Aboriginal perspective in the school curriculum: challenges remain

October 08, 2019

Article originally appeared on CBC News (date: October 5, 2019) and features comments from Dr. Isabelle Côté.

The Office of the Francophile and Francophone Affairs (BAFF) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) held a symposium on issues related to the Francophonie in British Columbia, as part of its 15th anniversary.

Among the researchers present, the doctoral student Isabelle Côté presented her research on the difficulties for French immersion teachers to integrate an Aboriginal perspective into learning, as required by the British Columbia curriculum. 

"First Nations are trying to develop materials, but they do it in English", she says in an interview. "Teachers who work in immersion or the Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF) sometimes end up with resources that are developed locally, which is good, but there is the whole challenge of translation".

It describes the lack of funds allocated by the province to this exercise.

"We can not ask the Musqueam and Squamish communities to put thousands of dollars into translation, adds the one which also gives courses of pedagogy to the future teachers of immersion and the CSF to SFU. There is an important political, economic and financial effort to better support teachers."

"Since 2016, the British Columbia Ministry of Education has required, among other things, that children learn about the history of residential schools, as well as other wrongs - spoliation of territories, prohibition of cultural practices, and so on. - caused to First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Teachers should also tell them about the current knowledge these people hold and continue to use every day, including environmental and resource management issues."

"What they are asking for is that non-Aboriginal students understand local indigenous knowledge", says Isabelle Côté.

Read the rest of the article via CBC News