Indigenous Education

Principles of Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada believes that in order for Canada to flourish in the twenty-first century, reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canada must be based on the following principles. WRPS adopted these principles at the June 20, 2017 Board Meeting to guide leadership and operational decisions in Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools.

1. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.

2. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as the original peoples of this country and as self-determining peoples, have Treaty, constitutional, and human rights that must be recognized and respected.

3. Reconciliation is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms.

4. Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity.

5. Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health, and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

6. All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships.

7. The perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.

8. Supporting Aboriginal peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process are essential.

9. Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources.

10. Reconciliation requires sustained public education and dialogue, including youth engagement, about the history and legacy of residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights, as well as the historical and contemporary contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian society.

 

Reference:

“What We Have Learned: Principles of Trust and Reconciliation”. Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication. 2015. www.trc.ca

Eliminating the Achievement Gap - Lakedell School Profile

First Nations, Métis and Inuit students experience greater success as engaged participants in learning that is authentic and connected to their personal values and life experiences. First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, families and communities need to feel that the curricula honours their perspectives, histories, languages and cultures.

The Empowering the Spirit Home - Empowering the Spirit website provides support for all levels within school jurisdictions to increase awareness, understanding and application of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, perspectives and ways of knowing for the purpose of implementing treaty and residential schools education and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action for education.

At a recent "Eliminating the Achievement Gap" workshop, school districts across the province highlighted programs and strategies that address one of Alberta Education's goals:  The achievement gap between First Nations, Métis and Inuit students and all other students is eliminated, focuses on success for every student.  

Lakedell School was one of the schools profiled, with a focus on:

  • Getting kids to school, welcoming environment, breakfast & school clubs
  • Literacy strategies and interventions
  • Liaison workers
  • Staff collaboration where teachers co-plan and observe LA and Math classes

 

 

 

Indigenous Shining Student Award - Nomineees Recognized by WRPS Board

The following students are recognized by their schools as nominees for the Indigenous Shining Student Award.

Elmer Lee (Wetaskiwin Composite High School)
Littlebear Morningstar (Wetaskiwin Composite High School)

Reainha Mackinaw (Buck Mountain Central School)

Kayla Cutarm (Pigeon Lake Regional School)
Katrina Boysis (Pigeon Lake Regional School)

Trustees had an opportunity to meet the students and learn more about why they were recognized by their schools as nominees for the Indigenous Shining Student Award.

The Indigenous Shining Student Award is an annual recognition awarded to a student of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage, who demonstrates leadership and inspires others, through embracing and respecting an Aboriginal perspective or world view from an Aboriginal perspective, by:

  • Pursuing his/her goal or dream despite challenges
  • Persevering in his/her studies
  • Maintaining a positive outlook on his/her future opportunities
  • Promoting his/her heritage and culture
  • Providing leadership within a cultural perspective
  • Embracing and respecting the heritage of all

Nominations will be considered by a committee comprised of one representative from each of the education partner organizations - Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA), Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) and Alberta Education FNMI Field Services Branch and one person appointed by the Task Force.

Each student was recognized by their school's staff, and Board Chair Barb Johnson presented Certificates of Recognition to each nominee.

Indigenous Shining Student Award Information

Eligibility

This annual recognition is awarded to a student of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage, who demonstrates leadership and inspires others, through embracing and respecting an aboriginal perspective or world view from an aboriginal perspective and is:

  • Pursuing his/her goal or dream despite challenges
  • Persevering in his/her studies
  • Maintaining a positive outlook on his/her future opportunities
  • Promoting his/her heritage and culture ?
  • Providing leadership within a cultural perspective
  • Embracing and respecting the heritage of all

Criteria

The First Nations, Métis or Inuit student is enrolled in Grade 10 –12 program in

  • a school operated by a school board
  • a school operated by a First Nations Education Authority
  • a private or charter school
  • and who exemplifies the characteristics listed above.

Guidelines

The student can be nominated by a student, teacher, principal, superintendent, trustee, or school staff.

Nominations must be received by March 30 and include:
a letter outlining why the individual is deserving of recognition
at least one additional letter of recommendation

Nominations will be considered by a committee comprised of one representative from each of the education partner organizations - Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA), Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) and Alberta Education FNMI Field Services Branch and one person appointed by the Task Force.

The successful candidate will receive opportunity to attend a youth conference on leadership and change. Financial support will include registration cost, travel and accommodation, and reasonable expenses to attend. The recipient will also be recognized in their home community or school at a locally arranged event


View: Indigenous Shining Student Award Nomination Form

Indigenous Strategic Plan

Vision (Wahkotowin Report)

Indigenous students are engaged in learning, achieving high standards and graduating.

Foundational Statement (TQS; SLS; TRC Calls to Action; UNDRIP)

Indigenous students learn in a welcoming environment that is safe and caring and they are provided with exemplary teaching and effective leadership that is knowledgeable about treaties, local Indigenous culture, and the impact of residential schools and intergenerational trauma.

Division Outcome and Strategies

 

Outcome

Strategies

  • Honor the people we serve
  • Governance structures include the people it serves;
  • Significant indigenous voice in community input; and
  • Increased staff knowledge of the history and contemporary contexts of Treaty 6 people.

School Outcomes and Strategies

 

Outcomes

  • Complete high school at the same rate as all other students;
  • Transition into post-secondary/ workforce at the same rate as all other students;
  • Achieve literacy outcomes at the same rate as all other students; and
  • Achieve numeracy outcomes at the same rate as all other students.

Strategies

  • Culturally relevant practices occur in schools;
  • Assignments are successfully completed on time;
  • Increase attendance and decrease tardiness;
  • Increase learning success in literacy; and
  • Support the development of numeracy skills.

 

Demographics

WRPS is located in the Treaty Six Region of the Plains Cree People in the Maskwacis Territory.

Indigenous students consistently make up approximately 25% of WRPS enrolment.  In 2015-2016, total enrolment was 3894 students.  497 students from the Maskwacis Cree Nations were in attendance.  An additional 450 students were self-identified as First Nations, Metis or Inuit. 

WRPS Indigenous Strategic Plan - Highlights

 

Maskwacis Education Council

  • Advisory Committee to the Board
  • Membership
    • Three trustees
    • Associate Superintendent Instruction and District Principal
    • Indigenous Families and Community Members

WRPS Indigenous Program

Program Staff

  • District Principal (0.6FTE)
  • Maskwacis Wahkotowin Liaisons (6.0FTE)
  • Maskwacis Wahkotowin Teachers (3.0FTE)

Yahkohtewin, Ahkameyimowin ekwa Miyo Wicehtowin: Moving Forward, Persevering and Building Relationship Program

  • Building Collaboration & Capacity in Education Three Year Grant (2016 – 2018)
  • Grant outcomes support Indigenous Strategic Direction
    • to improve high school completion and transition to post-secondary education or workforce
    • support gains in literacy and numeracy
    • develop school system practices that address resiliency
    • enhance reciprocating relationship with Miyo Wahkohtowin Education to improve programs
  • Grant resources expand existing strategies
    • Increased staff knowledge of the history and contemporary contexts of Treaty 6 people through staff and curriculum development
  • Grant resources support initiation of new strategies
    • Implement universal and targeted programming related to resiliency, the effects of adverse childhood experiences, including intergenerational trauma, and restorative practices