62. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to
i. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students
ii. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
iii. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms
iv. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.
In order for indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to coexist peacefully, a relationship must be built on understanding and respect. The TRC recommends that Canada indigenize public school curricula in order to educate students on the culture of indigenous peoples, and the history of residential schools – thereby explaining a key reason why reconciliation is important.
Incorporating indigenous knowledge in education is not only useful in building stronger intercultural relationships, and making the classroom more inviting to aboriginal students, it is also provides alternative ways of teaching many concepts to children especially when it comes to topics related to the environment. Some schools that incorporated indigenous learning into their curricula had lessons where students went on nature hikes, and learned how to grow traditional plants (http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/09/10/BC-Aboriginal-Education/).
Indigenizing education does not simply mean adding a chapter about residential schools to the textbook; it means including an indigenous perspective in schools that would involve getting lessons from elders, taking nature walks to understand science, studying indigenous language, and ultimately learning what it means to coexist in a just and peaceful way.
Learning About Walking in Beauty: Placing Aboriginal Perspectives in Canadian Classrooms
Related reading-2: BC’s public educational broadcaster celebrates thirteen BC First Nations languages and a drive to preserve them for future generations.