The Faculty’s Issues with Indigenous Education class taught by Ixchel Bennett invited Rachel Hill from Indspire to share a fantastic peer mentorship program that is offered for free to Teacher Candidates and educators across Canada in all levels of educational institutions. The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action,section 62 and 63 “Education for Reconciliation” states that educators have the role and responsibility to “share information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history…identify teacher-training needs …”  In reflecting on teacher candidates and their journey on decolonizing and indigenizing teaching and learning practices, Ixchel Bennett states: “In teaching this course for my third year, I noticed that in addition to what TCs are learning in class from and with Indigenous peoples, scholars, Elders, etc., some are still afraid to teach Indigenous content into their classroom and have a fear of ‘being wrong.’” As well, some continue to have a challenging time knowing how to interweave Indigenous knowledge into their science, math, art, etc. curriculum.”  Most Teacher Candidates understand that Indigenous education is essential and needs to be taught in their subject areas and their journey continues after teachers college. However, what supports can they get during and after Teachers College? Rachel Hill, who is First Nations from Six Nations community, shared that Indspire offers a Peer Support program to encourage Teachers to continue in their journey with a partner that is either Indigenous or non-Indigenous who are engaging in TRC Calls to Action.  

According to the Indspire website: “Peer Support is a mentorship and leadership program for educators of Indigenous students. Indspire pairs educators from across Canada based on their professional learning goals and provides support online to this learning community through webinars, discussion forums, and other professional development tools.” 

Kara-Ann Nagel, a recent graduate from the program, commented: “I was scared to ask questions that I felt everyone else knew the answer to. Having my mentor enabled me to unlearn, relearn, and learn about myself as a teacher and the land that I’m on. Now as a teacher, my past and current mentors are there for me. I do feel like Indspire helped me get my job in Upper Grand DSB because I was able to speak about the social justice and equity work I’ve done and planned to do in the future. I feel like I can better support Indigenous and non-Indigenous students through resources and conversations with my mentors.”

Tlazocamati, Miigwetch, Thank you,
Rachel Hill for sharing the great program Indspire has to offer!

Equity Knowledge Network (RSEKN), hosted by the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education and the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS), is a provincial multi-stakeholder bilingual knowledge mobilization network that brings equity innovators together in order to stimulate activities and support product development that can be used to break down current systemic barriers to children and youth from marginalized groups. Email: Twitter: @KNAER_RSEKN