Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Native Education and In-Classroom Coalition-Building: Factors and Models in Delivering an Equitous Authentic Education

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Native Education and In-Classroom Coalition-Building: Factors and Models in Delivering an Equitous Authentic Education

Article excerpt

For centuries Canadian First Nations education has been a substandard, abusive means of dealing with the "Indian Problem." In recent decades Native education has been under-funded and employed non-indigenized models. Despite these facts, many are surprised when these efforts fail another cohort of children. This article outlines Canadian Native education including attainment and attrition, curriculum, Native epistemology, and Indigenous practice and theory. Finally, a Curriculum Model designed from a 2004 mixed-method study based on Haudenosaunee student and educator responses is offered as a means to achieve reparative or equitous educational outcomes through the creation of in-classroom coalitions between educators and students.

Key words: Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, authenticity, equitous, Indigenous Knowledge, educational models, coalition

Depuis des siecles, l'education des Premieres nations canadiennes est un moyen abusif et insuffisant de faire face au << probleme des Indiens >>. Au cours des dernieres decennies, l'education des autochtones a ete sous-financee et a fait appel a des modeles non autochtones. En depit de ces faits, bien des personnes sont surprises lorsque les efforts deployes ne donnent encore pas a une cohorte d'enfants ce a quoi on est en droit de s'attendre d'un systeme d'enseignement. Cet article fait l'esquisse de l'education des autochtones canadiens en abordant les aspects suivants: rendement scolaire et deperdition d'effectifs scolaires, programmes d'etudes, epistemologie ainsi que theorie et pratiques. Suit un modele d'enseignement tire d'une etude effectuee en 2004 a l'aide d'une methode de recherche mixte et basee sur les reponses d'eleves et d'enseignants haudenosaunees ; ce modele est propose comme un moyen d'atteindre des resultats reparateurs ou equitables par la creation de coalitions en classe entre les enseignants et les eleves.

Mots cles : haudenosaunee/iroquois, authenticite, equite, savoir autochtone, modeles d'enseignement, coalition


Across Canada, First Nations (1) communities have been involved in a campaign to take on management of their community's K-12 education systems. Negotiations surrounding this trend began with an Assembly of First Nations (AFN) (2) 1972 policy paper Indian Control of Indian Education. Presently only eight of 502 schools remain under the authority of the federal government (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada [INAC], 2004; Scott Directories 2004). (3) However, due to a lack of Native peoples' involvement within major decision-making bodies of education, control is still held in the arms of federal and/or provincial bodies. As Carr-Stewart (2001) wrote, Native peoples' contemporary control does not equate to the concept of original communal control of yesteryear. First Nations education continues to be affected by outside influences such as federal fiscal management and divisions between provincial and federal ministries. In turn these influences propagate ongoing political struggles against oppression and second-class citizenship instead of towards self-determination, autonomy, and sovereignty.

In mainstream educational models, curriculum, the set plan of action, that a program, or lesson encompasses, limits the overall potential engagement of students while segregating whole thoughts and concepts into teachable categories offered in a hierarchical learning environment designed for large-scale instruction. Although rigidity and categorizing of knowledge are often problematic in relation to Native education, the largest problem lies in educators locked by pedagogies of practice that simulate past unsuccessful methods. Goddard and Foster (2002) state that educators often cannot move past the pedagogical status quo: "They recognize the education system as being similar to the one they experienced and intuitively accept the rightness of that system" (p. 2). As a result educators, by nature, may be working in opposition to relevance and holism within the curriculum. …

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