Aboriginal Education Day at the Rogers Centre is an annual event that is the culmination of planning and hard work by ETFO’s Aboriginal Standing Committee.
This year, as in previous years, committee members presented the Reader’s Theatre in the Teaching Tent at the Rogers Centre. They were accompanied by Shkinwe (New Sound), a drumming and singing group that performed a variety of songs. The theme this year was “Character Education and the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers.” The script was an adaptation of the story of how the Anishinawbe people came to be given the seven gifts of wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth that enable them to walk the road of life in a good way, respectful of self, others, and the earth.
The Aboriginal Festival highlights Aboriginal peoples’ perspectives and history in Canada. Education Day is carefully planned to include authentic teachings and presentations that engage participants and maximize their learning in ways that go beyond what can occur in a classroom. Every year thousands of people attend the event, which includes presentations, teachings, demonstrations, vendors, displays, music and dancing, great food, and more. The power and measure of true success for teachers is to see the delight of learning and participation on people’s faces, knowing that ideas will be shared with others with enthusiasm. Such were the committee’s rewards.
To prepare for the festival, standing committee members selected a theme that strongly links to the Ontario curriculum, decided on a Reader’s Theatre script supporting the theme, and wrote curriculum-based Primary, Junior and Intermediate documents, including blackline masters for use in the classroom. The final product is a comprehensive ETFO resource, in CD form, that educators who attend the Reader’s Theatre can take back and share with their school and colleagues. Preparing and distributing the resource is part of the Aboriginal Standing Committee’s goal to support the inclusion and integration of Aboriginal perspectives in education.
Finding appropriate resources to teach about Aboriginal peoples in Canada is not an easy task. The ready-to-use ETFO package alleviates some of that burden. Available online at etfo.ca>Resources>ForTeachers, it includes Ontario curriculum links, background information, lesson plans, extensions, modifications/accommodations, evaluation methods, and blackline masters. When educators use this resource in a classroom they are meeting curriculum goals as outlined in The Ontario First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework issued by the Ministry of Education, as well as character education goals outlined by the ministry.
Chimigwich (big thanks in Ojibwe) to the people involved in making positive change by integrating Aboriginal perspectives into classroom teachings. Chimigwich for your time, effort, and energy in helping others to better understand Aboriginal peoples, perspectives, and history in Canada.