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Indigenous History Month in the classroom

As you know by now, I think about education a whole lot. I think about how to support students, how to approach the work in a way that will allow students to be able to see themselves in the work they do and also see a reflection of themselves within their educational journey.

As I am reading through educational reports on Indigenous education, what stands out the most in what the reports are asking for, is that Indigenous students see themselves within the education system. This means that they see themselves within the books, curriculum, in the hallways, in the libraries, and within the people in the building like educators, leaders, support staff, etc. This allows for the space for students to feel like they belong in educational spaces. Like what Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop writes in her paper called Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors. Students need to have mirrors to see themselves, and windows to learn about others in all the work they do within the education system.

With this work we also need to be thinking about the stories we are telling about students within our work. When I speak about this, I speak about Indigenous trauma. When we are bringing in stories of Indigenous people and we are only talking about Indigenous trauma, then that becomes our only story. This is not the case, there is so much Indigenous Brilliance happening, that it is hard to keep up with all the amazing work that is being done today by Indigenous people here in this place known as Canada today.

As we move into Indigenous history month, we can start the focus on all the amazing things that Indigenous people from across this land are doing. We can take a moment at the beginning of each day in June to focus on someone or something that talks about Indigenous brilliance.

Some suggestions are:

·      We can invite students to listen to an Indigenous music artist, then find out where they are from and what kind of music they make.

·      You can focus on learning about Indigenous film makers and what kind of movies/TV shows they are making.

·      You can learn about some amazing male and female hockey players that play as professional hockey players today, or lacrosse.

·      You could take some time to research about the history of lacrosse from an Indigenous lens and then learn about some of the famous players of the game.

·      You could look up some Indigenous members of parliament and what they are doing to make change in the government.

·      You could also learn about change makers like Dr Cindy Blackstock or Murray Sinclair.

·       There are also so many amazing Indigenous actors today, you could see who they are and what shows they have been in, maybe watch an episode or two?

·      You can look through APTN and find some great shows about Indigenous people.

·      There are amazing Indigenous authors writing some amazing books today from across the genres of books.

·      You can look on your local nations website and find out what they are doing in supporting their nation.

·      You can look through the National Film Board’s website that has a huge amount of Indigenous content, movies, and documentaries.

·      You can look up some of the famous Drag Race Indigenous contestants, one is from Vancouver and learn more about them and the work they do.

·      You can look through the many amazing podcasts from Indigenous folks from all over this land and have a listen.

·      You can learn more about some radio show hosts like Rosanna Deerchild and the work she does.

·      Look up and Indigenous artist, carver, beader, painter and learn more about them and the work they do.

There really is an endless amount of brilliance that is happening today that you could do this every day of the year. Let’s start with the month of June and build on that.

From my presentations this past month, I have been sharing this month of June calendar with some ideas on it as an entry point. Just some things to look into. I hope you find it helpful.


I hope that as we move through the month of June you can share with me some of the amazing things you are doing to show Indigenous Brilliance in your classrooms!


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