Aboriginal Education in Winnipeg Inner City High Schools
This study investigates "the educational circumstances of Aboriginal students in Winnipeg inner city high schools... Responses by Aboriginal people to our questions about their experiences in school reveal the existence of what we have identified as a cultural/class/experiential divide between Aboriginal students and their families on the one hand, and the school system on the other. The life experiences and cultural values of many Aboriginal students and their families differ significantly from what they experience in the schools, which are run largely by non-Aboriginal, middle class people for the purpose of advancing the values of the dominant culture. The educational system marginalizes Aboriginal students, does not adequately reflect their cultural values and their daily realities, and feels alien to many Aboriginal people... The face that schools present to Aboriginal students is decidedly non-Aboriginal: for example, there are few Aboriginal teachers, and little Aboriginal content in the curriculum. The evidence that we have gathered suggests to us that Aboriginal people want the education that is needed to enable them to participate fully in Canadian society and in their own self-governance, but they do not want to abandon what it is to be Aboriginal in order to do so. What Aboriginal people have said to us about the educational system is not that Aboriginal people should be forced to change in order to fit into and ‘succeed’ in school—this is what the residential schools attempted, unsuccessfully, to do—but rather that schools and the educational system generally need to change in order to better reflect the rapidly changing demographic and cultural realities of our community.