5 links on decolonization and its link to education

Cultural Connection and Tech Make School More Relevant for Indigenous Teens. Retrieved from https://www.teachontario.ca/community/explore/teachontario-talks/blog/2016/03/07/cultural-connection-and-tech-make-school-more-relevant-for-indigenous-teens

The article displays two projects undertaken by a high school teacher in northern Ontario to encourage indigenous students’ engagement in school. Through the projects, students were connected with the indigenous communities. Indigenous heritage was worked into their subjects with the help and involvement of their communities. The project was successful and it showed that building relationship with Indigenous students is an important factor in getting them engaged. What I found very interesting is that the Lakehead District School Board to which this school belongs, has created an Elder-Senator Protocol to assist school staff to understand how to engage elders’ help for school activities.

 

What works? Research into Practice. Retrieved from http://fneii.ca/Toulouse.pdf

This is a paper written by Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse on Integrating Aboriginal Teaching and

Values into the Classroom. It is based on the claim that raising indigenous students’ self-esteem is a key factor in their success at school. The article lists strategies on how to create and nurture educational environments that honours the indigenous culture and language. It stresses that meaningful representation of indigenous people’s contributions and innovations should be incorporated in schools.

 

Charles Clarke success story – Aboriginal Human Resource Council. Retrieved from https://aboriginalhr.ca/en/resources/success-story/charles-clarke

This site has many success stories of indigenous youth. However, the one that struck me the most is the story of Charles Clarke. From having picked up the identity of the school clown at the elementary school, through a life of addiction, and finally being stabbed at the age of 21, he finds his identity after a six-week treatment at a center on Six Nations reserve. His healing happened through teachings of aboriginal people and made him find his spirituality. He eventually went back to school and went on to post-secondary education.

 

Aboriginal Education in Timmins. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiffbeMPusY

This is an interview about aboriginal students in Timmins. All three interviewees talk about lack of confidence being a major issue for indigenous students. These are some of the issues raised:

  • First Nations schools are federally funded and they are underfunded. This causes a gap between students’ levels when they come to city schools from reserve schools.
  • Bringing the culture into the school and classroom makes the students proud and increases their self-esteem.
  • The way education was used to oppress people has affected many parents to not value education. Some even protect their children by not sending them to school.
  • Now, there is a process called Education Jurisdiction, where First Nations people will have more control over funding and more control as to what programs are run to better meet the need of the students.
  • First Nations people are just beginning to be empowered, but it will take time.
  • To gain self-esteem, the history of aboriginal people has to be taught in schools since there is still racism and stereotype out there.

 

Aboriginal Education. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DZC5Cezs1o

A debate on challenges of aboriginal people to get higher education and closing the gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginals college/university attendance. Many issues are discussed, including the following:

  • There are many barriers such as remoteness of reserves where families are (lack of family support), financial barriers (Metis don’t get any funding), and culture shock from moving from reserves into large cities.
  • To apply for scholarship, students need to write an essay but this goes against their humble culture. (I found this point interesting. It shows how the western education system does not understand the indigenous values yet)
  • Non aboriginal students should also learn about the aboriginal history. Aboriginal ways of knowing should be taught in public schools.
  • There is no mechanism for a long term planning.

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