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

News Releases

Yellowknife — February 2, 2023

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is piloting Northern Studies 30, a Northwest Territories (NWT) high school course that focuses on land, governance, wellness and reconciliation.

Small-scale pilots of Northern Studies 30 began in various NWT schools starting this month. It is a made-in-the-NWT curriculum that is based on engagement with Indigenous Governments and other education partners, such as education body superintendents, the GNWT Indigenous Languages and Education Secretariat, curriculum consultants and various working groups.

Northern Studies 30 covers a variety of topics that are relevant to NWT students including geographic regions, natural resources, protected landscapes, oral history and traditions, historical land use, human migration, colonization, language reclamation, consensus government, Arctic sovereignty, Dene Kede and Inuuqatigiit, mental health and addictions, 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 hands-on, practical instruction based on competencies – learning that connects a student’s skills, knowledge and values.

During the small-scale pilot, the GNWT will gather feedback from educators and students on the course and the curriculum framework, aiming to launch the finalized course in all NWT schools in September 2023.

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

Teachers from all regions had the opportunity to train in the Treaty Simulation in September 2022. The Treaty Simulation aims to see students: learn the history of modern treaties and their negotiation and implementation; build skills in leadership, public speaking, researching, problem solving, communicating and presenting ideas, and; gain an appreciation of how Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives shape politics and culture.


“With an emphasis on reconciliation, Northern Studies 30 and the Treaty Simulation are practical learning modules that deal with 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 move toward graduation and take on responsibilities as citizens of the NWT. Both these initiatives are centred on respectful relationships with local Elders, Knowledge Keepers and communities. I am pleased to launch Northern Studies 30 and the Treaty Simulations in NWT schools so we can further set our students and territory up for success.”

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick facts

  • NS30 is an elective 5-credit course for Grade 12 students.
  • The NS30 course curriculum is the first NWT-created course to use British Columbia’s curriculum framework, as the territory begins to implement the BC curriculum in all Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) classrooms over the next several years.
  • As the 19th Legislative Assembly committed to fulfilling the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, NWT Indigenous Governments were invited to participate as partners in developing the new Northern Studies course.
  • In 1991, the GNWT created the original Northern Studies 10, which is a Grade 10 course. In 2015, the NS10 course was renewed, in partnership with the Nunavut Government, to include modules on the history and legacy of residential schools and be more reflective of the people of the North. It has been 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 requests, please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

867-767-9352  Ext. 71073