A Few Resources from Reconciliation and Indigenous Education

For the past two months, I’ve been taking UBC’s Edx course on Reconciliation and Indigenous Education. Somehow I missed the fact that the “education” in the title wasn’t just the theory but the practice: this course is primarily aimed at educators, and most of my (literally hundreds of) classmates were teachers or professors.

However, although the assignments and discussion questions were geared toward a classroom context, there was wiggle room to consider other situations and circumstances. The course was taught by UBC professor Jan Hare and several teaching assistants.

Jan Hare is an Indigenous scholar and educator and is the Associate Dean for Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in western Canada. She is also the Director the Native Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) and holds the Professorship of Indigenous Education in Teacher Education. [X]

Professor Hare and her assistants, all Indigenous women, introduced the class to Indigenous scholars and activists, to Elders and knowledge-keepers, and to teachers in Canada, Australia, and the USA who are working to Indigenize their classrooms in varying contexts and using varying methods that nevertheless follow the same broad principles. We looked at the history and effects of the residential school system, examined our own biases, studied what real reconciliation would look like, researched the people in whose land we (individually, according to our geographic location) live, and considered what steps we might take next.

I highly recommend taking this course when it runs again next. (It’s free!) The readings and discussions will take a minimum of 4 hours a week, so do make sure you have the time to fully engage. It is worth your full attention.

The reason for this preamble is that, during the course, some of the readings (er, watchings? assigned videos, podcasts, and PDFs) were available externally. Here are a few of the resources publicly available, loosely categorized, in the hopes that you will find them useful, thought-provoking, and fuel for change.

Media by Indigenous creators

(Warning: “Took the Children Away” and “We are Medicine” will definitely get stuck in your head.)

I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind (Thomas King)

Savage (Lisa Jackson)

Took the Children Away (Archie Roach)

We are Medicine (N’we Jinan artists, Bella Coola, BC) — A song written, recorded and filmed with Nuxalk students of Acwsalcta School

Unsettling Your Language: A Cree Language Podcast (âpihtawikosisân)

We Matter (We Matter)

As a registered non-profit organization, our mandate is to communicate to Indigenous youth that their lives matter, and to provide resources to encourage and support those going through a hard time while fostering unity and resiliency. We provide a forum for people across the country to share video messages of hope and positivity with youth who are going through a hard time. By sharing our stories, our words of encouragement, and our authentic messages of hope and resilience, we help to make a community stronger. We remind youth that I matter. You matter. We matter.


Resources for unsettling your perspective and working toward reconciliation

Different Ways of Knowing the World (Allan Luke and The Learning Exchange)

Community Action Toolkits (Reconciliation Canada)

Respectful Relationships (Reconciliation Australia)

The Residential School System in Canada: Teacher’s Guide, 2nd ed. (Government of Northwest Territories, Government of Nunavut, and the Legacy of Hope Foundation)

Where are the Children? Exhibition (Legacy of Hope Foundation)

CAUT Guide to Acknowledging Traditional Territory [with territorial acknowledgement by province] (Canadian Association of University Teachers)

Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements (âpihtawikosisân)

Working Together (Skills for Solidarity, with Harsha Walia and Youth Social Infrastructure) — Long video, but worth listening to.

This lesson explores what accountability to Indigenous communities looks like in practice for non-Indigenous Peoples. Examples of solidarity work are presented, with panelists exploring both what has worked and what the challenges are.


For teachers: reconciliation initiatives in the classroom, education theory, and other resources
Podcasts and Interviews

Nature and Human Nature (Human Apes)

Early Learning Class Based Upon Aboriginal Culture (Princess Anne Public School and tvo parents)

Changing Results for Young Readers: First Peoples Principles of Learning (Laura Tait and Province of BC)

Indigenizing the Curriculum (Dr. Jo-ann Archibald and UBC Educational Studies)

Genuine Involvement of Indigenous Families (Allan Luke and The Learning Exchange)

Multilingual Approaches to Learning (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership)

Building Bridges with Aboriginal Communities (Principal Gayle Bedard and Principal Colleen Hannah, BC)

PDFs – Guides and Handbooks

Alaska Standards for Culturally-Responsive Schools (Alaska Native Knowledge Network)

Understanding Cultural Competence (Early Childhood Australia)

Our Words, Our Ways: Teaching First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Learners (Alberta Education)

Lessons of Our Land (Indian Land Tenure Foundation, USA) — Lessons of Our Land is designed to make it easy for Pre-K through Grade 12 teachers to incorporate Native American stories, lessons and games into regular classroom instruction.

Engaging With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (Kids Matter: Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative)

Aboriginal Elders and Community Workers in Schools (Saskatchewan Learning)

Working with Aboriginal Communities: A Guide to Community Consultation and Protocols, revised ed., 2008 (Board of Studies, New South Wales, Australia)


Looking for Books?

Authentic First Peoples Resources (First Nations Education Steering Committee & First Nations Schools Association)

  • Books by Indigenous authors with notes on their use in the classroom (nations in the story; grades; topics and themes); also, curriculum areas this story could be incorporated. Published in 2016, so very up to date on Indigenous Canadian literature