First Nations Knowledge: Traditions, Culture, Languages and Educational Leadership – Module One

From July 30th to August 3rd 2012, the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre provided an Educational Leadership summer institute at the Turtle Lodge, Anishnabe Mikinack Kinamakamik Inc., in Sagkeeng First Nation. The summer institute was the first in a series of modules that was developed to enhance leadership capacity development specifically for First Nations Education Directors. It is understood that each First Nation is unique in terms of traditions, culture and language, and as such, the Education Directors were encouraged to take what they need and use the methodologies that they have learned to promote discussion in their own First Nation.

The First Nation will lead the process of inclusion of First Nations traditions in the school and the general consensus indicates that land-based education and place-based education are common in most First Nations; therefore, these two concepts should be utilized as the foundation for discussion and planning. This module is critically important and is seen as the foundation on which to build all other modules and professional development.

Woven throughout this first module is the concept that leading, learning and life itself is about relationships and to lead effectively, one must heal and build confidence as a person of value with a rich cultural heritage.

The content of the module was designed to be flexible to meet the needs of the local context or other required content and skills identified by the participants in the summer institute. Module one provided the opportunity for Education Directors to learn and to share their knowledge and skills. The speakers motivated participants to enhance their educational leadership roles. Best practices in the management of First Nations education systems was identified and a plan to implement First Nations traditions, culture and languages in the First Nations Education System is in the process of development.

Each day a presenter provided a perspective to plant the seeds to encourage discussion of specific relevant questions for the participants.

The participants listened to the speakers, were encouraged to apply their learning to life and their role as a leader in education, share their knowledge, keep a journal of learning, create draft strategic plans to implement the ideas in their First Nation and make a commitment to further their learning through personal growth plans.

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