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The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council


Soaring with Knowledge Annual Conference


November 14-16, 2019


Program at a Glance

* Scroll down for a complete list of speakers and session descriptions *

Thursday, November 14, 2019 

6:45 - 9:00 p.m. Conference Registration

6:45 - 8:00 p.m. Exhibits Open

7:00 - Reception 

7:45 - 9:15 p.m. Film Screening The Angry Inuk


Friday November 15, 2019 

7:00 - 8:30 Hot Breakfast Buffet

8:00 - 4:00 p.m. Exhibits Open

8:30 - 9:00 Opening Prayer, Introductions and President’s Welcome

9:00 - 10:30 Keynote: Yvonne Poitras Pratt

10:30 - 10:45 Refreshment Break

10:45 - 12:00 Breakout Sessions 

12:00 - 1:15 Lunch & FNMI Award Presentation & AGM

1:30 - 2:45 Breakout Sessions

2:45 - 3:00 Refreshment Break

3:00 - 4:15 Breakout Sessions 


Saturday, November 16, 2019

7:00 - 8:30 Hot Breakfast Buffet

8:00 - 10:30 Exhibits Open

8:30 - 9:00 Morning prayer & Welcome,

9:15 - 10:30 Breakout Sessions 

10:30 - 10:45 Refreshment Break

10:30 - 12:00  Closing Keynote: Brittany Mathews, First Nations Caring Society

12:00 - 12:30 Door Prize Draw & Closing Remarks


Delegates will find a wide variety of vendors and exhibitors from
authentic First Nations or Métis artisans and crafters
to well known educational resource distributers and publishers.


Film Screening

Thursday Evening 7:45 p. - 9:15 p.m.

Angry Inuk, NFB - by Aletha Arnaquq-Baril

In her award-winning documentary, director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit as they campaign to challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting. Armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, this group is bringing its own voice into the conversation and presenting themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy.


Indigenous Education: A Call to Action - Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt 

As a Métis educator and scholar, Dr. Poitras Pratt shares insights into how educators can respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action within their professional roles as educators. She also shares some of the risks of reconciliation. Drawing from her experiences with digital storytelling as a way to reclaim the authentic voice of the Métis, to the teaching of a mandatory Indigenous course to pre-service teachers, and finally by sharing the ways in which practicing teachers have enacted reconciliatory projects through the “Indigenous education: A call to action” program, Yvonne demonstrates how an ethos of transformative praxis within her professional practice is inspiring others to make a difference.

Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt (Métis) Associate Professor and Director, Indigenous Education, at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. She teaches at the graduate and undergraduate level and is the recipient of a 2016 Werklund Teaching Excellence Award and a 2017 Students Union Teaching Excellence Award. Yvonne has published in the realm of social justice, Métis studies, reconciliatory pedagogy, service-learning, and the integration of arts in education. Her most recent publication Digital Storytelling in Indigenous Education: A Decolonizing Journey for a Metis Community was released by Routledge Press this fall. Dr. Poitras Pratt earned the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) Distinguished Academic Early Career Award in 2018.


Spirit Bear’s Guide to Reconciliation - Brittany Mathews

Meaningful reconciliation engages young people in learning about our collective past and thinking creatively about the future. Children and young people have a clear sense of right and wrong, and engaging them in reconciliation and social justice nurtures compassion and moral courage while bolstering self-confidence. Learn about how we can engage in reconciliation in a way that empowers young people.

Brittany Mathews is a Reconciliation and Research Coordinator at the First Nations Caring Society.  Brittany is Métis/Michif with ancestry from White Horse Plains, or St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba and with her family more recently coming from St. Paul, Alberta. She grew up in the Bow Valley of Alberta and moved to Ottawa to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa. Brittany is passionate about the role kinship and family plays in the empowerment of Indigenous women and communities. She is dedicated to elevating the stories and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples through community organizing and creative outlets. 


Breakout Sessions

Metis Education - Dr. Yvonee Poitras Pratt 

As a card-holding member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Dr. Poitras Pratt is heavily involved in supporting the self-determining goals of Métis people within education. In her previous role as Associate Director, Métis Education, at Rupertsland, Yvonne was able to meet with Métis community members across Alberta to hear their perspectives on education. Now as a faculty member at the Werklund School of Education, Yvonne continues to work closely with the Métis community through her scholarship, alongside her role as a member of the Alberta Métis Education Council and as a member of the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research. In this session, Yvonne shares some of the ways in which her professional role and personal identity are closely aligned and how Indigenous educators are committed to giving back to their communities through the privilege of their education.

School is a Time for Dreams - Brittany Mathews

Like all other children in the country, First Nations children have dreams for the future. Historical and contemporary challenges often prevent them from achieving their dreams. Learn more about how we can all ensure First Nations young people have culturally based and equitable opportunities to grow up safely at home and in their communities, be healthy, get a good education and be proud of who they are and where they come from. This workshop will provide information and background knowledge about Shannen's Dream, as well as resources to engage children in learning about equitable education for First Nations kids.



The Fine Art of Reconciliation - Crystal Clark 

This session will explore examples of Indigenous Artists while offering insights on how the arts can be used across the curriculum to activate deeper learning in relation to foundational knowledge and social justice. 


Digital Divide > Digital Native > Digitalis - Crystal Clark

This session looks at the age of information through an “Indigenous Lens” while giving  insights into the power that technology has to shape and mis-shape character development and learning.  The session will explore examples of how technology is being and can be used to nurture learning and preserving while offering insights on when and how to disconnect in order to reconnect with oneself and nature by offering activities that spark mindfulness. 

Crystal Clark is an educator as well as an artist. Currently she is taking time to be with her son while also offering consulting, resource development, workshop creation and facilitation to organizations.  Crystal has a Masters in Educational Technology, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Education as well as a New Media Diploma. Crystal is Dene, Cree, and Metis originally from Fort McMurray, AB.



Exploring Storytelling through Powwow Music & Dance: Connecting to the Heartbeat - Melissa Purcell 

First Nation communities throughout Canada have many different types of music and celebrations that are unique to their community and/or nation. During this session you will explore the significance and meaning of components of powwow regalia, song and dance. You will learn about current resources to support your learning of powwows, as well as learn a few dance steps! This session will provide you with tools and resources to explore in your classroom tomorrow. 


Indigenous Mapping & Relationships: Connection to Land, Stories, and People - Melissa Purcell

Did you know that Indigenous mapping is fundamentally based on relationships? During this session, you will critically examine the ways in which history and geography have been taught and learned, and consider new pedagogies that honour Indigenous knowledge systems. This session will allow participants to explore the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada giant floor map.

Melissa Purcell is Dene and a member of Smith's Landing First Nation in Treaty 8 territory. She is an Executive Staff Officer, Professional Development, Indigenous Education with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and continues to lead Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation within the Association. She has experience teaching in Alberta band, charter and public schools. At the district level with Edmonton Public Schools she held the positions of teacher consultant, program coordinator and supervisor of First Nations, Métis and Inuit education.



The Oral Understanding of the Treaties that made Canada - Dr. Diana Steinhauer

We are all Treaty peoples and in this workshop, participants will be introduced to the Elders teachings on Treaty including the Cree World view (Day before Treaty), the spirit in making Treaty (Day of Treaty) and the day after Treaty – the relationship as it unfolded within the present context.

Dr Diana Steinhauer is Cree, from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Treaty No. 6 Territory. Diana is an educator with 30 years of experience in K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Most importantly, she is a mother and first teacher of her two children. She is particularly grateful to Elders and Knowledge Keepers who have guided and mentored her in Indigenous Knowledge and ways of being as a kise iskwew. Recognizing the value and work of iyiniw pimātisiwin, Diana’s work as a change agent in language, education, and treaty is grounded upon her late father’s adage, pimātisîtotetân kimiyikowisiwininaw, Let us live life the way our Creator intended us to live. 




Spirit of the Métis - Brian St. Germain

The Métis are people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry and one of the three recognized Aboriginal groups in Canada. Alberta is home to a considerable Métis population with a rich and distinct culture. Participants will learn about the historical impact and significance the Metis have had on the development of Canada. Identifiable Metis cultural items and symbols will be shown and their importance and significance explained. A better understanding and definition of the Metis identity will be explored and developed.


Indigenous Ways of Knowing - Brain St. Germain

This is an introduction to some basic First Nation, Metis and Inuit worldviews, cultural beliefs and values. It is neither a comprehensive nor an exhaustive exploration of indigenous ways of knowing, but rather a series of focused conversation starters for groups of educators engaged in reconciliation. Worldviews and ways of knowing are like stones thrown into the water from which other circles grow. Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people by learning about diverse, traditional and contemporary experiences unique to them.

Brian St. Germain is a retired teacher.  He was a lead teacher for First Nations, Metis and InuitI Learning Services with Red Deer Public Schools for fifteen years. He has been a teacher for over 35 years. He is currently an Association Instructor with the ATA and he consults in school districts throughout Alberta.  Brian is Cree First Nations and he is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta.



Beaded Medicine Wheel Earrings (limit of 20 participants) - Tanya Rushton 

Tanya of TLC Creations will be doing an interactive session in which she will be demonstrating and teaching how to bead medicine wheel earrings, whilst talking about the medicine wheel.

Limit of 20 participants, Pre-registration is available.  Please email fnmiec@gmail.com

Tanya Rushton is a self-taught beader/creator that has been doing this type of artwork for about 5 years now. She is Cree from Driftpile First Nation and resides in Edmonton AB. She has been contracted by the Edmonton Native Friendship Center for the past 4 years to teach beading and cultural crafts. Recently she has been going into classrooms in Edmonton public to teach medicine pouch making, dream catchers and other cultural crafts. Beading for her is meditation.



Ribbon Skirt Making (limit of 10 participants) - Teresa Cardinal 

Participants will sew their own ribbon skirt while listening to stories and teachings from Teresa.  This is a full day session. Participants need to pre-register and this session will have a limited number of participants.  Participants should bring their own broadcloth, 2 to 3 meters of print or solids, and their own ribbon,about 3 to 5 colours, 2 meters long each.  Needles, thread, scissors and other needed materials will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own as well.

Limit of 10 participants, Pre-registration is available.  Please email fnmiec@gmail.com
We will have a limited number of sewing machines, tools and material on hand. 
Bring your own
  • 2 meters of solid material, or 3 meters of print material. 
  • Coloured ribbon
  • Thread, pins, scissors, waistband elastic
  • Sewing machine (optional)

Teresa Cardinal is Cree First Nations from Saddle Lake.  She currently works as a cultural resource connector with the Red Deer Native Friendship Society.  She works in many schools in Red Deer Public Schools supporting students, families and teachers. 



Connecting Aboriginal Games to Your Math Curriculum - Terry Lakey 

Are you looking for an interesting way to teach your math curriculum to your students? This session will offer one such possibility. Aboriginal Games have been used extensively in schools across the province; mainly in the Physical Education department; and rightly so. However, this session will challenge this mindset. There can be a very strong and meaningful connection made between FNMI games and your Math curriculum delivery. Participants will play several FNMI games, discuss the materials necessary to create the games, then they will make practical connections to the Program of Studies pertaining to math outcomes. This will be a highly involved, participant friendly session, so come dressed to be active. Come prepared to bring your Math class alive!


Using BreakoutEDU to Teach FNMI Culture and History (limit of 15 participants) - Terry Lakey 

Participants will explore ways to use Breakout EDU as a tool to teach First Nations, Métis, and Inuit culture and history in their classroom. Breakout EDU is a great way to promote problem solving, collaboration, risk taking, leadership, and meet cross-curricular outcomes in a movement based learning environment.

Limit of 15 participants, Pre-registration is available.  Please email fnmiec@gmail.com

Terry Lakey is currently working with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Learning Services in Red Deer Public Schools. As well as being a classroom teacher, Terry has been involved with the development of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit curriculum resources for many years. He uses the resources for his own classroom, as well as enjoys sharing his ideas with others. He has a passion for making classroom learning engaging, hands on, and covering a wide variety of learning styles. 



Soaring with Knowledge - Educational Travel to Ignite the Passion - Ron Jeffery

The session, which will be interactive after a brief presentation, will focus on the value learning beyond the classroom through educational travel.  Utilizing real examples of how young people have increased their understanding of themselves, their culture, and their knowledge through structured travel experiences, participants will be able to assess the positive impact travel can have on students. This session will show that intercultural experiences create a lasting effect on students, including growing their confidence and helping them better understand the world around them as they act as cultural ambassadors. The goal of educational travel is to "Ignite the Passion" and employ our five senses through real and meaningful interactions with communities and the places they visit. Opportunities to travel and learn are invaluable to help students relate to the world around them and their place in it.  The session will help look at issues of accessibility and how educational travel opportunities meet the curriculum outcomes for First Nations/Métis/Inuit communities and schools.


Ron Jeffery was a Social Studies and IB Teacher for 30 years with CBE and 17 years Adult Education, Education Consultant for CBC Newsworld, Assistant Press Chief for the Calgary 88’ Olympics, and a Curriculum Writer on Multicultural Education.  He has travelled to 47 countries with over 1200 students and adults over 35 years. He is currently a Business Development Executive with Worldstrides Explorica.



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