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Aboriginal Youth Identity Series

Origin and Settlement

Explore Aboriginal origin and settlement patterns across Canada with a focus on Alberta. Stories of Aboriginal origin and settlement are central themes and provide students with a wealth of text, images, audio (including oral histories) and video resources. An examination of specific Aboriginal communities — including the Cree, Dene, Beaver, Métis and Blackfoot — traces the evolution of Aboriginal Peoples from nomadic tribes to dynamic communities settled across the province.

Drawing on the Foundation’s Alberta: How the West Was Young, Treaty 8 Virtual Exhibit and the Methodist Missionaries in Alberta websites, this Edukit actively engages students in an overview of Aboriginal history and heritage. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of the essential role Aboriginal People played in the settlement of Western Canada.

 First Nations Contributions

The achievements and significant contributions of Aboriginal Peoples have changed the societal landscape throughout Alberta and Canada in many ways. The spirit of the Aboriginal Contributions Edukit is to introduce students to the many contributions of First Nations people in areas such as the Arts, Music, Theatre, Science and Technology, Sports and Recreation as well as Politics. Awareness of the extent of Aboriginal contributions empowers young people and encourages their social development.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students discover how how many individuals overcome negative influences and create and embrace fulfilling lives and careers.

 Culture and its Meaning

Aboriginal Peoples in Alberta and across Canada possess a rich history and heritage. Understanding Aboriginal identity as it relates to culture is important for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples alike. Through the Aboriginal Culture and Its Meaning Edukit, students explore how Aboriginal People used and continue to use traditions, symbols, practices, events and objects to express their identity. Active participation by students in diverse activities promotes learning and ultimately contributes to their overall understanding of Aboriginal People and communities in Alberta.

 Language and Culture

Today, many Aboriginal children do not communicate in their first languages. In some communities, it is only the Elders who speak the language. Recognizing the critical importance of Aboriginal Languages, the Aboriginal Language and Culture Edukit emphasizes the importance of language to culture and traditional education.

Aboriginal youth must have opportunities within the educational community to learn, practice, and share their first language. For non-Aboriginal students, this Edukit introduces students to a variety of other language groups, helping them to recognize how language influences culture, traditions, beliefs and values.

 Spirituality and Creation

The Cree, Dene, Beaver and Blackfoot peoples of Treaty areas 6, 7, and 8 share many values and traditions. However, each has a unique view of creation and spirituality. Aboriginal values and beliefs are resilient, and spirituality is central to the continuing growth and survival of Aboriginal communities. The sacred underpins all aspects of life. The Aboriginal Spirituality and Creation Edukit recognizes Aboriginal creation stories, teaches students to respect Aboriginal spirituality in all that it encompasses.

By exploring different creation stories and beliefs, students develop an appreciation for the Aboriginal worldview and learn that Aboriginal Peoples are not homogeneous. For Aboriginal students, this Edukit fosters a sense of pride in their culture and spiritual heritage. For non-Aboriginals, it reinforces the importance of Aboriginal spirituality.

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