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Issue #38
January, 2013

Aboriginal Children – Canada Must Do Better: Today and Tomorrow

Source: Submitted to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child by the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates 2011

Summary: The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates submitted this Special Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to highlight the critical circumstances facing Aboriginal children today.

The Council is a national alliance of child advocates legally appointed by the Canadian provinces and territories. The Council members’ mandates include promoting and protecting children’s human rights, including the rights of Aboriginal children.

The Committee has expressed their concerns and made specific recommendations about Aboriginal children, who remain among the most vulnerable children in Canada today. Canada has made some progress towards improving the lives of some children. It is their our contention, however, that the Committee’s past recommendations remain largely unaddressed to the fullest extent possible and that a high percentage of Aboriginal children fail to realize their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other human rights instruments.

The Committee, Canada and the Council agree that Aboriginal children face gross inequities and lack opportunities to realize fully their rights. By submitting this Special Report, the Committee has attempted to encourage Canada to develop and implement special measures that will assist Aboriginal children, and all children, with the fulfillment of their human rights under the CRC and other related human rights instruments.

Related Websites

Source: Government of Saskatchewan

Summary: The links identified on this site are provided for informational purposes only, as a convenience for this Web site’s users. Saskatchewan First Nations & Métis Relations does not control the contents of these external sites, which are created and maintained by other public and private organizations. Inclusion of these links does not constitute an endorsement of the organizations which created the sites or a guarantee of the information found on them. Saskatchewan First Nations & Métis Relations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, appropriateness, or content of these external sites or for that of subsequent links.

Bone Snow Knives and Tin Oil Lamps: Enduring Traditions among Canada’s First Peoples

Source: Musée de la civilisation (Québec), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (Ottawa).
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Objects from the First Nations of what is now Canada are highlighted in this exhibit. The collections presented here bring together around 180 objects representing many of Canada’s First Peoples. More than 60 objects come from the Royal Ontario Museum collection and some and some one hundred pieces are part of the collection of the Museum of Civilization. While the various groups are not evenly represented, this exhibit nevertheless provides an overview of First Peoples cultures in Canada.

In the same way that First Nations today present a united front and support each other’s actions and beliefs, these artifacts testify to a continuity of tradition across every time period and along diverse paths. From the pre-European period to the present day aboriginal peoples have developed techniques adapted to their needs and resources. They have used materials drawn from their immediate environment and have depicted effigies, animal motifs, symbols of legend, and geometric patterns that represent their cultural values and beliefs. These figures adorn everyday objects, art pieces, as well as those used in ceremonies.

With the development of trade relations with the Europeans and Euro-Canadians, foreign materials were incorporated by the First Peoples into their own tools and household articles. In many of these artifacts the new materials were incorporated using traditional construction techniques.

This practice has continued into the present period where artistic expression employs contemporary materials to express traditional themes. Likewise, traditional materials are often used to convey very modern messages.

The following objects have been gathered together under three headings that reflect the kinds of materials used to make them.

  • Objects made solely from natural materials.
  • Objects made wholly or in part from barter materials.

Contemporary everyday and art objects made from a range of modern and/or natural materials.

CBC’s ReVision Quest – Truth and Reconciliation Lesson Plans

Source: CBC News
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: This episode revisits the residential school apology that the Canadian government announced in 2008 to Aboriginal people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering in Winnipeg, allowed residential school survivors, and representatives from the churches and government sectors to share their personal stories on the impacts that were generated from the residential school system, and the importance of creating a more positive relationship between the Canadian government and Aboriginal people.

Aboriginals in Post Secondary Education The MESA Project: Measuring the Effectiveness of Student Aid

Source: Ross Finnie, Stephen Childs, Miriam Kramer, Andrew Wismer, University of Ottawa, Ontario

Summary: The Longitudinal Survey of Low Income Students (L-SLIS), created to measure the effects of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation’s Access Bursary, offers a unique combination of information pertaining to students’ preparations for, attitudes towards, and experiences in post-secondary education (PSE). This report uses the L-SLIS to focus on the experiences of Aboriginal students, a particularly interesting subset of respondents. The L-SLIS asks respondents to describe their ethnic background and those who report aboriginal heritage (North American Indian, Métis or Inuit) are considered Aboriginal for the purposes of this brief.

For the low income students represented in the L-SLIS data, the major findings are:

  1. Aboriginal students are substantially more likely than non-Aboriginal students to leave PSE without graduating in their first or second year.
  2. Aboriginal students are more likely than non-Aboriginal students to be first generation PSE students.
  3. Aboriginal students are less likely than non-Aboriginals to have savings for PSE.
  4. Aboriginal students are more likely than non-Aboriginals to live away from home in their first year of PSE.
  5. Aboriginal students in the sample receive greater amounts of government aid compared to non-Aboriginals.

The sample includes only 61 Aboriginal students; due to this small sample size, the analysis is restricted and we must be careful not to overstate the significance of the findings. That said, the findings of this report do point towards further research. Also note, Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals have many different individual and family characteristics that could be driving the results of this report; for this reason one must be careful when imputing causality between any factors. Finally, the findings of this brief apply specifically to the low income students represented by the L-SLIS and we cannot say if our findings hold for other low income students or for the student population in general.

The Impact of Early Numeracy Engagement on 4 year old Indigenous students

Source: Elizabeth Warren, Janelle Young, Australian Catholic University, Eva de Vries,
Independent Schools Queensland

Summary: Young Indigenous Australian students continue to experience difficulties at school, especially in the areas of literacy and numeracy. Results from the National Report on Schooling, National Benchmarks for reading, writing and numeracy in Years 3, 5 and 7 demonstrate a high percentage of Indigenous Australian children performing well below the benchmark (ACER, 2005; MCEETYA, 2008). The latest National Report on Schooling in Australia (MCEETYA, 2008) includes the following results for Indigenous students obtained from testing in 2006. Seventy-two per cent of Indigenous Queensland students are achieving at the benchmark for numeracy in Year 3. This is significantly below their achievement in both reading (88.5%) and writing (89.7%), and also significantly below the achievement of Indigenous students in five other states. Similar trends exist in the National Scores. While reading and writing scores have been gradually improving for Indigenous students since 1999, there has been little change in the numeracy results. The Year 5 and Year 7 numeracy results mirror the results found in Year 3.

Unjustified blame has been laid upon Indigenous students in the past, and absenteeism, disadvantaged social background and culture have all be seen as contributing factors (Bourke & Rigby, 2000). This paradigm is seen as irresponsible (Cooper, Baturo, Warren, & Doig, 2004; Matthews, Howard & Perry, 2003; Sarra, 2003). Historically, most educational efforts have aimed to assimilate Indigenous students into Euro Australian society and are based on the ideology of cultural deprivation (Prochner, 2004). Our longitudinal research project, Young Australian Indigenous students’ Literacy and Numeracy (YAILN) draws on and adapts relevant mainstream research about young students’ numeracy learning, and endeavours to situate these findings in local settings where Indigenous cultural practices are recognised and respected. To date, there have been few published studies on the impact of early childhood education on Indigenous students (Prochner, 2004).

A Journey to a New Land

Source: Simon Fraser University Virtual Museum
Focus: Elementary and secondary

Summary: People first arrived in the Americas at least 12,000 years ago. The timing of their arrival and the route by which they travelled are not known. Did they follow an inland ice-free corridor route from Siberia to the unglaciated regions south of the ice sheets? Or did they take a coastal route, travelling by boat down the Pacific Coast? Did people arrive during the ice age, or not until after the glaciers receded?

This site explores these and other questions, and looks at some of the evidence and ideas that have been proposed to resolve them.

Choose your journey by clicking on the PRIMARY LEVEL, ELEMENTARY LEVEL, MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL, SECONDARY LEVEL or POST-SECONDARY LEVEL buttons located above the image at the top of the page. Or choose a shortcut to the Multimedia Library by selecting a category from the menu on the left.

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