Aboriginal Education Day at the Faculty of Education
Friday, January 28, 2011
Aboriginal Education was the focus of a professional development day on January 28 for teacher candidates, graduate students and faculty members at Western’s Faculty of Education.
Dr. Rebecca Coulter, Director of Aboriginal Education at the Faculty, explained that “this day was organized at the suggestion of recent grads of our B.Ed. program now working for the Indigenous Education Coalition. It will enhance the learning of teacher candidates who will be responsible for implementing the Aboriginal Education policies of the Ontario Ministry of Education.”
With the goal of raising awareness and understanding about Aboriginal Education, the day began with an opening ceremony including songs and prayers, led by Dan and Mary Lou Smoke. Keynote speaker Dr. Christy Bressette, Aboriginal Education Coordinator for the Council of Ministers, Education Canada and a recent doctoral graduate from Western’s Faculty of Education, spoke about the history of Aboriginal Education and discussed success stories from schools across Canada.
Students and faculty had the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops throughout the day. Topics included the history, culture and technology of the canoe, student achievement in the context of Aboriginal Education, teaching in First Nations schools, how First Nations are reclaiming their languages and the engagement and empowerment of Aboriginal youth. A guided visit to the Oneida of the Thames First Nation community was another workshop option while back at the Faculty a group Oneida women offered a delicious traditional lunch of corn soup and fried bread for workshop participants.