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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Aboriginal Education in Winnipeg Inner City High Schools

Report by Jim Silver, Kathy Mallett, Janice Green, Freeman Simard

The authors of Aboriginal Education in Winnipeg Inner-City High Schools assert that the Winnipeg school system marginalizes Aboriginal students. Basing their analysis on interviews with Aboriginal students, ‘school leavers,’ and adults and teachers, the authors argue the cultural values of many Aboriginals differ vastly from those of the school system. This leads to what the authors term a ‘cultural/class/experiential divide,’ resulting in feelings of alienation amongst Aboriginals. Additionally, the authors find, many Aboriginal students face both institutional and overt racism in their education.

Due to these factors, the authors contend, the majority of Aboriginals have a negative educational experience and resist or reject the traditional education system. As the authors point out, this differs from the general assumption that Aboriginal students are to blame for their own lack of success in traditional forms of education. On the contrary, analysis of the interviews demonstrates that Aboriginal demand for education is high, but students do not wish to sacrifice their culture in place of receiving an education.

The authors conclude with proposals for how schools can evolve to reflect Winnipeg’s growing Aboriginal population. These proposals fall under four categories: 1) Establishing a Centre for Aboriginal Education; 2) Employing Aboriginal teachers; 3) Improved teacher training; and, 4) Increasing Aboriginal content in high school curriculum. Rather than looking to the past, when the prevailing view was that Aboriginals needed to fit into ‘the system,’ the authors believe that their prescriptions could help the system evolve to accommodate Aboriginal Peoples’ culture, tradition, and values.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Jim Silver; Kathy Mallett; Janice Green; Freeman Simard;
Publisher: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2002; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Education
Policy Articles / Aboriginal
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Education / 2002

Keywords / Tags:

Aboriginal education; cultural divide; values; marginalization; racism; negative experience; residential schools;