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.
Foreword / Marie Battiste
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
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 Hébert
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
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
10 Métis 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
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