Aboriginal Beliefs, Values, and Aspirations is an absolute must-have for educators, literacy practitioners, direct-service workers, community engagement workers, and anyone working with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. First published in 2011 to support the Ontario Native Studies 11 curriculum, and available in both English and French, the textbook was so well received that it went into second printing within months.
Although intended for use in the secondary grades, Dragonfly has spoken with elementary and post-secondary educators who use the textbook to learn about Aboriginal cultures, get ideas for lessons and assignments, and fact-check other classroom resources. Librarians have also reported that the textbook is being signed out and read like a non-fiction book, by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal library users.
Written by an all-Aboriginal author team including Suzanne Methot of Dragonfly, the textbook includes chapters on:
- Aboriginal worldviews
- relationships with the land
- economy, trade, and resources (pre- and post-contact)
- Aboriginal identity
- roles and responsibilities in Aboriginal families, communities, and nations
- governance (including sovereignty and self-determination)
- Aboriginal concepts of law and current policing and justice issues
- education and community renewal
Indigenous cultural frameworks and ways of knowing are discussed throughout the book, as are hot-topic issues including resource extraction, hunting and fishing rights, contemporary treaty claims and agreements, and incidents such as Ipperwash.
Aboriginal Beliefs, Values, and Aspirations was approved in October 2011 by the Ontario Minister of Education and appears on the Ministry of Education’s Trillium List, which contains the titles of textbooks approved for use in Ontario schools. According to the Ministry, “The textbooks named on the Trillium List have been subjected to a rigorous evaluation in accordance with the criteria specified in Section 4 of Guidelines for Approval of Textbooks.”