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Indigenous Education

The vision of the Ontario Ministry of Education is that Indigenous students in Ontario “have the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to successfully complete their elementary and secondary education in order to pursue post-secondary education or training and/or to enter the workforce. They will have the traditional and contemporary knowledge, skills and attitudes required to be socially contributive, politically active and economically prosperous citizens of the world. All students in Ontario will have the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary and traditional First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditions, cultures and perspectives.” (Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework 2014)

In the spirit of “Building communities of faith, hope, and service”, WECDSB is committed to improving its Indigenous Education programs, services and resources, in accordance with the Ministry of Education framework. We want to ensure that the unique strengths and needs of all students are met, including students with First Nations, Métis and Inuit ancestry. We are working with local Indigenous community partners to develop programs and offer services that will improve student achievement in the areas of literacy and numeracy, improve student success, increase graduation rates and improve overall student well-being. We are also engaging with Indigenous community partners to strengthen their voice and involvement in education, such as the establishment of an Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC).

WECDSB has also developed a confidential and voluntary self-identification policy which encourages students and families to identify as Indigenous at their school. This protected data is collected to help develop and support programs and services offered to our Indigenous students, such as:

  • Indigenous leadership activities
  • Academic student support and tutoring
  • Student mentorship opportunities
  • Transition events with local universities and colleges
  • Ojibwe and Oneida language classes
  • Indigenous Studies courses at secondary schools
  • Family and Parent Engagement Nights
  • Cultural teachings opportunities
  • Student Powwow
WECDSB is committed to designing and providing Indigenous programs that are culturally-relevant and increase knowledge and appreciation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures, values, traditions and perspectives for all students and staff.


Our Guiding Principles


We are guided by Our Journey to Holiness values which is the foundation for our Catholic Character Development. These principles are also reflected in the Seven Grandfather Teachings and in the Good Mind teachings as shared by the local First Nations, Métis and Inuit Community. It is here where we meet.


WECDSB Journey to Holiness

Goodness, Kindness, Belonging, Gratitude, Faithfulness, Compassion, Respect, Knowledge, Wisdom, Courage, Integrity, Discipleship, Humility and Justice

Seven Grandfather Teachings

The traditional story or the teachings of the Seven Grandfathers were given to the Anishinaabeg (original people) early in their history. Seven Grandfathers asked their messenger to look closely at the world. At that time the world was not very good. Eventually in his quest, the messenger came across a child. After receiving approval from the Seven Grandfathers, the messenger tutored the child on how to live the "Good way of Life"External link. Before departing from the Seven Grandfathers, each of the Grandfathers instructed the child with a principle:

  • Wisdom (Nibwaakaawin): To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. In the Anishinaabe language, this word expresses not only "wisdom," but also means "prudence," or "intelligence." 
  • Love (Zaagi'idiwin): To know peace is to know Love. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. In the Anishinaabe language, the word form indicates the love is mutual. 
  • Respect (Minaadendamowin): To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. 
  • Bravery  (Aakode'ewin): Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means "state of having a fearless heart." To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. 
  • Honesty  (Gwayakwaadiziwin): Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean "righteousness."
  • Humility (Dabaadendiziwin): Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean "compassion." You are equal to others, but you are not better. 
  • Truth  (Debwewin): Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.

These foundations of Indigenous spirituality link closely to Catholic character teachings:

To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom,
To know love is to know peace, 
To honour all the creation is to have respect, 
To face life with courage is to know bravery. 
To walk through life with integrity is to know honesty,
Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of creation. 
Truth is to know all of these things.  

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