OHSWEKEN — Renowned Six Nations Elementary teacher and indigenous education policy reformer Keith Lickers has died.
Lickers died on January 12. He was 79 years old.
Lickers was instrumental in shifting indigenous education on Six Nations and across Ontario. He advocated for Six Nations schools to move away from teaching students the provincial curriculum of British History — and instead developed Six Nations own history curriculum to teach Haudenosaunee students about their own Haudenosaunee history.
From there, Lickers became the first director of the Woodland Cultural Centre, establishing an education program and museum on Iroquois history in the 1970s.
Lickers then moved on to work with the Ontario Ministry of Education in Toronto to develop an indigenous studies curriculum for teaching native studies across the province. Lickers was just the fourth indigenous person in provincial history to work for the Ministry of Education and was part of the foundational movement to have indigenous language instruction starting in Kindergarten given equal credit to French language courses in the provincial curriculum — making the option open to children of all backgrounds.
Nippissing University awarded Lickers an honorary Doctor of Education degree in 2011 for his work in Indigenous curriculum development and advancing post-secondary programming for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people.