Aboriginal is used in the context of the Indigenous peoples of a particular country. Section 35(2) of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982 states “Aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.” The word “Indigenous” is often used instead of “Aboriginal”.
Colonization refers to the period of European colonization from Columbus (1492) to present day in the Americas, Oceania, Asia and Africa. Colonizers impose their institutions and belief systems in the already inhabited lands, which negatively impacts the social, cultural, spiritual and political structures and practices of the Indigenous peoples. This results in the intergenerational loss of language, culture and relationships on children, families and communities.
Elder is a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit individual recognized by their community for their wisdom that has been passed down through the generations pertaining to traditions, knowledge, spirituality, culture and language.
First Nations refers to a distinct nation or group of Indigenous people with their own languages, traditions, protocols, spiritual and cultural practices. Each group has their own traditional government with hereditary leaders or leaders chosen by the people of the group.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit is used to refer to the diversity of Indigenous peoples. This diversity is represented in part through the different languages, communities and groups of the Indigenous peoples in Alberta.
Indigenous is used internationally to refer to the descendants of the original inhabitants of an area.
Intergenerational Trauma happens when the transfer of knowledge, language, culture and values from one generation to the next is broken; for example, the impact of Indian Residential Schools. Intergenerational trauma reverberates through individuals, families and communities resulting in a legacy of loss that persists across multiple generations.
Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language. Inuit communities are spread across the vast region of Canada referred to as “Inuit Nunangat”, an Inuit term that includes land, water, and ice. Inuit have an oral history with distinct traditions, languages, beliefs, songs, art and culture.
Knowledge Keepers are individuals recognized by Elders and their community as having knowledge and wisdom related to First Nations, Métis, or Inuit cultural practices, customs, history, values and language. Knowledge Keepers are sometimes referred to as “cultural advisors”.
Métis means a person who self identifies as Métis and is recognized by a Métis community. Métis are distinct from other Indigenous peoples, and have their own history, culture, language, flag, songs, dance and stories.
Reconciliation is the process and goal of creating societal change through a fundamental shift in thinking and attitudes. Reconciliation involves learning about historical and contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and experiences that are grounded in experiential truth, including residential schools and treaties. Fundamental to reconciliation are mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Traditional Protocol is the presentation of tobacco or a gift to an Elder or Knowledge Keeper. Protocol represents a verbal contract between two parties, as the Elder or Knowledge Keeper is agreeing to the request and the person offering protocol is committing to respect the process. The use of protocol is dependent on the cultural practices of the Elder, Knowledge Keeper and the community.
Treaty 6 is an agreement signed in 1876 between Crown representatives and First Nations leaders that outlines the rights, obligations and benefits of the signing parties to each other. This commitment was acknowledged through a ceremonial and sacred agreement that incorporated the spirit and intent for treaties to last “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and rivers flow.” According to the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations, the total area of the Treaty stretches from western Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into Manitoba; and includes 50 First Nations. Provisions in Treaty 6 recognize the medicine chest as well as the right to education. Edmonton Public Schools is located on Treaty 6 territory.
The intent of this policy is to strengthen First Nations, Métis, and Inuit student academic achievement in learning environments that are equitable, culturally responsive and meaningful. This policy also supports the belief that the inclusion of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives and knowledge will benefit all students.
The Board acknowledges and respects Treaty 6 territory on which the Edmonton Public School Division resides and recognizes and celebrates the history and significance of this land and the people who came before us. The Board acknowledges that we are all Treaty people and that Treaty 6 signifies the ongoing agreement and relationship among Treaty people living together on this land.
The Board confirms its commitment and role in actively supporting truth and reconciliation and recognizes that working towards this vision is for the benefit of students, staff and the community.
The Board welcomes and embraces the rich cultural diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. The Board recognizes that respect for historical and contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge, perspectives, contributions, cultural beliefs, traditions, languages and values contributes to welcoming, inclusive, safe and healthy learning and working environments for everyone.
The Board respects the learning potential and aspirations of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students and supports the establishment of conditions under which the full capacity of students is realized.
The Board recognizes that creating learning and working environments where First Nations, Métis and Inuit students thrive is a shared responsibility reflecting the collaborative efforts of students, Division staff, parents/guardians, grandparents and other family members, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and community members. The Board values building and nurturing these positive relationships.
The Superintendent of Schools will implement this policy by assigning roles and responsibilities, and developing administrative regulations, processes and best practices.
The Superintendent will provide an annual update to the Board around progress made in support of reconciliation, student success and achievement, within a welcoming, inclusive, safe and healthy environment.
The Division will provide an annual update on progress and priority strategies that support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students through the Annual Education Results Report to Alberta Education.
(please see Section 33(1)(d))