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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 1, 2001 - Issue 50


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Report Calls for Separate Aboriginal Schools

art by Cecil Youngfox

art by Cecil YoungfoxREGINA - A report by the C.D. Howe Institute is calling for a separate education system for aboriginal children.

It says more and more native people are moving from reserves to cities and living in poor neighbourhoods. The report's author, John Richards, says that often means substandard education for aboriginal children.

Richards is a professor with Simon Fraser University. But in the 1970s he was an MLA in Allan Blakeney's NDP government in Saskatchewan. He also grew up in a neighbourhood in Saskatoon that now has a lot of aboriginal families.

Richards says his old high school is a good example of what needs to be put in place.

"It's a school in the public system, teaching the same boring Grade 12 algebra that any other high school is teaching. but it places a lot of emphasis on aboriginal culture to keep its aboriginal students going," he said.

Richards says for those kinds of changes to take place on a wider scale it may be necessary for provincial governments to set up separate school systems for aboriginal children.

He says they could be modelled after the Catholic school system in place now, where parents chose to place their children in those schools.

Bruce Parisian runs a native friendship centre in Victoria. He also grew up in an inner city neighbourhood in Regina. He says a separate system will not help aboriginal people who move to the city.

"When they come to the cities they come here to be part of the community. The problem lots of times is they're not accepted as part of that community. So the idea of setting up a separate system is again another example of the residential school system which hasn't worked."

Instead Parisian says the curriculum in all schools should be changed. He say now it does not include a lot of aboriginal history, or the role First Nations people played when Europeans first arrived in Canada.

Parisian says if the curriculum changed, all schools would reflect aboriginal culture.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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