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Dustin Sandau 001181353

EDUC 3505 – M
October 5, 2017
FNMI Workshop Reflection
FNMI values and beliefs permeate Canadian culture in many capacities. As I have seen in

the FNMI workshop, educators are working on finding places for these values in classrooms. As

ambassadors for a brighter future, educators must incorporate these ideas to sensitize non-

FNMI students to the lasting struggles faced by the indigenous people of our country, as well as

provide a safe place for FNMI students to feel the value and permeating impressions their

culture has in our society today. This workshop reinforced how complicated and deeply rooted

this issue is, challenged my beliefs, and opened up questions regarding how I might introduce

FNMI culture into my classroom.

Reconciliation in schools is a recent effort from the Canadian government. Some argue

that the effort is too little, too late, while others maintain that schools are not the place to try

to make up for past mistakes. The issue is complicated, but the government has made promises

and statements that are the first steps in recovering what was lost. I had not realized the

vicious cycle of the disagreement between westernized schools and FNMI culture; an instilled

distrust of systematic schooling is still affecting even the youngest generation of indigenous

people. With a culture-wide identity crisis in this country, we have a responsibility to show

young FNMI individuals that school is a place to explore and share rich backgrounds, and to

formulate their own identities.

Another unfortunate realization from the workshop came from the discussion of the

achievement gap. While I knew it existed, I did not understand its roots or implications. I was

thankful to learn that, despite this gap, Albertas aboriginal population is gaining members at an
Dustin Sandau 001181353
EDUC 3505 – M
October 5, 2017

astounding rate. With a higher birth rate and more individuals identifying with FNMI status, the

government has become more accountable than ever to combat the achievement gap. They

have introduced regulations declaring how FNMI traditions are to be preserved in every

classroom, and have legislature holding teachers accountable. I was surprised to learn of the

integration of these traditions in seemingly irrelevant subjects, like science. It makes me curious

if my understanding of science is more rooted in aboriginal traditions than I would believe.

This issue is an ongoing investigation and, as a future mathematics educator, I still

struggle to find the applicability for the topics in my future classroom. In a hunt for scientific

truths, what place is there for unsubstantiated, seemingly spirituality-based beliefs? If these

beliefs are unsubstantiated, why do we use the same plants for medicine today as indigenous

people did long ago? In unpacking these issues, I wonder about the ways we can organically

explore these ideas in a classroom. As we promote acceptance and foster belonging, are there

any specific sensitivities or delivery methods necessary to help students understand FNMI

perspectives? Should we treat the exploration of this culture differently than that of other

cultures or races? I hope to develop more fluency in the subject matter as I progress through

my career in order to authentically apply FNMI practices to our own curriculum and ensure my

students of all cultures feel represented and accepted.