About the Series

Canada’s fastest-growing demographic, youngsters of First Nations, Metis or Inuit heritage face the bleakest outlook for employment, addiction and the risk of incarceration. Better education is key to changing that, experts agree. But the history of efforts to “educate” Aboriginal children on Euro-Caucasian lines runs a grim litany from cultural repression and worse at residential schools, to the ineffectual present. Barely 50 per cent of Aboriginal students graduate from high school, compared to 80 per cent of other British Columbians. This graduation gap lies behind countless stories of individual disappointment and misery. Taken collectively, it’s costing Canadian society billions of dollars a year in lost productivity, healthcare, social assistance, policing and incarceration.

In this series, education reporter Katie Hyslop looks at some inspiring models for doing things differently; what society’s failure to help our Aboriginal youth learn is costing the rest of us; and how the federal and provincial governments might better spend Aboriginal education dollars.

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.