Education is the Key to Reconciliation
November is National Indigenous Education Month. It is a time to recognize the advancements and tackle the challenges in Indigenous education in Canada.
There is currently a shortage of Indigenous teachers across the country. The Assembly of First Nations reported that approximately one-third of Indigenous schools in Canada are understaffed.
Last year at Indspire (a national, Indigenous, registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people), we provided financial support to 602 Indigenous students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Education. When those students graduate and become educators, they will be an inspiration to the K-12 students that they teach in their classroom.
Giving Tuesday is next week and we have an ambitious goal of raising $80,000 to support Indigenous post-secondary students. Four anonymous donors have agreed to match your gift, having an even greater impact for First Nation, Inuit and Métis students.
One inspiring individual who is eager to be in the classroom, is Indspire supported student, Alyssa Denysuik.
Alyssa is from Sagkeeng First Nation and is in the Bachelor of Education program through the Community Aboriginal Teacher’s Education Program at the University of Winnipeg.
“My heroes are the matriarchs of my family, specifically my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother is a residential school survivor of the Fort Alexander Residential School who would go on to become an educator while caring for her family of 8. My mother was a single, unemployed mother who raised my sister and I while going on to become an educator like my grandmother. Like my resilient matriarchs, I hope to become an educator and carry the teachings of our community to my students.”
Teaching is woven into Alyssa’s DNA but as a child she did not feel represented in the classroom. It is her hope that she can ensure all Indigenous students have an essential piece of identity within their school setting. Alyssa wants them to be proud of their kin, their communities, and themselves.
“I have many goals as an Indigenous educator. I believe that beyond being there to physically represent who an Indigenous educator is, I want to bring culture and language to the classroom. Therefore, I am currently working on learning to speak Anishnaabemowin, in hopes of becoming a teacher in an Ojibwe bilingual program. My grandmother told me that the most essential piece in cultural resurgence is the language. I believe that by learning the language, I am speaking not only in the present moment, but connecting to my relatives beyond this world. When I graduate, I want to be a part of a community of the matriarchs who have trailblazed before me and cared for the youth by honouring the elder’s teachings.”
I hope you’ll consider making a gift to Indspire today, in honour of National Indigenous Education month and Giving Tuesday. You can have double the impact on Indigenous education and help make it possible for more future teachers like Alyssa to leave a legacy for the seven generations to come.
To learn more about Indspire visit soaringfuture.ca