This curriculum document was created to supplement the text Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2017), edited by Sophie McCall, Deanna Reder, David Gaertner, and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill. For each chapter of the book, a series of lessons appears. The curriculum is set up in such a way that you do not need to follow the order of the chapters. You can follow the flow and the energy of the class and go in the direction that the students need or want.
“It demands that you ... think carefully about the complex relationships between writing and reading, storytelling and image-making—relationships at the heart of stories and the interpretive approaches in Read, Listen, Tell” (1).
We have attempted to keep this quotation in mind throughout the writing of this entire curriculum. The lessons give students and teachers a chance to build relationships with the stories in the book, with each other, and most importantly with themselves. At the end of each lesson is a teacher’s reflection piece in which a teacher engages with the text and the assignments from a student perspective. Both teacher and student Read a story, Listen to their own and others’ thoughts on the story, and Tell their own story and its connection to the stories of others.
We created this document with Toronto District School Board's Grade 11 Contemporary Aboriginal Voices (NBE3U) and the Grade 11 English (ENG3U) in mind. The four strands for Contemporary Aboriginal Voices are: Identity (Who am I?), Relationships (exploring personal connections that Indigenous peoples have made spiritually and culturally with their world), Sovereignty (the spiritual understanding that the Creator gives human beings responsibility for governing themselves and taking care of the natural environment), and Challenges (challenges in Canadian life right now is the need to reclaim, reassert, and further develop distinct identities, relationships, and sovereignty). These four strands are in direct alignment with the chapters from Read, Listen, Tell. The lesson plans work with each strand and the culminating activity gives students a chance to bring all of the strands together for their final piece of work.
About the authors
Ixchel Bennett (Nahua, Tenochtitlán, México), Toronto District School Board (TDSB)/Seconded Faculty Member at York University. She has been an Elementary school teacher with the Toronto District School Board for over fourteen years. Her passion as an educator has provided her with a wealth of experience in the areas of Special Education, English as a Second Language, and weaving Indigenous education into the curriculum and schools. She is currently seconded to the Faculty of Education at York University, where she teaches courses on equity, social justice, and Indigenous Education. In September 2018 she will begin a Ph.D. on Indigenous Education at York University, where her research focus will be Indigeneity and Education.
Mandisa Bromfield has been with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for over fifteen years. She is currently an Early Reading Coach, has worked in a variety of teaching roles, has developed, written, and reviewed Africentric curriculum, and was a teacher at the Africentric Alternative School, the first publicly funded Afrocentric school in Canada. Mandisa completed a master’s degree at OISE/UT, having specialized in urban Indigenous populations. Much of her present work involves infusing French-language instruction with Indigenous and Afrocentric education.
Christina Saunders (Cree/Métis/African American) is currently an Instructional Leader for the Indigenous Education Centre in the Toronto District School Board. Christina leads various professional development sessions that have provided staff with knowledge of residential schools, Reconciliation, the deconstruction of Indigenous stereotypes, work with urban Aboriginal teachers/students, and centring Indigenous content within the Ontario curriculum, all from an Indigenous perspective. Christina is also a York University Instructional Leader teaching the Intermediate ABQ course in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education. She graduated from Queen’s University in the Primary/Junior Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, and also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University. She currently sits as Chairperson on the Aboriginal Education Standing Committee of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. Christina also has a strong background in Special Education and Literacy.
Nastassia Subban has been an Elementary and Secondary school teacher with the Toronto District School Board over twelve years. She is currently a Seconded Faculty Member in York University’s Faculty of Education. Nastassia completed a Master of Education that focused on Africentric and Transformative learning. She was a curriculum reviewer for the Grade 11 CAS 331: History of Africa and People’s of African Descent course and also piloted the Africentric curriculum when she taught middle school. Most recently, her focus has been on creating spaces for teachers to investigate the topic of self-knowledge, and she is part of a pedagogical circle that is creating secondary curriculum for the new Halton Waldorf High School.