From Trauma to Healing: How the Anishinabek Nation is Creating Culturally Responsive Education Tools


004CA Anishinabek

© Image Courtesy of Anishinabek Nation

D’eaabshkoo Gdaawmi – We Are All The Same

The Anishinabek Nation is taking a bold step forward in the fight anti-Indigenous racism in Canada. Recognizing the importance of education and awareness in addressing these issues, the Nation has developed a powerful tool to help all Canadians understand their role in speaking up and taking action against discrimination and injustice, and becoming stronger players and allies, both in their communities and across the nation.

This new online module for the public, in line with recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), will build the capacity to recognize and act to prevent the occurrence of anti-Indigenous racism. The TRC called for education on the history and legacy of Residential Schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Treaties, Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous-Crown relations, as well as skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism for public servants.

Additionally, it calls for age-appropriate curriculum on Residential Schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada to be a mandatory education requirement for kindergarten to Grade 12 students and funding for post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.

To meet this call, The Anishinabek Nation has developed an online module called De’aabshkoo Gdaawmi – We Are All the Same, that will build the capacity to recognize and act to prevent the occurrence of anti-Indigenous racism. The module is publicly available and tailored to meet the target population’s needs, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of all ages, and builds on the expertise and curriculum expectations from the Gdoo-Sastamoo Kii Mi Secondary School resource kit.

anishinabek nation
Photo © Courtesy of Anishinabek Nation

Anti-Indigenous racism is the ongoing race-based discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by Indigenous Peoples within Canada. It includes ideas and practices that establish, maintain and perpetuate power imbalances, systemic barriers, and inequitable outcomes that stem from the legacy of colonial policies and procedures in Canada. The Anishinabek Nation’s online module addresses these issues by exploring areas such as Indigenous identity, racism in the classroom, racism in sports, and engaging in dialogue for all Ontarians to fight racism against Indigenous people.

Indigenous racism has been alive for many years and impacts every Indigenous person in Canada spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and on a daily basis. By developing an online education module that is publicly available, the Anishinabek Nation is making it easy for all Canadians to learn about their role in speaking up and taking action against discrimination and injustice with De’aabshkoo Gdaawmi – We Are All the Same. Addressing important issues and providing a platform for dialogue to fight racism against Indigenous people are crucial steps
toward reconciliation.

“Ontarians need to take on actions that encompass moral courage. Moral courage helps us address ethical issues and take action when doing the right thing is not easy. It involves the willingness to speak out and do what is right. If we carry these values, we will be a better and stronger community.” —Tee Duke, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

The Anishinabek Nation is taking a proactive approach to addressing anti-Indigenous racism by developing education tools that support a culturally responsive, strength-based, and trauma-informed practice. As Canadians, when we take the time to learn and grow, we create a more inclusive society for us all.

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The Anishinabek Nation represents 39 First Nations throughout the province of Ontario from Golden Lake in the east, Sarnia in the south, Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon in the north. 


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