Knowledge Keepers Program
The Abbotsford School District's Knowledge Keepers Program was developed by the Indigenous Education Department, which receives funding from the Ministry of Education to provide culturally appropriate educational programs and services to support the success of Indigenous students. The majority of support that Indigenous students receive from this funding is provided by staff in the Indigenous Education Department, including Indigenous Support Workers (ISWs) and Teachers for Indigenous Success. A portion of the funding is also allocated to schools to best support Indigenous students at their individual sites.
Innovative programs like Knowledge Keepers support the school district's work outlined in the Enhancement Agreement and Strategic Plan, providing learning opportunities for our school communities while contributing towards Reconciliation in Education.
The Knowledge Keepers Program intends to support schools, educators and students with the opportunity to invite members of Indigenous communities into classrooms to share their cultural expertise, stories, voice and wisdom with students. Knowledge Keepers provide cultural enrichment to complement the provincial curriculum and learning opportunities provided by educators. This handbook outlines cultural protocols that school leaders and educators should be mindful of before, during and after inviting Knowledge Keepers into their schools or classrooms.
The Indigenous Education Department has worked to curate a list of preapproved Knowledge Keepers and their specializations to support teachings around First Peoples Principals of Learning.
Knowledge Keepers are respected and valued members of their Indigenous communities. They may be Stó:lō or other First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, and live on or off reserve.
Knowledge Keepers carry teachings about:
- Indigenous cultural practices and traditions;
- Indigenous languages;
- Cultural protocols;
- Indigenous history, traditional and contemporary processes, ways of making, art, regalia, stories, songs, or dances;
- Hunting, fishing, and plant gathering;
- The use and care for natural resources;
- Traditional health and wellness; and
- Traditional knowledge about ecological relationships.
Knowledge Keepers can be invited into schools or classrooms to:
- Share teachings on a specific topic;
- Provide guidance on traditional ceremonies or activities;
- Lead hands-on learning opportunities;
- Help facilitate a cultural field trip; and
- Share stories or experiences.
Knowledge Keepers are diverse and provide different services depending on their expertise. Some Knowledge Keepers have preferences for the ages of the students they are presenting to and the group size, which is reflected in their speaker profile.
School District staff may request a Knowledge Keeper by completing a "Knowledge Keeper Request Form." If you would like to apply to request a reciprocal relationship with an Elder, please contact email@example.com
Requests must be made as soon as possible and at least 3 weeks before your event. Request forms will first be reviewed/approved by your School Principal. Upon your School Principal's approval, request forms will be reviewed/approved by the District Principal or Vice Principal of Indigenous Education.
Staff and schools hosting a Knowledge Keeper are expected to be familiar with protocols and considerations listed in this handbook before submitting a request. Staff are to adhere to these recommendations before/during/after the Knowledge Keeper’s visit.
The Knowledge Keeper is paid using school funds. Payment is only issued if the "Knowledge Keeper Request Form" has been received and approved by both your School Principal and the District Principal or Vice Principal of Indigenous Education. As reflected in the request form, a GL code is required as part of the booking process.
The Abbotsford School District's Knowledge Keeper rate is based on how long the Knowledge Keeper is on-site at the school, and these rates include mileage. There is a limit to how much each Knowledge Keeper can earn through this program each year.
Knowledge Keeper rates as of March 2023 are:
- $150 | 1 block (with a maximum of 30 students) between 75 – 120 minutes
- $300 | 2 blocks (with a maximum of 30 students)
Any costs for supplies needed for the presentation are the responsibility of the school and the person who is applying to host a Knowledge Keeper.
To be considered for the Knowledge Keepers Program in Abbotsford School District, successful applicants must be good community representatives, role models for students, and have respectful-working relationships with Abbotsford School District. Indigenous community members who are interested in being considered for the Knowledge Keepers Program may fill out an application, which will be reviewed by the District Principal for Indigenous Education. Once approved, the individual will be added to the “Knowledge Keepers List.” The Knowledge Keeper is required to complete a Criminal Record Check, as per School District's AP 301 - Access to Students and the Criminal Records Review Act.