Indigenous Education in Canada since 1945
1. Introduction: Desegregation
of Education in Canada
2. â€œIndian Control of Indian
3. Indigenous People and PostSecondary Education
Above: Verna Kirkness (1935- ) in 1966, while working as a
consultant for the Manitoba Department of Education
Source: University of Manitoba Department of Native Studies
HIST-1007: Indigenous History since 1900: Racism, Resistance, Renewal
Desegregation of Education
â€¢ Integration of Education (or bringing First
Nations kids into the provincial education
system /mainstream schools)
â€“ Integrated schools a â€˜superiorâ€™ assimilative
strategy and it would save the DIA money
â€“ Exposure of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous
kids to curricula that taught the â€˜twin myths of
Indigenous inferiority and British/European/White
superiorityâ€™ (Murray Sinclair)
â€“ Integration was a one-way process
Final Years of the Indian
Residential School System
â€¢ IRS System persisted in spite of
educational failures, criticism
from Indian leaders, continued
abuse and poor conditions
(schools in disrepair)
â€¢ Government ended in
partnership with the churches in
â€¢ 1960s-1980s: children sent to:
integrated provincial schools;
on-reserve, band-controlled day
schools; residential schools run
by First Nations
Above: A young boy with other students and a nun in a
classroom at the Pukatawagan Residential School, Manitoba,
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Above: Blue Quills Indian Residential School, St. Paul, Alberta
Source: Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (UBC)
Community Control of Residential Schools
â€¢ In 1970, local communities challenged the closure of the Blue Quills School
â€¢ The federal government turned control of the school over to Blue Quills
Native Education Council in 1971
â€¢ Six others schools, all in Saskatchewan, transferred to local control
Education in Wahbung: Our
â€¢ Policy statement presented to the
Government of Canada by the
Manitoba Indian Brotherhood
â€¢ Education chapter written by First
Nations educator Verna Kirkness
â€¢ Identified the failures of the
existing system: irrelevant to culture
and local environment; lack of
parent and student involvement;
â€¢ Key Recommendations: treaty
right to education, local community
control, parental participation
Indian Control of Indian Education
â€¢ Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE),
â€“ Educating our children so they are proud of who
â€“ Reaffirm treaty rights to education
â€“ Local control of schools
â€“ Language and Cultural Education Centres
â€“ Teacher Training
â€¢ Textbooks at all levels of education
contained blatant racism, perpetuated
stereotypes about Indigenous people
â€¢ The Manitoba Indian Brotherhood
highlighted some of the worst
examples in its publication The
Shocking Truth About Indians in
â€¢ Canadian history at the secondary
and post-secondary levels contained
little Indigenous history
â€¢ White Canadian historians working in
university history departments wrote
about Indigenous people largely in
Above: â€œYoung Aboriginal man receiving a scholarship from
the Indian Affairs Branch to pursue post-secondary
Source: Library and Archives Canada
â€¢ Before the 1950s, support
for post-secondary education
was ad hoc, very limited
â€¢ In 1957, an Indian Affairs
Scholarship Program was
launched (still small-scale)
â€¢ Post-Secondary Education
Assistance Program (PSEAP)
added in 1977
â€¢ By the 1980s, First Nations
students were still only onethird as likely to be enrolled in
PSE as the general population
â€¢ The context of enshrining Aboriginal rights in the constitution
â€¢ 1989: Cap on PSEAP spending and nation-wide protest leads
to a new Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSP)
â€¢ The new program maintained that there were no treaty
rights to post-secondary education
â€¢ FNs argue for and court cases side on importance of the
â€œSpirit and Intent of Treatiesâ€
Brandon Sun, Friday March 17, 1989, p. 24
â€¢ Native Studies Departments
â€¢ Native Teacher Education Programs
â€¢ Development of the â€˜New Native Historyâ€™
Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta
â€¢ Integration â€“ not successful / Indigenous
control â€“ not fully achieved
â€¢ Consistent message re: treaty rights to
comprehensive education â€“ still not
â€¢ Broader history of Indigenous resistance and
creative activism and scholarship/knowledge
production in communities and in schools
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