With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee's Calls to Action, many post-secondary institutions have a renewed focus on engaging with the Aboriginal community through innovative programming. As they seek to engage, post-secondary institutions may want to consider some of the successful programs that have been in place for some time at a number of Canada's colleges.
In a 2012 report by the Association of Canadian Colleges, entitled "Partnering for Future Generations: Case Studies of Aboriginal Programs and Services at Canadian Colleges and Institutions," numerous initiatives are discussed.
Many of the initiatives incorporate the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, truth, along with encouraging adoption of healthy, balanced lifestyles through the strength and guidance of the Medicine Wheel.
As I explore new program initiatives, it strikes me that the wisdom found in the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers provides a sound foundation for all educational programming, not only that which seeks to engage Aboriginal students.
The belief by most Aboriginal people in the holistic nature of education seems to me to be a belief born through the "wisdom of ages." I have often wondered how our current society would survive the harsh environmental conditions of North America with only the resources available to the first peoples. One living in such conditions would have a certain appreciation for the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers - indeed, if they did not they simply would not survive.
So, I wonder if our current educational system possesses the wisdom to incorporate the teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, or what I like to call the Wisdom of Ages? Will we ever truly be able to engage with our Aboriginal people if we, as a society, move closer to the culture of individualism and commercialism, and further from the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers?
To read about the inspirational stories of success, find the Association of Canadian Colleges report here....