The First Nations Education Council (FNEC) is an organization which has several mandates. The website lists seven specific areas of focus, some of which include:
- To ensure that First Nations regain full control of their education through political action.
- To ensure respect of the educational rights of First Nations communities.
- To advance and increase the quality of First Nations educational programs and services.
- Conduct studies and make recommendations on governments’ decisions on Aboriginal education.
- Manage educational programs to ensure services are developed for the benefit of the communities.
In addition, the FNEC is also working on training members of the community through online learning and face-to-face classes. In 2010 the FNEC established the Kiuna Institution, a post-secondary school promoting culture and traditions for the First Nations of Quebec. This website also has a large collection of position papers, videos and documents which support their position for self governance of Aboriginal education. Although this organization mainly focuses on the Aboriginal people of Quebec, there is a plethora of information which spans Aboriginal communities across Canada.
To access the information within this website, follow the link to: http://www.cepn-fnec.com/index-eng.aspx
Ronaye Kooperberg (Module 4 – Post 2)
This 20 minute video was created as part of the 2014 University of Toronto’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) Communications Campaign. The video features a number of interviews with a variety of professors, directors, and researchers from a variety of University of Toronto campuses and departments. The aim of the video is to discuss the meaning of decolonization in an education and post secondary setting. By linking the decolonization of education and anti-racism, the video then discusses the types of changes that could occur at a post-secondary level.
Module 3 Post 4
Indigenous Maps, Films, and Land Claims Certificate
In my research on indigenous film, I stumbled upon this intriguing certificate offered by the University of Fraser Valley. The three-course certificate aims to provide learners with a deeper understanding of the land claims process. In the first course, students study the practical challenges of creating maps to support land claims. In the second course, students study how film, other forms of representational media, and direct action can bring attention to land claims issues. In the third course, students embed themselves in Stó:lõ culture to study the Stó:lõ Nation’s legal, political, and economic land struggles.
This document is written by a collection of teacher educators, including the perspective of a member of the Lil’Wat First Nation of Mount Currie. Their argument stems back to the teacher education programs and the lack of changes seen in traditional programs that are primarily based on Euro-American-centric values. Indigenous pedagogical principles such as,inclusivity, community building, recognition and celebration of individual uniqueness are not reflected or encouraged in Education programs. It is realized that to shift the mindset of preservice teachers it requires continuous effort and is met with various challenges along the way.
Module 2 post 4
This site is an interesting project aimed to help Inuit university students in Canada have improved access to university education in the Arctic. This program aims to connect students with helpful resources, and times to research Inuit participation in University education throughout Inuit Nunangat; to promote a national discussion in order to improve program deliver and curriculum development.
Module 1, Post 2
The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) is a “First Nations-controlled collective organization focused on advancing quality education for all First Nations learners”. I was drawn to this organization and the resources made available on the website because it is First Nations controlled. The site contains resources for the classroom, as well as some interesting videos from the Annual Provincial Conference on Aboriginal Education.
The FNESC organize events that educators may find useful, such as the upcoming Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Workshop (intended to help educators teach about the topic in a well informed and appropriate way).
The site provides a link to the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Partners Group, which is “committed to improving access and success for all Aboriginal post-secondary students in BC”. This sounds like it should be required reading for educators working in the post-secondary sector.
Affirmative Action is a buzzword in the United States. US Universities and Colleges frequently use applicant demographics to select students for admission, including increasing the percentages of ethnicity diverse students admitted, sometimes with slightly lower scores than other applicants. The intent of such a program is to increase minority representation at institutions of higher learning and to, ideally, decrease negative outcomes experienced more frequently by minority groups, primarily underemployment and poverty.
McGill University’s medical school is an example of such a policy put in place in Canada. I know that at UBC we have created a distributed medical program which puts our students into clerkships in smaller communities across the province in the hopes that they pull put down roots in these more disparate regions and thus help to resolve a doctor shortage. I’d hope that in addition to admitting more Indigenous students that universities are making more efforts to have, for example, Inuit doctors train in Inuit communities with the resources that are available there.
In the article “Canadian medical schools struggle to recruit Aboriginal students” some Aboriginal doctors describe the cultural difference between being a student in an Aboriginal community and being a student in a major Canadian medical school as being a major hurdle.
Coming from an Aboriginal nursing background, I was used to an environment that was very nurturing, very non-judgmental, very non-competitive,” she says. “You learn to be very comfortable talking about your struggles, what you need to work on to become a stronger person or a better caregiver. Medical school was very different. It was a very competitive environment… people keep their cards close to their chest… they don’t want to reveal themselves; what they see as weaknesses. I found this very difficult. My colleagues didn’t understand. When asked to self-evaluate, my colleagues thought I was putting myself down. I think my ability to talk about myself is a huge strength, it lets me improve as a doctor and as a person, but my colleagues didn’t see it that way. I found this very difficult.
There are several reasons for this cultural difference posited in the blog post, including the poorer quality of education students can receive on reserve, lack of modelling in their own communities, and also lack of respect for or integration of traditional knowledge in many undergraduate medical programs. The article indicates that more needs to be done than simply recruiting indigenous students, but rather that the programs need to change to better suit/fit with the ways indigenous students already live.
University College of the North had developed a Manitoba midwifery program with a core aboriginal focus in 2006. This program, designed to help provide birth support to mothers in communities lacking complete medical facilities, or to assist women wanting a more traditional birth experience, was nationally unique, in that they were located far from an urban centre, and focused on admitting only indigenous students.
I have been interested in this program for many years, first as a student who desperately wanted to enter midwifery in a time before midwifery was a viable university program (UBC, McMaster & Ryerson Universities all now have well developed 4-year programs). This program was plagued with issues, including having problems recruiting and retaining students, and difficulties having students deliver enough babies for graduation (there is a mandatory minimum birth attendance required). Ultimately only 8 students graduated from this program, with the majority of them being non-aboriginal. Instead of meaningful examination of why or how indigenous students were not attracted to or able to stay in the program, the province determined that it was best to overhaul the program and move it under the umbrella of the University of Manitoba’s broader medical program.
Based on the information released, it does not seem that this program was given evaluation to allow it to succeed.
The Lime Network, or the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education Network, represents a group of New Zealand and Australian Deans of medical education with a two-pronged goal:
- to incorporate traditional/indigenous knowledge into medical education/practical training, and
- to develop best practices in the recruitment, retention and graduation of indigenous medical students
This model is very interesting for a number of reasons, but I think of most use in a course like our own, is the page they’ve developed to share Resources & Lime Publications. On this page, the LIME network shares resources which include a collection of videos/curriculum frameworks and “good practice case studies” (much of undergraduate medical education is currently taught through case-based or problem-based learning).