To move forward on their learning journey, students must have a solid understanding of where we have been as a province and as a country. Consistent with Ontario’s vision for Indigenous education, all students will have knowledge of the rich diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit histories, cultures, perspectives, and contributions, as well as an awareness of the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing in a contemporary context. Ontario is committed to ensuring that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit survivors and communities bring their perspectives to students’ learning about our shared history.
It is essential that learning activities and resources used to support Indigenous education are authentic and accurate and do not perpetuate culturally and historically inaccurate ideas and understandings. It is important for educators and schools to select resources that represent the uniqueness of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit histories, perspectives, and world views authentically and respectfully. It is also important to select resources that reflect local Indigenous communities as well as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals and communities from across Ontario and Canada. Resources that best support Indigenous education feature Indigenous voices and narratives and are developed by, or in collaboration with, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. Schools can contact their board’s Indigenous lead and work with their Indigenous Education Councils for assistance in evaluating and selecting resources.
It is important to create a learning environment that is respectful and that makes students feel safe and comfortable not only physically, socially, and emotionally but also in terms of their cultural heritage. A culturally safe learning environment is one in which students feel comfortable about expressing their ideas, opinions, and needs and about responding authentically to topics that may be culturally sensitive. Educators should be aware that some students may experience emotional reactions when learning about issues that have affected their own lives, their family, and/or their community, such as the legacy of the residential school system. Before addressing such topics in the classroom, teachers need to consider how to prepare and debrief students, and they need to ensure that appropriate resources are available to support students both inside and outside the classroom.