Boozhoo, Tawnshi, Shé:kon, Qanuitpin, Welcome. This page explains Niagara Catholic’s Indigenous Education programming.

About Niagara Catholic’s Indigenous Lead

Brian Kon joined Niagara Catholic District School Board as our Indigenous Lead at the start of the 2018/2019 school year.  The position is part of the Ministry of Education requirement under the Ontario First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Education Policy Framework.

Mr. Kon has been part of the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee since 2015 as the committee’s representative from the Niagara Region Métis Council.  He is the Chair of the local Métis Council, and an advocate for many community-based organizations throughout the Niagara Region.

As Indigenous Lead, Mr. Kon works with Niagara Catholic administration, teachers and staff in promoting Indigenous culture throughout our schools and programs.

Niagara Catholic’s Saint Kateri Centre, located in Thorold on the grounds of the former St. John Conservation Area in Thorold, provides students Indigenous students in our Niagara Catholic family the opportunity to learn in an alternative classroom setting.

Slide showing Indigenous students at graduation

History of Indigenous Education at Niagara Catholic

In 2007, the Ministry of Education, under the Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Education Policy Framework, identified Aboriginal Education as one of its key priorities with two specific goals:  Improving First Nations, Metis and Inuit student achievement among students, and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the following areas:

  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Retention of students in school
  • Graduation rates
  • Advancement to post-secondary studies

In response to a Ministry directive, the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee (AEAC) was established in Niagara in 2009.  The Committee was renamed the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC) in 2016.  The IEAC is a partnership between Niagara Catholic District School Board and the District School Board of Niagara, supported by a number of community-based Indigenous partner agencies including:  the Aboriginal Student Service Departments at Brock University and Niagara College, the Niagara Regional Native Friendship Centre, the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, the Niagara Region Métis Council, the Niagara Region Native Women’s Centre, the Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB), and the Inuit Council (Niagara Region).

Please find below minutes from past IEAC meetings:

September 21, 2018

October 10, 2018

The Value of Self-Identification for Students

Under Ontario’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Education Policy Framework, Niagara Catholic encourages all Indigenous students to self-identify as part of a VOLUNTARY AND CONFIDENTIAL process.  According to the Ministry of Education, the information will help school boards improve programs and supports for Indigenous students, and enable them to focus their efforts on student achievement.

Niagara Catholic uses information gathered from the self-identification to support Indigenous students through:

  • Accessing culturally relevant materials and programs in schools, allowing Indigenous students to see themselves reflected in the learning materials.
  • Gathering academic information to support the unique learning needs of Indigenous students within our schools.
  • Accessing cultural events offered to Indigenous students throughout the school year, including, Indigenous Career Day and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Leadership Camps.
  • Hosting special events at our schools, allowing our Indigenous students to share their unique cultural identity with non-Indigenous students.
  • Sharing information about career and educational funding opportunities that are specific to Indigenous students.

Please note:  Parents and/or guardians of self-identified students are encouraged to become involved in Indigenous Education at Niagara Catholic District School Board by sharing (or learning about) your Indigenous culture.  Please contact the Indigenous Lead with any questions.

The following courses are available during the 2019/2020 school year through Niagara Catholic District School Board.  Note:  not all classes are available at all school locations.

Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures, Grade 9, Open (NAC1O)

This course explores various arts disciplines (dance, drama, installation and performance art, media arts, music, storytelling, utilitarian or functional art, visual arts), giving students the opportunity to create, modify, present, and analyse art works, including integrated art works/productions, that explore or reflect First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives and cultures. Students will examine the interconnected relationships between art forms and individual and cultural identities, histories, values, protocols, and ways of knowing and being. They will demonstrate innovation as they learn and apply art-related concepts, methods, and conventions, and acquire skills that are transferable beyond the classroom. Students will use the creative process and responsible practices to explore solutions to creative arts challenges.

Prerequisite: None


First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, Grade 10, Open  (NAC2O)

This course explores the histories of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, from pre-contact to the present day. Students will examine the continuing impact of past social, cultural, economic, political and legal trends and developments on First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals and communities. Students will apply the concepts of historical thinking and the historical inquiry process to investigate a range of issues, events, and interactions that have affected First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals and communities, including those that continue to affect relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Prerequisite: None


English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices,  Grade 11, University  (NBE3U)

This course explores themes, forms, and stylistic elements of a variety of literary, informational, graphic, oral, cultural, and media text forms emerging from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures in Canada, and also examines the perspectives and influence of texts that relate to those cultures. In order to fully understand contemporary text forms and their themes of identity, relationship, and self-determination, sovereignty, or self-governance, students will analyse the changing use of text forms by Indigenous authors/creators from various periods and cultures in expressing ideas related to these themes. Students will also create oral, written, and media texts to explore their own ideas and understanding, focusing on the development of literacy, communication, and critical and creative thinking skills necessary for success in academic and daily life. The course is intended to prepare students for the compulsory Grade 12 English university or college preparation course.

Prerequisite: English, Grade 10, Academic


Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues and Perspectives,   Grade 11, University/College (NDA3M)

This course explores existing and emerging issues of local, regional, and national importance to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada. Students will analyse diverse perspectives on issues and events related to land, community, governance, identity, culture, and global trends. Using the concepts of political thinking and the tools of political inquiry, students will explore their own and others’ ideas and investigate issues to determine what needs to change and why. Students are also given the opportunity to develop their own problem-solving strategies to address an issue of their choice.

Prerequisite: Grade 10 First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada, Open, or Grade 10 Canadian History since World War I, Academic or Applied


Contemporary Indigenous Issues and Perspectives in a Global Context,  Grade 12, University/College  (NDW4M)

This course examines global issues from the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. Students will explore the depth and diversity of Indigenous cultures, traditions, and knowledge. Students will consider how diverse Indigenous communities persevere despite current global environmental and economic trends, and will investigate topics such as identity, social justice, human rights and abuses, spirituality, resilience, and advocacy for change.

Prerequisite: Any Grade 11 University, University/College, or College Preparation course in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies, Canadian and World Studies, or social sciences and humanities

Organizations Providing Indigenous services

Learn More About Indigenous Education

Scroll to top
Resize font
Change contrast