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Introduction

“World Views and Aspirations of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Communities in Canada” provides an opportunity for students to explore Indigenous beliefs, values, and ways of knowing, as reflected in the historical and contemporary experiences of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada. By gaining an understanding of the ways in which First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, values, perspectives, traditions, and aspirations differ from those of non-Indigenous Canadians, students develop the ability to analyse and compare world views. They learn that understanding cultural diversity and differences in world views is a key component of cultural harmony and respectful relationships between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and non-Indigenous Canadians. Students also reflect on how their personal world view affects how they interpret and interact with the world around them.

This course examines critical issues facing First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals and communities. By exploring past and present aspects of colonialism, as well as the effect of government policies and actions on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, students advance their understanding of the ongoing struggle for decolonization and of the resiliency of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This knowledge and insight enables students to become critically thoughtful and informed citizens who can help promote reconciliation in Canada.

This course has four strands. Strand A, Research and Inquiry Skills, is followed by three content strands, which are organized thematically. Although strand A is presented separately from the areas of learning presented in strands B–D, teachers should ensure that students develop their research and inquiry skills in appropriate ways as they work to achieve the curriculum expectations in the other strands of the course.

A. Research and Inquiry Skills

Strand A focuses on developing students’ ability to apply the inquiry process to investigate the beliefs and historical and contemporary experiences of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada. Students gather, interpret, and analyse evidence and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including Indigenous knowledge sources; synthesize their findings and formulate conclusions; and communicate the results of their research. This process and related skills apply to, and should be developed in conjunction with, the content of all the other strands of the course. Educators are encouraged to refer to the general discussion of the research and inquiry process that appears in the Curriculum Context section Research and Inquiry: A Shared Process for necessary information relating to all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies courses.

B. Understanding and Respecting World Views and Cultural Diversity

 In strand B, students explore the concept of world view and the role of a world view, or belief system, in daily life. By examining the elements, purposes, and functions of a world view in the context of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, students learn to identify distinct and common elements and develop their appreciation of both cultural uniqueness and shared humanity. Students deepen their understanding of how language, culture, and the relationship between people and place shape and reflect First Nations, Métis, and Inuit world views, identifying key elements of the beliefs, values, and customs of diverse cultural groups. Students gain an understanding of and respect for the diversity of cultural protocols, traditional values, and belief systems. Students also learn to use cultural awareness skills and strategies appropriately when exploring First Nations, Métis, and Inuit ways of knowing, world views, and contributions to society.

C. Colonization and Decolonization

In strand C, students develop their understanding of the concept of colonialism and of the past and present impact of colonization and associated government policies in Canada, gaining an understanding of how relations between Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples relate to current realities. Students think critically and creatively about issues of concern to Indigenous peoples and examine key concepts and goals related to decolonization and resilience. Students analyse various strategies to raise awareness of the impact of colonialist policies and to sustain First Nations, Métis, and Inuit world views, aspirations, and actions in the context of social change.

D. Reclamation and Reconciliation

Strand D focuses on the importance of building respectful and reciprocal relationships to support reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and Canadian society. By learning about how individuals, families, institutions, and communities are reclaiming a place for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit beliefs, values, and customs in contemporary life, students deepen their understanding of the critical importance of recognition and respect for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge, world views, and aspirations. Recognition and respect are the foundations of truth, reconciliation, and renewed nation-to-nation relationships. Students also examine how key First Nations, Métis, and Inuit aspirations for communities, for Canada, and for global society reflect traditional and contemporary beliefs and values, and analyse the role of social action in supporting those goals.