Department Feature: New Resources for Indigenous Education

New Resources for Greater Victoria Teachers Help Guide Indigenous Education; ‘One Thread Within a Complex and Beautiful Weave of Collaboration’

Updated lesson plans and teaching kits will support hands-on learning that honours and celebrates the authentic perspectives of Indigenous Peoples

Metthea Maddern, Renee Diemert Rivera, and Kolette Cristante proudly display just a few of the many resource kits that are available for teachers in the Greater Victoria School District to incorporate in their teachings.

There is no doubt a shift in our community when it comes to Indigenous Education. It is a shift that is becoming more self-aware. One that acknowledges the past. And one that sparks hope for the future.

In our schools, within the Greater Victoria School District, this shift is being nurtured by the Indigenous Education Department. This knowledgeable team aims to support the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives, world views, and resources that align with the BC curriculum within district policies, classrooms, and schools.

“Many of our teachers have expressed interest in incorporating more Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Being within their teachings,” says Renee Diemert Rivera, Indigenous Education Teacher Consultant. “We know there is a want and a need for new, tangible, and hands-on resources that support our teachers so that they may have the confidence and information they need to create rich and accurate lesson plans that connect all senses. And that’s where we come in.”

Teaching kits and other resources include lesson plans, books, guided learning questions, as well as physical aides to assist with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning for students at all school levels.

On January 26, a Non-Instructional Professional Development Day for elementary and middle schools in the district, Indigenous Teacher Consultants and an Indigenous Education Librarian hosted a drop-in session for those interested in learning more about Indigenous education resources. The session was held at Margaret Jenkins Elementary—the current location of the Indigenous Education Library which is home to a large selection of books written by Indigenous knowledge keepers, authors, and artists.

“Indigenous education has historically been written and delivered by non-Indigenous people,” says Kolette Cristante, Indigenous Education Teacher Consultant. “The Indigenous Education Library aims to support the shift of that narrative. Apart from just two authors, every single book within the library is written by an Indigenous person. Indigenous peoples have so much knowledge to share through their own voice and I am honoured to support the stories and wisdom of our people and ancestors, as they are geniuses.”

Indigenous-authored books are marked with an orange label within the Indigenous Education Library at its current location at Margaret Jenkins Elementary School.

New teaching resources and access to Indigenous-authored books are just one thread within a complex and beautiful weave of collaboration. Beyond in-classroom teaching kits, the district’s Indigenous Education Department provides holistic supports to students who have self-identified with Indigenous Ancestry, uplifts Indigenous voices in our community, addresses fragmented and distorted ideals of Indigenous peoples, applies Indigenous-developed frameworks, guides Indigenous-informed coaching and mentoring programs, and much more.

The professional development session was well attended, and the team looks forward to next steps in distributing kits and gathering feedback from teachers and students. Teaching kits range in subject from local plants, traditional textiles, storytelling, cedar weaving, drumming, and Medicine Wheel Teachings, to name only a few.

“It was great to see so many excited and engaged educators,” commented Metthea Maddern, Teacher Librarian and Indigenous Education Librarian at Margaret Jenkins. “It’s so important for teachers and staff to know these resources are available to them.”

The Greater Victoria School District encourages students and staff to learn more through the following resources:

  • Indigenous Resources through the district e-library:
  • Browse the online catalog of resources at by clicking on ‘Indigenous Education Library’ under ‘Other Collections’
  • Email to borrow books, kits and other resources from the library, or set up an appointment to visit the library.

Indigenous Education Teacher Consultants, Renee Diemert Rivera, Emma Milliken, and Kolette Cristante standing in front of a mural at the Greater Victoria School District’s office painted by Métis/Cree artist, Carla Joseph.


Greater Victoria School District No. 61


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