Innu Kindergarten Resources Mark Milestone in Innu Education

A partnership between the Department of Education and the Innu Nation has resulted in the development of an Innu social studies curriculum and resources for Kindergarten – a first for Innu children in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, joined Innu leaders today at Peenamin McKenzie School in Sheshatshiu to celebrate the milestone with students, teachers and staff.     


“There has been a great level of consultation and collaboration with the Innu over the past several years to adapt the social studies curriculum to truly reflect the Innu culture and way of life,” said Minister Burke. “The new resources have been written by the Innu, for the Innu. What’s more, the Innu have drawn and photographed the images in the readers and story-books. This is a first for our province and I am pleased we were able to assist in making this initiative a reality.”  

The Kindergarten social studies curriculum was adapted by a working group of representatives from the Innu Nation, the Labrador School District and the Department of Education. It is the first time that the Innu have been so deeply involved in resource development, which also included hands-on professional development for Innu participants. This effort has resulted in a curriculum for Kindergarten that is uniquely adapted to the Innu, as well as a framework for modifying other subject areas for Innu students at different grade levels and subjects.  

“For the first time ever Innu children will see themselves in school materials and it will be an empowering experience for them, for their teachers and for the Innu people as a whole”, declared Grand Chief Mark Nui. “This has required a collective effort and I want to thank the Innu teachers and teaching assistants, the Department of Education and the Labrador School Board for their dedication to this project”, he added. 

In addition to adaptations to the social studies curriculum, a number of other initiatives have been introduced in recent years aimed at making the school environment more culturally relevant for Innu students. For example, community elders visit the schools to help bring stories and local history and culture of the Innu to language arts and social studies classes, and art and music classes now focus on and embrace Innu art and music.  

“By teaching the children of Sheshatshiu and Natutuashish with material developed by the Innu themselves, inspired by their language and culture, we see an outstanding example of the Innu Nation and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador working together to promote and preserve the Innu language and way of life,” said the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “I commend the Innu Nation for their ongoing efforts to establish a solid foundation of learning for these children. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Innu community, educators, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Innu children have increased opportunities to grow and prosper within their own culture.” 

The present initiative is part of the approximately $9 million allocated by the Provincial Government since 2005 in both the K-12 and post-secondary systems to support initiatives to enhance educational experiences for Aboriginal students, including Innu ans Inuit, for after-school programs, a skilled trades program at Nain and Hopedale and an expansion at College of the North Atlantic in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to accommodate Aboriginal students.  

“The nature of social studies easily allows for focus on aspects of Innu culture and history; however, now that we have a framework in place, we can make adaptations in many areas of the curriculum,” said Minister Burke. “We can produce culturally relevant learning resources within the prescribed curriculum. Our intent is to ensure that Innu students have the opportunity to learn about their heritage and maintain their language, while acquiring the skills necessary to succeed in our modern economy.” 


Media contact:

Jacquelyn Howard

Director of Communications

Department of Education

709-729-0048, 689-2624

Cette adresse courriel est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.  

Francoise Enguehard

Communications Consultant to the Innu Nation


Cette adresse courriel est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.  

John Tompkins 
Director of Communications 
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs 
709-729-1674, 728-7762 
Cette adresse courriel est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.