Overview

In the spirit of reconciliation, Alberta Education collaborates with education partners to improve education outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. The ministry also aims to increase knowledge and understanding of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures among all kindergarten to Grade 12 (K to 12) students.

Alberta Education works to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success by:

  • strengthening education programs, policies and initiatives for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students;
  • supporting partners to gather, analyze and share Indigenous education data, enhance grant accountability and meet updated legislative requirements; and
  • supporting relationship-building between Indigenous communities and schools to boost education outcomes for Indigenous students.

Curriculum development

The Alberta government is in the process of renewing the K to 12 curriculum.

All new curriculum developed in Alberta is developed in accordance with the Guiding Framework for Curriculum Design and Development, which outlines the commitment to include Indigenous perspectives in historical and contemporary contexts. This ensures every student in the province will learn about the diverse Indigenous peoples of this land and how First Nations, Métis, and Inuit contribute to the vibrancy and fabric of Alberta and Canadian society.

Learn more about the curriculum development process.

Programs of study

There are specific courses available that support understanding of the diverse First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures within Alberta, Canada and the world. The goal of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Studies is to shift thinking, understanding and knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, the issues and challenges they face, and the contributions they have made to society.

For example, school authorities may choose to offer the following programs of study:

Initiatives

The Alberta government is working with Indigenous partners and education stakeholders to pursue initiatives that support reconciliation.

Professional practice standards

Alberta Education established professional practice standards to ensure all education professionals, including superintendents, principals and teachers, have knowledge and understanding of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, experiences and perspectives, including the legacy of residential schools and treaties.

Strengthening Relationships pilot program

In 2022, Alberta Education launched the Strengthening Relationships pilot program. The program aims to increase activities for First Nations and Métis students, families and communities to build and strengthen relationships with school authorities by increasing engagement opportunities that reflect local needs, including culture and language experiences, social and recreational opportunities, community development and restorative practices in schools.

MacEwan University research project

Alberta's government partnered with MacEwan University to identify academic streaming practices within the K to 12 education system that may limit Indigenous student access to post-secondary education by creating unnecessary enrolment barriers. Research findings will help assess the impact of academic streaming practices on First Nations, Métis and Inuit students and identify potential solutions to strengthen educational outcomes.

Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program

In July 2023, Alberta’s government announced an investment of $10.5 million over the next three years into the Bridging Classrooms to Communities Grant pilot program to help Indigenous communities and school authorities build relationships to support student success and advance reconciliation.

Of the total funding, the Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association received $7.5 million to distribute to 21 friendship centres within their network. Following the initial announcement, Alberta Education held a competitive call for applications for the remaining $3 million. The following Indigenous organizations have received conditional grant approval:

  • Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
  • Changing Horses Not-For-Profit Society
  • Eagle Spirit Nest Community Association
  • Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta
  • Métis Nation of Alberta Local #2003
  • Mountain Métis Community Association
  • Riel Institute for Education and Learning
  • Rupertsland Institute
  • St. Albert Sturgeon County Métis Local #1904
  • Stoney Health Services
  • The Nu Ch’anie Society
  • Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth

Grant funding will support community connection projects in urban and rural areas across the province and will help create opportunities for Indigenous students and their families to feel heard, respected and involved in Alberta schools.

Community Reconciliation Grant pilot program

The Community Reconciliation Grant pilot promotes community healing and reconciliation by fostering engagement between Indigenous organizations and schools to support students through a holistic approach.

In November 2023, eligible organizations applied to receive a grant of up to $100,000 to support a reconciliation-related project or initiative, with letters of support from a provincial school division. The following Indigenous organizations have received conditional grant approval:

  • Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
  • Grande Prairie Friendship Centre
  • Hinton Friendship Centre Society
  • Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
  • Métis Nation of Alberta Association Local Council Manning 2020
  • Mountain Métis Community Association
  • Nu Ch’anie Society
  • Tawow Community Centre – Aseniwuche Winewak Nation

Grant funding will help enhance partnerships between schools and communities and facilitate collaborative work towards reconciliation.

MOU for Collaboration on Education Objectives in Fort Chipewyan

On September 6, 2022, the Alberta government and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Métis Association signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to improve education in the community.

The agreement solidifies a commitment to work toward establishing a community-based education authority that will provide culturally appropriate education programs and related services to students in the community of Fort Chipewyan.

Alberta Education will work with the 3 Indigenous communities in Fort Chipewyan to build a framework for collaboration, address mutual concerns and find new ways to support students in Fort Chipewyan. The parties will also continue to work together to replace the Athabasca Delta Community School.

Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Circle

The Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Circle provides a forum for education stakeholders and Alberta Education to collaborate in meaningful ways on matters and issues related to Indigenous education and advancing reconciliation.

The circle is chaired by Alberta Education (the Assistant Deputy Minister of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Division or designate). Members include:

  • Alberta Association of Deans of Education
  • Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia
  • Alberta School Boards Association
  • Alberta School Councils’ Association
  • Alberta Teachers’ Association
  • Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta
  • College of Alberta School Superintendents
  • Rupertsland Institute

For more information, see the Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Circle fact sheet.

Promoting Indigenous languages

Through participation in the Education sub-table of the Blackfoot Confederacy Protocol Agreement, the Alberta government provides support for students to visit multiple locations for language and land-based learning as part of the ongoing efforts to recognize, revitalize and retain the Blackfoot language.