Native Children And Their Schools: Sources Of Cultural Conflict.

Publisher:  Canadian Ethnic Studies Assoc., Faculty of Social Sciences
Year Published:  1982  
Pages:  210  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2400

This paper outlines some of the cultural problems faced by Native children within the Canadian public school system.

Abstract:  This paper outlines some of the cultural problems faced by Native children within the Canadian public school system. To quote the writer: "The title of this paper is really quite pretentious, not just because it assumes that we understand a lot about the influences of culture on behaviour, but because it assumes that we can talk about Native children or Native peoples as if they were a homogenous group. And, of course, this is quite false."

Brooks describes briefly the historical development of our understanding of Native peoples from the late 16th Century to the present day. He outlines the current understandings about how culture can influence behaviour in all people and Native people in particular. He then goes on to warn of the dangers of stereotyping Native peoples as "less habituated to a work schedule," or as having "a low-ego level."

There are over one million Native people in Canada who are not homogenous in either linguistic or cultural background. For example, there are eleven different language "families" with many different languages and dialects in each "family." The paper suggests that the Canadian public school curriculum needs to begin to recognize the customs and values of Native peoples, the different languages and the contributions of Native peoples to this country. The whole pattern of formal schooling needs to be changed to recognize the needs of Native children.


Written by Ian R. Brooks, Director of the Office of Educational Development, Native Studies Services, University of Calgary, from the journal "Emerging Ethnic Boundaries," edited by Danielle Juteau Lee, pages 133-342

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