Module 1: Aboriginal Education, Literacy, and Libraries

Indigenous tribes in Canada have a long history of oral tradition and most often did not have a traditional written language. Considering our discussions this week about the goals of Aboriginal Education versus the euro-centric mainstream and the struggles of Aboriginal children to relate to westernized instruction methods, perhaps it is no surprise that Aboriginal literacy rates in Canada are often lower than non-Aboriginal literacy rates. Compounding struggles for literacy is the fact that neither provincial nor federal library funding extends to Aboriginal reserve lands. Realizing the importance of literacy, First Nations in BC have begun to found private libraries on Reserve land. The first on-reserve library in British Columbia was opened in 2007 on Haida Gwaii, and more recently the Thistalalh Memorial Library opened it’s doors to the coastal community of Bella Bella. As a place for stories, oral traditions, games, family time and more, Libraries may become a more common feature of Reserve communities.

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