In the 1870s, representatives of the Crown and First Nations negotiated Treaties 1 to 7. Each treaty included a provision for education whereby the Crown agreed to maintain a school on each reserve, if the Indians of the reserve so desired it (Carr-Stewart, 2001).
Beginning at Confederation and for many decades to follow, a policy of assimilation existed within Canada. The Indian Act of 1876 gave the federal government jurisdiction of Aboriginal education (Carr-Stewart, 2001). The policy was intended to “move Aboriginal communities from their “savage” state to that of “civilization” and thus to make Canada but one community – a non-Aboriginal one” (Milloy, 1999, p. 3). At the centre of the policy was education. In 1879, the federal government entered into agreements with numerous Christian denominations to create residential schools (Brady, 1995).
The focus of residential schools was on conversion and gradual civilization through the attainment of religious knowledge, the English language and the general subjects of grammar, spelling and arithmetic (Archibald, 1995). Provided only a very basic education. Many children experienced various forms of abuse, high mortality rates (50% in some cases), hunger and disease (Kirkness, 1998). First Nations language was forbidden and their cultural beliefs were dismissed as superstition (Archibald, 1995, p. 293).
The Canadian Government has been instrumental in the destruction of Aboriginal communities, economy, and culture. “The Crown committed cultural genocide through its assimilation processes” (Nguyen, 2011, p. 232). The legacy of residential schools is one of cultural conflict, alienation, poor self-concept, and a lack of preparation for employment or life in general (Goulet & McLeod, 2002).
The loss of language was particularly damaging as Aboriginals relied on storytelling and oral tradition to transmit culture, customs, and to convey information (Nguyen, 2011). The isolation and loss of language caused by residential schools severed important intergenerational connections. These connections are the conduit for passing knowledge from one generation to the next and is needed for cultural retention and renewal (Goulet & McLeod 2002). The children who attended residential schools lost their traditional language and attained a very low level of English language. The result was several generations of First Nations people without a first language.
The effects of residential schools and other forms of oppression are still felt today as the Aboriginal way of understanding the world are continually being assaulted. ????? According to a 2007 Statistics Canada research paper, “The Aboriginal Labour Force Analysis Series”: 43% of Aboriginal youth (ages 15-24) were enrolled in school compared to 50% of non-Aboriginal youth 66% of Aboriginal youth over the age of 15 have no post-secondary qualifications compared to 50% of non-Aboriginals. The general lack of education of Aboriginal people has resulted in high levels of unemployment, poverty, and chronic illness as compared to non-Aboriginal people (Nguyen, 2011).
Assessment data on student outcomes reminds us that First Nations and Métis students are not benefiting from the educational experience to the same degree as their counterparts. Assessment data on student outcomes reminds us that First Nations and Métis students are not benefiting from the educational experience to the same degree as their counterparts. The young and growing First Nations and Métis population is Saskatchewan’s most valuable asset in meeting the impending challenges we face due to an aging workforce. Seeing the strength of the demographic shift presents a unique opportunity for all citizens of Saskatchewan. The new era of education allows us to engage as enlightened citizens, with a greater understanding of First Nations and Métis peoples, with increased ability to distinguish and dispel harmful racial stereotypes and myths about First Nations and Métis peoples, and who are willing to be part of a future built on shared goals and aspirations” (A Time for Significant Leadership, 2008, p. 2).
Physical and Attitudinal Environment – Teaching the Whole Child * Retrieved from: http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/ATFSL The Teaching of the Feather “When a child enters school you might say they are given a feather. When you look at that feather you see there are two sides to it; one side is the Indian side, one is the monias side. When the child leaves the school that is how they should be: Balanced. One side should not be greater than the other. They should be equal.” Elder Simon Kytwayhat, 2007
*Hoftyzer, C., National Aboriginal Trustees Gathering: A Summary of Strategies for Strengthening First Nations and Métis Student Achievement.
The six foundational components to improve student achievement are: 1.First Nation and Metis education 2.Community engagement 3.Early learning and child care 4.Sustainable learning organizations 5.Effective teaching practices 6.Equity for all students *Saskatchewan School Boards- National Aboriginal Trustees Gathering: A Summary of Strategies for Strengthening First Nations and Metis Student Achievement (Horftyzer C., 2011, p. 12)
As Kirkness (1992:103) argues, the First Nations children of today must know their past, their true history, in order to understand the present and plan for the future. First Nations cultures must once again be respected and the traditional values must again be held in high esteem (Maina F., 1997).
School curriculum, practices, and programs that value and incorporate local Indigenous knowledge have proven to be successful in increasing Aboriginal student success and academic achievement (Pattniak,2004). * Retrieved from :http://www.otc.ca/ * Retrieved from: http://aboriginalperspectives.uregina.ca/introduction.shtml
Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal Head Start Pre- Kindergarten; Full Day Kindergarten Language in the Classroom Parent Parental Programs
Two perspectives of inclusion of content: An add on to benefit some students A different approach to teaching all students
Responding to the aspirations and needs of Aboriginal learners means valuing their collective intellectual traditions and identities as Aboriginal Peoples. Aboriginal Student Achievement and Positive Learning Outcomes in Canadian Schools: Promising Practices Case Study: In Robert’s Best Interest Diversity in Education p. 21
The talking circle is a traditional way for First Nations people to solve problems, discuss issues, and express themselves with complete freedom. How the talking circle works: Everyone sits in a circle. A token, is passed clockwise around the circle When a person receives the token, they may speak for as long as they wish. They may also pass the token without speaking. When finished speaking, they pass on the token. Guidelines: 1 person speaks at a time Listen with respect What is said in the circle stays in the circle.
Archibald, Jo-ann. (1995). Locally Developed Native Studies Curriculum. In M. Battiste and J. Barman (Eds.), First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unflolds. Vancouver: UBC Press Brady, P. (1995). Two policy approaches to Native education: Can reform be legislated?. Canadian Journal of Education, 20(3), 349-366. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://www.proquest.com.cyber.usask.ca. Covey, S. R. (1999). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, New York, U.S.A.: Franklin Covey Co. Goulet, L. (2001). Two teachers of Aboriginal students: Effective practice in sociohistorical realities. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 25(1), 68-82. Retrieved March 18, 2012, from http://www.proquest.com.cyber.usask.ca. Hoftyzer, C., National Aboriginal Trustees Gathering: A Summary of Strategies for Strengthening First Nations and Métis Student Achievement. http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/old/ResearchAndDevelopment/ResearchReports/IndianAn dMetisEducation/11-03.pdf http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/old/ResearchAndDevelopment/ResearchReports/IndianAn dMetisEducation/11-03.pdf Kirkness, V. (1998). The critical state of Aboriginal languages in Canada. Canadian Journal of NativeEducation, 22(1), 93-107. Retrieved March 19, 2012, from
Maina, F., Culturally relevant pedagogy: First nation education in canada. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XVII, 2(1991):293-314. Milloy, J. (1999). A National Crime. Winnipeg : University of Manitoba Press. Nguyen, M. (2011). Closing the education gap: A case for Aboriginal early childhood education in Canada, a look a the Aboriginal headstart program. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(3), 229-248. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from http://www.proquest.com.cyber.usask.ca. Saskatchewan Aboriginal Head Start http://www.saskahs.ca/languages/en/Mission.php Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Diversity in Education, Case Study : In Robert’s Best Interest. Retrieved from: http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/educationservices/modules/Module_10_Diversity.pdf http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/educationservices/modules/Module_10_Diversity.pdf