Third agreement honours Aboriginal culture and history

By on October 8, 2015

Submitted –
For Immediate Release
2015EDUC0067-001672
Oct. 8, 2015

Ministry of Education

NEWS RELEASE

Third agreement honours Aboriginal culture and history

LANGLEY – To further strengthen and support Aboriginal student achievement and success the Ministry of Education and School District 35 signed their third Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement today.

Aboriginal students, teachers, community partners, school district officials and local First Nations celebrated the official signing at the Kwantlen First Nation Cultural Centre. The celebration included a feast, calling of witnesses, agreement signing, gift giving and traditional songs.

The agreement is a result of a year of consultation with students, parents, district staff and local Aboriginal communities. The goals of the five-year agreement focusses on building partnerships, personalized learning, teaching Aboriginal history, integrating cultural values and fostering belonging to ensure Aboriginal student success. The Seven Laws of Life, which were passed on as an oral tradition from the Honourable Steven Point, act as guiding principles and include: health, happiness, generations, generosity, humbleness, forgiveness and understanding.

The purpose of the agreement is to create partnerships and collaboration between Aboriginal communities and school districts to support and meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students.

This agreement builds on the recently released ‘Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom: Moving Forward’. The resource booklet helps teachers bring Aboriginal culture, history and perspectives into their classrooms. The booklet also supports the revised curriculum being introduced into B.C. schools over the next
three years, which provides a flexible and innovative plan to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Quotes:

Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –

“Supporting Aboriginal student learning, well-being and success is a key commitment of government. This agreement provides the continued framework needed to ensure Aboriginal culture and history is taught in B.C. classrooms to build on our world-class education system.”

Mary Polak, MLA for Langley –

“Congratulations to all partners involved in reaching this third agreement. Teaching Aboriginal history and integrating cultural values into the classroom will benefit all students.”

Rich Coleman, MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove –

“With Aboriginal student achievement at a record high, bringing Aboriginal culture and history into the student curriculum improves our education system and further strengthens student success.”

Cheryl Gabriel, First Nations Elder –

“The Langley School District Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement has a positive effect when everyone helps pull back the blanket of history. This means students will learn to read, listen and write about Aboriginal traditions, and Elders share and teach oral traditions. The interconnection of students and Elders means we all share the responsibility to bring back the values of respect, belonging, culture, identity, language, truth and strength to our schools and
communities.”

Robert McFarlane, board chair, Langley Board of Education –

“Residing on the traditional territories of four First Nations, the Langley School District values its relationships with local Aboriginal communities. The district and the Aboriginal communities share a vision to honour Aboriginal history and culture and to support Aboriginal students and their education. The Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement provides direction and purpose to that vision and working together we can create a positive legacy for
the future.”

Quick Facts:

* An Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement is a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education to work together to support Aboriginal student achievement
and success.

* The provincial six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students is now at a record high of 62%.

* SD 35 has 1955 Aboriginal students of the 20,204 total number of students in the district, according to 2014-15 statistics.

* SD 35 recognizes and acknowledges the traditional territory of the Matsqui, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations.

* A total of 101 Aboriginal Educational Enhancement Agreements have been signed since 1999.

* Total K-12 Aboriginal enrolment in B.C. public schools is 61,811 or 11.2% of the total student population this school year.

Learn More:

Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/agreements/

First Nations Education Steering Committee: http://www.fnesc.ca/

Aboriginal education, Ministry of Education: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/

Langley School District (SD 35): https://www.sd35.bc.ca/

Media Contact:

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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