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GNWT pilots Northern Studies 30 course and treaty simulations in NWT schools

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is piloting Northern Studies 30, a Northwest Territories (NWT) high school course focused on land, governance, well-being and reconciliation.

Small-scale pilots of Northern Studies 30 began this month at various NWT schools. It is a curriculum developed within the NWT and based on collaboration with Indigenous governments and other educational partners such as

Northern Studies 30 covers a variety of topics relevant to NWT students including geographic regions, natural resources, protected landscapes, oral histories and traditions, historical land use, human migration, colonization, language reclamation, consensus government, Arctic sovereignty, Dene Kede and Inuuqatigiit, Mental Health and Addiction, Housing, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Cultural Appropriation and the Role of Social Media.

The curriculum focuses on practical, hands-on instruction based on competencies – learning that connects a student’s skills, knowledge and values.

During the small pilot, the GNWT will gather feedback from educators and students on the course and curriculum framework, with the goal of rolling out the completed course to all NWT schools in September 2023.

As an optional resource for Northern Studies, GNWT is working in partnership with the Gordon Foundation to launch three pilot contract simulations in high schools across the territory this semester.

Teachers from all regions had the opportunity to be trained in contract simulation in September 2022. The contract simulation aims to ensure that students: learn the history of modern contracts and their negotiation and implementation; Building skills in leadership, public speaking, research, problem solving, communication and presenting ideas and; Gain an understanding of how indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives shape politics and culture.


“With an emphasis on reconciliation, Northern Studies 30 and the Contract Simulation are hands-on learning modules that address relevant real-world issues and events. As we all work to advance reconciliation, treaties and local and territorial political structures are especially relevant to high school students as they near graduation and assume responsibilities as citizens of the NWT. Both initiatives focus on respectful relationships with local elders, knowledge keepers and communities. I am excited to introduce Northern Studies 30 and the contract simulations to NWT schools so we can continue to prepare our students and our territory for success.”

RJ Simpson, Minister for Education, Culture and Employment

Fast Facts

  • NS30 is a 5-credit elective course for Year 12 students.
  • The NS30 course syllabus is the first course created by NWT to use the British Columbia syllabus framework as the area begins rolling out the BC syllabus in all Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 classrooms over the next few years (JK-12 ) to implement.
  • As the 19th Legislative Assembly committed to fulfilling the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the indigenous governments of the NWT were invited to become partners in the development of the new Northern Studies degree.
  • In 1991, GNWT created the original Northern Studies 10, a Grade 10 course. In 2015, the NS10 course was renewed in partnership with the Nunavut Government to include modules on the history and heritage of boarding schools and to be more reflective of the people of the North. It was the only high school course developed in the NWT that is mandatory for graduation. NS10 will continue to be offered at NWT schools.

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For media inquiries please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communication

Ministry of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

[email protected]

867-767-9352 ext 71073

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