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First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education

System Coordination and Community Consultation​

The York Region District School Board continues to have two committees that provide system coordination and community consultation regarding the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework - the First Nations Liaison Committee and the Indigenous Education Advisory Council.

First Nation Liaison Committee

The First Nation Liaison Committee meets twice annually to review and update the Tuition Education Services Agreement between the YRDSB and The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation. 

Language revitalization is a continuing focus as we work with the First Nation to support our language teachers by creating collaborative opportunities for gatherings to share best practices and resources.

Indigenous Education Advisory Council

The Indigenous Education Advisory Council (IEAC) membership includes:

  • system leaders
  • trustees
  • school principals
  • curriculum advisors
  • the First Nations, Métis and Inuit team
  • representatives of the First Nation community of Georgina Island
  • parents and students​ from the board

The IEAC provides guidance to address the learning and cultural needs of students. It works to increase accurate and reliable knowledge of cultures, histories and perspectives with the goal to increase student achievement and improve student well-being. This committee also reviews the Board Improvement Plan for Student AchievementTrustees’ Multi Year Plan and Director’s Action Plan​ to ensure alignment between committee, Ministry and Board directives.

Voluntary Indigenous Self-Identification Process

The number of students who have self-identified with Indigenous ancestry has increased since September 2019 to over 500 students. Our strategies to encourage voluntary self-identification of students include:

  • ​Creating a supportive community of learning for educators, staff, students, parents and community partners to build competency around integrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing and worldview in a good way;
  • Increasing awareness and understanding among school administrators and support staff of the self-identification process;
  • Increasing and improving communication to parents, students and the community regarding self-identification, and specifically the benefits to students in self-identifying, by providing a brochure to all students and information in school newsletters;
  • Developing and mobilizing our system supports to address the needs of self-identified students;
  • Having a student advisory program to increase cultural awareness among our K–12 students through a variety of activities and leadership opportunities; and
  • ​Increasing classroom resources and supports that reflect Indigenous peoples and provide contemporary perspective.

Programming and supports for students and staff

There were several disruptions to regular work during the 2019-2020 school year. Despite these disruptions, staff ran many well-being and academic support programs for students and educators that integrated Indigenous content and connections to community members.

Indigenous Student Trustee and Indigenous Student Council

At the December 2019 Board meeting, trustees voted to create permanent Indigenous Trustee and Indigenous Student Trustee positions. In order to collect student input into the role and the election process, meetings were held at Sutton District High School and online with students outside of the Sutton area. Staff and students worked together to develop support for the role of Indigenous Student Trustee and also an Indigenous student council, made up of voices from across the region to advise the new Student Trustee.

Ashton Wood was elected as the very first Indigenous Student Trustee through a process that was open to all self-identified Indigenous students from Grades 6-12. Participation in the student council is ongoing and open to all self-identified Indigenous students from Grades 6-12 and includes voices from across the region.

Online cultural learning

Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, in person cultural learning for students was canceled. Within the first week of the shutdown, the Indigenous education team explored opportunities for online learning. The team reviewed the available online meeting resources and tools and gauged parent and student interest in accessing this learning. Through this process of consultation, the team was able to support distance learning for students about cultural knowledge from a variety of Indigenous community members.

Artist outreach

Throughout the year, students and their teachers are able to work with artists from First Nations or Métis communities. Students work with these artists to learn about the importance of culture and environment through the sharing of stories and teaching. The students also work with the artists to develop art in a non-appropriative way that can be displayed in schools and YRDSB education centres. These projects are for all students and support the need for cross-cultural understanding, as well as learning around appropriation vs. appreciation.

Resource updates to internal website

Throughout the year, online resource lists for teachers have been updated to support educators in delivering virtual instruction using authentic Indigenous resources.

Library Resources Renewal

Elementary schools are refreshing resources regarding First Nations, Métis and Inuit people and culture in their learning commons by removing older resources that are based on ethnographic data and stories that perpetuate stereotypes. Schools are also being supported in their efforts to purchase updated and culturally relevant resources written by First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Media Library Resources

A large collection of books and curriculum resources with an Indigenous focus were curated and organized into literacy kits for teachers to borrow from the Board’s Media Resource Library. Materials support the integration of culturally relevant resources, Indigenous content and pedagogy in all curriculum areas.​

Updated November 2020


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