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First Nations Education

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Kelly Duke

on 17 June 2014

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Transcript of First Nations Education

Chiefs Assembly. (2012, October 3). A Portrait of First Nations and Education . In Assembly of First Nations. Retrieved June 15, 2014
First Nations Education
History of First Nations Education in Canada
Challenges and Realities
First Nations Education Act
Strategies for teaching in a First Nations' School
Material Culture
The Loss of Language and Culture:
Discussion Questions
Aboriginal people(s): General term. Groups together descendants from original inhabitants of North America. Three groups - Indian, Inuit, and Métis.

First Nations people: Largely used in place of "Indian". No legal definition. Generally refers to Status and Non-Status Indians. Does not include Inuit or Métis people.

Indian: Umbrella term for all Indigenous people in Canada, other than Inuit or Métis. Three categories: Status, Non-Status, and Treaty. Seen by many as outdated, although others are trying to reclaim it.

Inuit: Aboriginal people who live above the treeline in the Arctic. Word means "the people" in Inuktitut.

Métis: Means "mixed blood" in French. Broad term which defines those of mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify separately from Indian, Inuit, or non-Aboriginal people.

Innu: People of the Naskapi and Montagnais First Nations. Live in Northern Quebec and Labrador. Not the same as Inuit.
Indian: Seen by many as offensive, outdated, or too general

Eskimo: An offensive term for Inuit. Not used in Canada, but still frequently used in USA

American Indian: Not commonly used in Canada but still in use in USA. Offensive to some.

Native: Similar to "Aboriginal", although seen as outdated.

Issues with "Aboriginal" term: too general

Rule of thumb: Use the actual tribe or community name for whatever group you are addressing
Residential Schooling:
Hiding the realities of
the past
What were they?
Realities Facing
First Nations Education

- Secondary school data (2004-2009) identifies the rate of First Nation graduation at
approximately 39% compared to the Canadian graduation rate of 72%. Conversely,
some First Nations exceed those rates with Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia
achieving 100% graduation rates in the last few years.

- 61% of First Nation young adults (20-24) have not completed high school, compared
with 13% of non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

- 1 in 4 children in First Nations’ communities lives in poverty
- Suicide rates among First Nations youth are 5 to 7 times higher than other young non- Aboriginal people in Canada.
- A First Nation youth is more likely to end up in jail than to graduate high school
- Food security is an issue for almost 50% of reserve residents
- Almost half of First Nations households do not have an internet connection.

Consider this...
"What do you lose when you lose your language?"
Past: assimilation by dominant language
Revitalization of language: immersion programs, drama, story telling, Elders, technology, classroom integration
"Language is the essence of our being, of who we are. It's the defense against assimilation. If we lose our language, then we've truly lost." - Frank Weaselhead, Blackfoot Elder
Alcohol use is of great concern to people in First Nations and Inuit communities. Surveys show that:

Around 75% of all residents feel alcohol use is a problem in their community

33% indicate that it’s a problem in their own family or household

25% say that they have a personal problem with alcohol
Khan, S. (2008). Aboriginal Mental Health: The statistical reality. In Here to Help. Retrieved June 15, 2014
First Nations communities participating in a national survey between 2008 and 2010 reported that alcohol and drug abuse were the number one challenge for community well-ness faced by on-reserve communities (82.6% of respondents), followed by housing (70.7%) and employment (65.9%) (Health Canada, 2011)
- Removed children from their homes; placed them in "boarding school"

- Stripped Aboriginal People of their culture
- Forced to learn English and adopt Christian lifestyles

- The goal: Native traditions would diminish, or be completely abolished
"Education is fundamental to ensuring full equality of opportunity and a share in Canada’s prosperous future. The Government will work with its partners so that young First Nations people will have access to education systems on reserves comparable to provincial and territorial school systems. For this young and fast-growing population, this is a game-changer."
-Economic Action Plan 2014

Photo Credit: http://www.tcdsb.org/schools/msgrfrasercollege/news/pages/celebrating-aboriginal-heritage-month-2013.aspx
Inuit Throat Singing
Classroom Culture

Invest Time
Start with the Students
Sharing Circle
Build a relationship
Cultural beliefs, language and traditions
Wait time
Selecting & Infusing Content
Sensitivity to voice and source, intent and complexity
Time generous, collaborative, holistic (cross-curricular), experiential, inclusive and open
Involving parents, elders and community
"Traditional" nucleus or extended family
School & Community Culture
Invest time & support
First Nation General Assemblies, community meetings, celebrations, feasts and games, and sport/fundraisers
Offer help
Talk with local First Nations People - Elders
Participate in or create professional development opportunities
Community orientation, adult language classes, cultural camps and other initiatives
Understand that you as a teacher are now apart of the community. Relax.
What do you feel you would need to be well equipped to be a First Nations teacher? How would you use this in your classroom?

How can you adapt your classroom and your teaching to meet your class's needs if you have a First Nations student? If your classroom is predominantly made up of First Nations students?

How would you combat your own ethnocentric beliefs if you were teaching at a reserve school?

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