One of the most heated debates in Canadian education is whether or not to make indigenous studies mandatory. This can be quite confusing for many people due to the variety of opinions and answers on the issue. In this article, I will be taking a look at indigenous studies in Canada and why it is important for all Canadians to understand the history and current state of who they are as people living in Canada.
There has been much discussion about the mandate of indigenous studies in Canada. Some say it should be mandatory and others argue that it is a start but not complete. I’d like to clear up some of the confusion around this subject and hopefully provide some insights into what is best for students going through school.
Are indigenous studies mandatory in Canada?
The answer is yes. Indigenous studies are mandatory in Canada.
The Canadian government has mandated that all schools must have indigenous studies as part of their curriculum. The purpose of this course is to teach students about the history, culture, and traditions of indigenous peoples and how they affect today’s society.
Indigenous Study is a mandatory course that students must take in order to graduate. The course focuses on the history of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, with an emphasis on the historical and contemporary cultural differences between First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
The course includes lectures and discussions on topics such as:
Native law and legal traditions
Traditional knowledge systems
History of colonization in Canada
Cultural change through contact with Europeans
What is the difference between Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Studies?
The answer is yes and no.
Indigenous studies are mandatory in Canada in a few provinces, including Ontario and Manitoba. In other provinces, the degree is optional.
In addition to the mandatory subjects, most students take an extra course in Indigenous Studies that focuses on issues facing Aboriginal people today. Students can also choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in other areas of study such as anthropology or sociology, but many choose to complete an undergraduate degree in indigenous studies to gain a broader understanding of Canadian history and culture.
The answer is yes, but it depends on the province.
In Ontario and Quebec, indigenous studies are mandatory for students in grade 11. Students in other provinces are free to take them or not, as they see fit.
In Alberta, students who want to pursue indigenous studies must be enrolled in a credit-bearing course of study at the secondary level for two years or more. They can also take an enrichment course instead of a credit-bearing course if they meet certain criteria.
In Saskatchewan, students have the option of taking an Indigenous Studies course at any time during their high school career with no prerequisites.
We think that amending the curriculum in this way would align it more closely with other Canadian curriculums and thus, would be much easier to teach. We think that the course would give students the opportunity to explore ancient indigenous civilizations of Canada, study Indigenous artworks, and discuss the ways in which Canada remains a settler-colonial nation.
I think the best way to end this article is with a recommendation. The Canadian Museum of Civilization is working with Indigenous groups across the nation to develop an exhibition on this subject, and at the time of writing (February 2016), it was planned to open in 2018. That’s about as contemporary as this subject can get, and it would make for a fantastic research trip for anyone studying indigenous peoples in Canada. That’s currently on display, so start planning now if you want to view it!