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An Indigenous Education newsletter for teachers

Grassy Narrows, leveled readers and a documentary to dive into

Welcome to Issue #2 of Listen & Learn! 

The response last month to the creation of this newsletter was overwhelming, with over 100 people signing up within the first 24 hours. This had zero to do with the content (there wasn't any yet!) but more to do with the desire of many educators to expand their teaching of Indigenous content and to do it now.

What I've heard from many of you is that you are determined to expand your teaching of Indigenous content, but have concerns, fears, and questions, from "what terminology do I use?" to "how can I avoid appropriation?" You are not alone! 

The reality is, most teachers today (and I include myself in this) did NOT learn about Indigenous peoples in a thorough, humanizing way, when growing up. This week I include a series of leveled readers from Nelson Education in the resource section. When I first introduced these to teacher candidates two years ago, we were all surprised to find that we learned so much about Indigenous communities from them - even though they are geared towards primary students. This is the approach many of us are taking, learning as we go, and doing so alongside our students. 

I'm really excited about the collection of resources and topics in this issue. As always, please let me know what you would like to see in future issues.

All the best, Angela

In This Issue:

  1. Resources - divided by grade level
  2. Where can I find? - French Language Resources
  3. In the News - Grassy Narrows First Nation
  4. A Promo -  Natural Curiosity
  5. Who is Angela? What is Listen & Learn?


Questions to Consider
  • What contemporary images of Indigenous peoples are displayed around my classroom or within the resources my students are exposed to?
  • What messages are they sending to my students?
  • Where can I make room for images if I find that there are none?
**This month I've decided the resources by grade level so scroll down to find the most appropriate section for you! **
 The Circle of Life leveled Readers by Nelson 

Getting Ready for the Feast
(pictured above) is a Level 1 Reader included in the Circle of Life leveled-reader series. The inside cover includes background cultural details about feasts, high-frequency words, vocabulary, and thematic focus. The back cover includes Before, During and After prompts and questions to guide the teacher. 
If you are teaching in Southern Ontario and looking to learn about the Nations we share the land with alongside your students, I love these readers!
  • To develop them, Nelson partnered with the Indigenous Education Coalition "a nonprofit education organization in Southern Ontario comprised of 12 communities that include Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Lenape Nations as well as two Friendship Centres."
  • All have beautiful illustrations or real images of contemporary Indigenous folks going about their daily life, which is crucial to counter the idea that many in our society (including our students!) carry that Indigenous peoples are "stuck in the past."                                                 
  • The books give you and your students plenty of scaffolding as you dive in! 
 fatty legs 
by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
If you are taking your first steps towards incorporating Indigenous content into your classroom, one of my favorite strategies to begin with is a read-aloud with your students, allowing their questions to guide your collective learning. Last month, a teacher I spoke to revealed she had done just that with fatty legs to great success with her grade 3 students. 

fatty legs is a great resource to because:
  •  It is coauthored by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton whom the story is about, and includes a scrapbook of real photos at the back.
  • It is rich in historical detail about life in general and residential schools in particular and is explicitly told from an Inuit point-of-view. 
  • The story does not gloss over the traumas that Margaret and the other students endured in the school, however, the material never feels "explicit" and does not mention sexual assault or abuse, which some adults feel uncomfortable bringing up to younger audiences.
One question I get asked by educators is: can Junior-level students handle this information? What I have seen in both my work and the work of my colleagues is that, when using resources designed for a younger audience, students are most often totally engaged and have many questions.

That teacher I mentioned above had great success allowing the curriculum around fatty legs to unfold based on the questions of her students and told me that her students picked up on and were able to sit with the sadness in the book. Having your students guide the learning that comes from a story like fatty legs might be the best way to assess what they are ready for and what they are not. 

Have you taught about residential schools to Junior-level students? I would love to hear your reflections on the experience! 
 Intermediate/Senior/Adult Education
8th Fire/8e Feu - CBC

One of my favorite documentaries about contemporary Indigenous peoples in Canada and the relationship between Indigenous and Canadian peoples is 8th Fire which was first aired on the CBC in 2012. The first episode hits the ground running with an exploration of stereotypes of Indigenous peoples that have infiltrated Canadian society. I love how it weaves the stories of real people with historical events and current issues, all the while featuring Indigenous peoples from many different Nations and with many different professions and callings. 

Follow these links to  watch each forty-five minute episode:
  1. Indigenous in the City
  2. It's Time!
  3. Whose Land is it Anyway? 
  4. At the Crossroads
The CBC also created a separate website (in English and in French) with supporting educational material that you might find useful in your teaching such as more videos, a variety of historical and contemporary maps, and profiles of the artists, leaders, Elders, athletes, and change-makers featured in the documentary.  

What are your favorite resources to use with students? Email me your suggestions at  


French Language Resources 
Are you looking for French Language resources to use in your classrooms? Check out the French Language section of the Deepening Knowledge Project's website! The page features websites, resources lesson plans about Indigenous histories and current events.


Grassy Narrows is located in Treaty Three Territory along the Wabigoon-English River system. Map Credit: CTV News.


Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asubpeechoseewagong) and White Dog First Nation (Wabaseemoong), both Treaty Three Nations located in Northern Ontario, have been in the news this month as the Provincial Government has FINALLY committed to cleanup the mercury that was dumped in their shared
river system in the 1960s and 70s.
Read more about the announcement here.  


Highlighting Community Resilience and Activism 

The community of Grassy Narrows has historically been especially vocal about this issue, and has continuously pushed for justice. You can read more about this work on Amnesty International's website and on

In 2016, the youth of Grassy Narrows wrote and recorded the song Home to Me about their pride in their community and culture. Last year, the video was featured on CBC's the National. 
N'we Jinan Artists - "HOME TO ME" // Grassy Narrows First Nation

You can also:

Questions to Consider
How can we center the self-determination and resilience of Indigenous peoples when exploring social justice issues in our classrooms? 


Natural Curiosity

Making the Shift is a newsletter from my friends over at Natural Curiosity, a teacher resource designed to build children's understanding of the natural world through environmental inquiry. In the past few years, Natural Curiosity has been working on a second edition which more explicitly honours Indigenous ways of knowing the world and all that inhabits it. Learn more about it here or view their latest newsletter. You can sign up by navigating to their website and entering your email in the top right corner.
I would love to get your feedback about what you want to see in Listen & Learn!   Fill out this short survey and let me know what you to see featured! 

Who is Angela?

Angela Nardozi is a guest on Turtle Island who is Italian-Canadian. She has spent almost a decade working alongside Indigenous communities and with non-Indigenous educators. She is a certified teacher and received her Ph.D. in Education from OISE/UT. She is now a consultant and coach. For more information about her services email her at
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R

Tell me More!

The purpose of Listen & Learn is to inspire teachers to incorporate Indigenous content in their curriculum, share resources and ideas, create a space for different stories and voices, and to update folks on what Angela is up to!
Copyright © 2017 Angela Nardozi, consultant & coach, All rights reserved.

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