Commitment to Aboriginal Education
The Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University understands the critical need to rethink the delivery and content of preservice teacher education that is more inclusive of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. We aim to raise awareness among preservice teachers about Aboriginal Peoples of Canada as a way to replace intolerance (e.g., racism, stereotypes) with acceptance toward First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples of Canada. Furthermore, we aim to promote greater awareness and knowledge among preservice teachers about Aboriginal cultures and concerns as a way to critically evaluate how schools can better incorporate culturally sensitive curricula and teaching methods, while building stronger relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, families and communities.
Our goals are the following:
- To support the development of preservice teachers’ foundational knowledge base of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit worldviews and teachings so that they may know how to respectfully integrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit topics and perspectives of education into their curricula and course designs.
- To encourage reciprocity, mutual understanding, acceptance, sharing, and transformation across cultures.
- To create a welcoming environment for Aboriginal students, staff, and faculty at the Faculty of Education.
NOTE: In Canada, the term “Aboriginal” refers to all Indigenous people. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: (a) First Nation, or Indian, as defined by The Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, section 35. First Nation people are either status (registered with an Indian band or community) or non-status (not registered by are members of an Indian band or community); (b) The Métis, who, in the first instance, are descendants of European fur traders and First Nations women and; (c) Inuit are the Indigenous people of the North. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs. There are more than one million people who identify themselves as an Aboriginal person and they live in urban, suburban, rural, and remote locations across Canada.