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Native Studies

 The Place of Native Studies in the Curriculum

Native studies provides students in Ontario schools with a broad range of knowledge related to Aboriginal peoples to help them better understand Aboriginal issues of public interest discussed at the local, regional, and national levels. Students will develop the skills necessary to discuss issues and participate in public affairs. Through their involvement in Native studies, they will increase their awareness and understanding of the history, cultures, world views, and contributions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The program will also provide students with opportunities to enhance the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that they will require in postsecondary education, the world of work, and their roles as active citizens.

By its very nature, Native studies is integrative. For example, when students examine the terms of a treaty negotiated by an Aboriginal nation with the Crown, they are combining both Native studies and history. When they use the works of Aboriginal writers to study the theme of renewal, they are combining Native studies and English. Similarly, when they use multimedia resources to create art forms about contemporary Aboriginal issues, they are combining Native studies with art.

Subject matter from any course in Native studies can be combined with subject matter from one or more courses in other disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course. The policies and procedures regarding the development of interdisciplinary courses are outlined in the interdisciplinary studies curriculum policy document.

In Native studies courses in Grades 9 and 10, students examine the cultures and post-1900 history of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.These courses lay the foundation for the Native studies courses in Grades 11 and 12.The courses outlined in this document provide broader and deeper explorations of twentieth-century issues concerning Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society.

The diversity of cultural, linguistic, racial, and religious groups is a valuable characteristic of Canadian society, and schools can help prepare all students to live harmoniously in a multicultural society in the interdependent world of the twenty-first century.

Canada is the land of origin for Aboriginal peoples, and the history of Canada begins with them. As the first people of Canada, Aboriginal peoples are unique in Canada’s mosaic. Thus, exploration of the development and contributions of Aboriginal societies is central to an understanding of the social fabric of this country.