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Indian Education Newsletter (Vol. 1, No. 5) Indian Education Resources Center 1971

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Indian Education NewsletterVOLUME 1, NO. JUNE, 1971Indian Education Resources CenterUniversity of B. C., Vancouver.- 1 -ALVIN McKAY APPOINTED DIRECTORAlvin McKay, a Nishga Indian with 14 years of teaching experience including4 years as principal of the Indian Day School at Greenville, was appointed Directorof the Center at a meeting of the Center Council on April 13.Mr. McKay was selected by secret ballot from a final list of 3 candidateswhich the screening committee presented to Center Council. The screening committee,Angie Dennis (Todd), Joe Michel and Karen Mussell, began with a list of about 40inquiries concerning the Director's position, which resulted in 17 formal applications.Screening was done on the basis of the criteria laid out by the B. C. Native IndianTeachers Association at their January meeting and published in the last Newsletter.Mr. McKay was formerly Chairman of the Center Council and he replaced byGeorge Wilson, a Kwakiutl Indian, now an elementary principal in the Prince Georgearea. Co-chairmen are Joan Ryan, Giteksan, a Prince Rupert elementary teacher andBert McKay, Nishga, principal at Aiyansh Indian Day School and brother of the Director.Former Acting Director, Dr. Art More will continue to work with the Center as ConsultantMr. McKay's long involvement in Indian Education as a teacher, principal,parent and veteran fighter for improved educational opportunities has well-equippedhim for his new position. He has stated that one of the most important tasks thisyear will be to promote greater involvement by all members of the B.C.N.I.T.A.* * * * * ** * * ** **GEORGE CLUTESI RECEIVES DOCTORATEGeorge Clutesi, Canada's foremost Indian author and painter, was presentedwith an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Victoria on May 29.Dr. Clutesi was also the Convocation speaker.Dr. Clutesi is a member of the Tse-shaht people of Port Alberni. He is theauthor of Potlatch, a beautiful description of a potlatch seen through an Indian'seyes, and Son of Raven, Son of Deer, a collection of stories and legends used in B.C.Public Schools. He paints in oils as he paints a picture in words to capture thereal meaning of that which is important to his people.Dr. Clutesi has a long involvement in Indian education which began longbefore the present surge of interest in the native Indian people. He has taughtdancing and the Tse-shaht language for years. He has spoken in various places inhis fight to improve Indian education. He has lectured all over B.C. and Canada andappeared on panels at seminars. The Indian Education Resources Center is proud thathe is a member of the Center Council, and grateful for the help he gave when theCenter was just beginning.We congratulate you, Dr. George Clutesi on receiving this honour which youhave earned many times over.* * * * * ** * * ** *- 2 -TWO BCNITA MEMBERS RECEIVE DEGREESJoe Michel and Alvin McKay received their Bachelor of Education degreefrom U.B.C. on May 28.Joe Michel is the Indian Advisor to the Curriculum Division of the Depart-ment of Education in Victoria. He was the first Home-School Co-ordinator in B. C.and previously taught for many years in the Kamloops Residential School.Alvin McKay is the former principal at Greenville and is the newly electedDirector of the Indian Education Resources Center, at U.B.C.* * * * * ** * * ** **INDIAN EDUCATION--B.C.By Alvin A. McKay - DirectorIndian Education has only one indisputable aspect--it is in a state of fluxor transition. From this point on, very little is stable, common, predictable, measur-able or reliable with reference to the education of the Indian Child.Many dominent factors control the progress, the retardation or the develop-ment of Indian Education. The most powerful force, is the unequal, unstable, lowsocio-economic life, the Indian is forced to live under. Compared to the rest ofthe province, this is a subsistence life. How can parents, compelled to eke-out ameagre livelihood, aspire to the higher ideals of academic education, while their dayto day activities are controlled by an almost life or death situation? The generalattitude of the Federal government and its many bureaucratic levels of operations,the Provincial government and its indifference to the total Indian question, (and ofcourse, the general public follows the example of their respective governments), re-sults in a general overtone of "it's the Indian's responsibility to better himself--why isn't he doing anything about it?"In a single article, one can hardly do justice to the many faceted problem.In view of this, I shall concentrate on one aspect of Indian Education.Many "non-statistically based statements are used daily whenever Indianstudents are encountered. When you consider that most non-Indians believe, withoutquestion, all of these damaging statements--a real negative, defeatist, undetachedattitude is cemented in their minds.It is rumoured--not backed by actual statistical facts for B.C., that:--1) The Drop-Out Rate is 95% and upwards (that is, 1 out of 12 pupilsin Primary grades end up in grade 12).2) Most Indians entering grade 8 are two or three years retarded inreading.3) All secondary Indian students clique together and refuse tosocialize in school.- 3 -4) The majority of secondary Indian students refuse to participatein class discussions.5) Only a handful of B.C. Indian students are capable of academicprograms.6) The majority of Indian secondary drop-outs or graduates are backon Reserves, doing nothing.The essence of this stereo-typed, stigmatized conception of the Indianstudents, at the Junior Secondary levels, can be summed up by this quotation "Oh,he's Indian, so he is general program or occupational program or social promotionmaterial." This negativism has resulted in teachers "typing" the Indian students,and no attempt is made to actually assess them.I don't for one dispute the fact that all of the six points listed aretrue for some districts or in some individual cases, BUT, I question very stronglywhether these conditions are rampant and applicable in all cases of Indians!:My purpose in jotting down some thoughts on Indian Education--is the hope,that all who read the article will not continue to stigmatize, generalize or interpretas "gospel truth" the examples of non-statistical statements.To my knowledge there are no up-to-date statistics on Indian Education inB.C. So, until the compilation of such up-to-date material, all of us in Educationshould consider every Indian pupil as a student (perhaps one with some difficulties),and then diagnostically evaluate each student as to his individual strengths andweaknesses, and from there on, Guide, Encourage, Enrich, Re-teach lacking skills etc.,Excelerate these students until they become productive members of the class. A con-certed emphasis should be made on the strengths, and a sympathetic, (as opposed to adetached) analytic, remedial approach made on the weaknesses.Such a positive approach is the secret of every successful teacher--and inmy experience as a seasoned teacher,--every educator is trained and equipped to handleall students in this manner.To all BCNITA members, and to the few genuinely interested non-Indian teachers,I urge all of you to take a second step, towards changing this damaging negativeattitude. Until this type of attitude is changed, all of the "catch-up programs"and what have you, will have no effective impact on Indian Education.What is this second step? Well, it is the compilation of relevant, correct,up-to-date statistical facts (the 6 I listed are only an indication--you add anyothers, that are damaging the image or the progress of your respective districts).A definite part of this necessary step, is for you to summarize the extent of progressor retardation in the field of education, for your respective district. With thisinformation, perhaps, we can team up on the educationally retarded districts, or usethe educationally progressive districts as examples to encourage or guide etc. Atleast, this will give us a truer picture, district-wise, of Indian Education.In all of your fact find, also list the pluses or the minuses that you thinkcontrols each category. Nothing is said about the cmccessful Indian student--I hopethat your survey will bring out this aspect. When the drop-out-rate is used--no break-down is given for the whereabouts or the pursuits of the drop-out. In my opinion, aperson is not a "true drop-out" if he is gainfully employed or is pursuing some furthertraining etc.-4 -If you are near our Center this summer, please drop in and discuss thecontents of this article, or better still, find sometime to jot down some of yourfindings on the problem, and sent it in to us.Finally, it is my intention, to do the "odd" article on Indian Educationfor future editions of our Newsletter. Please react to it, as I am convinced that,any progress to be made, needs an unlimited amount of exchanging of ideas.* * * * * ** * * ** **NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INDIAN CULTUREKamloops, B.C. - Joe MichelThe theme "Culture in the 70's" was introduced by Mr. James Sewid of AlertBay. His appeal to the assembly was for greater effort to preserve and develop thoseelements of the Indian culture which are essential for identity and self pride. Forthose Indian communities that have lost a great part of their cultural expression, heurged that means be pursued to help these communities research and develop activities.In addition, Mr. Sewid appealed for improved communication in sharing of knowledgeand skill among various tribes and Indian organizations. This resulted in theformation of a National Indian Cultural Committee. Each province elected one memberfrom its provincial delegates to act on this Central Committee. Mr. Bert McKay,New Aiyansh, Nass River School Principal was elected the B. C. delegate on the Committee.The mechanics for funding and carrying out cultural programs were discussedand modified to ensure practical and local applications. The bulletin accepted wasthe one drawn up by Colin Wasacase (a native Indian), Head of the Cultural Develop-ment Division, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Basically, theCultural Development Division is a vehicle for providing grants to individual groupsand organizations "requiring assistance in their cultural endeavours for the retention,preservation and promotion of Indian culture." In addition the Cultural DevelopmentDivision will seriously consider requests for funds to research aspects of Indianculture that need to be revived.A good number of solid resolutions were passed into the hands of the CentralCommittee for further study and follow-up. Notable among these were those designedfor the Continuation and development of Indian Culture throughout Canada.1) The Central Committee be the negotiating body to negotiate directlywith federal government departments.2) The Central Committee be empowered to seek adequate funding forplanning co-ordinating Cultural Conferences.3) The Central Committee be empowered to set-up a centralized clearinghouse for the purpose of exchanging ideas, knowledge and skills.4) The Control Committee work toward total involvement of Indian peoplein community affairs.-5 -Mi. Bert McKay, principal of New Aiyansh, Nass River was the first speakeron the educational panel designed for the exchange of ideas regarding Indian Educa-tion. Mr. McKay called for increased funding for Indian education as a major stepin alleviating problems in Indian education. Three areas of prime concern were in-creased parent involvement planned attempts to orient teachers to the needs of Indianstudents, speed up of Indian involvement in curriculum development. Mr. Michelstressed the importance of involving native Indian teachers in the improvement ofIndian education. He cited the B. C. Native Indian Teachers Association as an exampleof a movement to help case communication between home, school student and university.Mr. Barry Nicholas, representing TRIBE, a group working on native education problemsin the Maritimes said his group was doing a critique on text-books offered to Indiansin the School System and trying to improve them. Joyce Wall of Caughnawaga describedthe local interest shown in developing an Indian oriented program in their IndianSchools. Alanis O'Bomsawin outlined the positive values of using Indian people asresource personnel in schools. Joyce Wall expressed the thought of the panelistsin speaking to the Indian parents when she said, "If we take an interest in what ourchildren are learning we can get what we want." Mr. Kent Gooderham, a representativeof Education Branch agreed with this view point.* * * * * * ** * * * ** * **B. C.	 CENTENNIALbyTeddy Earl Antoine* * * * * *** * * * * *In the year nineteen-seventy one	 * When you came, you gave a friendly smile,The Centennial year for the province of B.C. * And to prove your friendship you shook our hand,The year for everyone to have fun,	 * Why then did you come thousands of miles,Everyone should be happy but me,	 * To take our freedom and our land?*Now why don't I celebrate,	 * You made promises that should be kept,British Columbia's birthday,	 * With honesty and truthfulness,A province that is beautiful and bold,	 * But now they're just stories to be told,A province with hidden stories untold.	 * Stories that bring Indians loneliness.*I am pure blood Canadian,	 * This is why we have grown to hate,But there's something else about me	 * But we know it's not too late,I am also pure blood Indian,	 * Why can't we begin from the start?I'm from the Indian race that can't be free. * But this time put more feelings in our heart.*I can't roam over the great plains,	 * So, Canadians, go ahead and drink,I can't climb the great mountains,	 * Have you parties, dances, and all,I can't do the things I used to do,	 * But this is what I really think,I can't do anything because of you.	 * While I'm imprisoned by these walls.* * * * * *** * * * * ** With permission of the author, Mr. Antoine of " B. C. Centennial" we have taken thispoem from January, 1971's edition of Indian Echo.- 6 -DEVELOPMENT OF THE SAANICH INDIAN SCHOOL BOARDby the Board MembersIt is our hope that we can present in the next few pages a brief accountof the growth of the Saanich Indian School Board. This School Board is the resultof many years of striving by the Indian people of the Saanich Peninsula. Manyorganizations and many individuals have made it possible to accomplish the thingsthat are being done today and the things that will be accomplished in the future.BACKGROUND AND FORMATION OF THE SCHOOL BOARD The Indian people of the four Saanich Reserves have made every possibleeffort, over the last twenty years, to become actively involved in the social, economicand educational aspects of their young people, to better improve conditions by involve-ment and participation.The following organizations were established as the Indian people of theSaanich Bands moved towards more self-determination: Saanich Indian RecreationCommission; Saanich Homemakers Club; Saanich Indian PTA; and the Saanich IndianEducation Association.In May of 1970 we established the Saanich Indian School Board to carry outthe struggle for self-determination and to pursue an improved educational standardfor the Indian people on the Saanich Peninsula.It was brought to our attention some two years ago that the Tsartlip Schoolwas scheduled to be phased out in favour of the provincial schools. We were asked bythe Superintendent of Indian Schools for Vancouver Island what we felt the future ofTsartlip should be. The overwhelming response from the Indian people of the SaanichBands was that the Tsartlip School remain open indefinitely. The reasons are obviousto those concerned. Since the introduction of the provincial system to the Indianpeople on the Saanich Peninsula in 1949, we have had only about six Indian peoplegraduate from the provincial school system. This is what has given rise to theanxious concern of the Indian people of the Saanich Bands.The argument has been put forth by the Federal Government that segregatededucation for Indian people has not worked and that Federally operated schools shouldclose. We maintain that the provincial school system is taking the same approach asthe Federally operated schools took, giving rise to the same problems for the Indianstudents. In other words the B. C. educational curriculum does not re-affirm anIndian child's value system or cultural heritage. In order for an Indian child tosucceed and be accepted in the present system he must leave behind all that he is.This gives rise to a very serious conflict and if an Indian child is not assisted indealing with this problem effectively, he will inevitably be forced out of the schoolsystem.The Board was formed in direct response to the indicated wishes of theIndian people of the four Saanich bands that the Tsartlip school remain open indefinitely.Previous attempts by the Saanich bands towards more direct involvement inthe education of their young people, was impeded by the Indian Affairs Department whichallowed our predecessors to only act in an advisory capacity in so far as school policiesare concerned.- 7 -In the light of the expressed determination of the four Saanich bands wefelt it would be in the best interests of the Minister of Indian Affairs and hisDepartment to officially recognize and assist the Saanich Indian School Board inits objects namely self-determination and Indian parental involvement in the educa-tional process. Not just as advisors but to manage control and direct the operationof educational programs on the Saanich Peninsula. In January the Indian AffairsBranch finally accepted the School Boatd as a legal entity and entered into a contractfor a Home-School Co-ordinator.PRESENT COMPOSITION OF THE SAANICH INDIAN SCHOOL BOARD The Saanich Indian School Board is comprised of representatives from fourdistinct Saanich Indian Reserves, namely: Tseycum, Tsawout, Pauquachin and Tsartlip.These reserves include 797 Indian people.The board itself is composed of nine members, two from each Reserve plusthe chairman of the Board. At the present time the representatives are the following:Tseycum	 - Chief Sandy Jones- Councillor Gus BillTsawout	 - Chief Harold Pelkey- Band Manager Victor Underwood Jr.Pauquachin	 - Chief Max Henry- Band Manager Don WilliamsTsartlip	 - Chief Philip Paul- Councillor David BartlemanIn the initial stages of the Board it was deemed important that the fourchief's two band managers and two councillors be an integral part of the Board asthey are the legally elected representatives of their people.In regards to the administration of the Board itself there is a chairman,at present Marie Cooper, a secretary and a treasurer, all elected by the Board.The chairman is a member of the Board, although the secretary and treasurer are notnecessarily members of the Board.Most of the preliminary work is done by an executive committee of theBoard, at present Marie Cooper, Don Williams, and Dave Bartleman, and then presentedto the Board for discussion and ratification.GOALS OF THE SAANICH INDIAN SCHOOL BOARDWe will attempt in these next few paragraphs to very briefly outline thephilosophy behind all our efforts. These are the goals that we have set up forourselves.a) That we can, and should, be educated to retain our identitywith our native values and culture, while at the same time,learning to master the non-Indian culture and to take ourplace in the non-Indian world.b) That Tsartlip School be controlled and directed by theSaanich Indian people; and the supremely important aspectof this local control is to prove that we have the interest,-8 -b) desire and capacity to provide real leadership, direction andself determination in education.c) That Tsartlip School be created as a community school servingthe four reserves of the Saanich Peninsula and directed by aSchool Board with power.d) That the School involve the community and be so orientated,rather than merely child orientated.e) While rejecting the concept of assimilation or culturalgenocide we are seeking through community involvement ineducation to become grounded in our own Indian culture thusenabling us to function in the non-Indian world.Everything that has been done, is being done, or will be done in the future,is motivated by the principles listed above and we are struggling to keep this visionclearly before us.ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE SAANICH INDIAN SCHOOL BOARD AND THE INDIAN PEOPLE OF THESAANICH PENINSULA.1.	 Busing'Program	a) Purchase of 5 buses, three large passenger buses and2 mini-buses.b) Hiring of 5 Indian bus drivers.c) Total control by the Indian organizations through thebus committee chairman, Mrs. Joanne Claxton.2.	 Nursery Program a) Setting up of the Co-op Nursery school under fullcontrol of the Saanich Indian School Board and theNursery Committee chaired by Mrs. Caroline Elliott,supported by-a per pupil,gran from the-IndianAffairs Branch. The children are taught by aqualified Indian teacher, Mrs. Adelynne Claxtonand an Indian Aide Mrs. Doreen Pelkey. The enrol-ment is 24 pupils.b) The Nursery program which completely controlled bythe Indian organization has been highly recommendedby visiting non-Indian groups.3. Kindergarden	The organization of Kindergarden classes is in conjunctionwith the public school Kindergarden classes. The classesfor 1971-1972 will be at Tsartlip School with a qualifiedteacher, involved in training an Indian person to takeover this class the following year.4. Buildings and Grounds Setting up of an active community concerned with presentfacilities and future projection of the community schoolas Tsartlip. Under the guidance of a community develop-ment planning group.5. Health A proposal has been made to appoint and support an Indiancommunity Health Co-ordinator. This program would be inconjunction with the Family and Children Services inVictoria and would also provide in-service girls: training,which is already initiated.6. Home-School Co-ordinators - Indian Affairs has agreed to pay for a Home-SchoolCo-ordinator to be hired by the School Board. This willprovide a councillor and a person for contact between theReserves. Miss Molly Daniels is the Home-School Co-ordinator.Projection We have presented the history and background of the attempts of the Indianpeople of the Saanich Peninsula to take a hand in their own destiny.We presented our motivation, our goals and a brief summary of what hasbeen accomplished to the present.We have also presented some of our dreams for the future. But perhaps ourgreatest ambition is to keep advancing along the lines that we have talked about inthe last few pages. We do not want to present grandiose and visionary programs thathave no roots in the development of the people. We feel that the best programs arethose tested in the actual doing situation where people are involved and learn byaction and reaction. Indian people working with and for Indian people.* * * * * * ** * * * ** * **REPORT MERRITT DISTRICTMr. Robert Sterling - Home-School Co-ordinator for Nicola Valley Indians(Merritt Area), has organized a mutual co-operative effort of the Education Committeefrom Lower Nicola, Upper Nicola, Coldwater, Nocaitch, Shakan Bands.Aside from the working liaison being set up amongst the Indian Bands andthe non-Indian people of that area--two major projects have been set up. The follow-ing are excerpts from Mr. Sterlings report to us.1) An Indian Library: We realize that very few Indian homes had read-ing material of any kind and that there was certainly no place for our students togo for resource materials on their assignments. It was a good project and we havesince laid the groundwork for the purchase of sixty-five books and we are subscribingto various Indian newspapers. We have Band support on this project and have obtainedfunds for the majority of our literature and for the present we are well away.2) A Basic Indian Lesson Kit: As Home-School Co-ordinator I have hadthe opportunity to enter classroom and give talks that give a general picture ofour local Indians-history, culture and way of life. These talks are usually followedby question and answer periods where I am astounded at the naive questions of studentsand very often Indian students. We are facing the disastrous certainty that unlesswe begin now to record and circulate our Indian language and culture we will havelost these valuable holds on our identity.- 10 -I will attempt now to present a picture of the content of our Basic Indianlesson kit.1) A written history of the Nicola Valley would be made and presentedin such a manner as to be well understood by elementary students where we plan tofirst circulate our kit. We will have to aid us, two people in the persons of Mr.& Mrs. David & June Wyatt from the college of Potsdam in New York. Mr. Wyatt is ananthropologist and has spent two summers in our valley digging artifacts and doingmuch research into the History of the Nicola Valley. Mrs. Wyatt is a teacher at theTeachers College of Potsdam and has accompdnied her husband to the Nicola Valley andhas rapidly made friends with Indians. They have lain the groundwork already for aworkshop for teachers to take place in the Nicola Valley. She plans to offer asmaterial the Anthropological History, the past culture and the contemporary Educational,Political and Social Status of Indians. We believe that with this husband, wife team--with the help of our committee doing research into the museums and libraries--ourcommittee can do research into the museums and libraries and from our older Indian people we can put on paper a good History of our Valley.2) Photographs of local Indians in the true native costume of our past.We have obtained already from the National Archives in Ottawa prints of Indians of _the Valley taken by James Teit around the turn of the century. We hope to obtainmore as we are prepared to research further into other areas for information, example,Smithsonian Institute and the Provincial Museum. We would have these prints madeand be prepared to meet the cost. We have tried to enlarge these photos but they turnout poorly due to the coarse grain of the negatives. We would have to photograph thecopies and then enlarge. We have received local estimates attached. These photo-graphs will be accompanied by Indian translated comments on the meanings andsignificance of the particular photo.3)	 Tapes of basic Indian language, also songs and stories. We plan touse some finances to purchase suitable tape recording machines, enough tape torecord any and all offerings by my people. I have contacted Randy Bouchard of theProvincial Museum, asked him if I could borrow his linguistic tapes, legends of theThompson Indians of Lytton and Okanagan Indians of Vernon and Penticton. To explainthis I must mention the languages spoken in the Nicola Valley are dialects ofThompson and Okanagan but Mr. Bouchard himself has expressed that he hesitates tocome into our Valley because our original "Stuix" language has died and what remainsis a curiously mixed Thompson and Okanagan. Nevertheless, we feel, we must recordthe language that applies to us. With the aid of Mr. Bouchard's tapes we can findthe basis of our language. Perhaps some of our myths and stories are similar orcan inspire our older people into remembering other versions.* * * * * * ** * * * ** * **Our best wishes for the success of your projects and efforts Bob:** * ** * * * ** * * * * * *


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