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Educating for Reconciliation | Christy Bressette discusses history of Indigenous Education in Canada

October 29, 2015

Aboriginal education in Canada has undergone many significant changes over the years.

Christy Bressette, Co-ordinator of Aboriginal Education for the Council of Ministers of Education Canada and a member of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation recently spoke to first-year BEd students about those changes.

Using personal examples, Bressette discussed not only the differences from generation to generation, but also offered a look across Canada at developments in First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) education.

Opening her talk by introducing herself in her native language, Bressettte went on to explain to students how in the past she and her relatives had been stripped of the right to speak in that language.

“The talk was really fantastic,” said BEd student Angelica Joy Martinez. “It really resonated with me how important it is to move forward with Aboriginal education, but how that can’t be accomplished without first understanding what took place in the past.”

It was Bressette’s own educational pursuits that led her to Western’s Faculty of Education, where in 2008 she became the first Aboriginal student to graduate from Western with a PHD in Education. Since that time, many other Aboriginal students have completed advanced degrees.  

Her appearance was part of an ongoing series of lectures and special-guest panels on FNMI education for first-year BEd students.

“We want to ensure all our BEd students are educated on both the history and contemporary situation with FNMI education before they enter the workforce,” said Rebecca Coulter, Professor Emerita & Adjunct Research Professor. “This is a very important part of our past and our future that everyone needs to learn.”

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