Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aboriginal Fighter...or an Aboriginal Fighter?

“First-nations youth inhabit two different spheres.
Students tell panel on native learning that they want to learn cultural traditions as well as receive a good education.”

So read the headline published in the GLOBE AND MAIL dated, November 22, 2011 and written by a Gloria Galloway.

Diversity seems key in the fabric of Canadian society, after all, the Canadian government defines multiculturalism as a government, committed to reaching out to Canadians and newcomers and is developing lasting relationships with ethnic and religious communities in Canada. It encourages these communities to participate fully in society by enhancing their level of economic, social, and cultural integration.”
One notices the issue of “education” is not included in the program of integration of those communities. Seems there is no need.
When downtown in any urban city, one does notice a number of ethic backgrounds seemingly well grounded in two different spheres: their respective cultural background and education.
So, what about Canada’s Aboriginal people?
“Children who live on native reserves often have their feet in two worlds when it comes to education and many are unprepared to sacrifice one for the other.”
And, it is not just native reserves but Inuit communities that face that challenge. So, anyone up for that challenge…perhaps a Kenzie Wilson?
“The 13-year-old who loves racing sled dogs across the ice near her home in Cross Lake in northern Manitoba say she wants to be a fighter pilot when she grows up. That means she has a lot of years of formal education ahead of her.”
A lofty and very achievable goal for a young kid but like most native communities…will there be any support?
Scott Haldane, the panel Chairman looking at proposed solutions for First Nations learning has said, “We’ve had opportunity to meet young people like Kenzie across the country who demonstrate that the resilience of first nations students is remarkable, and who have the potential to achieve whatever they want to achieve but don’t have the supports around them, generally speaking, to allow them to pursue that dream.”
When in most native communities and while most will agree, the lack of support for kids there has resulted in the notion that education is not important. The national dropout rates will attest.
Nevertheless, young Kenzie Wilson must be commended for her attitude, “My goal in life is to become a fighter jet pilot. I will do everything I can to reach my goal and education will help me do this.”
Here’s looking at you kid. We all need to touch base with you in ten years and hope you will be like most immigrants grounded in two spheres: your cultural background with an education.