Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's June is Indigenous History Month page

June is Indigenous History Month

June is Indigenous History Month
Posted on 05/31/2021
National Indigenous History Month banner image with BWDSB logo and students exploring floor map; slogan: "Honouring the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada"Indigenous History Month, which occurs annually in June, is an opportunity to celebrate and honour the heritage of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.  This is a time to reflect on the successes of Indigenous peoples, the strength of their communities, and their contribution to our lives today.

In Bluewater District School Board, we acknowledge that our school communities reside on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.  We also think of the Métis Nation of Ontario, whose history and people are well represented in Bruce and Grey counties.

Instructions posted on wall during staff training: "Compare and contrast experience of BWDSB student and FNMI student. Describe how residential schools impacted FNMI communities. Next steps: Have students plan Orange Shirt Day for their school, posters, announcements, assembly."During Indigenous History Month, we are sharing posts on our board's social media pages that are not only informational, but also celebratory of the many aspects of Canada's rich Indigenous culture.  Some staff in Bluewater are also attending two workshops entitled, “Lighting the Fire”, to learn about community language initiatives, and how language learning can be linked between schools and families.  Throughout Bluewater, there are several secondary courses offered that are focused on Indigenous values, culture, and history.  These courses integrate the new narrative - which is older than Canada itself.

“Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures” is a Grade 9 course that explores various art forms by a number of Indigenous artists.  Through this course, students discover not only the aesthetic qualities of these works, but also the underlying meaning and historical significance of them.  Many of our secondary schools offer “English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices” as the Grade 11 compulsory English course.  Throughout this course, students focus on written and spoken English skills, as well as media studies and various thinking strategies by looking at a variety of cultural text forms.  Another Grade 11 course that has been offered in Bluewater is “World Views and Aspirations of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Communities in Canada”.  This course explores Indigenous values, beliefs, and ways of knowing as determined through the experiences of Indigenous peoples.

Giant floor map in school gym of Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada Education Program A Grade 12 course, “Contemporary Indigenous Perspectives in Global Contexts”, considers the views of Indigenous peoples on world issues, such as human rights, identity, social justice, resilience, spirituality, and advocacy for change.  Through this curriculum, students gain a deeper understanding of threats to cultural survival in an economic, social, and political context.  There is even the possibility of studying the Ojibway language in a couple of our secondary schools.  Curriculum that has been developed since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, incorporates specific expectations from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that students learn about Indigenous peoples in Canadian history and the long-lasting impacts of residential schools.  As education has been part of the problem, it needs to be part of the solution.

During Indigenous History Month, we encourage students and staff to continue to grow their understating of Indigenous cultures and the history that Indigenous peoples have faced.  Looking into course options is one way that students in Bluewater can grow their knowledge and perspectives.

We look forward to once again witnessing the many ways in which our students and staff honour Indigenous History Month this year.

Sources:
"First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies." Ontario Ministry of Education, MOE, www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/First-nations-metis-inuit-studies-grades-9-12.pdf. Accessed 30 May 2021.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2015. Truth and Reconciliation Commission, www.trc.ca. Accessed 30 May 2021.

Submitted by: Avryl Bender, John Diefenbaker Senior School student

Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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