Division News

First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Education

Northland School Division No.61 (NSD) serves primarily First Nation and Métis students located in the northern half of Alberta. Approximately, 95 percent of our students claim First Nation or Métis status. This summary shows examples of how NSD is weaving FNMI language and Culture into key priorities for the jurisdiction. 

Division-wide Literacy Initiative: 

  • Goal is to strengthen languages (English and Aboriginal) by multiples strategies that are tailored to the needs of each community.
  • Schools have access to “Literacy Seed Kit”. In collaboration with Alberta Education and Northland School Division, this 76 book collection was created as a travelling classroom library.
  • Schools use First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Professional Development Resources to infuse Aboriginal content into literacy instruction; ex: Oral Storytelling. 
Jerome Whiteknife, grade 4 student, plays the drum and sings to students, parents and staff during morning announcements as a way to open minds.

Jerome Whiteknife, grade 4 student, plays the drum and sings to students, parents and staff during morning announcements as a way to open minds.

Attendance Improvement Initiative: 

  • Students at Athabasca Delta Community School (ADCS) in Fort Chipewyan are demonstrating cultural pride through singing and drumming. Since this initiative began, Elders share cultural knowledge to students through drumming, singing and the Seven Sacred Teaching; Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility and Truth. The school says when students feel valued they will respect others, which in turn opens their minds to learning http://nsd61.ca/about-us/division-news/post/cultural-pride-at-athabasca-delta-community-school
Elder/Cultural Advisor Herman Sutherland educates students about setting traps at  Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council (KTC) – NSD61 Winter Camp in February 2015.

Elder/Cultural Advisor Herman Sutherland educates students about setting traps at Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council (KTC) – NSD61 Winter Camp in February 2015.

Cree Language and Culture

  • Two year plan introduced to improve FNMI student learning outcomes and address recommendations 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 19 in the Northland Inquiry Team Report.
  • Cree Language and Culture Teachers use the Cree Language and Culture 12-year program (Kindergarten to Grade 12).
  • Teachers receive division support to implement the 12-year program guide
  • Teachers develop unit plans to help students accomplish target outcomes such as language competence.
  • Teachers select appropriate instructional strategies to create engaging learning activities for students
  • Teachers invite Elders and use community resources to enrich the Cree Language and Culture curriculum (See Figure 2)
  • NSD61’s Five Year Aboriginal Language Plan lays out a timeline for implementing assessment strategies, benchmarks and learner profiles.
  • Kindergarten to grade six benchmarks introduced to schools. Benchmarks developed with support from South Slave Divisional Education Council. FNMI Benchmarks Kindergarten to Grade 6

Curriculum Redesign:

  • Calling Lake School is participating in Curriculum Development Prototyping. This work involves students, parents, educators, Elders, community members, Alberta Education’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit Curriculum Branch and Curriculum Policy Advisory Committee.
  • The goal for this project is to develop examples of K-12 curriculum that embody First Nation, Métis traditions, community perspectives to support student learning and the overarching beliefs envisioned in Inspiring Education. For example; identification of local plants and their uses (Science), setting up a tipi to teach concepts such as measurement, circumference and area of a circle (Math), Elders telling stories to explain their worldview (Social Studies) and Student Conduct based on the seven teachings; recognizing students for demonstrating love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth http://www.callinglakeschool.ca/about/positive-behavior-support-and-discipline-plan. This work has been submitted to Alberta Education. 
Fort Chipewyan student learning how to fillet a fish

Fort Chipewyan student learning how to fillet a fish

FNMI Strategic Plan, FNMI Resources and Land-based Learning:

  • FNMI Strategic Plan supports work to strengthen language, enhancement of FNMI resources, the utilization of community resources to develop cultural camps, land-based learning and experiential learning opportunities, partnerships to develop culturally responsive programming opportunities and support FNMI instruction.
  • Educators utilize resources such as Alberta Education, Walking Together and Our Way is a Valid Way.
  • Bigstone Cree Nation, Curriculum Branch for Alberta Education, Northland School Division and community members partnered to develop the Wabasca Community Stewardship resource website to assist educators and students in gaining local history, historical sites and significant locations as well as the stories associated with them. The Wabasca Community Stewardship Committee is making final edits to the website before being released to schools.
  • New Division website that showcases FNMI culture http://nsd61.ca/
  • Schools educate students about residential schools.
  • Schools offer Aboriginal Studies 10-20-30 courses. This course is based on perspectives and worldviews of FNMI peoples.
  • Promote community engagement; Elders and community members take on leadership roles in this work. For example, Curriculum Weaving Peerless Lake.


Recent Land-based Learning Camps:
Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) Fish Camp: http://fatherrperinschool.ca/about/school-news/post/fish-camp-photos
Cultural Week Little Buffalo School: http://littlebuffaloschool.ca/about/school-news/post/our-culture-week
Experiential Learning Gathering: http://nsd61.ca/about-us/division-news/post/experiential-learning-gathering-fort-chipewyan
Camp Voyageur Fort Chipewyan: http://www.adcs.ca/about/school-news/post/grade-8-9-camp-voyageur-field-trip-2015
Northland School Division and Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Winter Camp 2015: http://nsd61.ca/about-us/division-news/post/northland-school-division-and-kee-tas-kee-now-tribal-council-winter-camp-2015
Students Participate in Land-based Learning Camp: http://nsd61.ca/about-us/division-news/post/grouard-students-attend-spring-camp-at-marten-lakes
Moose Hide Tanning at Conklin Community School: http://www.conklincommunityschool.ca/about/school-news/post/moose-hide-tanning-week