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Issue #95
October, 2017

Improving Canadian Indigenous Student Success: Three Martin Family Initiative Projects

Source: Johnson Scholarship Foundation: Giving Matters. Dr. Carlana Lindeman, Author

Summary: Of the approximately 1.5 million Indigenous People in Canada, 50 percent are under the age of 25 — they are the youngest and fastest growing demographic in the country. A real concern for Canada is the low Indigenous high school graduation rate; the non-Indigenous high school graduation rate is about 90 percent while the Indigenous rate is about 50 percent.

The Martin Family Initiative (MFI), a charitable foundation, was established in 2008 to address this crisis.

Tradition and Transition

Source: Memorial University and the Nunatsiavut Government

Summary: Mandate

Tradition & Transition is a five-year partnership between Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Nunatsiavut Government, which represents the Inuit of Labrador. The goal of the partnership is to strengthen both traditional Inuit knowledge and the research being done in Nunatsiavut, in order to ensure the continuing vitality of Labrador Inuit culture.

The partnership is founded in equal participation by the two organizations and is meant to create a meaningful exchange of knowledge, a place where academic curiosity and the knowledge of lived experience of the Labrador Inuit meet to address the present and future needs of Nunatsiavut.

Accelerating Student Achievement

Source: Education Review Office (ERO) Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga. New Zealand

Summary: This resource can be used with the School Evaluation Indicators. It brings together findings from ERO’s recent national reports to outline what works to accelerate progress for Māori students at-risk of underachieving in primary schools. We share approaches schools have taken where progress was accelerated and schools were able to extend their practices to help more students succeed. Innovative schools focus on inequity within their student population, resulting in improved outcomes for Māori students.

Forgotten Warriors

Source: National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: Although they could not be conscripted when World War II was declared, thousands of Canadian Aboriginal men enlisted. Unlike other veterans, they were not offered the chance to buy cheap land as a reward for fighting – on the contrary, many returned to find that parts of their reserve land had been given away. In this video, Aboriginal veterans share their war memories and their healing process.  (51 min. video)

Bringing up children Gran’s way: Insights from a research project on Indigenous child and youth mental health

Source: Cox, Leonie & Thompson, Jennifer (2013) Bringing up Children Gran’s Way: Insights from a research project on Indigenous child and youth mental health. In 19th International NPNR Conference, 5-6 September 2013, Warwick, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

Focus: Parents, teachers, caregivers

Summary: Background

In 2000, the Mater Child and Youth Mental Health Service Indigenous consultant saw that Indigenous families were isolated from kinship networks following the assimilation policy and clinicians were largely unaware of these socio-cultural histories. Experiences of marginalization by mainstream society and services were exacerbated by assumptions clinicians made about this population. To enhance Mater’s care the consultant undertook research with Indigenous Elders.


  • Increase service quality
  • Improve staff confidence, skills and satisfaction working with this population
  • Promote the well-being of Indigenous families
  • Acknowledge the significance of Elders and extended family networks.

Indigenous People in the 2nd World War

Source: Veterans Affairs Canada

Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Indigenous people from every region of Canada served in the armed forces during the Second World War, fighting in every major battle and campaign of the conflict. To serve their country, Indigenous people had to overcome unique cultural challenges. Their courage, sacrifices, and accomplishments are a continuing source of pride to their families, communities, and all Canadians.

  • At least 3,000 First Nations members – including 72 women – enlisted, as well as an unknown number of Inuit, Métis, and other Indigenous people. The actual numbers were no doubt much higher.
  • Among this small number of identified Indigenous members of the forces, at least 17 decorations for bravery in action were earned.

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