Inviting Elders and Cultural Leaders to your Classroom

When teaching Aboriginal content in the classroom, it is ideal to have elders and cultural leaders assist in areas that are being taught for insight and clarification. Elders and cultural leaders are becoming more prominent in the schools and are a valuable resource to benefit and compliment a classroom. It is important to relate to students in the classroom, the role of elders and cultural leaders and how they must be treated when they come into a classroom. Some general guidelines to inform students of:

  1. To shake their hand as a sign of respect upon their arrival.
  2. To listen attentively until completion of visit.
  3. To put up hands to ask a question or when the elder and/or cultural Leader indicates when it’s an ideal time to ask questions.
  4. To thank them and shake their hand upon closure of their visit.

Schools can refer to Living Histories Cultural Directory for a list of elders, artists and knowledge keepers from our area. It is important to note that list is ever growing and is not meant to be exclusive. It is important to build positive relations with nearby First Nations communities as all will benefit from sharing with one another, an important Treaty principle. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner also has a speaker’s bureau accessible for Educators to utilize in the classroom on subject areas.