has 20 years of teaching experience and has published in the areas of digital storytelling, 3D printing in classrooms, and mentorship. She holds a Master’s Degree from Royal Roads University.

Selected by Indspire as a Successful Practice: Showcasing Strategies that Work project

Spirit Bear and Children Make History is an illustrated children’s book about a landmark human rights case for First Nations children at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In January 2016, nine years after the case was filed, the Tribunal ruled that the government of Canada was racially discriminating against 165,000 First Nations children by underfunding child welfare and failing to provide equitable public services. Learn how books like this one can help educators tell this important story in an age- and culturally-appropriate fashion.

Jennifer King, Reconciliation and Policy Coordinator, First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Jennifer King is Anishinaabe from the Wasauksing First Nation. She has worked in research, policy, and public engagement in support of Indigenous women and children for over 10 years. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in social work and is passionate about the role of education and research in promoting justice, equity, and meaningful reconciliation.

Song and dance are more than performance arts and leisure activities in First Nations cultures — they are integral to ceremonial and social acts. The Saskatoon Public Schools’ Indigenous Ensemble is an extracurricular program that provides students with an opportunity to participate in their culture. It allows students to build knowledge and skills in First Nations and Métis traditional and contemporary music, song, dance, storytelling, and traditional arts. The ensemble’s performances for other students and the greater community are a way for students to share their learning and the cultures of First Nations and Métis peoples. This presentation examines the step-by-step development of this program.

Don Speidel Reconciliation and Policy Coordinator, First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Don Speidel has been active on the powwow circuit as a dancer, singer, public speaker and Master of Ceremonies. As a facilitator of cross cultural awareness, Don celebrates First Nations people through the preforming arts. He works with the Saskatoon Public School Division to ensure its programming is inclusive of First Nations and Métis cultures.

An urban alternative school in Kingston, Ontario is promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students through culturally-infused, place-based learning projects. This presentation examines three of the projects carried out at the site using artifacts, pictures, video, and student voice. Projects are cross-curricular, incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and learning and are developed in collaboration with the school, Indigenous partners, and community organizations. Participants garner insight into how project-based learning is beneficial to all students, increases engagement, and builds a mutually respectful and understanding school community. Presenters share how to integrate Indigenous focused project and inquiry-based learning into cross-curricular subject areas.

Kelly Maracle, Indigenous Student Support & Engagement Teacher, Limestone District School Board, Ontario
Mike Payne, Head Teacher-Katarokwi Learning Centre, Limestone District School Board, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Kelly Maracle is Mohawk from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Kelly is the Indigenous Student Support and Engagement Teacher at the Katarokwi Learning Centre. She has worked in Indigenous education for 15 years and has experience teaching on-reserve and in urban settings. She is working towards her Master of Education in Aboriginal and World Indigenous Education Studies at Queen’s University.

Mike Payne has a teaching degree from Queen’s University.  He has worked with the Katarokwi Aboriginal School and is currently the head teacher of the Katarokwi Learning Centre in Kingston, Ontario.  Mike has 8 years of experience working with Indigenous partners to develop and implement Indigenous programming for Indigenous students.

Sponsored by TD Bank Group
Indigenous youth continue to participate in an education system that does not recognize or accredit their inherent knowledge of self and place. More specifically, the school system often ignores the fact Indigenous peoples have always had STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Arts knowledge in their communities. There continues to be a lack of STEM related courses within the education system that reflect Indigenous ways of knowing through land based learning. This session will share how Actua’s InSTEM program has aligned these two knowledges by creating partnerships with communities, school boards and universities to delivery programs that contribute to improved educational outcomes for Indigenous students. Presenters share the programs development process, successes, examples of course material, and tools to help educators integrate Indigenous knowledge with curricula.

Doug Dokis, Senior Advisor/National InSTEM Program, Actua, ON
Noreen Demeria, Manager/National InSTEM Program, Actua, ON

Speaker Bio
Doug Dokis, the InSTEM Senior Advisor at Actua, is a member of the Dokis Anishinabek Nation in northern Ontario. Doug has over 25 years’ working for, and advocating on behalf of, Indigenous peoples. His primary focus has been systemic change by developing and advancing educational programming in support of Indigenous youth and communities.

Noreen Demeria is Anishnabe from Rolling River First Nation in Manitoba and holds a BA in Humanities from the University of Calgary. Noreen is currently enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Masters of Education program, “A Call to Action” — a program developed in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Description

First Name & Last Name, Role, Location, Province. 

Speaker Bio

Classrooms across the country are teaching and including Indigenous voices and history. Young students are increasingly engaged. But are the adults in school boards, school councils, or ministries changing? Non-Indigenous administrators and educators in Ontario often hesitate to accept an Indigenous approach to education because they fail to understand the “verbiage” of Indigenous conversations. Words such as ‘decolonization, privilege and reconciliation’ are too academic and complex. We therefore must create a baseline of understanding. This workshop will ask small groups to unpack and share tangible changes to language, policies and practices to create that shared language and understanding.

Terri Bradshaw, CEO, Inclusive Voices Incorporated, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan is of Kanien’keha and British descent. Her family originates from Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario. An archaeologist, educator, sociologist, public policy writer and inter-cultural planner, she has spent the last 25 years focused on social justice for racialized communities and individuals around the world.

The concept of Indigenous design has evolved in recent years, moving beyond the scope of the building form and now goes deeper to ask: what does an Indigenous school need to look like? How can we use traditional knowledge to shape the physical environment to align with the principles of truth and reconciliation? 21st Century Learning is an emerging design approach that recognizes that every space in a school can offer a learning opportunity. This workshop seeks to engage participants by discussing what barriers the western physical classroom poses to Indigenous education, and what challenges design might be able to address.

Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, Intern Architect, Manasc Isaac, Alberta
Claudia Yehia-Alaeddin, Project Architect, Manasc Isaac, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Tiffany Shaw-Collinge is an architect who has worked with a number of Indigenous schools. Tiffany is also a Métis artist who is currently part of the Insurgence/Resurgence Exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is completing a public art piece in Edmonton’s Indigenous Art Park, and is a founding member of the Ociciwan Collective.

Claudia Yehia-Alaeddin
 is a registered architect with extensive experience in the planning and design of educational facilities, specializing in 21st Century Learning. Claudia is a Past President of the Alberta Chapter of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) and was instrumental in the development of A4LE’s “School of the Future” initiative across Alberta.

This interactive presentation details the early-years oral language program developed by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Sprig Learning. This holistic program takes a comprehensive view of a child’s oral language development by gathering data from multiple perspectives (child, parent, teacher and Elder) and across multiple places of learning (home, school, community and land). Overall, this holistic learning program turns ‘data into action’ by using a mobile tablet to assess students and share those insights with educators and parents. The program also includes a series of storybooks — in both English and Mi’kmaw — that help Indigenous and non-Indigenous students learn about Mi’kmaw teachings and history.

Blaire Gould, Mi’kmaw Language Coordinator, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Nova Scotia
Jarrett Laughlin, CEO, Sprig Learning, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Blair Gould is a Mi’kmaw from Eskasoni First Nation and currently works for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) as the Mi’kmaw Language Coordinator.  As a Mi’kmaw speaker, Blaire has worked on language revitalization and survival with Mi’kmaw communities as well as organizations such as Nova Scotia’s Department of Education, Tripartite, Cape Breton University, and St. Francis Xavier University.

Jarrett Laughlin has been engaged in education research and policy development for 20 years. He has worked for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Canadian Council on Learning, Ontario Ministry of Education, and most recently founded his own education technology company, Sprig Learning, which takes a holistic approach to turn research into action.

SESSION C
Thursday, November 8 2:45 P.m. – 3:45 p.m.
(Click on each topic to view description)

Conversation Circles provide an opportunity for networking. Participants will gather and engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers on topics relevant to K-12 Indigenous education. Topics that have been submitted during the registration will be selected prior to the event and attendees can select which session they would like to attend. Topics can also be seen in the EventMobi App when the National Gathering begins. Participants are encouraged to select the conversation circle that they are interested in for an opportunity to network with conference attendees from across the country.

Saskatoon Public Schools is walking toward Reconciliation by developing professional learning opportunities for administration. The goal is to provide administrators with the skills, knowledge, and experience to share that learning with colleagues and change the shape of education for Indigenous students in their schools. This presentation shares the holistic model of professional development in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan Professor, Verna St. Dennis. Participants hear stories about partnerships, engage in experiences, and learn about the model of professional development employed at Saskatoon Public Schools and how to integrate social justice leadership into their own programs.

Deighan Remoundos, Consultant and Teacher, Saskatoon Public Schools, Saskatchewan
Rita Bouvier, Consultant First Nations Inuit and Métis Education, Saskatchewan
Alisa Favel
, Educational Consultant, Saskatoon Public Schools, Saskatchewan

Speaker Bio

Deighan Remoundos has worked for Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) for 12 years.  She is currently a Vice Principal at Greystone Heights School and was previously an Instructional Consultant, Literacy Coach, and Teacher with SPS.  Deighan has a Masters in Curriculum Studies and will complete a Masters in Educational Technology and Design.

Rita Bouvier is a “retired” Métis educator who has served (and continues to serve) in various leadership capacities locally, nationally and internationally. Among other honours, she was awarded the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Arbos Award for her contribution to the teaching profession and received the 2014 Indspire Award for Education.

Alisa Favel is Nakota woman from the White Bear First Nation.  She is a mother of three wonderful children and has taught for 12 years. She has spent two years with the Social Justice Disposition Committee while working in the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Unit with Saskatoon Public Schools as an Educational Consultant.

This presentation covers how a holistic approach to teaching that integrates Indigenous culture benefits all students, including those with special needs. It discusses the power of the Talking Circle to build a healthy, safe environment in the classroom and transcends all aspects of the shared experience with students. This is a time to celebrate how we can shift our classrooms. Come and experience the beautiful story of holistic education in a school with a 40 per cent Indigenous population in a city that has some of the worst statistics in Ontario. When we value, honour, and nurture the holistic child, the possibilities are endless….and math? Let’s talk about it!

Suzie Miller,
Indigenous Instructional Coach, Grand Erie District School Board, Ontario
Kelly Tully-Herron, Grade 5/6 Classroom Teacher, Grand Erie District School Board, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Suzie Miller is an Indigenous Instructional Coach with Grand Erie District School Board who shares Indigenous/Haudenosaunee Teachings and ways of knowing in elementary classrooms. She conducts Talking Circles, modelling and promoting respectful classroom conversations. She has received many awards as a Peace Building Community member at Six Nations and surrounding communities.

Kelly Tully-Herron is an Anishinaabe teacher with the Grand Erie District School Board. She has been teaching since 2010, her third career. Kelly brings many gifts to her classroom, the most effective being her open stance to learning and her holistic approach. Kelly embraces Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy and is working toward becoming a demonstration classroom.

Reconciliation is good work – and it is hard work. It requires that we know ourselves, know the land, and know the people of the land where we live. It requires that we know our collective history, that we can imagine a better future and that each and everyone of us get into the canoe and go forth with courage. In this session, come prepared to explore three simple steps to begin the journey of transformation. Participants will learn how to begin reconciliation through education and leave with ways to include Indigenous pedagogy and content into their classrooms.

Denise Augustine, Director of Aboriginal Education and Learner Engagement, School

Speaker Bio

Denise Augustine MEd, is the Director of Aboriginal Education and Learner Engagement for SD79 Cowichan.  Drawing on the knowledge and experiences of her First Nations community and family, and with over 25 years experience as an educator, Denise carefully weaves story and research together.

Selected by Indspire as a Nurturing Capacity: Building Community Success project

Conseil scolaire catholique Providence has made a conscious effort to embrace its Indigenous students – both to answer to the Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to create French-language resources and programming. Educators used three main measures of success: whether there was an academic impact, whether there was an emotional impact, and whether students were likely to identify as Indigenous. Learn how this shift in attitude and the inclusion of Indigenous programming in French-language education have led to increased self-identification and improved school performance for most Indigenous children in Conseil scolaire catholique Providence.

Monique Castonquay, Directrice de l’éducation autochtone, Conseil scolaire catholique Pr, Ontario
Jeffrey Wood
Charles Daviau

Speaker Bio

Monique Castonquay
is the director of Indigenous education at the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence in Windsor, Ontario. She self-identifies as Métis and her great-grandmothers were Abennake and Wendat. Her work in education has fostered positive learning environments teaching experiences in elementary, middle and high schools.

Please note: This is a double session, you must also attend session D6 for Part II.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) is an interactive learning experience that teaches Indigenous rights history. Developed in response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the KBE covers over 500 years of history in a one-and-a-half-hour participatory workshop. In 1996, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, which became part of KAIROS in 2001, worked with Indigenous elders and teachers to develop the exercise. It has since been offered thousands of times to tens of thousands of people from all walks of life in Canada and internationally.

Ed Bianchi, Program Manager, KAIROS, Ottawa, ON

Speaker Bio

The Circle of Courage program aims to provide students with opportunities to develop four areas: belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. In this session, leadership students lead groups of participants through one of the four areas of the Circle of Courage. They present how they have gained knowledge from cultural activities, connection with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, public speaking, school projects and activities, and community involvement. The students share how the Circle of Courage program has supported them in their family life, culture, education, and community. The presentation also provides practical skills and techniques to create safe environments where students build resilience.

Veronica Graff, Indigenous Advisor, M.E LaZerte High School, Alberta
Student Presenters: Jalisa Taypotat, Sharelle Emery, Kyle Woods, Jared Pruden

Speaker Bio

Veronica Graff  began her education journey in 1982 in the Social Work program at the Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. She currently works for the Edmonton Public School District as an Indigenous Advisor. In that role, Veronica has successfully implemented the Circle of Courage framework in the two schools.

This presentation details the formation of the Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS) and its evolution from the work of the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc. (MFNERC). The MFNSS is the first of its kind in Canada – a First Nations-designed school system that parallels provincial school districts or divisions, yet provides an education system that is culturally appropriate and reflects the unique needs of participating First Nations. The presentation explains the background, the historical developments in Manitoba First Nations education, the development of the MFNERC to provide coordinated services to Manitoba’s First Nations schools, and the challenges and successes of the MFNSS in its first year.

Nora Murdock, Director of Instructional Services, Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre, Manitoba
Shirley Fontaine, Policy Research Analyst, Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre, Manitoba

Speaker Bio

Dr. Nora Murdock is the Director of Instructional Services for the Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS). She is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation and has worked as a vice-principal, principal, and as a director of education. Dr. Murdock holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Manitoba.

Shirley Fontaine is a PhD candidate and Ojibwe from the Ebb and Flow First Nation in Manitoba. Fontaine is the Policy Research Analyst for the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc, which she was instrumental in founding. Fontaine is also a member of the Assembly of First Nations National Indian Education Council.

By providing culturally-relevant curriculum and teaching a school of belonging, educators can meet the needs of every child who walks through the front door. At one Manitoba school, events like a school pow wow, feasts, information sessions, classroom visits, artwork, posters in the hallways, support from mentors and elders, and daily lesson plans creates a community of acceptance where students thrive. The transformation of education can only be done by changing daily practices and pedagogy, and this presentation explores best practices from one school that takes a holistic approach to education. Presenters explore how every place of learning can become a school of belonging.

Lola Thunderchild, Education Assistant, Virden Juniior High/ Canupawakpa Dakota Nation, Manitoba
Don Nahachewsky, Virden Junior High Principle, Fort La Bosse School Division, Manitoba

Speaker Bio

Lola Thunderchild is a Dakota Wiyan (Dakota Woman) who has worked as an educational assistant, infusing and balancing language, history and culture for learners, since 2006. She hosts various annual cultural events to give people a better understanding of where Indigenous people come from to reduce stereotyping and misunderstanding of our history.

As a school administrator, Don Nahachewsky provides leadership and support for the staff and students of his school. He continually seeks ways to enhance and progress the learning environment for every student. Because of this, he fosters a very healthy relationship between the Dakota Community of Canupawakpa and his school

SESSION D
Thursday, November 8 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(Click on each topic to view description)

Conversation Circles provide an opportunity for networking. Participants will gather and engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers on topics relevant to K-12 Indigenous education. Topics that have been submitted during the registration will be selected prior to the event and attendees can select which session they would like to attend. Topics can also be seen in the EventMobi App when the National Gathering begins. Participants are encouraged to select the conversation circle that they are interested in for an opportunity to network with conference attendees from across the country.

This presentation highlights how staff, students, and parents are moving forward in an increasingly positive and supportive relationship with local First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in the Vancouver area. The presentation examines practical ways in which each of the schools are moving along the continuum of awareness, atonement, and action under the principles of Truth and Reconciliation. Through oral storytelling and visuals, participants will learn simple, yet important, ways of how our schools are Indigenizing the curriculum and supporting Indigenous ways of knowing. Presenters share the highlights and the challenges that have arisen and encourage participants to reflect on their own journeys.

Sanj Johal, Principal, North Vancouver School District, British Columbia
Rob Smyth, Principal, North Vancouver School District, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Sanj Johal has been in education for 15 years in North Vancouver School District. He is currently the principal of Ecole Sherwood Park Elementary, which is proudly connected to the Tsleil Waututh Nation. He is part of the District Aboriginal Education Committee, which, among other things, looks to improve graduation rates among Indigenous youth.

Rob Smyth is the Principal of Norgate Xwemélch’stn Community Elementary School in the North Vancouver School District, a learning community that has a strong relationship with the Squamish Nation. He is part of the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee and presented at the 2016 FNESC Conference. He self-identifies as Indigenous and has Cree Ancestry.

Recently, in a Traditional Naming Ceremony, the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations along with the North Vancouver School District and Simon Fraser University, stood together to name a new Graduate Program in Indigenous Education: Education for Reconciliation. This two-year graduate program, a co-imagining and co-creation of a reciprocal learning pathway for teachers and Indigenous community members, is facilitating a resurgence of Indigenous ways of knowing and being as well as pedagogies through the sharing of Indigenous knowledge, cultural practices, histories and language revitalization. This session presents the program’s progress and learnings to begin a larger dialogue about transforming education through reconciliation.

Vicki Kelly, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
Paula Rosehart, Academic Coordinator, Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education, Field Programs, at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Vicki Kelly is an associate professor at Simon Fraser University with a focus on Indigenous Education: Education for Reconciliation and Healing. Her research includes: Indigenous epistemologies, art as an Indigenous Knowledge Practice and as a site for activism; Métissage as inquiry and curriculum; and place-based performance and art as inquiry.

Paula Rosehart, Ph.D., is the Graduate Diploma in Education, Field Programs, Academic Coordinator, at Simon Fraser University. Her area of interest is teacher professional learning. Her research includes ‘somataphorical inquiry’ as a methodology to inquire into ways of being, relating, expressing and educating.

What are some key beliefs and values that shape the world view of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta? This workshop is designed to be an introduction to some basic Indigenous world views, cultural beliefs, and values using the framework of reconciliation (awareness, acknowledgement, atonement, and action). Participants will be led through various learning activies and explore how cultural ways of knowing influence our values, attitudes, and actions. Activities may include the Bone-Pull Game, the Moose Short Story, the Human Medicine Wheel, the Anishinabek Seven Teachings, and more.

Crystal Clark, Walking Together Consultant, Alberta Teachers’ Association: Walking Together Project, Alberta
Melissa Purcell, Executive Staff Officer, Alberta Teachers’ Association: Walking Together Project, Alberta
Shannon Loutitt, Walking Together Program Consultant, Alberta Teachers’Association: Walking Together Project, Alberta

Speaker Bio

In her teaching career, Crystal Clark has worked with the Tsimshian Nation in Lax Kw’Alaams, British Columbia, and with the Saulteaux/Cree of O’Chiese First Nation in Alberta. Along with teaching, she has experience as a Vice Principal and First Nations Student Success Program coordinator. She also has a Masters of Educational Technology.

Melissa Purcell is an Executive Staff Officer, Professional Development, Indigenous Education with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and is the team lead for the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation project.  She is passionate and committed to building capacity in Indigenous education, culture and language and is always excited to share her learnings with others.

Shannon Loutitt is on secondment to the Alberta Teachers’ Association from Fort McMurray Public School District.  Shannon grew up in Northern Alberta learning about her Métis heritage. At five, she wanted to become the first “Native Lady Prime Minister.” Although this might not happen, she is excited to be part of the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation project.

Selected by Indspire as a Nurturing Capacity: Building Community Success project

Ehpewapahk Alternate School is a high school for students who are struggling personally or academically in a mainstream setting. It is located in Treaty 6 territory within the Ermineskin Cree Nation. The school weaves restorative practices with strong cultural connections that honour local Indigenous knowledge systems. It employs an alternative pedagogical approach to reach students from the age of 14 to 20, and data shows clear evidence of how Indigenous educational practices in Ehpewapahk have made a difference in the lives of learners and their families. This workshop provides an overview of alternative education, how restorative practices can be implemented in school settings, and how data that can be utilized to identify school growth.

Wendy Solland, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Maskwacis Education Schools Commission, Alberta
Shauna Bruno, Researcher, Maskwacis, Alberta

Speaker Bio

Wendy Solland is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Maskwacis Education Schools Commission. She has worked as a teacher, school counsellor, principal, and director over the last 18 years in Maskwacis. Wendy believes in meeting student needs using the core value of wahkohtowin.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) is an interactive learning experience that teaches Indigenous rights history. Developed in response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the KBE covers over 500 years of history in a one-and-a-half-hour participatory workshop. In 1996, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, which became part of KAIROS in 2001, worked with Indigenous elders and teachers to develop the exercise. It has since been offered thousands of times to tens of thousands of people from all walks of life in Canada and internationally.

Ed Bianchi, Program Manager, KAIROS, Ottawa, ON

Speaker Bio

In an effort to create capacity for sharing and revitalizing our language in our community, this presentation helps educators follow the lead of FirstVoices.com and create a language webpage that shares the teachings from the classroom with the community. In this session, participants will be given an overview of the short and free process of creating their own website and expanding it to fit their needs. It is a working session in which participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops and begin to explore and create the process of using technology to create their own language resources.

Jordan Williams, Carrier Language Teacher, School District No. 91, British Columbia
Leona Prince, District VP of Aboriginal Education, School District No. 91, British Columbia

Speaker Bio

Jordan Williams is a member of the Lake Babine Nation and has lived in Woyenne for most of his life. His first language is Carrier, which was taught to him by his parents. Through the matriarchal system, he belongs to his mother’s clan, the Bear Clan. He is currently a Language Teacher in Burns Lake, British Columbia.

Leona Prince is a member of the Lake Babine Nation and belongs to the Likh Tsa Mis Yu (Beaver) Clan. She is the District Vice-Principal of Aboriginal Education for School District No. 91. She is a mother of three children, who are her inspiration in life and her career.

This session is exclusively for participants of Indspire’s Peer Support: Educator Mentorship and Rivers to Success: Mentoring Indigenous Students programs. Join us to learn tips and tricks for effective mentoring relationships. We will also share resources to increase knowledge of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Want to learn how you can join one of our mentoring programs? Contact us at peersupport@indspire.ca and rivers@indspire.ca.

Rachel Hill, Peer Support Program Coordinator, Indspire, Ontario
Kim Radbourne, Rivers to Success: Mentoring Indigenous Students Coordinator, Indspire, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Rachel Hill is Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River territory in Ontario and is the Peer Support: Educator Mentorship Coordinator at Indspire. She received her Honours BA from McMaster University and her BEd from Brock University. Rachel is a certified primary/junior educator with 10 years of experience teaching on reserve. She also has extensive experience working educators of Indigenous students.

A non-Indigenous ally, Kim Radnourne is the Rivers to Success: Mentoring Indigenous Students Coordinator at Indspire. Kim has been privileged to live, learn and work in the First Nations communities of the James Bay Coast for her career in adult education and employment services.

Our presentation details the transformative journey Rainbow District School Board has followed since the release of the 2007 First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. It details programs and initiatives created to support academics, mental health and well-being, land-based learning, as well as culture and language. Presenters share their story and detail how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has propelled their system to reflect on progress made and be more strategic in planning and actions. They also highlight the journey of building stronger relationships with 11 First Nation communities and with urban Indigenous groups and organizations in their area.

Kathy Dokis, Principal of Indigenous Education, Rainbow District School Board, Ontario

Speaker Bio

Kathy Dokis is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Dokis First Nation. Kathy resides in Sudbury and is the mother of 2 children. Kathy works for the Rainbow District School Board and is responsible for the implementation of the 2007 First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework within her board.

The 21st Century requires educators and students who are not afraid of critical inquiry to develop literacies that integrate progressive ways of teaching, learning, and assessment. An abrupt departure from Canadian high school standards of predominantly studying British and American literature and history is evident when indigenous content is infused within existing curricula. Learn how thematic unit plans and integrated courses can educate students about Canada’s dark history thereby ensuring that history will not repeat itself. A major project, video, ideas for unit plans, and examples of thematic assignments community networking will be shared by this team of educators.

Tatum Albert, Educator, Saskatoon Public School, Saskatchewan
Shelley Hosaluk, Educator, Nutana Collegiate, Saskatchewan

Speaker Bio

Tatum Albert is Michif from Turtle Mountain. Tatum is an educator, social worker and a master’s candidate. Graduating with Bachelor of Indigenous Social work, Tatum worked for the Ministry of Social Services for over 10 years in various capacities with high risk and high need youth and families. After completing graduate courses in Social Work, Tatum realized her heart was in education and pursued a Bachelor of Education. Tatum currently works at Nutana Collegiate.

Shelley Hosaluk is an educator, researcher, consultant, and workshop presenter with over 35 years of experience.  Fluent in French and English, Shelley has studied at the doctoral level at the University of Saskatchewan and completed her Masters’ degree in International Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. She has worked with the Centre for Education and Work with the University of Winnipeg, taught secondary school in England, and was president of the Saskatchewan Career and Work Educators’ Association.  Presently, Shelley teaches senior English at Nutana Collegiate in Saskatoon.