In partnership with the Aboriginal community, the Ottawa Catholic School Board has developed a process for voluntary, confidential, self-identification for students of First Nation, Métis and Inuit ancestry. Allow your voice to be heard and help our Board meet the educational needs of our students by providing appropriate and supportive programming. The data will be used for the benefit of students to monitor how students are progressing, and to identify programs and services that will help them achieve success at school. Confidentiality will be respected - information about individual students will not be released.
Aboriginal Awareness Initiatives
This past year, an Aboriginal education community outreach room was set up at St. Michael School, Ottawa. The Aboriginal community was invited to the opening of the room, which included a smudge ceremony, an offering of thanks, and a cultural presentation by the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, featuring Aboriginal innovations and drumming. Throughout the year, community members were invited to use the room to offer cultural teachings to the students of St. Michael, and to use the room after school hours. Wabano accepted the invitation and has been holding healing circles in the area ever since. A community garden was also set up by Wabano at St. Michael.
Local artists worked with the grade 6 students at the school to make sharing hand drums, returning at a later date to hold three drum sessions with students from JK to Grade 6. The Heartbeat of Mother Earth through the drums travelled to several of our schools in the area, including Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Assumption, Holy Cross, St. Clare and St. Brigid. An Aboriginal author and illustrator also visited several of our schools, sharing his stories around the 7 Grandfather Teachings. Many other teachings and lessons with an Aboriginal perspective were shared in several of our schools.
At the intermediate level, Shannen’s Dream, a campaign to raise awareness of the conditions at Attawapiskat — a First Nations community in northern Ontario — and to ensure that all children have access to a healthy school, was promoted throughout our schools. In fact, several schools, including Immaculata and Notre Dame High Schools participated in an act of solidarity with First Nations schools and Lady Evelyn Alternative School, taking their letters of support to Parliament Hill. Immaculata also hosted the first Aboriginal Education Day in June. Four hundred students in Grades 7 and 8 participated in workshops offered by our Aboriginal community, increasing their awareness of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and histories. At the closing assembly, a Métis student from Immaculata shared his cultural and musical talents by playing three traditional songs on the fiddle.
At the secondary level, nine sections of Native Studies courses were held — six sections of Current Aboriginal Issues and three sections of Expressing Aboriginal Cultures, in six of our high schools. A PLC (Professional Learning Community) was held for teacher supported learning and to develop curriculum. The PLC meetings focused on sharing resources, local Aboriginal contacts, protocols, and creating authentic learning experiences for the students. The classes took school field trips to the National Gallery, the Museum of Civilization, Shannen’s Dream, and the play, The Trial of Louis Riel.
As a focus, the teachers and students made drums with a local drum maker from the Aboriginal community with teachers involved in a followup session with him to learn how to play the drums, and how to incorporate Native music into the courses. Three Native studies teachers attended the Regional Ministry PLC sessions in Belleville. The Native studies courses ended with an overnight Celebration Camp, which brought together everything the students had learned in their courses, with the help of the local Aboriginal community. Activities involved canoeing, Inukshuk making, low-ropes, drumming, storytelling, elder teachings, Métis fiddling and First Nations dancing.
We currently have over 140 students enrolled in Native Studies Courses in our high schools this 2011-2012 school year.
We offer a course on Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada (NDA 3M) and Expressing Aboriginal Cultures (NAC 10).
View our High School Course Guide >>
In 2011, over 490 First Nation, Métis and Inuit students self-identified with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
The artwork displayed in the top banner on this page was supplied by Tom Hogan,
a client of the Shepherds of Good Hope.