THOMPSON—A new pilot program will support engagement with Elders and Knowledge Keepers in schools to promote the inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, culture, traditional values, contemporary lifestyles and traditional knowledge in the provincial curricula, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Including First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge and teachings in schools across the province will create space for our children to understand and celebrate the rich histories of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba,” said Cullen. “This pilot project affirms our government’s commitment to truth and reconciliation at all levels by increasing school divisions’ capacity to develop and strengthen respectful partnerships with Elders and Knowledge Keepers.”
Elders and Knowledge Keepers will provide mentorship for various group sizes on traditional teachings. Students will have the opportunity to participate in and learn about cultural teachings, experiences and Indigenous languages. Elders and Knowledge Keepers in schools will support development and delivery of Indigenous worldviews by sharing traditional knowledge, teaching practices and protocols to enhance the connection between families and schools. They will also provide supports to create a culture of understanding and respect.
This initiative was developed with input from the Elders and Knowledge Keepers in Schools Advisory Council, community consultations and conversations with school divisions within the Manitoba kindergarten to Grade 12 system. At this time, the program will be offered in 33 schools in the following school divisions:
- Flin Flon School Division;
- Fort La Bosse School Division;
- Frontier School Division;
- Hanover School Division;
- Lord Selkirk School Division;
- Mountain View School Division;
- Pembina Trails School Division;
- Portage la Prairie School Division;
- Prairie Rose School Division;
- School District of Mystery Lake; and
- St. James-Assiniboia School Division.
The partnerships were determined based on a number of factors including the school-level socio-economic index, geographic representation of urban, northern, and rural sites, representation of early/middle/high school levels and school divisions with a continuum of Elder and Knowledge Keeper involvement and engagement.
“Our school district has been on the Indigenous and northern education journey for many years, as truth and reconciliation is a responsibility for us all,” said Lorie Henderson, co-superintendent, School District of Mystery Lake. “Elders, grandparents, relatives and community members can teach us many things, including the language, the corrective history and the Indigenous ways of knowing, as well as about our relationship with the environment. This program is an excellent opportunity for meaningful learning experiences for students and staff, and will bring us closer together.”
The Manitoba government is investing $275,000 in the pilot program, which will be assessed for further implementation, the minister said.
“The voices of Elders and Knowledge Keepers are critical toward successful impacts for teachers, students and families through respectful relationships and approaches,” said Cullen. “This will ensure the inclusion of Indigenous worldviews across curricula, learning, assessment and well-being/well-becoming programs.”
For additional information on Indigenous inclusion in education and the Elders and Knowledge Keepers in Schools Initiative, visit https://edu.gov.mb.ca/iid/index.html.
– 30 –