Indigenous-focused Graduation Credit

New Indigenous-focused Graduation Requirement

January 12th 2023

January 12, 2023

Re: New Indigenous-focused Graduation Requirement

As part of the province of British Columbia’s commitments to truth, reconciliation, and anti-racism, School District no.8 Kootenay Lake is very proud to share the news of a provincial shift in graduation requirements beginning 2023-2024: Indigenous Focused Graduation Requirement.  This graduation requirement will be implemented in 2023-2024 school year.  An important part of the school district’s mandate is to develop the Educated Citizen, which can in turn help to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools and communities.

All students working toward a BC Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma, in both English and French) will be required to complete the new graduation requirement:

  • 4 credits of Indigenous-focused coursework.
  • provincial courses currently available for students to meet this requirement include: First Peoples English 10-12, BC First Peoples 12 and/or Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12.

The number of credits required to graduate has not changed and remains at 80 credits from grades 10-12.  All BC post-secondary institutions accept these courses for admissions and these courses are the academic equivalent to options such as English 12 or Social Studies 11.  These courses provide students the opportunity to develop deeper understandings of the cultures, histories, contemporary contexts and perspectives of Indigenous peoples in BC. 

For further information, please see the following resources available online:

Ministry of Education and Childcare, Frequently Asked Questions

New Indigenous-Focused Graduation Requirement Fact Sheet

Indigenous Focused Graduation Requirement, YouTube video

Indigenous Focused Graduation Requirement, Parent Brochure

9th Teaching Standard video

The new graduation requirement aligns with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act), United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Section 35 of the Constitution Act, the TRC’s Calls to Actions, Declaration Act Action Plan, and the BC Tripartite Agreement

School District no.8 Kootenay Lake is committed to anti-racism and cultural safety, formalized in Policy 331 as of June 2022.  These are exciting times in our province as we continue to learn more together, build awareness together, and journey together in reconciliation.  If you have further questions about this new graduation requirement, please contact me at anytime:  I look forward to continuing this important work together.


Gail Higginbottom

District Principal Aboriginal Education


Gail Higginbottom (she, her, hers) is from the Secwépemc Territory, a band member from Esketemc First Nation from her father's side and she has Scottish/Irish Settler ancestry on her mom’s side.  Gail has spent over 20 years in education, as a high school teacher of English and Arts, a high school counsellor, an elementary principal and now district principal.   Gail is in dedicated to an Ed Doctorate Degree, focusing on decolonial leadership to address in/equity in schools K-12.  Guides in her daily work include her immediate family, Elders from both her nation and many nations around the globe, colleagues, friends and allies who continue to walk together in the true spirit of Reconciliation.  Gail is also the mother of two wonderful boys, an aunty, a wife, a sister and dog-momma to a Boston Bulldog, named Mosa.