Educator Resources

Indigenous Education Strategy

Ontario's Indigenous Education Strategy is helping First Nation, Métis and Inuit students achieve their full potential. The Ministry of Education is committed to improving Indigenous education in Ontario, improving student achievement and well-being, and closing the achievement gap between Indigenous students and all students. Check out the resources designed to improve opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, to increase the knowledge and awareness of all students about Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation website will post current resources for schools to use and check out Edugains curriculum linked resources.

Curriculum Resources

The province continues to work in collaboration with Indigenous partners to enhance the Ontario curriculum in order to support mandatory learning of residential schools, treaties, the legacy of colonialism, and the rights and responsibilities we all have to each other as treaty people. Check out the St. Clair Staff Room Online under Departments > Catholic Curriculum K-12 > FNMI for a collection of comprehensive resources. Also check out the pages that follow in this website for curriculum resources.


Meeting in Circle with Students

All schools have talking sticks to use when connecting in circle with students to share, build and reflect upon learning and ideas. Varied objects are used by different First Nations Peoples to facilitate the talking circle. Some use a talking stick, others a talking feather, while still others use a peace pipe, a sacred shell, a wampum belt, or other selected object. The main point of using the sacred object, is that whoever is holding the object in their hand has the right to speak. The circle itself is considered sacred. First Nations people observed that the circle is a dominant symbol in nature and has come to represent wholeness, completion, and the cycles of life (including the cycle of human communication). The Anishinaabe Peoples in our local area pass the talking stick in a clockwise direction. When engaging in circle with students, think about how everyone is listening respectfully to the person speaking, how a circle can be used to discuss issues of importance, and how everyone in the circle is provided with an opportunity to speak although some may pass and be active listeners.

Symbols and Significance

Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel is a traditional teaching tool for First Nations. It represents the Circle of Life and how to walk the earth in a balanced, peaceful and harmonious way.

Eagle Feather

The Eagle Feather is the most sacred of feathers and is considered an honourable gift from the Creator. It is the representation of a life lived according to principle. It is the responsibility of the carrier to carry that feather with respect by walking a good path.


Sweetgrass is one of the four sacred medicines used in smudging ceremonies to symbolically cleanse the body and other objects. It is considered to be the hair of Mother Earth and respect is shown by braiding her hair. It is also a symbol of unity, clarity of mind and strength of purpose.

Métis Sash

The Métis Sash is an important cultural symbol to the Métis people. Most often worn as a belt, the three-metre long finger woven swath of colourful cloth has many other practical applications.


The Infinity sign symbolizes two cultures (French and First Nation people) together and the continuity of the Métis culture.


Inuksuit are the mysterious stone figures found throughout the circumpolar world, and have become a familiar symbol of the Inuit and their homeland. Inuksuk (the singular of Inuksuit) means "in the likeness of a human" and is a monument made of unworked stones that is used by the Inuit for communication and survival.

In the News


* Indigenous or Aboriginal: Which is correct? CBC

* What's in a Name? Indian, Native, Aboriginal, or Indigenous? CBC

* Avoiding the Misappropriation of Indigenous Culture CARFLEO

* 'Man who walks among the stars': AFN honours tearful Gord Downie - CBC News

* Grading the gap: Smudging Connects Students to Heritage. - CBC News

* Alvinston baseball club drops Indians name, Chief Wahoo logo - CBC News

* Grading the gap: Smudging Connects Students to Heritage. - CBC News

* Gord Downie calls out to Trudeau, highlights the North, during final show of tour - CTV News

* Headdress controversy points to bigger problems, First Nations educator says -CBC

* 21 things you may not know about the Indian Act - CBC Aboriginal

* Pope Francis handed hundreds of letters from Alberta First Nations people CBC

* Trudeau asks Pope for an apology over church's role in residential schools - CBC Indigenous

* Truth and Reconciliation Commission: By the Numbers - CBC Indigenous

Thinking Critically About First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Resources

Good Minds is a quality site to use for purchasing bias-free teaching and educational resources. They have developed selection criteria for offering teachers and librarians the most current, educationally sound, and bias-free resources. They have offered St. Clair the following presentation to support critically thinking about the texts used in classrooms.

1.GoodMinds First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Resources SCDSB Dec 2016 show.ppsx