Indigenous Understanding [TL.IU]

Teachers and leaders demonstrate an understanding of Indigenous perspectives and ensure that appropriate resources are allocated in order to support our Indigenous students’ success and well-being.

Exploring the Context

Stakeholders gain trust and confidence when our teachers and leaders are actively attending to strategies to reduce the First Nation, Métis and Inuit achievement gap, to promote positive relationships with Indigenous students and to promote increased attendance rates.

The Memorandum of Understanding for First Nations Education in Alberta (MOU) is an agreement between the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs in Alberta, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to work toward strengthening learning and educational success for First Nation students in Alberta. 

The MOU expresses that First Nation students attending First Nation school or provincial schools are not achieving educational outcomes or levels of success similar to all other students in Alberta. To this end, there is a desire to improve the services and quality of education for all First Nation students in order to improve the educational outcomes while respecting our Indigenous students’ cultural identity.

The MOU presents the following principles for all who are involved in education:

  1. Work collaboratively and expeditiously to continuously improve educational outcomes for First Nation students;
  2. Recognize the diversity of First Nation peoples, communities, language, culture, traditions and spiritual practices and the need for standards-based and culturally appropriate education;
  3. Ensure First Nation students have equitable access to quality education and smooth transitions between First Nation and provincial schools;
  4. Achieve comparable quality standards between First Nation on-reserve and provincial education;
  5. Enhance governance, policy, program and fiscal accountability to students, communities and funding agencies;
  6. Empower and engage First Nation Elders, students, parents, and communities to improve educational outcomes;
  7. Maximize effectiveness of existing activities and investments, and pursue initiatives to improve educational outcomes; and 
  8. Promote building of institutional capacity and relationships.

The Indigenous Understanding Element aligns Parkland School Division with the work set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding for First Nations Education in Alberta.

Alternative Context: Ongoing Pandemic

Class cancellation and remote delivery of learning presents a significant challenge to Parkland School Division’s efforts to increase attendance for Indigenous students. Remote delivery requires a consistent Internet connection or well-packaged print materials for students to engage in learning effectively. Any requirement to continue remote learning will necessitate maintaining and strengthening our relationship with our Indigenous neighbours: Paul First Nation, Alexis-Nakota Sioux Nation and Enoch Cree Nation.

Avenues for Development

  • Instructional Services continues to develop the role effectiveness of the Indigenous Student Facilitator.
  • Leaders identify a lead (or catalyst) teacher at each site to participate in Divisional collaboration around meeting the needs of Indigenous students.
  • Leaders and teachers actively attend to ensuring the growth in representation of Indigenous culture in all schools.


As we attend to this Element, we see that students are more present in schools and they express an appreciation for the attention to Indigenous culture, represented through artifacts, education and relationships.

Student attendance and achievement show year-over-year growth and drop-out rates decline.

Teachers report an increase in satisfaction in their own collective efficacy to better reach and teach Indigenous students.


  • Increased academic achievements results as evidenced by literacy and numeracy benchmarking, school-awarded marks, provincial assessments, high school completion, and post-secondary engagement.
  • Reduction of chronic absenteeism of Indigenous students.
  • Assurance results indicating an increase in Indigenous students’ perception of a sense-of-belonging in Parkland School Division schools.