Indigenous Education

Native Studies: Nature of the Discipline

Native Studies is a discipline that focuses on the unique perspectives of Aboriginal peoples. These perspectives include an understanding of Aboriginal philosophies of life. Native Studies creates an awareness of issues, priorities and events as they relate to Aboriginal peoples.


Acceptance of diverse cultures benefits all members of a pluralistic society. Curriculum outcomes which reflect First Nations and Métis cultures provide meaningful and relevant experiences for all students and promote positive attitudes towards people of First Nations and Métis heritage.

The Native Studies Resource Books

The philosophy of Native Studies is reflected in the approaches of the Native Studies Resource Books. The Native Studies Resource Books provide sources from which essential knowledge, skills, attitudes, and issues are developed to assist students in becoming knowledgeable, purposeful, and responsible citizens. The intent is shared with the home, the school, the community and society.

In summary, this discipline emphasizes the unique perspectives of Aboriginal people such as in their traditional approaches to education. These approaches and teaching strategies focus on:

  • emphasizing inquiry and discovery by students
  • teacher presentation of process
  • viewing the teacher's role as facilitator, resource person and inquirer together with students
  • emphasizing the cognitive and affective outcomes of student learning
  • concentrating on activities, values and actions of people

Teaching strategies should be based upon the following principles:

  • all new learning should be based upon what has been learned before;
  • students should see the meaning and significance of what they are doing;
  • students should become actively involved in their learning;
  • there should be frequent interchange of ideas with others.


The Native Studies Resource Book framework is composed of broad guidelines for addressing Aboriginal perspectives, issues, content and outcomes in Social Studies and is intended to assist teachers in developing specific lesson plans for Native Studies. A new Resource Book framework may be added or existing frameworks may be modified on an annual basis to accommodate changing course requirements.

The Native Studies Resource Books should be used along with the appropriate grade level Social Studies curriculum document. The units of study within the Native Studies Resource Books should help to focus the teachers on a Native perspective to each topic from the Social Studies curriculum documents as well as present pertinent focusing questions.

The Native Studies: Early Years (K-4) A Teacher's Resource Book Framework is a subject-specific document which identifies outcomes and standards for what students are expected to know and be able to do as they relate to the knowledge and skills of Native Studies as an Aboriginal perspective to the Social Studies curriculum. The framework provides the basis for teaching, learning and assessing students who are using the Native Studies: Early Years (K-4) A Teacher's Resource Book.

The Native Studies Resource Books have been organized into three areas: early years, middle years and senior years. Each of these areas follows the Social Studies curriculum, giving an Aboriginal perspective to each of the units of study. Within are topics focussing on the Social Studies units. Also within are additional units of study that will enhance the perspective given at that grade level.

The Native Studies: Early Years (K-4) A Teacher's Resource Book Framework and the Native Studies: Early Years (K-4) A Teacher's Resource Book should be used in conjunction with the Social Studies curriculum documents.