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First Nations Education Policy in Canada

First Nations Education Policy in Canada: Progress or Gridlock?

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 464
  • Book Info
    First Nations Education Policy in Canada
    Book Description:

    Offering a sorely needed fresh perspective on an issue vital to the community,First Nations Education Policy in Canadais grounds for critical reflection not only on education but on the future of Aboriginal self-determination.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8712-7
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xx)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-2)
  6. 1 Prologue: Historic Context
    (pp. 3-19)

    Our purpose here is not to provide a comprehensive review and critique of the history of residential education as it pertains to Aboriginal youth in Canada (this category includes any form of education designed to isolate Aboriginal children from their parents and kinship group). Others far more capable of completing that task have provided abundant thought- and conscience-provoking scholarship on the matter, and they will continue to do so. Nonetheless, we do not engage in ahistorical policy analysis, either generally or in respect to educational policy affecting Aboriginal youth. Thus, because of our sense of the extraordinary pertinence of past...

  7. 2 Framing First Nations Education within Self-Government and Self-Determination
    (pp. 20-69)

    Any potentially coherent and useful critical analysis of Aboriginal education must occur within a cogent conceptual framework that situates Aboriginal education within larger self-governance discourses. It must, in short, address foundational issues of purpose and paradigm in Aboriginal governance and education, and do so in a way that deals overtly with self-government issues, claims, and counterclaims. Only such grounding can provide a conceptual ‘place to stand’ for useful and coherent critical analysis of Aboriginal education generally, and of First Nations education in particular.

    We needed a conceptual framework with which to examine critically both past and current educational policies shaping...

  8. 3 Policy Context: Competing Discourses and Evolution of the Policy Context of First Nations Education
    (pp. 70-123)

    The preceding chapter reveals that a host of discourses have evolved around the question of Aboriginal peoples and their place in Canadian Confederation. As we have shown, these discourses range from the unabashed assimilationism of ‘White Paper liberalism’ at one extreme to a balance of individual and collective identity choice through relational pluralist assumptions at the other.

    Aboriginal and First Nations education has been and continues to be torn by competing discourses surrounding Aboriginal identity (both individual and collective), sovereignty, nationhood, and place within Canada. Our principal focus here is the evolving policy context of First Nations education in terms...

  9. 4 Post-Secondary Education
    (pp. 124-167)

    In general, Aboriginal post-secondary education occurs within two fundamental and deeply intertwined constraints:

    1. with the exception of a limited number of Aboriginally operated but tenuously funded institutions and programs,¹ post-secondary education occurs under provincial control and in institutions, mostly publicly funded, that operate under specific provincial legislation; and

    2. the participation and success of Aboriginal students in conventional post-secondary education (PSE) programs are both significantly limited by a range of circumstances, including:

    a. inadequate elementary and secondary level preparation,

    b. financial incapacity,

    c. the social and emotional consequences of unstable childhood and adolescent environments,

    d. culture shock experienced by many Aboriginal...

  10. 5 Up the Down Staircase in Two Dimensions: Local, Regional, National Control and Jurisdiction
    (pp. 168-199)

    The historical legacy of DIAND-imposed band council governance at the community level aligns perfectly with identification of Indian control as local control inIndian Control of Indian Education(National Indian Brotherhood, 1972/1984). This belief has taken on quasi-religious proportions over the years, despite the fact that most First Nations are too small to command the resources necessary to operate a meaningful education system. This ill-fated conjuncture has led to much confusion, frustration, and confrontation over appropriate levels of collaboration and the proper distribution of power and discretion in aggregate organizations such as tribal and education councils. Current policies in Aboriginal...

  11. 6 Breaking the Gridlock: Challenges and Options
    (pp. 200-271)

    It is no secret that the segment of the Canadian population growing most rapidly by natural increase (as opposed to immigration) is Aboriginal people. Two results of great educational significance result directly from this high rate of natural increase: the Aboriginal proportion of the Canadian population is on the rise, and it is significantly younger than the Canadian population in general. The median North American Indian age in 2001 was 23.5, while the median age for non-Aboriginals was 37.7 (Statistics Canada 2003a, 20). What is less well known is that recently birth (fertility) rates have declined considerably for First Nations...

  12. 7 Values, Principles, and Ethics, as sine qua non
    (pp. 272-320)

    Unless solidly anchored in values, principles, and ethics respected in both Aboriginal and contemporary mainstream Canadian cultures, Aboriginal education, at least in any meaningful sense, is probably doomed. As discussed previously, many of the current social and educational problems in Aboriginal communities have roots in the painful adjustment of individuals and institutions to the values of material acquisition, competition, opaque decision-making processes, power, domination, and exploitation. Mutual recognition and support for shared ‘prudential interests’ (Margolis 1995, 15)² are necessary for a common commitment to sustainable biological processes and relationships for individuals, species, ecosystems, societies, and cultures. Within such recognition and...

  13. 8 Vision and Purpose: A Second sine qua non
    (pp. 321-370)

    Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of the C++ programming language which ushered in the era of object oriented programming, once remarked that no technology can help if one lacks a clear idea of what it is one is trying to do.² We wish to extend Stroustrup’s dictum: no amount of resources, planning, collaboration, consultation, effort, energy, time, good intentions, caring, or anything else can help much in the absence of a clear vision of what one is trying to do. Vision in an organization is an amalgam of poetic fire burning towards a better future,³ and practical sense of how things ought...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 371-384)
  15. References
    (pp. 385-400)
  16. Index
    (pp. 401-420)