FNMI Education

First Nations Métis and Inuit Education (FNMI)

FNMI Education Coordinator

Darrell Willier
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Coordinator
Phone: 403.528.6988

FNMI Support Workers:

Shirley Boomer
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Support Worker
Phone: 403.526.3246


Morgan Muir
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Support Worker

Medicine Hat Public School Division First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Program.

The history of the FNMI Program began with the 1987 Policy Statement

This was the first significant act of truth and reconciliation.

Policy Statement on Native Education

Introduced by Alberta’s Minister of Education to the Alberta Legislative Assembly in 1987, the Policy Statement on Native Education in Alberta was significant because it was issued by the Government of Alberta. The policy stated that “Alberta Education would support the development and delivery of programs and services that would:

  • provide enhanced and equal opportunities for Native students to acquire the quality of education traditional in Alberta;
  • challenge Native students to learn and perform to the best of their ability;
  • provide opportunities for Native students to study and experience their own and other Native cultures and lifestyles;
  • provide opportunities for all students, Native and non-Native, in Alberta’s schools to recognize and appreciate the various Native cultures and their many contributions to the province and society.”

Currently Alberta Education has these four goals for the Alberta school boards to implement.

  • Provide supports for First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success
  • Ensure all Alberta students are knowledgeable, understanding and respectful of the rich diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures, languages and histories; the importance of Treaties; and the legacy of residential schools
  • Engage and support First Nations, Métis and Inuit in fulfilling their vision for a K-12 education system that honours Indigenous history, cultures, languages and perspectives
  • Build strong relationships with schools and school authorities; First Nations and First Nation organizations; the Metis Settlements General Council; the Métis Nation of Alberta; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; and other ministries; to support the success of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

Medicine Hat School District 76 First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Program.

Meet with students on a regular basis during school hours to support their social and academic needs.

To include discussion of post-secondary and career planning.

  • To establish a caring and trusting relationship with FNMI students and their families.
  • Improve interaction between students, parents, and schools.
  • Increase the knowledge and understanding of FNMI history, Treaty and Aboriginal rights, lands, cultures and languages through classroom presentations.
  • To provide referral services for FNMI students and families to appropriate agencies. 

·The First Nation, Metis and Inuit program looks to bridge the gap between native and non-native learning success while respecting native culture and history.

FNMI Program Vision Statement

*The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Program is designed to improve the future of FNMI students’ academic and personal success.

How the FNMI Program works

In agreement with Alberta Education, each FNMI student and their parent(s) or guardian(s) will be asked to sign a declaration of FNMI status so that Alberta Education may monitor the number of FNMI students throughout MHSD and the province of Alberta. When a student self-identifies as FNMI and returns the signed declaration to the school, he or she will be connected with a FNMI Liaison Worker.


Land acknowledgement

Medicine Hat Public School Division works collaboratively with families and community partners to develop strategies, resources and programs that support student success.  Below are additional links to support families.




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The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an international human rights instrument designed to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples. In its preamble, the UN Declaration is described as “a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and respect.” In Canada, it reinforces the Treaty relationships that exist between Indigenous peoples and the Crown and which form “the basis for a strengthened partnership….” The rights outlined in the UN Declaration “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world” (Article 43).

The full declaration can be found in the link, however it is important to note that education is mentioned specifically here:

Article 15

15.1 Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.

15.2 States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

1. Calls to Action
2. Truth and Reconciliation
3. Miywasin Friendship Centre 
4. Medicine Hat College Indigenous Support


1. Self Identification
2. Awards
3. Scholarships 

Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries

Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries are available to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students. Please contact Darrell Willier for additional information and support for accessing these opportunities.

The Alberta Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards provides an opportunity to recognize the achievements of Aboriginal youth and share their successes with others from across the Province. There are eight categories and two Aboriginal youth will be selected from each.

The "Lead Your Way" National Aboriginal Role Model Program celebrates the accomplishments of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Youth aged 13 to 30. "Lead Your Way" inspires Aboriginal youth to strive to reach their goals.

Scholarships, Bursaries & Funding


Alberta Education in partnership with the ATA and other provincial organizations have designed Teacher Quality, the Leadership Quality Standards and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standards.

“The revision of this resource, the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) and the complementary development of a school Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) (principal, vice-principal) and subsequent Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (superintendent, associate superintendent) will heighten public assurance about the quality of education in Alberta and emphasize our shared commitment to develop the conditions necessary for optimal student learning for every student in every Alberta school.” (Teaching Quality and school Leadership Quality Standards - Alberta Education, January 17, 2018)

Each of these Standards highlight specifics around professional practice expectations for meeting the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

Below are resources to provide teachers with support for meeting the Teaching Quality Standards:


Teachers are also encouraged to connect with MHPSD First Nation Support personnel to access the variety of Classroom Presentations we offer 


Classroom Instruction

Foundational Knowledge

Programming and Classroom Presentations Below are brief descriptions of the variety of Classroom Presentations that are offered through our First Nation, Metis, Inuit programming.  Please contact Darrell and Shirley directly to have them visit your classroom or work with you on professional Development

Residential Schools

Stained glass window activity
There is a stained glass window in the parliament building to commemorate the residential schools. We talk about the different sections of the window. An art project where the students can colour a paper copy of a section to put together for display in their classroom.

1 hr. - Gr.3-6

“Perspectives on the Legacy of Residential Schools in Mistawasis First Nation”. Readings of age appropriate stories for students.

30-60 min.- Gr.5+

Gord Downie kit based on the book “Secret Path”.  Could be part of a larger teacher led project as well.

60 min.- Gr.6+

Talking Circles

The history of Talking Circles compared to the present day Talking Circles and the relationship with Mediation

60-90 min. Gr. 2 +

Aboriginal Inventions

A booklet on aboriginal inventions for students. About 30 minutes per invention. There are 20 inventions cover one invention per week

Gr 1


Work with a small group of students for a total of three classes beforehand and teach them how to make dreamcatchers - students become classroom helpers. “Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher” read to the students before we start, then each make a dreamcatcher. 4 - 1/2 hour classes. Needs to be a minimum of 2 sessions.

Gr.4 - 8

Sixties Scoop

Shirley speaks from her personal experience of being a Sixties Scoop child, what she has learned and what not knowing your history is like. 

30min. All Grades

First Nations Books

Reading to students and discussing the story. Many wonderful books to choose from including: Red Parka Mary, Peters Moccasins, Totem Tales, Little Bear’s Quest, Why the Beaver has a Dam, Secret of the Dance, to name a few.

30 min. K-Gr 4

First Nations Soldiers in WW2

“Native Soldiers, Foreign Battlefields”. Soldier’s stories from the book. We talk about the First Nation men and women who served overseas and of the effect to their First Nation status on their return to Canada. 

30 min - Gr.4 +

Medicine Wheel

Teaching the different aspects of the circle – the four directions, four colours, four stages of life and the four seasons. An art project can be done with the Medicine Wheel.

90 min. Gr.4-6

Tipi Pole Teachings

The different attributes assigned to each of the 15 poles -  ways to live your life: respect, thankfulness, sharing, obedience, happiness, love, humility, kinship, strength, cleanliness and good child rearing. We make a paper tipi out of a half circle and I show them some symbols to decorate their tipi. We then tape them into a tipi shape and form a tipi village.

90 min. Gr.2-6      


The Shields require the teaching of the Medicine Wheel (60 minutes-we don’t do the craft) and the Tipi Pole Teachings (60 min.). Because the shields strength is from the symbols put on it the students draw from examples I provide and from their own life. Drawings are transferred onto a cloth circle, painted, strung onto a hoop and decorated. Each student is asked to explain what their symbols and colors represent to them. This project takes a long time but the results are spectacular.

120 min Gr.5-6

Button Blankets

Frog Girl” and “Storm Boy” by Paul Owen Lewis. 
We read one of them and talk about the West Coast First Nations ceremony and art. We discuss totem poles, longhouses, cedar clothing and Tlingit blankets. The students are divided into four tribes (Haida, Salish, Nootka etc.) We talk about everyday life and family. The students are then divided into four clans and we have a short discussion on belonging. Younger classes are given a picture of a button blanket with their crest (Wolf clan, Bear clan etc.). They color the picture and put dot stickers on to represent the buttons.

60 min. Gr.1-3

Older classes are given two felt squares and their crest picture to cut out for a pattern. They then sew on their crest and buttons and they have a miniature Button Blanket.

90 min.Gr.4-6   

Blanket Exercise

The exercise is to bring awareness of the life of First Nations people before “discovery” to the present day. The blanket exercise touches on many important topics: Doctrine of Discovery, Royal Proclamation of 1763, Terra Nullius, British North American Act 1867, Indian Act 1876, Enfranchisement, Residential Schools, Sixties Scoop and the White Paper/Red Paper.

2 hrs. Gr 4+

Circle of Courage

A psychology based program based on culture developed by Dr. Martin Brokenleg. The class presentation will consist of three 40-60 minute presentations and follow-up sessions as needed. This is applicable to any grade level and will be modified to fit the class audience. A detailed outline will be e-mailed.

Residential Schools
A personal look at Residential School. Gr.4-12 and will be modified to fit the class audience. A detailed outline will be e-mailed.

Indian Act

A presentation about the Indian Act from 1876 to present day.

Gr.4-12. * Canada is the only country in the world that has a set of policies/laws/regulations designed for a specific group of people.*

Myths and Facts of Treaty Status

Exploring the Myths and Facts of Treaty Status.


Living on the Reserve

What is it like to live on the Reserve. A comparison of what it was it like from 1960 to present day. Gr.4-12.

Young Offender’s presentation

My experiences working in a Young Offenders’ institution.

Gr.4-12.  It will be modified to fit the class audience.A detailed outline will be e-mailed.

The Medicine Wheel

Gr.1 -12. Teaching the different aspects of the circle – the four directions, four colours, four stages of life, four areas of life, four nature groups and the four seasons.

Blanket Exercise

The exercise is to bring awareness of the life of First Nations people before “discovery” to the present day. The blanket exercise touches on many important topics: Doctrine of Discovery, Royal Proclamation of 1763, Terra Nullius, British North American Act 1867, Indian Act 1876, Enfranchisement, Residential Schools, Sixties Scoop and the White Paper/Red Paper. 2 hrs. Gr 4-12. 

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