The Importance of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies Curriculum
The history of Canada begins with Indigenous peoples; this land’s development and its future are inextricably linked to its first inhabitants. In this unique position, Indigenous peoples have perspectives on and knowledge of this land and of humanity that can inform how Canada addresses global challenges in the twenty-first century. Exploration of Indigenous cultures, ways of knowing, and contributions to society is therefore essential for students as the global citizens and problem solvers of tomorrow.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada have an important standing as separate and distinct peoples, with specific rights and freedoms that arose from pre-Confederation treaty-making processes and evolve to the present day, through ongoing relationships and negotiations with the Canadian government.
The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies curriculum offers a variety of courses that can provide all students in Ontario schools with a broad range of knowledge and skills needed for work in fields such as law, environmental and other sciences, health, economics, politics, social services, and education. With the skills and knowledge they acquire in the program, students will have much to offer in work, continuing study, and community service settings after graduation.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies will help students develop a deeper understanding of concepts that are of public interest and of specific concern to Indigenous peoples. These concepts, such as citizenship, governance, economic prosperity, and collective well-being, may apply at the local, regional, national, and global levels.
As students increase their awareness of Indigenous belief systems through First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies courses, they will develop and refine their own thoughts and beliefs on key themes such as stewardship, peace, justice, power and authority, democracy, rights and responsibilities, identity and culture, reconciliation, and our relationship with the natural world.
Cultural, linguistic, racial, and religious diversity is a defining characteristic of Canadian society, and schools can help prepare all students to live harmoniously as responsible, compassionate citizens in a multicultural society in the twenty-first century.