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Thread: Education

  1. #1

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    Education

    I was watching a video given at the Canadian Club by the Chief of the First Nations organisation in Canada.

    I felt he made an excellent case for more money to be spent with the First Nations as he pointed out that the everage amount of money spent on education for First Nations children was well below the Canadian average and that's not right.

    However one of the statements made by a speaker from the floor was about how when a child gets to 11th Grade they have to move out of their community to attend higher education. She spoke of one promising child that has moved out to attend such a school and after a short time was never heard from again. The point I think was how can one do better in providing higher education to these First Nations communities.

    I felt that the Chief did not respond well to this question as all he really did was symphasise about the situation. He had no suggestions to make.

    Now many of us have to move away from home when we go to college or university so what's the difference?

    I also listened to another TV interview where the woman professor was talking about a lack of support for First Nations children that attend the great universities in Canada. She felt that not enough support was available for First Nations children in that nothing existed to help with the spiritual well being of the child.

    However for many immigrants I doubt there is much of a support mechanism for them either at these great universities.

    I thus wonder if the local education within the First Nations lands is somehow skewed that they are not buiding self reliance in their children. In other words this is not just a First Nations issue but one that affects all ethnic groups.

    I don't know what the answer is as I'm not sufficiently learned in these matters. It would appear that some First Nations tribes have done very well for their children but others are in terrible straits. Why is that?

    I don't know but it sure would be interesting to compare what successful tribes do and what unsuccessful tribes do. However it seems to me that there is not enough transparency in the process for us to find out.

    Alastair

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  3. #2

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    Re: Education

    Sometime the money is there but not spent on the right things.

    Cheers,

    Hugh

  4. Re: Education

    I agree with Hugh, as the Indian people I met up in Ontario seemed to live poorly. Looked like they sat around a lot, & the little Indian kids actually stole some things from my family while there. I believe that as in the USA on the "rez", that there's a high percentage of alcoholism & drug use overall. I believe it would take some kind of real desire "to pull themselves up by the boot straps" in order to get out & go to college. However, I'm sure that some do. Just my own 2 cents worth. Joan

  5. #4

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    Re: Education

    I'm sure there are a lot of problems but some tribes seem to hae turned things around while others are simply going further downhill. I mean we need to turn things around but how can this be done? It seems funny to say that if we give you money we want to know that money is spent properly but some Indian tribes see that as interfeering with their rights.

    It just seems to me that non Indian people have to report on their success or failure and account for the money they get but Indian tribes don't have the same transparency.

    Alastair

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  7. #5

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    Re: Education

    Thanks Alastair, you have astutely gone directly to the heart of the matter. The issues regarding the aboriginal peoples of Canada are long, deep and difficult but there is precious little meaningful analysis about how to move forward. However, the question of why "some tribes seem to have turned things around while others are simply going further downhill" has been definitively addressed by Dr. Stephen Cornell and his associates in a lengthy research process known as the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Although conducted in the US, the findings are perfectly transferable to Canada and have been well-received by many who genuinely care. In a nutshell, five criteria matter to turning the situation around in aboriginal communities: meaningful jurisdiction, a functional civil service, cultural linkages, strategic thinking and leadership. The project is now housed in the Udall Centre at the University of Arizona, and has a marvelous website at http://hpaied.org/. Maybe Electric Scotland will lead the way!

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  9. #6

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    Re: Education

    Thanks for the link and I'll visit and research as I get the time. I'm always hopeful that either First Naions people or others than work with them will take the time to visit us and share their knowledge.

    Alastair

  10. #7

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    Re: Education

    Howdy- blessed blend of Scot and Native blood here

    I grew up in a very rural area of the US but I worked hard in school and was accepted into a Top 25 school. I was thrilled. I soon found out, however, that education does not ensure people are educated. My alma mater recently added a Native Student liason and Im thankful they did. Regularly I had ignorant people make whooping noises or ask if I got a "fatty check" from casinos (my tribe does not have and does not intend on asking for gaming rights). I was ridiculed for wearing medallions or for praying in a way that was not their way even though we prayed to the same God.

    So, yes, many of us move away from home for college. I moved from a VERY rural area to a very metropolitan area. Sure it was a challenge but it is a NORMAL challenge. But to have your peers, who you assume are also educated and therefore should act as such, to treat you so poorly- I found THAT was a MUCH larger river to cross than simply moving from home.

    And so many return dejected. Unlike other minority groups who sometimes band together for support, even the other minorities at my school would ridicule the Native students. Hearing over and over you are not wanted, not normal, not smart, etc. etc. it gets to a person.

    I double majored and minored while playing a Division 1 sport and fully participating in student government. I happened to channel my energy. The day someone said to my face "Oh, youre mixed Native?? Oh I thought you were Italian. Im sorry, I cant go out with people like you" was the day I learned that, sadly, people still see us as less-than...and Im not even full blooded!

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  12. #8

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    Re: Education

    I often wonder if many of these problems are due to not teaching history at school. I have learned that most countries in the world do little to teach their own countries history to children. It was the same with me in Scotland only to be fair they may have taught more but due to the cariculum I was taking I had to take Economics and as that clashed with History I had to drop it.

    However lots of other people all over the world have told me they got very little of their own countries history at school so I do think its a common issue.

    Since working on Scottish history I have learned a tremedous amount about Scotland and the Scots and through studying the Scots that went into the world I've also learnt a lot about other countries and ethnic groups.

    Alastair

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  14. #9

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    Re: Education

    Amen to that Alastair. A good deal of what passes for history in aboriginal discussions is either "feel good" stuff invented in the 1960's and '70s with little basis in fact, or American "long knives" impressions from the United States' history. Canada's history viz a viz aboriginal peoples was often cynical and more often blundering, but comparatively bloodless. I also frequently get to point out that many of the measures adopted here, such as outlawing certain rituals and ceremonies, were imposed in Scotland far earlier and with much more serious consequences. We tend to focus too much on differences and not enough on commonalities, and that can best be remedied by understanding history.

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