The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada launches extensive new educational resources
OTTAWA, Oct. 22, 2018 – Against the backdrop of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, students from the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre stepped onto the long-awaited Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada (IPAC) Giant Floor Map.Parliamentarians, leaders representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, representatives from Indspire, and members of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) joined students on the gymnasium-sized map, in a story-sharing circle to hear about the work that went into creating the Atlas. Organized by the Indigenous Caucus of the Liberal Party, the launch celebrated the completion of Canadian Geographic’s innovative Indigenous Peoples Atlas ofCanada educational resources.
“Thoughout the Truth and Reconciliation Commission we heard from Survivors that education was the way forward for reconciliation,” says Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. “The IPAC Educational Resources will provide the necessary tools for teachers to educate the next generation, and all of Canadians, about Indigenous histories, nations, territories and Identities.”
Canadians of all ages are keen to learn more about Indigenous history and perspectives in Canada. The Atlas has already sold 8,000 copies through pre-orders alone, and the four-volume collection is now available in bookstores and online. A second printing is underway and will be available as of Nov. 17, 2018.
The educational resources that accompany the Atlas are unique in both their content and scope. Much of the information presented in these resources has never been made available in written form or shared with educators before now. And the extent of history and geography covered by these resources is impressive — most of Canadian Geographic Education’s teacher’s guides are about 35 pages long, but the IPAC teacher’s guide offers more than 170 pages of activities and lesson plans.
Teachers are already lining up to book IPAC’s educational materials for their schools. When the IPAC Giant Floor Mapsite went live on Sept. 26, Can Geo Education received 68 bookings in just three weeks. All Can Geo Education’s resources are bilingual and free to use or book. In addition, 30 IPAC Giant Floor Maps have been sold to schools and groups across Canada.
For the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, that definitely will support Canada’s efforts at reconciliation with Indigenous People. “This project will ensure that young Canadians have the opportunity to learn more about the culture and heritage of Indigenous Peoples, including the dark history of residential schools. The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada was a Canada 150 project that we were proud to support, because it involved the participation of Indigenous Peoples and responded to the Call to Action to better educate our children on these issues. I congratulate the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for undertaking this creative and exciting project, which we hope will move us down the path of reconciliation.”
John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS, attributes the success of the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada to the enthusiasm and interest from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians in having materials that reflect the perspectives and stories of all peoples in Canada. “We have collaborated with Indigenous partners to produce these unique educational resources and along the way these partnerships have grown into friendships. I hope as more Canadians learn through IPAC, this understanding will nurture more empathy and reconciliation with Indigenous People, which has always been our goal,” said Geiger.
“Canadian Geographic’s Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is a ground-breaking new educational resource,” says Vance Badawey, M.P for Niagara Centre and member of the Indigenous Caucus of the Liberal Party. “It is my hope this project will help build multicultural understanding, encourage dialogue, and foster mutual respect between all Canadians. A key to a better Canada lies in forging stronger relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”
The Atlas content has been produced in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and Indspire. These partners represent an unparalleled breadth and depth of knowledge, expertise, and strong ties to their respective communities and networks. The RCGS provided the technical expertise on the project. The Atlas partners are pleased with the fruit of their year-long labours, having worked hard to develop these innovative teaching tools, which will soon be introduced into classrooms all across Canada.
For Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council, who spoke at today’s launch, all the hard work has paid off. “If one wants to explore the many dimensions of the Métis Nation and its history and culture, the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is the place to go.”
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, which cites the development of culturally appropriate curricula for Indigenous students as a top priority. Lack of appropriate educational and financial resources for Canada’s Indigenous students has long been deemed a contributing factor to the marginalization of Indigenous communities.
“The Assembly of First Nations is encouraged by the interest shown in the Indigenous Peoples Atlas. We hope to build on the momentum of this success and continue to encourage learning about First Nation cultures and contributions in shaping our country, says Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “We all have a role in reconciliation, and these tools and resources can help educators, students, schools and communities tell the story of our shared history. We need to move forward together to advance understanding and mutual respect.”
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four-volume print atlas, an online interactive atlas with an accompanying app, Giant Floor Maps, and various other educational resources for classrooms. This ambitious, ground-breaking educational resource is unprecedented in scope, as well as in the level of Indigenous participation and content creation on a geography-related project.
“When flying over the lands and waters of Inuit Nunangat, our homeland, an outsider might just see rocks, snow or tundra. Inuit see our home. We recognize the places where we fish, hunt or gather berries, the places where our families have traveled for generations following the seasonal changes of our environment. It is this spirit of Inuit Nunangat that we are proud to offer a glimpse of through the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “We hope that we can also share insights into our history and our political desires for unity and self-determination.”
“Indspire is thrilled that the materials have had such an enthusiastic response. This information is brand new to many Canadians and we applaud the educators who are using these materials in their classrooms to better inform their students about First Nations, Inuit and Métis people” said Roberta Jamieson, President & CEO, Indspire. “Education is the key to reconciliation and this is another crucial step in educating Canadians about who we are, and reminding Canadians and our young people that our stories matter, our histories matter, and we remain a vital part of Canada.”
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada teaching resources are now available to all Indigenous schools through the partners’ distribution channels and to more than 21,000 Can Geo Education members. The four-volume set of books will be sold and distributed by Kids Can Press, through an exclusive partnership with Canadian Geographic that will enable this important resource to be made available not only across Canada but around the world. The partnership will also see the future development of much-needed children’s content, inspired by the collaborative efforts of Indigenous communities and Can Geo Education.