From the early 1900’s to the 1950’s, the Mi’kmaq were largely absent from authorized programs of study and prescribed textbooks. When they were mentioned, images were those of “vanishing Canadians” or “savage warriors”. With the advent of multiculturalism in the 1970’s, there was a shift towards depictions of the Mi’kmaq as the “exotic other” or figures of fantasy with significant errors or distortions created by non-Indigenous research and perspectives of non-Mi’kmaw writers.
The emphasis in education on facts about ‘traditional’ Mi’kmaq cultural practices and livelihoods has largely been confined to either social studies or language arts. Dawning awareness of systemic racism in the 70’s and 80’s saw a shift towards measures aimed at accommodating Mi’kmaw learners beginning in the 1990’s, especially in the province of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. While the provinces in the Atlantic region have each created at length bibliographies of Mi’kmaq resources, these have not all been cleared by Mi’kmaq people as being accurate and dependable sources for learning about and with Mi’kmaw learners. Mi’kmaw voice, for example, as “protestors of injustice” or advancing new perspectives of Mi’kmaq peoples has emerged in the last few decades and this section offers to teachers, both Mi’kmaq and non-Aboriginal, a look at Mi’kmaq history of schooling and curricula, and Mi’kmaq perspectives dealing with Mi’kmaq learning, schooling, and teaching as well as current research from non-Mi’kmaq about the policies, language, instruction and pedagogy, including decolonizing anti-colonial anti-racist perspectives of educators.
The authors in this collection offer fresh perspectives about contemporary curricula, critical perspectives about the abscences and ommissions of Aboriginal peoples in educational curricula, and books and materials that have been authored and/or co-authored by Mi'kmaq about their lives, their history and the place Mi'kmaq people should have in affecting their destiny.