First Nations Programs & Partnerships

Culturally Inclusive Education
Educators—teachers, principals, education assistants, counselors, etc—are responsible for creating a safe and supportive learning environment that strengthens cultural and intellectual well-being among students in their community.

Community Protocol Checklist

When an Elder, or anybody else, speaks to your students it is important to follow community protocol. Contact your CELCs and ESWs, the First Nations Studies teacher or the First Nations language teacher to get community protocol. In most communities it would be appropriate to respect Elders and knowledgeable people in the following ways:

  • contact the Elder you wish to invite to your classroom in person;
  • allow the Elder some time to think about the offer, do not expect an answer immediately;
  • if the Elder agrees, arrange a time to meet in person to explain what the topic is, and work with the Elder to find out what they want to teach and develop the plan together;
  • help your students generate questions pertaining to the topic ahead of time for the Elder;
  • call the Elder the day before to confirm;
  • arrange for a helper;
  • make sure there is transportation for the Elder;
  • open up the environment so the Elder can move freely;
  • put desks and chairs in a circle with the Elder in a comfortable chair;
  • help your students greet the Elder respectfully;
  • have students greet the Elder in his or her language;
  • help the Elder to sit comfortably;
  • offer tea and refreshments;
  • listen respectfully;
  • be relaxed;
  • wait for the Elder to speak;
  • don't ask about topics that are considered sacred or sensitive;
  • check about appropriateness of eye contact in your community;
  • arrange for honoraria to be ready when the Elder or other community members come to work with your students (the honoraria is available through Cultural Inclusion funds);
  • consider ways to present all traditional stories, songs and dances in the most dynamic way possible;
  • meet the Elder in an environment outside the classroom, such as cultural camps, local cultural centres, the local community hall or homes;
  • present the Elder with a gift as a thank you: for example a card made by the students, food items or a small handmade gift.