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October 28, 2017 12:03 am

Pro “D” Day to Focus on Aboriginal Education

Friday, February 26, 2016 @ 3:55 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Hundreds of teachers, support staff, and community members will descend on the Civic Centre today for an Aboriginal education symposium.

Aboriginal Education Department District 57 manager Shelly Niemi says it will focus on opening up a dialogue and conversation in and around ways to embed Aboriginal education into the new curriculum being phased in by the provincial government.

“Within that new curriculum there is a lot of indigenous knowledge and traditional ways of knowing that are embedded with it and so what we’re doing is inviting keynote speakers to help us better understand why it’s important.”

She says it’s an exciting time for Aboriginal education considering this is the first time Aboriginal knowledge is being represented within public education “in a meaningful way.”

Niemi says one of the goals is to help Aboriginal kids see themselves as part of the education system and to close the gap in aboriginal versus non-aboriginal graduation rates.

In 2015 for example, she says 61% of aboriginal students graduated in School District 57 compared to 81% of non-aboriginal students.


No wonder there’s no money in the coffers. Is this thing catered as well?

These first nations kids receive so much extra help in school and they offer dozens of programs and free schooling and they still fail to graduate.

What would my non-aboriginal kids think of this clear favoritism? And no, they are not just happy to have the day off, they care about their education, school, fellow students and even teachers.

    Focussing on children whose educational performance is under par is not favouritism. In this case, the group is aboriginal children. At other times educators address the needs of handicapped kids, kids with learning disabilities, kids from homes where a language other than English or French is spoken, kids from low income families, and so forth.

      Perhaps but there isn’t special bulletins regarding special needs or multilingual focused Pro-D days.

Enough with the cramming of first nations history into the classroom. Teach my kids math, English and computer skills and let history be an elective when they get older. If we are only teaching the history of minority user groups, I suppose we will be teaching about Syrian history soon as well?

Schools should be teaching the fundamentals, stop pushing this garbage down their throats. Oh, and yes, the Aboriginal and White history of this nation shouldn’t be considered a ‘fundamental’ unless you are willing to teach about every single race that has had a contribution to the foundation of Canada.

And you wonder why private schools are surging in popularity? They actually learn useful information and leave the rest as electives in the junior and senior years.. where it should be.

I personally don’t see anything wrong with adding native history, culture to the school curriculum, it is after all part of what made this country. I don’t see it as favoritism since years and years of non-native history and culture was used to educate natives. I don’t think they need to make a big deal of it and have a great gathering to make it happen though. Introduce it in the normal way and be done with it. I am sure all of you would not pull your kids out of school if they added native studies to the curriculum.

Is it just me or is anyone else sick of the inordinate amount of media attention paid to first nations ‘issues’.

No ! Its not just you.

Over represented in prisons and the media.

Totally agree with billposer and Bent. We are long-overdue in including First Nations history and culture into our curriculum. It is important to impart information about the impacts of colonization, segregation, de-culturalization and abuses on our First Nations, that took place generation after generation. Ignoring this important history allows negative beliefs to persist, which is a disservice to non-aboriginal students. Education is a powerful tool. Our native and non-native youth will benefit, as we all will. Finally, I believe that the majority of educators will welcome the tools that will help all our youth to thrive and succeed.

    The problem with focusing on the past, and bringing it up every single time it is convenient for an argument against failing, is you never move on. The first nations are no further along in society now,than 50 years ago. It isn’t the ‘white man’s’ fault, it is a culture/race built on excuses and absent of family structure and values.

    Keep focusing on how badly your upbringing was, and you too will fail to achieve anything of value. The only problem is, today’s natives have many more advantages than the people they are so hellbent on hating. Massive tax incentives, tax-free schooling, loans… loopholes everywhere to get a free ride in any post-secondary route, and very few take advantage of it.

    Take the Sikh community for example. Many have come from poverty, immigrated here from absolute brutal conditions, and have 100% succeeded and changed the pattern in their family history. They didn’t use their history as a reason to fail, but for a reason to succeed. The natives are conditioned to settle for zero participation in society as young kids, and they are being taught by their family members and community, not by general society.

    So yeah, there are a few outstanding natives that have broken the stereotype , but even they have given up on ‘their people’.

    Stop making excuses, digging up history rarely, if ever, is beneficial for anyone to improve their lives, and futures.

they were trying to “fix” the education system in reference to first nations people when I was in elementary school 55 years ago.
If they want the extra history, maybe rather than change the system, let those who want first nations history, white, natives, and others, take it instead of the regular Canadian history or as an elective along with regular school curriculum..
that way everyone is happy…
or should be…
maybe after this they can look at Chinese history, Inuit or East Indian history or the history of all the other nationalities we have in Canada…
at what point does it become ridiculous?

First nation history in schools, will it be rewritten and sanitized? Notice how the Haida war canoes have morphed into trading canoes. I am just using the haida as one example, will their pillaging, raids, abduction of slaves and women be included in the history. A local chief mentioned the past warring between their respective tribes and there is still hard feeling, will that be mentioned?

I am not racist having a native back ground, friends and relatives it just seems history is being rewritten by the revisionists.

    Aboriginal history is indeed sometimes presented in a bowdlerized fashion. I agree that it should be presented accurately, warts and all, like all other history.

It should be a elective.

Beracer. 55 years ago First Nations children were still being educated, in large part, in residential schools which, in itself, seriously eroded the functioning of the family unit. As well, offering classes as an elective reminds me of taking French in high school. I can’t speak the language, don’t always recognize it as French when I hear it, and most importantly, has not impacted my relations with Francophones in Canada. Why? Because they don’t visually stand out as a minority, we recognize them as a unique cultural group and, for most of us, accept them as being part of the multi-cultural society that Canada is.
Seamutt. You point out a very valid concern. History, wether pre or post colonization should be written factually and not be sanitized. Nations throughout time have warred against one another. Our First Nations are no different and this part of their history also needs to be included. It does make for a very complex task of developing curriculum. Thank you for pointing this concern out. We don’t need the history of a revisionist.

There are two reasons to include aboriginal history and “social studies” in the public school curriculum. One is that the history of Canada prior to European contact is aboriginal history, and that much of the post-contact history of Canada involves the interaction between aboriginal people and later comers. Aboriginal history is not some sort of exotic fringe topic but a core aspect of the history of Canada.

The second is that many important issues today involve aboriginal people and their history. The relationship between aboriginal people and others is still being worked out, in our courts and legislatures, and a variety of social problems beset aboriginal peoples and the larger society. Citizens ignorant of aboriginal people cannot do a good job of addressing these issues. All too often I hear and read, including here on Opinion 250, opinions based on serious misunderstandings both of the history and the current situation of aboriginal people. I have met UNBC students born and raised in Prince George who do not even know that the local indigenous people are Carrier, much less anything about them. (One current problem is that much of the time, when anything is taught about aboriginal peoples, it is generic material about Canadian or North American anthropology, with the result that students learn, e.g., about Mohawk political structure and agriculture but not about their own region.)

The idea behind including information about aboriginal people across the curriculum rather than only in specialized electives in First Nations Studies is precisely the recognition that this information is not marginal.

8 pro-D days a year about all aspects of education for the last 30 years and its expected. Dedicate one of those days to a marginalized segment of society and everyone loses their minds.

What a bunch of ignorant people in PG.. Natives FINALLY getting a say in how their future should be directed rather than being told by non natives .. The above people should be ashamed of their racist being.

Still smokin.. Do you think they are telling it how it really was..or how they want It to be..

They used to rape and pillage the land so much they had to move every few months.. (Not stewards of the land by any means) The fighting between different bands was murderous, with raping and slaves.. They did not get along…Guessing that will be left out.

They are still fighting over what land is who’s.. I recall a map of BC and the total land claims by the natives was 140% percent as there where so many over lapping claims..

Guessing it will be a love and friendship.. The exact opposite of reality.

PVal… maybe talk to the Elders. They can give you a clearer picture as to how it was back then.. Talk to the Residential school survivors too about how they were taken from their families. As for constantly moving, they didn’t have Save On ect within distance like we do now so they moved on their territory to get the food they needed..

I have elders in my family..I am Metis.. I have heard the stories…the real stories.

They didn’t constantly move..they stayed in one place until they had nothing left..abused the land. Had to move..

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