The purpose of the literature review is to describe the current level of need for Essential Skills (ES) development among First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to explore the state of practice of ES initiatives with these populations in Canada and to examine innovative practices in an effort to determine potential Markers of Promising Practice in ES programming.
The first section of the paper provides the context for why ES and literacy programs are needed for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. This section looks at the historic and current barriers to First Nations, Inuit and Métis participation in education and employment and it also examines the convergence of the development of ES and the growth of First Nations, Inuit and Métis self-determination movements in education. This convergence contributed to the development of best practices in literacy education and ES programming for Indigenous peoples. This development is explored in the latter part of the paper, which looks at the current state of practice in First Nations, Inuit and Métis ES and literacy education. Highlighted in this section are the current challenges to programming and implementation as well as what works in terms of ES program development and delivery. A summary of these Markers is made in the conclusion and was used as a starting point for developing the project’s Essential Skills inventory for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.