Earlier today, the BC Ministry of Education announced that it would be funding a new Indigenous teacher education curriculum at Vancouver Island University (VIU).
The ministry said that the project would start with 15 teacher training seats at VIU’s Cowichan campus, in a news release.
The new curriculum will be a collaboration between VIU and the Cowichan Tribes, and other local bands, and will be developed with a focus on bringing Indigenous perspectives into the classroom.
“Cowichan Tribes is grateful for this funding opportunity, which involves Indigenous Specialists and additional First Nation teachers, equipped to deal with issues relating to Residential Schools, as we move towards Reconciliation,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour in the same release.
According to the ministry, this new project is part of the “Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission”.
“The new curriculum helps to ensure K-12 students learn Indigenous perspectives in all grades and subjects – from math to science to literature,” reads the release.
A shifting curriculum will also better represent BC’s student population, says the ministry.
“To reflect the student population, B.C. requires roughly 5,000 Aboriginal teachers and so we welcome this initiative, which is consistent with B.C.’s commitments in the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan,” said Tyrone McNeil, First Nations Education Steering Committee president in the same release.
Meanwhile, Brianna Thorne, a second-year bachelor of education student at VIU’s Cowichan Campus who is of mixed Indigenous ancestry thinks that a change in curriculum is beneficial for all students, Indigenous or not.
“I believe that incorporating Indigenous perspectives in teacher training is essential because it encourages future educators to think outside the traditional box of teaching,” she said in the same release.
“Indigenous knowledge offers students the opportunity to explore the world around them in terms of their relationship to everything on our planet. It teaches about respect, forgiveness, humility and reciprocity. Indigenous knowledge has so much to offer for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.”