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Issue #25
December, 2011

Report Card on Aboriginal Education in BC 2011

Source: Fraser Report: Peter Cowley, Stephen T. Easton, Michael Thomas

Summary: Data available from the provincial ministry of education provide measures on at least two dimensions of academic performance that can be used to evaluate the success of students and schools: the likelihood that students will annually progress from grade-to-grade until they receive their secondary school diploma, and the level of achievement on uniform province-wide examinations at several grade levels. The delayed advancement rate measures the likelihood that students will make education a priority and complete their secondary program in a timely manner. Examination results are a measure of the extent to which students have acquired the skills and knowledge embodied in the curriculum.

On both measures, the province’s Aboriginal students continue to lag behind their non-Aboriginal classmates and there is little apparent improvement since 2005.

Aboriginal Off Reserve Education: Time for Action

Source: C.D. Howe Institute, John Richards and Aidan Vining

Summary: Community prosperity requires that a majority of the adult population have jobs that generate reasonable earnings. Jobs with reasonable earnings are impossible without adequate educational levels. More than any other factor, poor education levels are condemning many Aboriginals to live in poverty. The links among income, employment and education levels exist for Aboriginals, as much as for other Canadians. Among Aboriginals in their prime income-earning years, the employment rate ranges from below 45 percent for those living on-reserve in the three Prairie provinces to above 70 percent for off-reserve Aboriginals in Alberta and Ontario.

This Commentary assesses in detail the education performance of Aboriginal students in individual off-reserve British Columbia schools. Overall, less than half of Aboriginal students entering grade eight in 1996 achieved a high school graduation certificate within six years. While this is an unacceptably high dropout rate, Aboriginal education levels in B.C. are superior to those in most other provinces. As an agenda for addressing Aboriginal education, the authors recommend a combination of strategies: enhanced student mobility, creation of magnet schools, and school enrichment.

The Seven Grandfather Teachings

Source: produced by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Anishinaabemowin Program – Kenny Pheasant, Director, and JS Interactive
Focus: all ages

Summary: Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabe nation, is one of the oldest and most historically important Native American languages in North America, but it is in danger of becoming extinct if not passed on to a new generation. In earlier times, the language was passed on orally from a tribe’s elders to its younger members, but in more recent times, this practice has fallen victim to outside influences.

This interactive website is full of resources and activities that can be used at all levels from elementary through to college level.

Piaranut for Our Children Quality Practices for Inuit Early Childhood Education Programs

Source: Pauktuuit Women of Canada

Summary: Pauktuuit’s vision of high quality Early Childhood Education programs is holistic, integrated and comprehensive. Children are viewed in the larger context of families and community. The health and well-being of Inuit children and their families is promoted to ensure both are achieved to their fullest potential. A wide range of services and programs are provided to support families. They are grounded in Inuit values and traditions and delivered in our languages.

Partnerships & Relationships

  • are holistic in nature – children are viewed in the context of their own families as well as within the wider community;
  • involve, support, and provide learning opportunities for parents in raising their children to be healthy, happy and to reach their full potential in life;
  • are flexible in effectively serving parents employed and/or in training in both the traditional and wage economies; for example, extended hours, weekends, evenings;
  • develop with other service providers and organizations to ensure a coordinated approach to meeting the needs of children and families;
  • integrate and address the unique needs of children with special needs; and support them in reaching their fullest potential; and • advocate on behalf of children and families.

Governance

  • is community based, locally designed, and delivered to ensure that the unique needs of each community are considered and met;
  • is non-profit in nature;
  • roles and responsibilities are defined clearly; and
  • relies on the direct involvement of parents, Elders and other community members in decision making.

Policies & Procedures

  • developed in keeping with provincial/ territorial legislation and local health authority;
  • developed and implemented to ensure the health and safety of children at all times;
  • are fair and consistent to assist program staff in decision making;
  • accommodate northern realities and Inuit values; and
  • communicated to parents to foster understanding and cooperation.

Culture & Language

  • are rooted in Inuit culture, values and traditions;
  • preserve traditional knowledge with the involvement of Elders;
  • provide traditional country food;
  • incorporate materials and activities that are culturally based;
  • celebrate the natural curiosity of children and fosters a love of learning; and
  • promote the retention of Inuktitut

Personnel

  • includes Inuit staff;
  • provides professional development opportunities to program staff in their own communities;
  • recognizes life experiences as qualification for prospective program staff;
  • involves Inuit in the design of training programs for staff in the north; and
  • implements mentorship programs for new program staff.

Stereotypes of Native Americans: Essays and Images: Teaching Diversity with multi media

Source: The Authentic History Centre
Focus: Secondary Students and Teachers

Summary: The mission of this collection is to educate about the power of imagery in the stereotyping of race. By understanding how it happened, we can recognize it happening now. Once aware, we can make a conscious effort to avoid the messy thinking stereotyping promotes that leads to fear, prejudice, hate, and discrimination. Increasing sensitivity to these stereotypes can promote racial tolerance. Ultimately, civilization depends on learning to value the racial and cultural diversity of our histories, our nations, and the world in which we live.

Child care for First Nations children living off reserve, Métis children, and Inuit children

Source: Statistics Canada, October 2010, by Leanne C. Findlay and Dafna E. Kohen

Summary: Previous research has shown that child care has an impact on children’s social and developmental outcomes. This research has shown that the quantity, quality, and type of care, as well as regulatory status, influence children’s wellbeing, in particular behavioural characteristics such as hyperactivity and positive peer involvement (also known as pro-social behaviour). For instance, participation in child care that is regulated (i.e., licensed) and high-quality (e.g., high in caregiver praise, with trained caregivers) is associated with fewer behavioural problems and more positive peer involvement. In a study of Canadian children, children in high-quality child care arrangements were reported to exhibit greater pro-social behaviours.

Although factors such as type of child care, hours in child care and stability of child care are relevant to the Aboriginal population, it is also important, when examining the impact of child care on the Aboriginal population, to consider culturally relevant factors which may impact healthy child development. For example, important indicators of Aboriginal child care may include aspects specific to cultural stimulation in the care environment, including the availability of culturally relevant activities. However, very little is known about the conditions and usage of child care for Aboriginal children in Canada. Moreover, because children represent a larger than average proportion of the Aboriginal population, child care is a particularly relevant issue for Aboriginal people.

Using data from the 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey, this study describes child care for First Nations children living off reserve, Métis children, and Inuit children in Canada, including the cultural aspects in the care environment. As a first step, a sample of First Nations children living off reserve, Métis, and Inuit children aged 2 to 5 years and not attending school who participated in child care were compared to a similar sample of children not in child care. For those children in care, aspects of child care of interest included: type of care, regulatory status, total hours in care, and number of care arrangements (i.e., stability). Next, socio-demographic characteristics such as the age and sex of the child, household income, family structure, parental education, parental work status and place of residence were examined in relation to both patterns of child care use and to child outcomes. Finally, cultural activities and Aboriginal language use in child care were investigated to determine associations with child outcomes. For the current study, the effect of child care on hyperactivity and pro-social behaviour were of particular interest as existing research suggests a relationship between child care and both of these outcomes.

Our Land – Our Culture Cree People

Source: Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy
Focus: Students and researchers interested in Cree culture

Summary: The Online Exhibits / Interactive Resource section of the Cree Culture web site brings together information gathered from many years of research in Iiyiyuuschii. By providing the information over the internet, learning and research opportunities will be made available to a larger audience of Cree and other users. Whether you choose to explore this rich source of information as a way to expand your general knowledge and appreciation of Cree culture or as an individual with serious research interests, you are invited to use the menus and search tools that have been developed for these purposes.

Cree Place Names: Place names provide a window into how Crees perceived and used the land, information that continues to be useful today.

Historical Photographs: Historical photographs enrich Cree oral traditions with images of the people, places, events and activities that are important in Cree history and culture.

Dressed as Visions: The designs on the clothing and accessories were created to please the animals who responded by giving themselves to the hunters. Eventually these items found their way to museums or private collections world-wide.

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