Seven Oaks teachers leading the way

Educators honoured at Indspire National Gathering for Indigenous Education


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This article was published 05/01/2015 (3001 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Seven Oaks School Division staff and students played a big part at the recent Indspire National Gathering for Indigenous Education, which took place Nov. 20 to 22 in Toronto.

Rebecca Chartrand, division lead for Aboriginal education, received a Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award for demonstrating innovative practices and strategies in the area of Indigenous education.

Also, Maples Collegiate teacher Amy Carpenter, Maples Grade 12 student Kaigan Olson and recent Maples graduate Dakota Bushie presented at the National Gathering on the topic of infusing Indigenous perspectives into high school classrooms.

Chartrand, who is Anishinabe and Métis, ran in the civic election in the Point Douglas ward and is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in the Churchill-Keewatinook Aski riding. Chartrand said she was instrumental in developing the division’s Aboriginal Education Policy, which ensures that Aboriginal perspectives are incorporated in all core curricular areas, as well as a number of Aboriginal education initiatives in the division.

“We piloted a transition program for youth that are coming from the north to attend school in the city,” Chartrand said. “We’re creating partnerships with places like Ka Ni Kanichihk, an organization here in the city, looking at creating support for students so they can be successful in coming to school here.”

Another Aboriginal education initiative in the division is CATEP or Community Aboriginal Teacher Education Program). CATEP is a partnership between Seven Oaks School Division, Winnipeg School Division and the University of Winnipeg Integrated B.Ed/BA Program, which provides Aboriginal educational assistants the opportunity to complete the requirements for the U of W program while working on a full or part-time basis in Seven Oaks School Division.

“I’m proud to say it’s (the award) not only acknowledges my work but the work of our entire division. We can’t get these initiatives off the ground without people buying into them,” Chartrand said.

Carpenter is definitely buying in. In addition to teaching a course called Indigenous Peoples and Perspectives at Maples, Carpenter infuses Aboriginal education into all the courses she teaches, like reading books by Aboriginal authors in her English course.

“Our presentation (at the National Gathering) talked about the need for Indigenous perspectives to be across the curriculum. Students need to see themselves in every classroom,” Carpenter said.

Olson, who is Cree and Ojibwa, is a member of the Aboriginal Student Leadership group at Maples. She said the infusion of Indigenous perspectives throughout the curriculum gives her a “sense of place.”

“It just gives you a sense that you’re still here. And people need to learn you’re still here because there are still people that think really stereotypical things of you,” Olson said.

“That’s something Kaigan and Dakota came to to (in the presentation). They said ‘We’re more than tribes and wars. We’re still alive. We’re still here, so let’s give us a place within this space’,” Carpenter said.

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