In Aboriginal Education- Past and Present, a TVO production, facilitated by Cheryl Jackson, in the Fort William Community Center in Thunder Bay, Dolores Wawia, a Professor at Lakehead Univeristy, Goyce Kakegamic, educator and former chief, and Michelle Derosier, social worker and filmmaker offer their perspectives of the past and future of Aboriginal Education. They discuss the experiences that they’ve had with residential schools, that include racism, oppression and abuse and how even though today’s students may have not gone to residential schools they still deal with the trauma that the experience has had on their families and their communities. They discuss ways of gaining more control over curriculum and teaching to ensure the Aboriginal students can more successful. Educators need to be more culturally sensitive and having First Nations teachers in positions to teach Aboriginal students and aboriginal studies, will promote that. Educators need to provide opportunities for Aboriginal students to see themselves as capable students. That requires a system that responds to and respects their needs and their culture. For example, Ms. Wawia talks about the importance of extended families and a culture of non-interference, that may not be understood by non-aboriginal educators. When considering what is the might be useful for young children in my school district, these cultural differences and the essential role that is played by families and community is critical. It’s also essential to realize that the residential school legacy is still with us and will be for a long time to come.
Aboriginal Education: Past and Present