In 2018, the Indigenous Education Circle (IEC) launched this plan by reviewing Indigenous education priorities at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and provincial Department of Education.

We have worked with the local Indigenous community to maintain the integrity of Indigenous languages, knowledge systems, worldviews and ways of knowing, being and doing.

Indigenous education must be accurate, authentic and accountable to the local urban Indigenous community, the Three Fires Confederacy and Haudenosaunee Confederacy nations, and all representative communities and individuals.

The five pillars of the plan – Revillagize, Reclaim, Renew, Restore and Celebrate – create the opportunity to raise collective voices to honor remembrance, education, healing and well-being.

We envision this work as a step towards restorative Indigenous educational well-being and success for students, families, communities and nations, guided by the faces to come.

Throughout this journey, we appreciate the voices and contributions of the local urban Indigenous community, as well as the knowledge and/or language protectors of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

As treaty partners, we hope that this plan will be adopted in the same spirit as the treaty agreements to “as long as the grass grows, the river flows and the sun rises”.




We will share peace, friendship, respect and love to strengthen safety, protection and well-being in the palisade of the educational village. Honor our ancestors

We will revitalize, reclaim, renew, restore and celebrate Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, to foster intergenerational healing.

The faces to come / Tehatikonhsatóntye (Haudensosaunne),
Seven generations ahead/niizhwaaswi-e-zhi-aangobijigeng (Anishnaabe)We do this for the benefit of future generations, healing from the cultural genocide that displaced many people from their ancestral lands and deprived them of traditional language and knowledge systems.

Reframing the language

This action plan incorporates the “language of empowerment, resilience and strength” found in Restorative Journeys: Indigenous Educational Wellbeing to support commemoration, education, healing and wellbeing.

Some terms used in this resource include:

demonized: moving away from the model of village life and its related systems of interdependence and cooperative life; precedes colonization and decolonization.

revillagize: move ‘decolonize’ and help people regain the state of mind that the Ancestors had when they lived in the old villages.

: We untangle education from historical trauma. We look at things differently and understand that education can now be part of total wellness and Indigenous knowledge can be celebrated.

palisade model: Our message to learners is that we each represent a pillar in the palisade that surrounds our ancient village for protection, responsible for personal dignity and fulfillment of the original instruction “help the people”.

Restorative Indigenous Education: An understanding that generations of Indigenous peoples have been deprived of ancient languages ​​and knowledge. We no longer live in fear of scolding or punishment and actively relearn the things that were protected.

Intergenerational Healing and Intergenerational Survival: Intergenerational trauma is not the focus. We recognize that struggles persist, but our goal is to celebrate our survival and continued healing and well-being.


Let’s go back to the state of mind of our Ancestors when they lived in ancient villages based on systems of reciprocity.


  • Reclaiming Indigenous Languages.
  • Increase recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff and students.
  • Improve partnerships with Indigenous stakeholders.
  • Develop and maintain respectful relationships with Indigenous partners.
  • Valuing Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
  • Clarify staff roles to advance Indigenous education.
  • Honoring the importance of space for restorative Indigenous education.
  • Build staff capacity through professional learning.


Remove the shame and fear associated with religion-based, racist, sexist, oppressive and assimilationist legislation.


  • Help all HWDSB staff and students discover accurate and authentic Indigenous cultural practices that are responsible to the community.
  • Support cultural programs for the benefit of Aboriginal students.
  • Provide supportive SHAE programming for individualized and family learning.
  • Support NYA:WEH programs in partnership with Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg.
  • Address implications for Indigenous sovereignty in council policies and practices.
  • Raise the voice of Indigenous students through Cultivating Community: Reclaiming Our Spaces in Education (CC: ROSE).
  • Increase cultural sensitivity through shared structures in education.


Renew respectful relationships with treaty partners, recognizing that our shared roles and responsibilities continue.


  • Support Indigenous learners and staff to attend ceremonies in their community or nation, to create a culture of trust, ceremonial renewal and cultural competence.
  • Build an understanding of the role, purpose and intent of Shakowennakara:tats.
  • Improve practices of conflict resolution, safe schools and restorative justice.
  • Analyze cross-disciplinary content to incorporate a balanced Indigenous perspective.
  • Develop an Indigenous pedagogical toolkit to build the capacity of students and staff.
  • Involve Aboriginal structures in the development of the council’s annual plan.
  • Renew partnerships with Aboriginal community organizations.
  • Renew and revisit the Learning Nest program.
  • Examine the voluntary and confidential self-identification of Aboriginal learners.
  • Review and renew the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Policy with Indigenous structures and teams.


Restoring our original instructions to provide guidance and support to every learner to help protect the earth and people.


  • Affirm Indigenous sovereignty and the two-tier governance model.
  • Honoring Indigenous leadership, mentorship and guidance.
  • Promote a parallel two-row approach to the governance review.
  • Process of engagement of indigenous peoples for research or visits.
  • Advance an Aboriginal education pilot project.
  • Co-develop a communications strategy to explain Indigenous education.
  • Restore Indigenous knowledge among HWDSB senior management and administrators.
  • Co-create a policy to hire and promote Indigenous staff at all levels.
  • Build capacity in Indigenous cultural safety and human rights.
  • Ensure HWDSB priorities and strategic directions reflect Indigenous Peoples and Education recommendations.

To celebrate

Strengthen an education system that honors local ways of knowing, being and doing, and that embraces Indigenous cultural safety and roles as treaty partners.


  • Review recognition of HWDSB lands and alignment with Indigenous education strategic and action plans.
  • Honor Indigenous protocols for meetings
  • Honor student accomplishments that promote intergenerational healing and wellness during year-end celebrations.
  • Provide equitable access to land-based learning, ceremonies and cultural programs.
  • Strengthen Indigenous educational well-being rooted in relationships.

Learn more:

Please view a full printable version of this plan and a one-page preview.

Learn more about Indigenous Education at HWDSB online at

Updated on Friday, April 22, 2022.