Education is at the heart of the struggle of Aboriginal peoples to regain control over their lives as communities and nations. The promise of education is that it will instruct the people in ways to live long and well, respecting the wisdom of their ancestors and fulfilling their responsibilities in the circle of life. Aboriginal Education documents the significant gains in recent years in fulfilling this promise. It also analyzes the institutional inertia and government policies that continue to get in the way.
The contributors to this book emphasize Aboriginal philosophies and priorities in teaching methods, program design, and institutional development. An introductory chapter on policy discourse since 1966 provides a context for considering important achievements and constraints in transforming Aboriginal education into an instrument of self-determination. A number of the chapters are drawn from reports and papers prepared for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples as background to its 1996 report. They cover a broad range of subjects: educational practice from elementary to post-secondary levels; initiatives in language conservation and communications media; the development of Aboriginal institutions; and policy discourse among Aboriginal, federal, provincial, and territorial bodies.
As the authors make clear, Aboriginal education continues to be practised on an intensely political terrain. While governments fund particular Aboriginal initiatives, the homogenizing pressures of a globalizing society are relentless. Political gains in negotiating self-government thus establish the context in which the distinctiveness of Aboriginal education and cultures is sustained.
This book is a valuable resource for administrators, educators and students with an interest in Aboriginal issues and educational reform.
Marlene Brant Castellano is Professor Emerita and former chair of the Department of Native Studies, Trent University. Lynne Davis teaches in the Department of Native Studies, Trent University, and in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Louise Lahache has a Master of Arts in Canadian Studies from Carleton University and serves as Director of Languages with the Assembly of First Nations.
Foreword / Marie Battiste Acknowledgments Introduction / Marlene Brant Castellano, Lynne Davis, and Louise Lahache Part 1: A Journey through History: Pursuing the Promise 1 Towards a Shared Understanding in the Policy Discussion about Aboriginal Education / Frances Abele, Carolyn Dittburner, and Katherine A. Graham Part 2: Aboriginal Languages and Communications: Voicing the Promise Introduction 2 Voices of Winter: Aboriginal Languages and Public Policy in Canada / Mark Fettes and Ruth Norton 3 The State of Aboriginal Literacy and Language Education / Yvonne Hebert 4 Telling Our Own Stories: The Role, Development, and Future of Aboriginal Communications / Gail Guthrie Valaskakis Part 3: Innovations in Education Practice: Renewing the Promise Introduction 5 Culturally Negotiated Education in First Nations Communities: Empowering Ourselves for Future Generations / Brenda Tsioniaon LaFrance 6 Honouring Our Past, Creating Our Future: Education in Northern and Remote Communities / Sheila Watt-Cloutier 7 Urban Aboriginal Education: The Vancouver Experience / Lorna Williams 8 The Information Legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples / Marlene Brant Castellano 9 Issues of Pedagogy in Aboriginal Education / Kathy L. Hodgson-Smith Part 4: Post-Secondary Education: Negotiating the Promise Introduction 10 Metis Post-Secondary Education: A Case Study of the Gabriel Dumont Institute / John Dorion and Kwan R. Yang 11 First Nations House of Learning: A Continuity of Transformation / Ethel Gardner 12 First Nations-Controlled University Education in Canada / Eber Hampton 13 Electronic Highways, Electronic Classrooms: Distance Education in Canada / Lynne Davis Conclusion: Fulfilling the Promise / Marlene Brant Castellano, Lynne Davis, and Louise Lahache Appendix: Recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Regarding Education Contributors Index