The Wapikoni educational guide: to discover the diversity of Indigenous cultures in Canada

Discussing in a fun way with your students subjects related to Aboriginal cultures is an approach that can prove to be complex. With the educational guide Wapikoni: Introduction to the diversity of Aboriginal cultures in Canada, secondary school teachers are now equipped to do so.

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Discussing in a fun way with your students subjects related to Aboriginal cultures is an approach that can prove to be complex. With the educational guide Wapikoni: An Introduction to the Diversity of Indigenous Cultures in Canada, secondary school teachers are now equipped to do so.

This guide includes clear and concise texts about Indigenous cultures, maps, statistics, suggested educational activities as well as a selection of twelve films made by young Indigenous filmmakers in the studio of the Wapikoni mobile, accompanied by information sheets.

For example, the short film Uprooted childhood, by Réal Junior Leblanc, could serve as a trigger to discuss the issue of residential schools while the film The Hearing by Russell Ratt Brascoupe could introduce an educational project about Two-Spirit.

Contribute to reconciliation

The knowledge and teachings of First Nations, Inuit and Métis are today considered a first step towards reconciliation. Wapikoni and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) produced this guide in collaboration with indigenous partners and teachers from the UNESCO Associated Schools Project in order to contribute to the role that schools must play in fight against prejudices and in relations between nations.

The objective of the guide is therefore to become an educational tool on the Indigenous realities of yesterday and today through short films highlighting various points of view of young Indigenous people from communities located across the country. .

Complete and varied content: historical milestones and current topics

Written in a simple and accessible language, this guide proposes, among other things, a clarification of terminologies. Who are the First Nations, the Inuit, the Métis, what is cultural appropriation, what is an ancestral right? Exploring these notions and many others, by recalling the historical facts and current questions related to these subjects, the document of nearly 100 pages aims to encourage an informed and stimulating conversation between teachers and students.

Some major historical milestones are summarized therein, such as the Royal Proclamation of 1763, The Indian Act and the history of Native residential schools, observed with a current eye through reflections on the right to equality and an emphasis of the UN declaration on indigenous peoples. We also learn about the native territory and that of the First Peoples' relationship to the environment.

Our Wapikoni educational guide calls for awareness of the violence suffered by missing and murdered indigenous women - a topical issue that continues to preoccupy the country and that must be approached carefully. It also outlines current struggles for the revitalization and recognition of Indigenous languages.

For more information about the guide or to organize training for your teachers, you can contact

Source: Canadian Commission for UNESCO

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About the Author

Alexane Saint-Amant-Ringuette
Alexane Saint-Amant-Ringuette
Alexane is the editor of the École branchée online news feed. She has a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of British Columbia as well as a master's degree in intercultural mediation from the University of Sherbrooke. She also acts as a communications advisor for the organization Idée Éducation entrepreneuriale.

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