Indigenous Ways of Knowing [SGA.IWK]

Students advance reconciliation by acquiring and applying foundational knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit experiences.

Exploring the Context

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada [TRC] believes that in order for Canada to flourish in the twenty-first century, reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canada must be based on these ten principles:

  1. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society;
  2. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as the original peoples of this country and as self-determining peoples, have Treaty, constitutional, and human rights that must be recognized and respected;
  3. Reconciliation is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms;
  4. Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity;
  5. Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health, and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians;
  6. All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships;
  7. The perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation;
  8. Supporting Aboriginal peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process are essential;
  9. Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources; and
  10. Reconciliation requires sustained public education and dialogue, including youth engagement, about the history and legacy of residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights, as well as the historical and contemporary contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian society.

The tenth principle for reconciliation (above) expresses the need for sustained public education and dialogue. It is important to note that this is not specifically an Indigenous element for our Indigenous population of students, but an essential element for all students. Stakeholders gain trust and confidence as our students demonstrate Indigenous ways of knowing: this involves students seeing the interconnectedness of the whole person (physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual) as strongly connected to the land and celebrated through relationships with others.

Alternative Context: Ongoing Pandemic

Learning, in any form and through any process, shall demonstrate growth in our students experiencing and sharing Indigenous ways of knowing.

Avenues for Development

  • Students experience Indigenous Ways of Knowing through specialized resources, such as through staff use of the Pebbles Series, to develop foundational knowledge;
  • Students experience Indigenous Knowledge Systems in schools, including: connection to land, language, elders and relationships;
  • Students experience Indigenous ways of knowing through art, symbols, ceremony, story and song;
  • Students experience character education programs that are based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings.


As we continue to progress in our attention to this Element, we expect to see Indigenous cultural visibility increase in PSD schools. Our schools are visibly supportive of our Indigenous population’s cultural revitalization and schools demonstrate integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, and connections to the land in everyday teaching. Our intent is that our Indigenous students and families “see themselves” in PSD schools.


  • Students report an increasing understanding of Indigenous experiences and respect for Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of knowing.