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Aboriginal Education Department

The goal of Aboriginal Education Department is to provide assistance to the instructional staff and support staff in order that they may develop and implement appropriate programming for all students. Aboriginal students acquire a positive self-identity through learning their own histories, cultures and contemporary lifestyles. Non Aboriginal students develop an understanding and respect for the histories, cultures, and contemporary lifestyles of Aboriginal peoples. All students will develop informed opinions on matters relating to Aboriginal People. The integration of Aboriginal values, languages, histories and cultures occurs throughout all curricula K-12.

Aboriginal Education has been a priority in the Winnipeg School Division since 1993. The purpose is to strengthen and enhance Aboriginal Education through Curriculum integration program development and learning opportunities for teachers and administrators.

The Division adopted an Aboriginal Education Policy in 1996, and two schools were established to offer academic courses, Aboriginal languages (Cree and Ojibwe) and cultural programming. Niji Mahkwa School (N-8) opened in 1993 and Children of the Earth High School (Grade 9-12) was established in 1991. In 2016, WSD Bilingual Programming expanded to include Cree and Ojibwe starting at Kindergarten at Isaac Brock School. Students in bilingual programming receive all the same curriculum as English only schools, with the added benefit of learning Language Arts, Social Studies and other subject in the second language.

For more detailed history of Aboriginal Education in the Winnipeg School Division, please read our fact sheet.

School Initiatives

A song for Aboriginal Day
Students from the Mulvey School Choir lent their voices to local celebrations for National Aboriginal Day.

Mulvey School website

Division Initiatives

The Aboriginal education team consists of eight positions which include a Director, consultant, five support teachers and two Aboriginal language support teachers.

Aboriginal Education Resource Materials were developed by Aboriginal Educators for use in North American classrooms.

Project of Heart
Students from across the Winnipeg School Division joined residential school survivors and other guests at The Forks.
Click here for the full story

Strengthen and Enhance Aboriginal Education Initiatives

WSD Aboriginal Education Fact Sheet.pdf

WSD Aboriginal Education Report.pdf

Accessing the Support of Aboriginal Education Department

The Aboriginal Education Department provides assistance to WSD administration and school staff in the development and implementation of initiatives to support Aboriginal education throughout the Winnipeg School Division.

Rob Riel
Director of Aboriginal Education & Newcomer Services
1577 Wall Street East
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 2S5
Phone: 204-789-0468
Fax: 204-772-6464

E-Mail: Rob Riel

Aboriginal Elder

The Aboriginal Elder plays an important role in connecting the school and the community.  The Elder is responsible for helping break down the stigma and systemic barriers and providing support and guidance on culturally appropriate services and programs.  This includes:

  • Promoting and supporting cultural awareness and understanding for all involved with children/students and their families;  
  • Linking the Aboriginal community and school; 
  • Promoting and supporting Aboriginal language acquisition and retention;  
  • Guiding and counselling students, families and school staff;  
  • Assisting all staff with the infusion of Aboriginal content and perspectives into daily programming;
  • Taking the lead in traditional learning environments that may include smudging, land-based teaching, and pipe ceremony;
  • Assisting with the development of culturally sensitive programs and the establishment of new criteria for programming for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students;
  • Developing and facilitating in-house training for staff in order to move toward a deeper understanding of Aboriginal learners and their needs.

Myra Laramee
Aboriginal Elder
Shaughnessy Park School
Phone: 789-0642, VOIP 184570
E-Mail: mlaramee@wsd1.org

Aboriginal Education Consultants

Provide school-wide in-services and divisional workshops.
Work in collaboration with other consultants in Winnipeg School Division in developing and professional learning activities and curricula.
Assist with the integration of Aboriginal content into all subject areas of the curriculum.
Facilitate four AAA meetings per year to:
  • provide networking opportunities for AAA support teachers and school representatives,
  • distribute new information as it becomes available,
  • strengthen and enhance the Aboriginal Initiatives at the school level.

Bobbie-Jo Leclair
Aboriginal Education Consultant
Shaughnessy Park School
Phone: 789-0642, VOIP 184306
E-Mail: boleclair@wsd1.org

Shelby Playford
Aboriginal Education Consultant
Shaughnessy Park School
Phone: 789-0642, VOIP 184306
E-Mail: splayford@wsd1.org

Aboriginal Education Support Teachers

Aboriginal Education Support Teachers are able to assist teachers in their district at the classroom level to:
  • work directly with teachers and students in the classroom
  • provide expertise in what is available to teachers to use in their classrooms collaborate with teachers in developing lesson/unit plans and curricula resources/supports.

Rachelle Carlisle
Aboriginal Education
Support Teacher
Machray School 
Phone: 204-586-8085
E-Mail: rcarlisle@wsd1.org

Charisse Cyr
Aboriginal Education
Support Teacher
Champlain School 
Phone: 204-586-5139 
E-Mail: chcyr@wsd1.org

Rina Bright
Aboriginal Education
Support Teacher
Shaughnessy Park School
Phone: 204-789-0642 
E-Mail: rbright@wsd1.org

Rudy Okemaw
Cree Language Support Teacher
Shaughnessy Park School
Phone: 204-789-0642 VOIP 184320
E-Mail: rokemaw@wsd1.org


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