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Partnership On First Nations Curriculum

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      DECEMBER 1996      v26 n01 p30  
On July 22, 1996, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Blaine Favel and Provincial Minister of Education Pat Atkinson announced a partnership to develop new curriculum with significant First Nations content and to begin introducing it in provincial schools.

Chief Favel and Minister Atkinson have discussed issues relating to education, in particular the absence of First Nations involvement in curriculum development. Both leaders have expressed their concern over deficiencies in the current Saskatchewan K-12 curriculum. They decided that a concerted and immediate effort had to be made to address the issue.

The FSIN Office of Education will work with Saskatchewan Education to ensure that the K-12 provincial curriculum contains accurate information and input from First Nations educators. This involvement will contribute to curbing the existence of what Minister Atkinson calls "systematic racism".

Chief Favel stated, "The curriculum development partnership is designed to correct the historical record as it pertains to First Nations people in Saskatchewan and, the outcome of this initiative should foster greater social harmony in the province."

Changing demographics in Saskatchewan have necessitated changes to the provincial curriculum. The increase in the First Nations population must be reflected in educational reform. In addition, better understanding of First Nations people in the province is required because they represent a key component in the future labour force.

In the end, First Nations children, both in band-controlled schools and in the public system, will learn their history as part of the regular curriculum. As well, non-Aboriginal students will, for the first time, learn about First Nations history, culture, traditions and the significant contributions made by First Nations people to both the province and the country.

The final draft of the contractual agreement was completed in June 1996. Writers are currently reviewing the Saskatchewan Education curriculum policies with the assistance of a Curriculum Committee made up of members from both Saskatchewan Education and the FSIN Office of Education. Regular meetings are planned to identify solutions for educational issues affecting First Nations students.

"The curriculum development partnership is designed to correct the historical record as it pertains to First Nations people in Saskatchewan... "