Annotated Bibliography

Ball, Jessica. “As if Indigenous Knowledge and Communities Mattered: Transformative Education in First Nations Communities in Canada.” American Indian Quarterly 28.3/4 (2004): 454-479. Project Muse. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. 

At the publication of this article, there were approximately 700,000 First Nations peoples in Canada, making up about 2.5% of the population. Ball emphasizes that the average age of the First Nations population in Canada is 25.5 years old. Compared to the average age of the rest of the Canadian population (35 years of age), the comparatively young First Nations population “presents many challenges but also some unique opportunities” (455). As explained at length in further bibliography posts, the negative repercussions of the enforced residential school system has left generations of First Nations without knowledge of their own culture, traditions, language, and history. The effects go beyond this, and “Although the long era of enforced residential schooling for Indigenous children is now over, its negative impacts on self-concept, parenting, social cohesion, and the intergenerational transmission of language and culture remain” (455). In an attempt to counter these crippling effects of the residential schools, a successful generative curriculum model has been introduced. This brings Indigenous knowledge into the process of learning and teaching by community Elders, coupled with Eurowestern theory, research, and practice. “First Nations leaders have linked improvement of developmental conditions for children to the reconstruction of their cultural identity, revitalization of intergenerational transmission of culture and traditional language, and reproduction of culturally distinctive values and practices in programs for children and youth” (455). Active movement towards improved community health, social and economic development, and education is a pursuit of many First Nations communities in Canada, and the impact of total, informative education at a young age is integral in the success.

This article is important to our research because it emphasizes how important a change is at this time in the Canadian education system due to a growing population of First Nations youth. It also points out that cultural values and practices are tremendously important in fostering communities.

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Cotter, John. “Alberta students to be taught legacy of Indian residential schools.” CTVNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.

Spence, Nicholas, and Jerry P. White. “First Nations Educational Success: Assessing Determinants Using a Social Context Lens.” Thompson Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

 

BC Teachers’ Federation. Aboriginal Education Program. BCTF, 2013-14. PDF File. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

The BC Teachers’ Federation was founded in 1917 and incorporated as a benevolent organization in 1919. The BCTF achieved full collective bargaining rights in 1987. It “aims to work for the rights of teachers and students in promoting public education”. Gail Stromquist is the Aboriginal Education Coordinator at the BC Teachers’ Federation. She has been involved in a number of programs and organizations that give a voice to Aboriginal education issues and concerns.

In her introduction,  Gail Stromquist outlines the history of education in Aboriginal communities. She mentions that in Aboriginal culture, all children were nurtured, and “Aboriginal children with challenges and exceptional abilities would find a position within the community, [where] their contributions were also valued and respected” (2). Stromquist goes on to recount the damage inflicted on First Nations culture by Euro-Canadian colonizers. Stromquist designates the damage of residential schools as trauma. One of the repercussions of residential schools was that “family systems were shattered…the role of grandparent was displaced…[and] parenting models were all but lost” (Stromquist 2). Residential schools have affected the way that Aboriginal families feel about the Canadian education system. It is noted that Aboriginal people are still not being referenced enough in textbooks and in classrooms.

There is a movement towards change, however, and teachers across British Columbia are striving to include more Aboriginal voices in their curricula in order to be more representative of Canada’s beginnings. A movement towards Aboriginal traditions being taught in schools is emphasized and recommended. It is understood that Aboriginal voices should and must be heard to improve the Canadian education system.

Tactics for acknowledging and integrating Aboriginal knowledge and traditions are listed. Aboriginal education statistics are listed and show a slight but steady increase in numbers of graduating Aboriginal students from 1993-2006.

This document is useful for our purposes in that it details the strategies being used by the teachers’ union to deal with the repercussions of residential schools. It also raises a number of valuable points about the effects of the trauma of residential schools on the way Aboriginal families view education. It spells out ways in which teachers can begin to move forward and allow Aboriginal voices to be heard in the education system. We can use this document to understand current initiatives that are being taken by British Colombian teachers and schools to improve Aboriginal education.

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Aboriginal Report 2008/09-2012/13: How Are we Doing?. British Columbia Ministry of Education, Nov. 2013. PDF File. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Baluja, Tamara. “First Nations School in B.C. Passes Traditional Ways on to Next Generation.” The Star.com, 23 Nov. 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Baluja, Tamara. “Paul Martin gives Canadian Schools a Failing Grade in History.” The Globe and Mail, 10 Sep. 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Deranger, Susana. “Our Home on Native Land: The Celebration of Colonization in Canada.” Briarpatch Magazine, 1 Jul. 2011. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

“Health Resources.” Indian Residential Schools Commemoration Project. Anishinabek Nation, 2013. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

LaFrance, Jean and Don Collins. “Residential Schools and Aboriginal Parenting: Voices of Parents.” Native Social Work Journal 4.1(2003): 104-125. PDF File. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

CBC News. “A Timeline of Residential Schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” CBC News Canada. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

 CBC’s timeline of Canadian residential schools provides a basic outline of the history and progression of residential schools. The site states that in 1620: “Boarding schools [were] established for Indian youths by the Recollets, a French order in New France…. This form of schooling lasts until the 1680s.” in 1847: “Egerton Ryerson produces a study of native education at the request of the assistant superintendent general of Indian affairs. His findings become the model for future Indian residential schools. Ryerson recommends that domestic education and religious instruction is the best model for the Indian population.” The terms “domestic education” and “religious instruction” are key here, they are terms we will be exploring as we navigate the current state of education and we will attempt to make connections to the old ways of teaching through these avenues. The context of “religious instruction” in the 1800s was predominantly that of the Protestant, Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist religion, none of which were native to the First Nations’ people. It is important to note that CBC marks no change in residential school curriculum or culture from 1860-1974, which signals the hundreds of years that First Nations’ children were subjected to forced assimilation by Canadian religious groups. In 1974: “The government gives control of the Indian education program to band councils and Indian education committees,”  and in 1979 15 residential schools still remained in operation in Canada.

Residential schools changed the way in which aboriginal people viewed education and left a wake of trauma. It is important for our research to take the history of trauma into account in order to address how the education system should be adapted considering its history of abuse.

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“Recollets” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

Hanson, Erin. “The Residential School System.” UBC Arts Indigenous Arts Foundation. Web. 5. Apr. 2014.

 

CBC News. “First Nations to get more control over education, Ottawa says.” CBC News Canada. Web. 1 April 2014.

The Canadian government has attempted to back pedal in recent years in response to the destruction that the Indian Act left on Canadian First Nations. Specifically, the apologies and financial compensation from the Canadian government reflect the attempt to correct the negative impact that the residential school system had on First Nations culture, language, history and traditions. In February of this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a second attempt at tabling proposed changes to the First Nations Education Act. The proposed legislation gives First Nations control over their education system and “enables the incorporation of language and culture programming in the curriculum.”

This legislation was met with mixed reviews and feelings amongst First Nations peoples. Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weaselhead stated that “We agreed to host this national announcement, but in no way endorse the proposed legislation in its present form.” On the other hand, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo stated “Today is a victory for First Nations leaders and citizens who have for decades, indeed since the first generation of residential school survivors, called for First Nations control of First Nations education.” Prime Minister Harper hopes to have the tabled legislation approved and in effect at the beginning of the next school year.

This article tells us what the government is currently promising to do. It also illustrates that dialogue between the government and First Nations people is still fraught with problems. The government is introducing solutions without consulting with all First Nations bands and this should be changed in the future.

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“Indian Act.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.

Tailfeathers, Arnell. “Stephen Harper FNEA Announcement at Kainai.” YouTube. YouTube, 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Huddart, Stephen, and Erin Montour. “Indigenous Partners, Not Prisoners.”The Globe and Mail. N.p., Web. 01. Apr. 2014.

There are several programs in Canada that are designed to bring more awareness to the history of the First Nations’ people and shape a better future for all Canadian citizens through education. Stephen Huddart and Erin Montour write about a few of these programs in their article, “Indigenous Partners, Nor Prisoners,” for the Globe and Mail online site. One such program is called the Stop Now and Plan program (SNAP). Their website explains what SNAP is principally about: “It is a cognitive-behavioural strategy that helps children and parents regulate angry feelings by getting them to stop, think, and plan positive alternatives before they act impulsively.” One advocate of SNAP is Bobby Crane, a Canadian indigenous youth who overcome a childhood plagued with behavioural problems through the fore-named program. Mr. Crane actually believed in the program so whole-heartedly he later became SNAP’s first youth leader-in-training and since has gone on to become a successful entrepreneur in ReginaMontour and Huddart write:“As Canada moves from a narrative of past failure to one of future possibilities, it is critical that we give more attention and support to these young leaders and the partnerships that sustain them.” The article also highlights two other important Indigenous educative initiatives: The re-shaping of Dechinta Bush University’s postsecondary education program  and Youth Fusion. Erin Freeland Ballantyne and Kyla Kakfwi Scott whom Montour and Huddart inform us are: “one “settler” and one Dene” cofounded Dechinta Bush University near Yellowknife. They are working to better the Canadian curriculum regarding First Nations education by “…reshaping postsecondary education by integrating academic courses with traditional knowledge”(Montour and Huddart). In the same vein, Youth Fusion is is an award-winning charity founded by Gabriel Bran Lopez that establishes innovative partnerships between targeted schools, universities, and private companies in an effort to lower school dropout rates, by creating and implementing long-term projects that engage youth in learning and keep them interested in school (taken from their website). Montour and Huddart suggest that Youth Fusion has a special focus which, “….is reversing high school dropout rates in Quebec Cree and Inuit communities with university students who move there to work alongside local youths and educators to help make school relevant and interesting.”

It is initiatives like these that promise a deeper understanding of the true Canadian history and propel us into a more accepting and open future as a nation. This program illustrates for us some of the initiatives that are being taken to improve the education system for First Nations youth.

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“The Stop Now and Plan Program” The Stop Now and Plan International Website. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Sterritt, Angela. “Dechinta” Dechinta Bush Univeristy: Learning off the Land. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

“Youth Vision Organization.” Youth Vision Jeunesse. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

 

Hyslop, Katie. “Raising the Grade on What BC Kids Learn About Aboriginal People.” The Tyee. 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Katie Hyslop is a reporter for the online publication, The Tyee. She is a graduate of UBC’s journalism program. She currently lives in British Columbia and writes about poverty and homelessness issues within the province.

The article examines ways in which the school experience for Canadian students may be improved upon. While initiatives for improving education for aboriginal students are on the increase there needs to be a significant evolution in what the rest of the country’s students learn about aboriginal culture.

Hyslop cites an online poll that asked Canadian citizens their opinions on the relationship between aboriginal people and the government. The findings were that most respondents thought that aboriginal people are treated well by the government and that they receive too much government funding. Yet the reality of the present situation of aboriginal communities in Canada is much different than public opinion would suggest. Debbie Jeffery, executive director of the First Nations Education Steering Committee in B.C. believes “that Canadians for the most part are in denial of their level of understanding” of aboriginal issues. Education is recommended as the best defense against ignorance yet the Ministry of Education has been slow to implement curricula that would improve B.C. education. Currently aboriginal courses are offered to most B.C. students as “optional” or “alternatives” to social studies or English. Aboriginal history is currently taught in bare facts, and is often one-sided, depicting aboriginals primarily as passive witnesses of Canadian history rather than as active citizens.

Students want increased aboriginal content in their curriculum at school. The slow implementation of the B.C. Ministry of Education’s re-vamped curriculum (which fails to mention changes to aboriginal content) has prompted some school districts to take matters into their own hands. School District 57, for example, has taken initiatives to “assign different aboriginal learning focuses to all five of their school ‘families’: a high school and all of its feeder schools.” The understanding and awareness fostered by this new approach to education “is what’s needed to restore the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples in Canada.” A number of post-secondary institutions, such as UBC, are also taking steps to recognize and improve aboriginal representation in their course selection and curricula.

This article is extremely important for our purposes because it addresses a number of short-comings with the current education system, offers steps for improvement, and examples of people who are currently working to intervene and implement revolutionary change. It also offers us the example of SD 57 which will allow us to further base our dialogue on that district’s ideas about how to foster understanding and awareness of aboriginal issues.

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Anaya, James. “Statement upon Conclusion of the Visit to Canada.” United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, The United Nations. 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Assembly of First Nations. Structural Transformation & Critical Investments in First Nations on the Path to Shared Prosperity: Pre-Budget Submission. 12 Aug. 2011. PDF File. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

B.C. Ministry of Education. “Overview to BC’s Curriculum Transformation Plans.” BC Ministry of Education. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

CBC News. “Living Conditions for First Nations ‘Unacceptable’: Fontaine.” CBC News, CBC. 6 Feb. 2007. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Prime Minister of Canada’s Office. “PM Announces an Historic Agreement with the Assembly of First Nations to Reform the First Nations Education System.” Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

“The Five Foci.” Aboriginal Education Department, School District No. 57. Feb. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Sherlock, Tracy. “Draft B.C. Curriculum Redesign up for Discussion.” The Vancouver Sun, Sun Media. 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Smith, Teresa. “Canadians think Government is too Generous with Aboriginals, Poll Says.” Postmedia News. 30 Jun. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Kirkness, Verna J. “Aboriginal Education in Canada: A Retrospective and a Prospective.” Journal of American Indian Education 39.1 Special Issue Part 2 (Fall 1999): 14-30. PDF File. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

At the time of publication, Verna J. Kirkness was Associate Professor Emerita at UBC. She is of Cree heritage and her work within the field of Aboriginal education spanned over four decades. She was the recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994 and the Order of Canada in 1999.

Kirkness reviews two of her papers on education, “Indian Education: Past, Present, and Future” (1985), and “Our Peoples’ Education: Cut the Shackles, Cut the Crap and Cut the Mustard” (1998) to determine the issues and challenges that have led to the current approach to aboriginal education in Canada.

In “Indian Eduction: Past, Present, and Future,” Kirkness discusses the past, present and future of “Indian” education. In the past, aboriginal people had their own approach to education that was centered on the belief in the Great Spirit. Education was the responsibility of all adults in the community, and teachings addressed “the total being, the whole community, in the context of a viable, living culture” (16). Residential schools provided a basic, albeit harshly structured, education that was designed to prepare students for domestic, Christian life. Many children lost their lives in residential schools, and the livelihood of cultural traditions were severely threatened. Aboriginal society as a whole was weakened by residential schools which caused cultural conflict, alienation, poor self-concept, lack of preparation for jobs and life in general (16). Residential schools were replaced with a concept of integration which involved aboriginal youth attending public schools. Yet according to Kirkness, the schools did not truly integrate aboriginal culture with respect and recognition, rather they were more about assimilating aboriginal youth to non-aboriginal society. The result was evidence of “alienation and identity conflict” among aboriginal youth as a result of being “caught between two cultures…[the state of being] outside of, and between both [cultures]” (17). A one-sided view of history and knowledge has been presented to Canadian children. Kirkness recommended a Canadian history which “attaches honor to the customs, values, accomplishments and contributions of this country’s original inhabitants” (18). Reflecting on the paper, Kirkness identifies the ongoing problem of interjecting parts of aboriginal culture into curricula rather than basing curricula on culture.

In 1998 Kirkness wrote “Our Peoples’ Education: Cut the Shackles, Cut the Crap and Cut the Mustard.” In that paper she illuminates the traditional use of storytelling which featured “tricksters of learning” to educate children on the values of humility, honesty, courage, kindness, and respect. When this paper was written, little effort had been made to overall the curriculum of Canadian education. Kirkness recommended an ‘independence’ education that would honor aboriginal cultures including their values, languages, and contributions to Canadian progress. In her reflection on the later paper, Kirkness concludes that aboriginal education in Canada has been historically ineffective. Only recently (in 1999) had aboriginal people become involved in the design and delivery of aboriginal education.

Kirkness sees the prospective of aboriginal education as beginning with process rather than content. In her view, the whole community must be engaged to take ownership of contemporary aboriginal education. Only with the involvement and activism of the entire community can aboriginal education begin to be seen as a “holistic and cultural phenomenon” (29).

This article is tremendously important to our research in that it offers a recent historical perspective on how aboriginal education has involved. Kirkness’ juxtaposition of two articles written at different times emphasizes the broken promises of the Canadian government and the failure of Canadian society as a whole to honestly represent aboriginal culture in its educational institutions. Kirkness also highlights the psychological, structural, and societal repercussions of biased, ineffective educational institutions. This article is also important because of Kirkness’ own journey through Manitoban and British Columbian educational systems and her perspective as a First Nations woman.

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“Aboriginal Programming.” Free The Children. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Chief RedArrow. “Rolling Thunder Seeks a Message for Turtle Island: The Seven Laws of the Great Spirit.” Bird Clan of East Central Alabama. 27 Jul. 2004. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Kennedy, Mark. “Stephen Harper’s First Nation Education Act Might Continue Assimilation, Shawn Atleo Says.” Postmedia News, Canada.com. 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Murdoch-Gibson, Sebastian. “Residential School Syndrome.” The Argus: The Student Voice of Lakehead. 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

“Residential School Basics.” Indian Residential School Resources. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Visser, Baj. “‘Trickster Spirit’ to Entice Aboriginal Youth.” The Calgary Journal. 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

 

Levin, Ben. “Aboriginal Education Still Needs Work.” The Phi Delta Kappan 90.9 (2009): 689-90. JSTOR. Web. 3 Apr. 2014. 

Levin discusses the state of aboriginal education in Canada in 2009. He sadly reports that:  “Education outcomes for Aboriginal people lag significantly behind overall Canadian norms. For example, in 2006 nearly 40% of Aboriginal people in Canada had not completed secondary school, compared with just over 20% of the total population”(689). Although this may seem like a failure at first glance, he claims that educational attainment has actually seen an increase over the past twenty years:  “A generation ago, Canada had hardly any Aboriginal college or university graduates; now, there are thousands. The proportion of Aboriginal people who are high school graduates has grown from 54% to 66% in the last decade”(689). These statistics bode well for the continued improvement of our Canadian education systems in coming years. As more aboriginal citizens seek higher education, Canada should increase its aboriginal content in its educational curriculum by introducing more classes that focus on First Nation culture to support this growth. As much as we can hope for a brighter future for aboriginal youths, we have to work for it and recognize the socioeconomic factors holding children back from getting a better education, as Levin says: “Many of these communities [First Nations reserves] continue to suffer from poor housing, lack of fresh water, lack of infrastructure, lack of employment, and the associated problems of substance abuse and depression”(689). Although education rates are improving, they are by no means an indication of a full resolution.

This article presents a statistical assessment of the current education system and how it is affecting aboriginal youth. This is important for our research topic as it outlines some of the issues with the education system while also presenting positive improvements that are being made.

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Faries, Emily. “Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Students.” Government of Canada Educational Research Board. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Noel, Alain. “Aboriginal Peoples and Poverty in Canada: Can Provincial Governments Make a Difference?” Département de Science Politique Université de Montréal. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

 

 Smith, Robyn. “‘Fatty Legs’: A Residential School Story Kids Love.” The Tyee., 30 Jul. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

Robyn Smith is a graduate of the UBC Journalism program and now writes for The Tyee, the CBC, and other publications. Olemaun, also known as Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, is the co-author of the children’s book Fatty Legs.

As a child, Olemaun begged to be allowed to attend residential school in Aklavik, Northwest Territories because she so badly wanted to learn how to read. She spent two years at residential school where she endured bullying from caregivers, an education aimed at eradicating her Inuvialuit knowledge. A cruel nun at Olemaun’s school called her Fatty Legs and Olemaun responded by characterizing the nun as the Raven and by standing up to her tormentors. Olemaun’s triumph in the face of the adversarial residential school system is encouraging for children and adults, non-aborginal and aboriginal alike.

Fatty Legs has been welcomed by teachers trying to fill a void in teaching resources for the topic of residential schools. Although there is greater acknowledgement in recent years that residential schools need to be in the curriculum there is a lack of resources to facilitate education. Pokiak-Fenton and her daughter and co-writer, Christy Jordan-Fenton, have now written a sequel to Fatty Legs called A Stranger at Home that documents what happened when she returned home from residential school.

Pokiak-Fenton is now writing a picture book for younger children to aid their education of the impact that residential schools had on aboriginal families, roots, and language.

This article is important for our dialogue on aboriginal education because books that tackle the uncomfortable subject of the systematic abuse of aboriginals in stories that engage children are an important tool for the education system. Pokiak-Fenton is a good example of ways in which the injustice of residential schools may be countered and overcome. The success of Fatty Legs demonstrates that there is a need for this kind of Canadian literature. It also demonstrates the power of oral storytelling and how it can be successfully adapted to a book format.

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AnnickPress. “Fatty Legs Book Trailer.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 22 Dec. 2010. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

“Fatty Legs: A True Story.” Annick Press. Annick Press, 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Fleming, Samantha. Raven in Mythology. 1998. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Quill, Greg. “Residential School Memoir Fatty Legs Signals a Future for First Nations Literature.” The Star.com, 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

Shapka, Megan.”A Moment with Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.” The Word on the Street: Lethbridge Book & Magazine Festival, 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

 

Stewart, J.D.M. “Education Is the Best Path to Reconciliation on Residential Schools.” The Globe and Mail. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

J.D.M. Stewart writes about the importance of education in re-shaping our future understanding of aboriginal history. Thus far our attempts have centered around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who work towards this goal to mend the relations between aboriginal and non-aborignal citizens of Canada: “There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future.” The TRC  recently held its last national event Sunday in Edmonton in which it stated the healing of the past begins with the education of the future: “After following the commission’s work and reading its documents carefully, it is clear that the TRC believes education is one of the keys to meaningful reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.”

This quote by TRC commissioner Wilton Littlechild echoes the importance of the education of Canadian children in broadening our understanding of aboriginal culture and brightening our future (precisely what our topic is focused on):

“Once children in Canada, not just young children but also the critical age of the teenagers and the early university grouping, know that history, I think it will be very significant in terms of changing Canada for the better.”

–   TRC Commissioner Wilton Littlechild

school

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“Our Mandate.” Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Stewart, J.D.M. “Education is the best path to reconciliation on residential schools.” The Globe and Mail. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

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16 thoughts on “Annotated Bibliography

  1. Hi – ummmmm, your annotated bibliography needs to be formatted correctly – please take a look at the examples I posted on Face Book. The purpose is to annotate each source that you cite individually, not to write a short essay about all your sources. O.K. Take a second look at the instructions in lesson 4:2 – thanks

  2. Hello Fellow Team Mates,

    In reading our Bibliography and when I was trying to look for articles, I was amazed at how several articles that you all choose, I chose as well. Great minds think a like.

    One really important quote from the bibliography is from the article Hyslop, Katie. “Raising the Grade on What BC Kids Learn About Aboriginal People.” The Tyee. 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

    “that Canadians for the most part are in denial of their level of understanding” of aboriginal issues. Education is recommended as the best defense against ignorance yet the Ministry of Education has been slow to implement curricula that would improve B.C. education. Currently aboriginal courses are offered to most B.C. students as “optional” or “alternatives” to social studies or English. Aboriginal history is currently taught in bare facts, and is often one-sided, depicting aboriginals primarily as passive witnesses of Canadian history rather than as active citizens.”

    It shocks me that Aboriginal History classes are optional and one sided classes. What do we need to do to help change this? Do we need to look even further and not just look at the elementary level, but courses that are taught for aspiring teachers? Do we need to bring in more aboriginal teachers for these courses, or to have aboriginals write course content for certain grade levels? I think that it should be a requirement for entering a B.ED program for students to take a Native Studies course. I know that I needed to take a Canadian history or Literature course but maybe a Native Studies course should be added.

    What scares me that unless there is a changing of the guard of the higher ups in education, we may not see a proper Native Studies lessons in our elementary schools. I was speaking with my daughters teacher the other day about this topic. At my daughters school, they do not have an aboriginal studies course. She also has 3 students in her class from the nearby reserve. How is this fair to these students? How is it fair to my daughter who is not learning the history of her classmates, while her classmates are learning about the European colonization history?

    The last article in our bibliography also really hits it home for me. It is by Stewart, J.D.M. “Education Is the Best Path to Reconciliation on Residential Schools.” The Globe and Mail. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

    “J.D.M. Stewart writes about the importance of education in re-shaping our future understanding of aboriginal history. Thus far our attempts have centered around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who work towards this goal to mend the relations between aboriginal and non-aborignal citizens of Canada: “There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future.”

    This whole article was amazing. However I do not think we can EVER put the past behind us. I think the past defines who we are now, and how we can learn from this past to work toward a strong and healthier future for ALL Canadians. We unfortunately can not change the past, but we can learn from it. We just need to act on it, so all Canadians can learn about each other and build a strong bond to make this great country even greater.

  3. Hello hello fellow group blog mates,

    I am so pleased looking through our annotated bibliography. I think we have really pulled together a vast and interesting array of sources that feed beautifully into our topic of choice.

    I am going to start by pulling from a fellow classmates blog, Crista Koo. She started off lesson 3.2 by reviewing her years of education, including Canadian history classes, that covered LOTS of European studies, WW I, WW II, and Canadian Confederation, but very, very limited education about Canadian First Nations. Please do not take this as me saying Confederation and the World Wars are not important to learn about – they are. But the streamline and repetitiveness of teaching this history, opposed to integrating the building block history of Canada, is shocking.

    Crista wrote: “I do remember learning about the Iroquois in grade four. We studied their culture and made a mural in our classroom of a loghouse.” I can vouch that this is about as far as my Canadian First Nations education went. I can’t even remember having a unit of study dedicated to this.

    To stem into a different topic of our group study, it’s important to address the topic of education within the Aboriginal communities. In Ben Levin’s article “Aboriginal Education Still Needs Work”, he explains that Aboriginal education outcomes “lag significantly behind overall Canadian norms” (689). Although there has been a positive shift in the last decade, this discrepancy still exist. I charge you, and anyone reading this blog, to how this can change. Is it the responsibility of the Canadian government to establish proper programming and financial aid, as this lag is certainly related to the enforcement of Residential Schools? Or should finances from the government be directed towards Aboriginal communities in order to empower the education systems within them?

    Contemplating this, I worry that if the Canadian government attempts to override the Aboriginal education system, it will become an “us” vs. “them” again, where “we” (non Aboriginal Canadians) will be telling “them” (Aboriginal canadians) what to do, what is right, what they need, and what will “fix” what is broken.

    That might make very little sense, but I am attempting to work out my thoughts as we dive deeper into our group project.

    Cheers!
    Gillian

  4. Hi Team. I love your research topic. I’m currently increasing my teachable subject areas in order to get into a teacher education program. Hopefully not stating things too strongly, but I think children (and their education) is the best hope we have of atoning for what we’ve done to the world and future generations. Your sources speak to both sides of this topic – education of indigenous children and education of non-indigenous children (and most importantly, how the first should inform the second).

    I think there are some great connections with our research topic, as a space (physical space and/or electronic repository) can be a tool to support this kind of curriculum. But one of the first connections I made was to the idea of creating a (physical) space – one that respects the trauma of residential school survivors (which includes the children and grandchildren of residential school attendees). I tutor two students who go to Elijah Smith Elementary in Whitehorse. While meeting with their teacher, I remarked on the layout/design of the school; she explained that a number of the design choices were to eliminate some of the characteristics of residential schools – there’s lots of light, it’s all carpeted (eliminating the sound of hard shoes on hard floors, a truly haunting and terrifying idea in the context), there are no real corners int he building (see previous parentheses!). But the purposeful design of the school goes beyond architecture, as the ‘open concept’ applies to family of students (who are welcome to come and go in the classroom). This article is worth a read, especially because this school seems to be one of the few schools that is specifically geared towards a very mixed student population – indigenous and non-indigenous (http://yukon-news.com/news/welcoming-school-features-innovative-courses).

    In a previous job I learned about trauma-informed care for children and families who came in contact with the child welfare system. It appears this model has also been applied to education/schools, which sounds a lot like Elijah Smith Elementary (http://www.li4e.org/2013/07/compassionate-education-one-trauma-informed-school-at-a-time/).

  5. Thank you for these articles Jamie! I am really honestly impressed with the layout of the school you mentioned and the eliminating of the characteristics of the residential schools. I think an open concept is great for all students, not just for Native students. Education should be a community effort, not just for the teachers. I feel that most elementary schools are really closed off and not welcoming. They are mazes and very bland. I have been looking at new schools for my children. A few have a more open concept, and some are built and look like they encourage separation.

    Gillian~Very good questions for us all to consider. I think it may be a little of both. I do not think that Canada should override the Aboriginal education, but work in conjunction with the Aboriginal community to come up with ways to help improve the system. Maybe working together the local school boards can learn from the Aboriginal community on how to incorporate their history into the current curriculum. Maybe to avoid and “us” vs. “them situation, we ASK them what they need and not TELL them what they need. This is a part of working together.

    The financial situation is a tough question. I need to think about this one a bit. Giving money is amazing, scholarships are fantastic, financial aid to be repaid is great, however it just scares me that this can be seen as also having a hold or a controlling interest on how the community or school board spends the money. The Canadian Government should not be giving money, as a controlling interest, if that makes sense.

    Another things that is interesting, but we may not have time for is how we educate immigrants. Yesterday I had my oath taking ceremony. In a letter I received from Chris Alexander, Canadian’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister was this interesting paragraph:

    “Hundreds of years ago, French and British pioneers partnered with the First Nations and laid the foundations of Canada. More recently, our country has been settled by immigrants and refugees from all over the world. Generations have found freedom, democracy, prosperity and security.”

    Yesterday there was much talk about the Queen, Canadian symbols and ideals. I picked up the book “Symbols of Canada” as I was leaving the ceremony. There is mention of the First Nations that inhabited Canada and made it seem like everyone was one big happy family. It talked about how the First Nations help the settlers adapt, but does not mention what happened after that between the settlers and First Nations. The book just speaks about the wars between British, French, Spanish etc.. I was surprised by this, but what country wants to make themselves look bad to their new citizens.

    Education is such a broad topic. We need to as a nation acknowledge the past, find solutions to make amends and work together to build a nation were Natives, settlers, immigrants and refugees all work together so everyone has found what Mr. Alexander stated freedom, democracy, prosperity and security.”

  6. Hello all!

    Lots of good dialogue here. Jamie, thank you so much for sharing that information and those articles. Particularly when considering education statistics it is important to consider the effects of residential schools. A number of the articles I came across in my research mentioned things like suicide rates and student drop outs. It was devastating to me that suicide would be such a big issue in our education system. Particularly in this article (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/11/23/first_nations_school_in_bc_passes_traditional_ways_on_to_next_generation.html) the school measures its own success by how many aboriginal students have graduated but primarily on the fact that none of their students have committed suicide. This suggests that initiatives like the ones at Elijah Smith Elementary are of utmost importance in mitigating the aftermath of residential schools.

    In that regard, Jenny, I agree with you. The past can never be forgotten nor should it be. Yet the history of residential schools needs to be addressed and incorporated into lesson plans. This is why books like Fatty Legs by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton are so important. They fill a gap in the available teaching resources to tackle the subject of residential schools in a relatable, accessible way for children.

    Jenny, you said you thought it should be mandatory for those going into education to take courses on aboriginal culture. The UBC Faculty of Education seemed to be addressing this need when they introduced the course Aboriginal Education in Canada which was “intended to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to explore how a school program may need to be modified in order to respectfully and meaningfully integrate aboriginal/indigenous history, content and worldviews.” In response to your and Gillian’s question about how the eduction system can be adjusted to give a more well-rounded picture of aboriginal culture and its importance to Canadian culture, I think the key is to incorporate aboriginal culture at an early age. What if, rather than limiting aboriginal history studies to one unit with the year, it were to be incorporated into as many different topics as possible? What if aboriginal traditions of learning were applied and incorporated into topics other than social studies, such as science, and English? Oral storytelling traditions could be incorporated from elementary to high school and emphasized as a key method of learning. Characters like Coyote and Raven would be as well known to an indigenous kindergarten student as to a non-indigenous high school student.

    From what I’ve been reading, what’s been missing in Canadian education is understanding. Aboriginal culture has been classified as a niche topic. A small bit of history that doesn’t have much bearing on the current state of Canada. The focus in the media is on the problems that have been created by colonialism. If students were taught aboriginal and euro-Canadian traditions side by side there would be no question of understanding nor would there be a question of the importance of aboriginal voices in Canadian history.

    While I was writing this post I came across the following articles. There has been a fairly recent demand to have an aboriginal course be mandatory or students in BC (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Education+group+asks+mandatory+aboriginal+studies+course+schools/7819205/story.html). This recommendation was also backed up by the BCTF. The movement towards a demand for mandatory aboriginal courses has been happening across Canada. According to this article, a Saskatchewan university student started a petition to make it mandatory for university students to take an Indigenous Studies course (http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/why-indigenous-studies-shouldnt-be-mandatory/). The author of the article suggests that this should not be required learning in university due to the different (pay as you go) structure of the university education system. He also argues that engineering students at the university already are limited in how many humanities courses they can take so they might not want to limit themselves to that one topic. I think I can understand his argument although I find his wording insensitive and his explanation gets a bit skewed by the end of the article. I think the problem here is that this kind of education and incorporation of indigenous history and tradition needs to be happening earlier on, continuously, up until university. And from there, interest will be piqued, and university students would be better informed and able to study indigenous cultures more in-depth whether it be learning one of the languages or delving further into specific topics.

    Like Gillian and Crista, my aboriginal education experience was fairly limited. Growing up in Manitoba, I had exposure to Metis history through the Festival de Voyageur. Even that festival is more focused on the indigenous population as sidekicks to the voyageur colonizers. During that festival though, we learned and did fun activities that incorporated aboriginal traditions. First nations people are formative to Canada. They should be formative to Canadian identity. As we can see by the arguments in the media, and warped understanding expressed by adult Canadians in polls, there is a widespread lack of understanding. There is an us vs. them mentality. Because of this, I think it would be a good approach to incorporate First Nations knowledge into the curriculum from a holistic standpoint. And that knowledge should permeate the way things are taught, and what is taught, from kindergarten until grade 12. Accepting First Nations culture as a foundational aspect of our country can no longer be an option. Assigning a few paltry social studies classes to tackle aboriginal history is far too limiting and clearly does not work.

  7. Hello everyone,

    I had a fascinating time reading through our groups dialogue and thank you Jamie for contributing to the discussion. We will be very active on your team’s website in the coming week and I know we will get a chance to talk through some interesting issues. Jenny you brought up a very interesting point when you said “It shocks me that Aboriginal History classes are optional and one sided classes. What do we need to do to help change this?” As much as I agree on the fact that it is terrible that Canadian elementary and high school’s don’t have a mandatory Aboriginal education class, I have to admit that I’m not shocked. Like Lauren and Gill mention earlier in this dialogue, I remember learning very little about the First Nations’ history during K-12. My fondest memories that even mildly connect to aboriginal education are visiting the Glenbow Museum in Calgary in which they keep a collection of Canadian Aboriginal artifacts. (http://www.glenbow.org/collections/museum/). While this was fascinating as a child, I was more taken with the beauty and artistry of these artifacts than beholden of a true understanding of Aboriginal culture. Just as Gillian quoted: “Crista wrote: ‘I do remember learning about the Iroquois in grade four. We studied their culture and made a mural in our classroom of a loghouse.’ I can vouch that this is about as far as my Canadian First Nations education went.” I can truly say sadly that mine went no further until I became involved with this class.

    Jenny suggests a few options to rectify this lack of education, she asks: “Do we need to look even further and not just look at the elementary level, but courses that are taught for aspiring teachers? Do we need to bring in more aboriginal teachers for these courses, or to have aboriginals write course content for certain grade levels?” I think that the answers to these questions are ultimately yes, but how? One of the greatest parts about this particular discussion is that we are creating a dialogue surrounding this very important and historical issue in Canadian culture that has not been paid its fair share of attention and has often been considered a taboo topic. Taking action and finding plausible solutions is another ball-game. We can ask the right questions, like you do Jenny, about justice and balance. We can ask, “How is it fair to my daughter who is not learning the history of her classmates, while her classmates are learning about the European colonization history?” And the answer will always be that it’s not fair. But that is why it’s so important to talk about people like Katie Hyslop. Her article “Raising the Grade on What BC Kids Learn About Aboriginal People” published in The Tyee magazine addresses all of these issues and attempts to create bridges to solutions.

    Hyslop reports that “Currently aboriginal courses are offered to most B.C. students as “optional” or “alternatives” to social studies or English.” I couldn’t help when reading this excerpt from our biography to consider UBC. I would love to say that UBC is paving the path for Aboriginal education to become available and mandatory for all of its students, but of course available and mandatory are two completely different things. Anyone who is an English major (and I know there are a lot in this course) knows that in order to graduate from UBC you need to fulfill a Canadian literature requirement. The Degree Navigator (or an Arts Advisor) will show you that you have two options: a 470 course titled Canadian Studies or a 476 course titled Indigenous studies. You can check out the separate course descriptions here, the key is that they are two different categories (http://www.english.ubc.ca/courses/crslist13w.php?coursepick=476).
    But this begs the question: Aren’t Canadian studies and Indigenous studies the same thing? And if they’re not, shouldn’t they be? This particular 470 course is atypical in many ways, not only is it online but it is Canadian studies with a focus on Indigenous studies. Genius. We need more courses like the one we are participating in right now. I know this because I have experienced it myself, and now so do you. If we can harness the lessons we’ve learned in this class and translate them into a language that’s applicable to elementary school children wouldn’t it make a world of difference? Lauren suggested making characters like Coyote and Raven “as well known to an indigenous kindergarten student as to a non-indigenous high school student,” and I think it is innovative thoughts just like these that will pave the way for improved Aboriginal education in the future.

  8. Truly, you have all collected a phenomenal breadth of articles about the lasting impacts of the residential school system and issues facing Canadian First Nations peoples.

    Perhaps my favorite sentiment brought forth by the annotated bibliography here is from Katie Hyslop and the importance of learning about aboriginal culture for all Canadians*, rather than solely focusing on First Nations students. Perhaps what is needed most is a transition from “Aboriginal history” being optional or alternative classes to integrating this subject matter into Canadian history. Because ultimately this country is made up of a mosaic rather than a melting pot, and we should strive to better represent the totality of history in this place called Canada rather than a highlight reel of colonial conquest and combat.

    My own experiences with “History” classes in high-school were focused on colonization of Canada and the subsequent battle between the French and English over this land. Aboriginal groups were also featured, but more as pawns in the game of colonial chess. These courses were intended to bridge some of the gap between Franco and Anglo Canada, which is especially felt in bilingual New Brunswick.

    Perhaps we need better education material on local, provincial, and national history of all groups. Thus there can be increased common ground locally, regionally, and nationally. I mention the import of local history because First Nations are an incredibly heterogeneous groups – and sweeping statement about the beliefs and culture of one group may education the Canadian people more easily but at the expense of the diversity among First Nations. If done incorrectly, standardized education about First Nations culture could actually serve to eradicate much of it.

    I am happy to see that both of our ideas are interrelated – Terracommunico is focused on sharing stories – in the hope that a representative literary canon can be formed for Canada. One that is informative, holistic, and paves common ground. How best should we move forward to improve education of Canadians? The elementary level is important for the future, but what about informing the “old guard” as mentioned above?

    *An outsider defintion of Canadian:
    http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Insight–An-Australian-Definition-of-a-Canadian.html?soid=1102455566531&aid=0J4foCmVjgY

  9. In response to your reference to the CBC News article, “First Nations to get more control over education, Ottawa says.” I must stay, it is always important to stay critical to what the government says they will do, and what is the actual reality of such proposed attempts to “back pedal” previous regressive policies.

    I like how you note the mixed feelings in response to the legislation. I’m interested to see the reasons why the First Nations refused to endorse the legislation. My guess, as with what often happens, is the legislation does not reflect the sentiments of the people they try to represent. And my impression is that though First Nations have spoken out about their concerns, and have probably come up with suggestion, they are still somehow left unheard.

    I remember dealing with the Canadian department of Indian Affairs when working on cases at the constituency office. I distinctively remember assisting one of the most patient individuals I’ve ever met. He was of aboriginal descent, and grew up and still lives on the reserve. He is one of many that have been affected by a policy that stripped them of their indian status. His grandmother was aboriginal, and married a white man. Therefore, she was stripped of her aboriginal status and thus unable to pass it down to her children. However, the government has since retracted that policy, and has allowed individuals impacted to retroactively gain indian status again and pass it along. However, though the legislation sounds fair, in reality, it is not so easy to obtain. The individual I assisted was fully met the requirements to obtain his status as well as documentation proof. He only wanted his status so he can pass it along to his grand daughter. I remember that out of all other government departments, Indian Affairs was one of the most frustrating bureaucracies to deal with. They were overloaded with work, backlogged, and under-resourced.

    To this day, I don’t think his issue been resolved.

    All this to say that, though it is nice to hear our country’s attempts to rectify the past, just making statements is not enough. It is important to be critical of even changes in policy, as legislation can be faulty unless there’s avenues to enforce accountability.

  10. You highlight in your review of the Globe and Mail article “Indigenous Partners, Not Prisoners.”The Globe and Mail, educational programs in Canada “designed to bring more awareness to the history of the First Nations’ people”. You showcase some successful programs that use education to allow for a way out of the damaging effects of residential schools.

    An example of the result of the injustice imposed on First Nations is demonstrated though their over representation in Canadian prisons. Just to provide a snapshot, according to http://www.prisonjustice.ca/politics/facts_stats.html a 2006 census shows Aboriginals comprise of 4% of the total canadian adult population, however, they represent 24% of admissions to provincial/territorial sentenced custody.

    This brought me to remember similar successful system used in Canada’s correctional system available for incarcerated Aboriginals, called “Healing Lodges”. According to Correctional Services Canada’s website http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/002/003/002003-2000-eng.shtml
    “Aboriginal Healing Lodges are correctional institutions where we use Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs to design services and programs for offenders. We include Aboriginal concepts of justice and reconciliation. The approach to corrections is holistic and spiritual. Programs include guidance and support from Elders and Aboriginal communities.”

    According to http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/what-is-a-healing-lodge-and-why-does-canada-s-prison-system-need-more-1.1187338#ixzz2ypwcsBCH “the recidivism rate among those who graduate from the healing lodge programs is shown to be lower than those who come through the traditional prison system.”

    The only issue is that there are only a few of these facilities throughout Canada, and most only allow for 60 people at a time. I do feel that it’s through more support for programs like these that actually address the over representation of Aboriginals in Canada’s correctional institutions and allow for more opportunities for improvement once out of prison so it’s less of a revolving door.

    • Hi @vivianxpan thank you for your comments.

      As a former government employee, I can sympathize with your government dealings at the constituency office. I started working for the government as a bright-eyed and bushy tailed 18 year old right out of high school. I was enthusiastic about voting, democracy, and I was certain that every voice makes a difference. Five years of working the government had me singing a different tune. It was a bit discouraging. Yes, you do encounter a lot of frustrated, patient individuals who still fight for their cause. My experience with the government definitely killed the hope I had for the system. When we would receive petitions with thousands of names on them and we would treat them as one document. Broke my poor naive heart.

      I was thinking about your second post about the population of Canadian prisoners. It made me think about the other ways in which the unjust effects of colonialism are still visible in Canadian society. Particularly with regard to our schools, drop out rates, the quality of education, and the kind of education that is accessible are negatively skewed with regards to aboriginal people. The 2006 Statistics Canada census found that “40% of Aboriginal Peoples aged 20 to 24 did not have a high‐school diploma, compared to 13% among non‐Aboriginal Peoples. The rate of non‐completion is even higher for on‐reserve Aboriginal Peoples (61% had not completed high school) and for Inuit Peoples living in rural or remote communities (68% had not completed high school)” (http://www.abo-peoples.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Stay-In-School-LR.pdf). I wonder if the idea of “Healing Lodges” for the justice system could be applied to the education system. Insofar that Healing Lodges “use Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs to design services and programs,” perhaps the education system could take a similar route. I would hazard a guess that the effects would be noteworthy in a positive way. For aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.

      More of our institutions in Canada should focus on representing aboriginal Canadians. By acknowledging the foundational nature of aboriginal culture in this country’s beginnings we can forge a better understanding that crosses cultural lines.

  11. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/alberta-students-to-be-taught-legacy-of-indian-residential-schools-1.1750176
    This article was brought to my attention several weeks ago, and I think it ties in nicely with the focus of your intervention as a step in the right direction. In sum: The government of Alberta has announced that starting next year, all curriculum from kindergarten to the grade 12 level will include mandatory content on residential schools and First Nations treaties. Much of the content will be based on first hand accounts from First Nations perspectives, in addition to programs for teacher training specific to the First Nations content.

    The steps taken by the Alberta government serve to satisfy two essential problems with current institutions in place that were identified by your group. The first of which is the exclusion of Aboriginal perspectives, or as was referred to previously as the vanishing Indian theory. The program serves not only to establish that Aboriginal perspectives are important, but that they are an essential element of our society as Canadians, and an enhanced knowledge of their history will provide greater background and understanding of these perspectives.

    The second problem identified by your group is the need for intervention at the elementary level. This measure targets the problem at its roots, introducing the subject at an early age and instilling a constant awareness and understanding throughout the childhood education of Albertan children.

    The effect or success of this measure is obviously far from being seen, but it is obviously a step in the right direction, and hopefully a sign of things to come elsewhere

  12. Regarding your first annotation, Jessica Ball’s “As if Indigenous Knowledge and Communities Mattered: Transformative Education in First Nations Communities in Canada” interested me because it questions accessibility of knowledge. By highlighting the fact that Aboriginal people have a relatively high percentage of their population who are young it indicates that we have increasingly fewer chances to implement a system of education that is about First Nations history that is told from an Indigenous perspective because the population is aging. The documentary Box of Treasures (http://www.der.org/films/box-of-treasures.html) reflects the efforts driven in BC’s Alert Bay to educate their young First Nations population about their heritage in the aftermath of the Potlatch ban and Residential School System.

    The more positive side of the fact that there is a large (and growing) Aboriginal youth population as your article points out is that this young population demonstrates empowerment with regards to accessing their own heritage and publicly executing it through the arts. If you check out the Beat Nation project (http://www.beatnation.org/) you’ll see that this sector of the population is thriving when it comes to taking a stance on their existence and firmly refuting the vanishing Indian theory. The publication of Redwire magazine (now inactive) was a space in which for “Native youth to educate each other on the issues facing their communities” and “support and promote Native youth artists, writers, activists, performers and musicians.” The fact that these young individuals are asserting their presence suggests that the will to learn and teach is there, the education program just needs to get on board.

  13. What Debbie Jeffery states about a lack of knowledge of average Canadians have about aboriginal issues is very agreeable. I wonder where the notion that aboriginal people are well treated by the government, and that they receive too much government funding comes from? John Banks wrote in his work “Integrating the curriculum with ethnic content: Approaches and guidelines” (http://www.itari.in/categories/multiculturalism/IntegratingCulturalDiversityintoCurriculum.pdf) that a multicultural education, with an integration of cultural diversity into curriculums requires: “Promoting strength and value of cultural diversity, human rights and respect for diversity, alternate life choices for people, social justice and equal opportunity for all, equity distribution of power among members of all ethnic groups” (10). Equality and choices are two attributes that are continuously stressed when it comes with properly educating a group about a different culture. Yet, your intervention demonstrates that this is currently not present in our society. Clearly, we do have an unfair strategy being implemented that feigns progress. Additionally, the continuous victimizing of aboriginal groups are almost covered up by the services currently offered. Education is a key factor in achieving cultural diversity. Although it seems great that there are optional or alternative aboriginal studies courses to social studies or English, the way aboriginal studies courses are taught needs investigation. “One-sided, depicting aboriginals primarily as passive witnesses of Canadian history rather than as active citizens” is neither progressive, fair, nor true. Anne Lee Stensland wrote in her work “Integrity in Teaching Native American Literature” about how in the American curriculum, “many books about Indians written by white people were recommended, for example, Conrad Richter’s Light in the Forest, Hal Borland’s When the Legends Die, Arthur Kopit’s play Indians, Edwin Corle’s Fig Tree John, and John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks. All fine works but not Native American Literature” (46). (http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/816729?ref=search-gateway:407ae5c6a944511b1c0eaa0dddc06f0d) This has been the case for many decades, but even if the literary works today are in fact Aboriginal in present times, they may not be taught correctly. We can all agree that the sharing and learning of a culture should not be taken lightly. It is not a task that is easily checked off. One question in need of inquiry is that do we, as citizens of Canada, care enough to make an impact on what we learn? Or are we content with the Aboriginal learning material present, even when it is clearly insufficient?

    Banks, James A. “Integrating the Curriculum with Ethnic Content: Approaches and Guidelines.” (1989): n. pag. Web. .

    Stensland, Anna Lee. “Integrity in Teaching Native American Literature.” The English Journal 72.2 (1983): 46-48. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. .

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