Sarah Daitch

The potential for developing human capital in the North rests on improved education outcomes for secondary school students. As part of Northwest Territories and Nunavut education systems’ respective aims towards improved results, new curriculum materials are being developed in the North. One aim for these materials is to overcome persistent inequalities in educational achievement outcomes in the Canadian North.

The territorial education departments developed a mandatory curriculum module regarding the history and legacy of the Canadian governments’ former policies of assimilation, and forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families to residential schools. This curriculum and accompanying resource module was piloted in high schools during the 2012-2013 academic year. This article presents a study conducted in collaboration with the territorial departments of education in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, evaluating the curriculum initiative.

It examines how Northern Canadian youth connect difficult history with their identity, and become capable of and committed to community and civic engagement in their own lives. Because it is a region undergoing rapid development and governance changes, fostering critical citizenship amongst students is vital. Compassionate students who can think critically will be positioned to improve the Canadian North, and the wider circumpolar Arctic.

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