Now available for sharing: Aboriginal Education Series PDF

This week, Katie Hyslop’s multi-part series, “Successful Practices in First Nations Education,” is being emailed and tweeted out to over 400 carefully selected educators, advocacy groups, First Nations, policymakers, academics and activists across Canada and beyond our borders. We’ve spent the last month or so assembling each story into a new PDF booklet, complete with field notes from reporter Katie Hyslop and a selection of the most thought-provoking reader comments shared on our media partner, The Tyee.

If you would like to read — and share — your own copy of the PDF, flip through below or download for free, here.

Successful practices

The articles are a result of Katie Hyslop’s eight-month journey exploring the challenges and potential solutions for reforming First Nations education. Hyslop traveled to Haida Gwaii, Adams Lake, Kamloops and back to Vancouver to learn from educators, experts, parents, students, elders, and language advocates what is working to promote both academic success and preserve culture.

Why? First Nations and Aboriginal youth, Canada’s fastest-growing demographic, face the bleakest outlook for employment, addiction and risk of incarceration. Experts agree that better education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty among aboriginal and First Nations communities. Yet, traditional Euro-Caucasian efforts to “educate” First Nations children through assimilation run a grim litany of cultural repression and ineffectiveness. Barely 50 per cent of Aboriginal students graduate from high school, according to census data, compared to 80 per cent of other British Columbians. Beyond the moral failure to provide all British Columbians with a quality education, the resulting loss in economic productivity and need for additional social assistance costs Canadian society billions of dollars a year.

In her stories, Hyslop reports from communities that have improved grades by engaging elders and parents to help deliver curriculum rooted in the community’s own history, language and traditional culture. She illuminates the innovations and potential solutions that may be models for other communities, reserve schools and public districts, as well as opportunities for federal and provincial governments to invest in aboriginal and First Nations education success.

Free reprint permissions available

This multi-part series was first published September through December 2011 on The Tyee. Articles have been republished in Secwepemc News, Wataway News, First Perspectives News, Raven’s Eye/Windspeaker, Teacher Magazine, and others. Hyslop also partnered with CBC Radio’s “Daybreak North” program on a special four-part companion series titled “Nation Education” which aired September 6-9, 2011.

“Trailblazers” project seeks funding

And if you liked the series, be sure to keep checking back here on TSS’ website and our Twitter feed to learn more about upcoming Aboriginal education projects. We’re currently seeking funding for a project titled “Trailblazers,” a multi-part journalism series that will identify new approaches to promote academic achievement and preserve culture among First Nations and Aboriginal youth by profiling a number of “trailblazers” — men and women from First Nations and Aboriginal communities across the nation with advanced degrees in a variety of fields. Profiled individuals will share their inspirational stories while presenting real-life lessons for educators, youth, and society by identifying the hurdles which almost thwarted their achievements. Our series will describe the ways in which these individuals overcame their challenges while identifying potential innovative policies and practices that educators and decision-makers might implement to ensure that these same obstacles are not insurmountable for future youth.

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This series was produced by Tyee Solutions Society in collaboration with Tides Canada Initiatives Society. This series was made possible through the support of the Vancouver Foundation, McLean Foundation, and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. TSS funders and Tides Canada Initiatives neither influence nor endorse the particular content of TSS’ reporting. Additional reporting was sponsored by CBC Radio and aired on the Daybreak North radio program Sept. 6-9, 2011. Other publications wishing to publish this story or other Tyee Solutions Society-produced articles, please contact Chris Wood.