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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hudson

BC Education’s commitment to Reconciliation, BC Focused Educational Resources & Five Little Indians

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

BC Grades 10-12 are required to complete 4 credits with an Indigenous focus

BC Ministry of Education has made the progressive move to support the Canadian Government in signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). So, in 2019, the B.C. government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).

And that means…

In doing so, they recognize the importance of supporting all students in graduating with deeper understanding and knowledge of First Peoples perspectives, histories, and cultures. To learn more about this, follow the link to the BC government’s overview.

How will this Affect Educators?

It is my understanding that these new graduation requirements can be completed with a combination of Language Arts/ Indigenous Studies or Social Studies/ Indigenous Studies. Finding resources to support this requirement will be essential.

In BC and in the Yukon, teachers have access to a website/database of teacher approved resources, software, and websites for use with the BC curriculum. Focused Educational Resources (formally known as ERAC) employs teachers to work in partnerships to evaluate resources based on specific criteria. This is a goldmine when searching for something new or specific for your grade or subject. Accessing this website is free to all teachers in BC and in the Yukon. Follow the link to set up your account.

I’m curious if other provinces have a comparable service?

Five Little Indians

So why did I mention Focused Ed.? I was reading the incredibly moving novel, Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good, and I knew it would be a powerful resource to use in grade 11 and 12. There are so many learning possibilities to explore. However, there are aspects within the novel that would give me pause, considering whether the content would be suitable as a high school resource. I searched for the book in the Focused Ed. database and found it listed as an approved resource. This recommendation is valuable to have should a parent or administrator question your choice in learning resource. For this specific novel, I’d give the parents and administrator a “heads up” so that issues can be addressed upfront rather than reactionary.

Five Little Indians is an excellent resource to support reconciliation. Each chapter explores historic and contemporary issues as experienced by the characters. For myself, building a teaching unit to support this novel was incredibly enlightening, having to research issues, government policies, political protest movements as well as personal stories and accounts.

Five Little Indians Novel Study

& Historic and Contemporary Indigenous Issues Unit

How to deliver this unit:

Day 1: Read aloud a chapter. After, students reflect and respond using the response booklet. The response booklet uses Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power comprehension skills and critical thinking. Previous experience with Reading Power is not necessary.

Day 2: Using the provided links to videos and articles. Students watch, read and respond to the information with a question on something they wonder and provide a 200 – 300 word reflection in the form of connections, impressions, arguments, and transformative thinking.

Day 3: In small groups or as a class, students discuss their question and their reflection.

This process repeats for each chapter. There are forty links (hyperlinks and QR codes) to supporting articles and videos that explores the following topics:

· Residential Schools

· Searching for Unmarked Graves

· Sexual Exploitation/MMIWG2S

· Sixties Scoop

· Birth Alerts

· Activism of the 60s and 70s

· American Indian Movement

· Lyell Island Line

· Over Representation of Incarcerated Indigenous People

· Gladue Principles

· Reconnecting to Culture

· Pope Francis’ Apology

· Doctrine of Discovery

· Intergenerational Trauma

· Truth and Reconciliation

· 94 Calls to Action

This unit is editable to accommodate a particular focus, specific questions or to add or remove links.

Good luck with your upcoming year! If you found this helpful, subscribe to stay up-to-date with new blog posts.


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