Majority of Canadian teachers surveyed say Aboriginal education is integrated into curriculum

published 21 June 2016 updated 24 June 2016

To mark National Aboriginal Day the Canadian Teachers’ Federation has released a new survey revealing the perspectives of classroom teachers on topics related to Aboriginal education.

Nearly 1,900 elementary and secondary teachers responded to an online survey conducted by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. The survey was distributed throughout CTF’s teacher organisations and was conducted in November and December 2015.

Of the teachers surveyed, most say that they include topics related to Aboriginal education into their courses such as cultural studies, history or geography. And although the majority of teachers responded that Aboriginal culture was represented in their school’s curriculum, 41 percent said that it was somewhat represented while only 13 percent felt it was significantly represented in the curriculum.

The findings coincide with the National Aboriginal Day on 21 June, which marks its 20 years of strong vibrant cultures and traditions. The Canadian Constitution recognises the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous Peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

“With all the recent media coverage on the Truth and Reconciliation report, we’re seeing a growing interest to better understand and appreciate First Nations, Inuit and Métiscultures,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “As a microcosm of society, our schools are also part of this growing movement which is a positive development for all Canadians.  Our teachers play a pivotal role in maintaining this momentum.”

To complement the survey, CTF also released a special edition of its online magazine Perspectives featuring in-depth stories on Aboriginal education.

In cooperation with Indigenous organisations, the Government of Canada chose 21 June, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day. For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.