Cathleen Anne Tenning

Recipient of the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

November 17, 2008
Canada's History speaks to Cathleen Anne Tenning about her approaches to teaching Indigenous history.

Victoria High School, Victoria (British Columbia)

Cathleen Anne Tenning has been teaching First Nations studies at Victoria High School in Victoria for seven years.

Cathleen is a member of the Chemainus First Nation on Vancouver Island and uses this experience in her teaching. She is completing a master's degree in environmental and First Nations education at the University of Victoria. She has also worked as an aboriginal academic counsellor assisting First Nations students.

Cathleen encourages hands-on learning through field trips and environmental studies outside of the classroom. Through “talking circles”, 7rd students share their learning and personal experiences.

In “Walking on the Lands of Our Ancestors,” students are immersed in the history of First Nations people from the area. Students hear personal accounts from guest speakers, visit historical locations, and learn how First Nations people lived in the past and the issues they face in the present day. Students complete reflective journals and express their knowledge and thoughts in a creative manner.