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The Native Education Centre: its impact on cultural identity and educational outcomes Mirehouse, V. Grace 1994

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THE NATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE:ITS INPA ON CULTURAL IDENTITY AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMESBYV. GRACE MIPEHOUSEB. Ed., THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1980A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSINTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Social and Educational Studies)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISHApril 1994COLUMBIA© V. Grace Mirehouse, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)_________________________________Department of___________________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate 2-t1’J /94DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTFew, if any accounts of First Nation history and theirstruggles with aboriginal land questions and rights focuson the “creative political vitality of the Indian peoplesof British Columbia” (Tennant, 1990). Instead, researchersusually regard aboriginals as objects of history. FirstNations’ school experiences and the negative outcomes havealso generally been biased toward the notion that FirstNations have and continue to be victims of colonization anda “superior” people who have and continue to oppress them.This study examined the contexts and reasons FirstNations graduates gave for choosing to attend a FirstNations specific institution and recounted their schoolexperiences in relationship to First Nations culture,identity and educational and career outcomes.The process of research involved working with aresearch team that developed a survey questionnaire andutilized the focus group method. The participants of thestudy were the students who were enrolled in one of the sixSkills Training programs at the Native Education Centre andwho graduated during the years 1989 to 1992.The qualitative analysis of the focus group resultsprovided texture to the quantitative analysis of the surveyquestionnaire data. From these findings, the researcherdiscussed the role of a First Nations specific institutionin addressing the needs and goals of the adult learners.iiiBased on the positive feedback of the graduates, Ipresent a plausible agruinent that there is a critical needfor the existence of places of learning such as the NEC.The study also accounts First Nations in BritishColumbia as politically active participants of theirhistory who have and continue to be outspoken and activeabout their concerns regarding the education of theirchildren and communities. First Nations are alsocharacterized as actively involved in challenging federaland provincial policies which do not meet their needs inthe advancement of their people. In this study ofgraduates who attended a First Nations specificpost—secondary institution, the researcher recognized FirstNations as being involved in the planning, development andimplementation of educational practices to meet the needsof their communities.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT.iiTABLE OF CONTENTS ivLIST OF TABLES viiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ViiiINTRODUCTIONBACKGROUND TO THE STUDY AND ITS PURPOSE 1BACKGROUND 1SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 4RESEARCH ROLE 6STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM 6PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 6THESIS OVERVIEW 7CHAPTER PageTHE NATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE 8INTRODUCTION 8THE FOUNDING YEARS 8URBAN NATIVE INDIAN EDUCATION SOCIETY 10MINISTRY OF EDUCATION 12PHILOSOPHY 13AFFILIATION AND ACCREDITATION 14THE PERIOD OF GROWTH 16THE SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAMS 17Office Administrative Training 17Native Public Administration Program 18Native Tourism Supervisory Development Program 18Native Family and Community Councelling Program 19Native Early Childhood Education Training Program.. . .19Native Criminal Justice Studies Training Program 20ADMISSIONS PROCESS 20PROGRAM COORDINATORS 21EVALUATIONS 21II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 24SOCIO-POLITICAL CONTEXT 24POLICIES 27HISTORY OF FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION IN BRITISH COLUMBA.24ORGANIZED ACTION 27EDUCATION POLICIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 31IMPACT OF SCHOOLING ON FIRST NATIONS 34THEORIES OF ACADEMIC FAILURE 37III METHODOLOGY 42BACKGROUND 42THE PROCESS MODEL 44THE PROPOSAL TO THE NATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE 46MEETING THE RESEARCH TEAM 46VMAKING THE DECISION .47ADAPTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE 49HIRINGANN.E.C. GRADUATE 49THE SURVEY METHOD 50RESPONDENTS 50MATERIALS 50ANALYSIS 50THE FOCUS GROUP 51THE FOCUS GROUP METHOD 52PARTICIPANTS 52MATERIALS 53THE APPROACH 53THEANALYSIS 54LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY 54IV PRINCIPAL FINDINGS 55SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS 55DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS 55THEIR ACADEMIC PREPARATION 56THEIR COMMENTS ABOUT FIRST NATIONS IDENTITY 58INSTITUTIONAL IMPACT OF THEIR FIRST NATIONS IDENTITY..59THEIR COMMENTS ON INSTITUTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS 62INSTITUTIONAL IMPACT-CAREER AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES .63THEIR MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBSTACLES 65MAJOR SUPPORT SYSTEMS 66FOCUS GROUP PRINCIPLE FINDINGS 67DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS 67THE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 1 67Relevance of Non-First Nations Institutions 68Cultural Alienation/Deprivation 68Goals Appropriate To First Nations Context/Community.69THE REASONS FOR CHOOSING TO ATTEND THE NEC 70Desire To Learn About First Nations Heritage andBe With First Nations People 70Milieu At N.E.C 71Accessibility of the N.E.C 72Relevance of N.E.C 72THE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 2 74Experience With Prejudice and Racism 75WHAT GRADUATES FOUND MOST HELPFUL AT N. E. C 76Learning About First Nations Cultures/Issues 76Personal Empowerment/Self-esteem and 76Development of First Nations Identity 76Helpfulness of Instructors/Staff 78Milieu and Atmosphere 80Possibility of Multiple Programs 81Courses and Program Quality 82Influence of Friends/Family 84THE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 3 85WHAT GRADUATES FOUND RELEVANT 85Directly Employment Related 85Community Related(First Nations- 87viCulture/pride/values/issues .87Academic Achievement 88General Ability/Self-esteem 91General Evaluative Comments 92CONCLUSION 93V SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 94SUMMARY 94CONCLUSION 94BIBLIOGRAPHY 104-110APPENDIX A 111-119APPENDIX B 119-127viiLIST OF TABLESPageTable 1 — Gender of Graduates 120Table 2 - Age Range 120Table 3 - Year of Graduation 55Table 4 — Number of Programs Completed 56Table 5 - Academic Experience Before N.E.C 56Table 6 — Academic Preparation 58Table 7 — Native Ancestry 120Table 8 — Identify with First Nations people,group,etc. . .120Table 9 — Identify with ancestry, lineage 121Table 10 — Speak/Understand First Nations language 121Table 11 - First Nations language 121Table 12 - NEC Influenced Graduate in Community 121Table 13 - NEC’s Impact on First Nations Identity 122Table 14 — Graduates’ FN culture influenced their NEC exp.l22Table 15 — How heard about NEC 122Table 16 - What made you decide to attend NEC 123Table 17 — NEC admissions process experience 123Table 18 - First Few months at NEC 123Table 19 — Work experience related to course work 123Table 20 - Work experience since graduation 124Table 21 — Work experience since graduation 124Table 22 — Education experience since graduation 124Table 23 - Field of Education since graduation 124viiiTable 24 — How well NEC prepared graduates for career 125Table 25 - How well NEC prepared graduates for education. . .125Table 26 - How well NEC met graduates expectations 125Table 27 - Major responsibilities while at NEC 126Table 28 - Major obstacles 126Table 29 - Funding levels 126Table 30 — Primary funding sources 127Table 31 — Adequacy of primary source 127ixACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThank you to the Board of Directors of the Urban NativeIndian Education Society for their commitment to research andtheir support to me in doing this study.Thank you also to Mr. Ron Shortt, the administrator of theNative Education Centre for his constant encouragement andsupport from the conceptualization to the completion of thisstudy and for being a part of my review committee.Thank you to all the staff at the Native Education Centrefor its support as well!!Thank you to my advisor, Jo—ann Archibald for herleadership and support at the beginning of the research stageto her gentle guidance and helpful feedback during the writingprocess.Thank you to Dr. Roland Chrisjohn for his criticalquestioning and guidance during the quantitative analysisstage and for being a part of my review committee.Thank you to the graduates of The Native Education Centrewho so willing responded to the questionnaires andparticipated in the focus groups sessions. Without yourinput, this study would not have been possible. Thank you forreflecting back to us your successes and your gratitude.Finally, I would like to recognize and thank my family: mymother for accepting our times apart during the past year;my husband, Edward for his support and gentle prodding; ourdaughters, Wenonah and Juanita for encouraging words; andsisters, brothers, and extended family for their constantsupport and encouragement.INTRODUCTIONTHE BACKGROUND TO THE STUDYAND ITS PURPOSETHE BACKGROUNDAboriginal peoples around the world are takingcontrol of their destiny (Barman et al., 1987:1).Organized action by First Nations in Canada continues to growresulting in the abandonment of the federal government’sofficial policy of assimilation. The Union of British ColumbiaIndian Chiefs and other organizations across Canada forced thegovernment to withdraw the 1969 White Paper Policy that wouldrid the First Nations of Canada of all special rights. Threeyears later (1972) the National Indian Brotherhood (nowAssembly of First Nations) presented the Indian Control ofIndian Education Policy to the federal government, whichaccepted the policy in principle. This policy has been at theheart of the move toward First Nations control of FirstNations education today. Parental responsibility and localcontrol, the fundamental principles of the policy, are vitalto ensure First Nations’ languages, beliefs, values, identityand traditions are transmitted through well planned andimplemented curricula for quality educational outcomes.First Nations of Canada and British Columbia face thechallenge to continue to demyth and resist stereotypicalimages and efforts of domination by Euro—Canadians who havebeen active in eroding First Nations’ languages and culturesduring the last five centuries. The same influence of12genocide has been prevalent in British Columbia for almost acentury and a half, and First Nations continue to confront theissues that have threatened (and in many contexts continue tothreaten) cultural survival today. First Nations’ educationlevels, however, continue to accelerate changes locally,provincially and nationally.The development and implementation of culturally specificlearning experiences for First Nations people have gainedrecognition in British Columbia. Several bands across theprovince have established schools on reservations and over thepast decade aboriginals have developed and established adulteducation institutions. These changes have been brought aboutby the clearly articulated concerns of First Nations since thebeginning of the century about the quality of the learningexperiences (Haig-Brown, 1991:64) to reflect their reality andcultural imperatives rather than educational practices ofassimilation.First Nations have been determined to prepare learners tobe qualified to work in their communities and/or to be able tocompete in the wider society (British Columbia, 1916; Canada,1927; Cardinal, 1969:51; 1977; NIB, 1973; Longboat, 1987:23;McKay, 1987; Chrisjohn, 1988; Atleo, 1991; Kirkness, 1992;Shortt, 1992). This commitment becomes most critical becauseof the failure of First Nations children and adults in schoolsadministered by governments and churches. As First Nations3articulate concerns about education at all grade levels and inadult education, they continue to practice and insist ongovernance of education (Penner et al., 1983; Assembly ofFirst Nations, 1988; MacPherson, 1991).First Nations leaders, through the consolidated efforts ofthe Association of First Nations Post-Secondary Institutions(AFNPSI) (which became a legally registered society in March1991), clearly enunciate the goal to govern post—secondaryeducation. Ten First Nations institutions in British Columbiaare members of the Association, and the potential exists forothers to join.Mr. Ron Shortt, the past President of the Association ofFirst Nations Post-Secondary Institutions, challenged theparticipants of the Association of Canadian Community Collegeson November 15, 1991 to consider that the founding educationalprinciples and practices of the Canadian educational systemare based on the social imperatives which perpetuate thatsociety. Shortt stated that such a philosophical approach andpractice have been at the root of the dismal result of thateducational system for First Nations learners (Shortt, 1991).The deliberate and systematic attempts of the church andstate to assimilate First Nations through education, points toa lack of respect and appreciation, and to the rejection ofFirst Nations rights to thrive within cultural and socialinstitutions which are distinctly First Nations.4First Nations demonstrate individual and communalcommitment to survive into the twenty—first century andbeyond. This study investigates First Nations’ views a theyrelate to their past, present and future educational goals.First Nations societies practiced a balance betweenindividual and group rights long before it became amatter of general academic discussion in the old world(Atleo, 1991:49).Atleo goes on to add that the Europeans in their attitudeperceived First Nations to be “unequal and not quite human”.Such beliefs about First Nations resulted in legislation andpractices that have failed First Nations.SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDYThe Ministry of Advanced Education Training andTechnology (now Skills, Training and Labour) in response tothe Report of the Provincial Advisory on First NationsPost—Secondary Education (1990) has attempted to address thelack of First Nations participation in post-secondaryeducation. First Nations institutions throughout BritishColumbia, however, continue to grow and provide educationalopportunities for First Nations adults. The Native EducationCentre has grown each year and delivers Adult Basic Educationand Skills Training Programs in Vancouver and in various FirstNations communities in the province.While community colleges in the province are implementingmeasures to better meet the First Nations learner needs, theyare desperate for curricula and methods to implement forpositive outcomes. The dilemma of the colleges to better5address these needs results in continued attempts and researchby other than First Nations who are faced with the challengeof interpreting First Nations knowledge.RESEARCH ROLEAn employee of the Native Education Centre since 1989,amd the Assistant Administrator of Programs and StudentServices, I am responsible for the development, delivery, andevaluation of all programs. In meeting the mandate ofeducation of the Centre, I have also been involved in thedevelopment of the Cross—Campus Committee of VancouverCommunity College as it evolved to respond to recommendationsof the First Nations Provincial Advisory Committee onpost—secondary education.While one may speculate that these responsibilities mayinfluence or bias my perceptions, as management one hopes thatthe benefits and understandings of the whole process willoutweigh these dangers.Our everyday lives teach us skills which we use toobserve and reflect on our experience. We focus onproblems, ask questions, collect information andanalyze and interpret “data”. We already “do research”as we interact with the everyday world (Kirby et al.,1989:17).Furthermore, by knowing my involvement at the outset, thereader may be more open to look for bias. During the lastfive years of employment at the Centre, I have been faced withthe reality of the struggle of First Nations to implementprograms under severe budgetary constraints while the Centreis unable to receive direct formula funding from the province.6STATEMENT OF PROBLEMWithin the context of the history of First Nationseducation and the sociopolitical relationship to Euro—canadians the researcher will explore what factors influencethe choices of adult learners to attend the Native EducationCentre (NEC) and investigate what expectations they had of theNEC in meeting their goals in education. It is important tolisten to why the learners had chosen to attend the NEC topursue their educational and career goals.What are their educational experiences? Is learning withother First Nations people important? What experiences ofeducation at the Centre do they find memorable and why? Theresearcher wishes to examine the role of a private FirstNations specific institution in the education of First Nationsadult learners in British Columbia.PURPOSE OF THE STUDYThe purpose is to investigate the reasons First Nationsadults choose to attend an exclusively First Nations post—secondary institution and to raise the question of what, inthe words of the learners has facilitated their successes.Success is defined as graduation from one of the SkillsTraining Programs offered at the NEC. The second purpose isto test survey questionnaire and focus group discussions asmethodologies which were already developed and implemented bythe First Nations House of Learning at University of BritishColumbia.7Given the level of retention and success of studentswithin an institution such as the above, this study attemptsto understand the process by which First Nations learnersexperience an institution as an accepting, positiveenvironment. In so doing, the researcher hopes to arrive at:a) a better understanding of the role of a First Nations—specific institution; b) the extent to which appropriate waysof effectively working with First Nations learners isdependent on separate facilities or whether the processes aremore central regardless of context; and c) a betterunderstanding of where other ‘open’ institutions mayincorporate dimensions found positive in this setting, ifprocesses can be separated from structures.THESIS OVERVIEWChapter 1 presents an account of the founding anddevelopment of the NEC, the Urban Native Indian EducationSociety (UNIES) and its goals and a description of theCentre’s infrastructure. Chapter 2 provides thesociopolitical context of the study including policy making,First Nations educational context and history. Chapter 3describes the background to the methodology and the surveyquestionnaire and focus group methods of research. Chapter 4is a descriptive analysis of the survey and focus groupresults and Chapter 5 summarizes the results and discusses therole of the NEC in program delivery.CHAPTER ITHE NATIVE EDUCATION CENTREINTRODUCTIONThe development of the Native Education Centre is butanother example of the vision and unrelenting determination ofFirst Nations people to take control of their own lives. TheNEC has secured and facilitates a process of education t.o meetthe cultural, educational and career goals of First Nationsadults in urban Vancouver, throughout British Columbia andsome of the western provinces in Canada.The development of the Centre has evolved within acontext of political action by many grassroots First Nationspeople and First Nations leaders in Vancouver, BritishColumbia and Canada.This chapter describes the founding years of the Centre;the first education programs; the development of the UrbanNative Indian Education Society(UNIES), its goals; philosophy,affiliation and accreditation; period of growth; SkillsTraining Programs; admissions process; the role of programcoordinators; and major evaluations and studies.THE FOUNDING YEARSThe founding years section is an account of a ten yearperiod (1967 to 1977) when academic and life skills trainingbegan and when strong community support rose to maintain theoperation of the Native Education Centre in Vancouver,Brithish Columbia. Mr. Ray Collins, in a brief essay written89in 1984, documented some of the highlights of those first tenyears. The first classes during that period were held at 326Howe Street in downtown Vancouver. Over eight hundred men,women, and youth utilized the Centre. Mr. Collins reportedthe dedication, determination, and successes of the studentswho were anxious to learn new skills to better equip themselves for everyday living.The Centre provided a refresher program to improveacademic skills so that students could continue theircertified upgrading at another institution or seek employment.The education was limited to grade eight equivalency. Inaddition, the school provided life skills training whichfocused on alleviating social and economic challengesexperienced by the students while making the transition fromthe rural communities to urban Vancouver.After several threats to close the school, the Departmentof Indian Affairs planned to discontinue funding to the educational facility in 1977 when Collins was planning to retire.This threat did not go unnoticed by several First Nationspeople in the city. The Allied Indian Metis Society ralliedstrong support through the meeting of January 18, 1977 and theExecutive Director, Mr. A.F. Anderson, submitted a letter toMr. Larry Wight, Regional Director of the Department of IndianAffairs in Vancouver. The letter outlined the importance ofthe educational setting in serving men on parole during thethree preceding years.10At the same meeting, Ms. Jean Diespecker, resource workerfor the above organization, acknowledged the extent to whichMr. Collins developed testing, teaching, and counsellinatechniques that made it possible for students to enter theCentre at anytime throughout the school year. His techniqueswere contrasted to the endless amount of red tape required toapply to schooling through Canada Manpower. Mr. Collins hadcreated a school which was geared to meet the needs of theindividual students.Ms. Marge Cantryn, former United Native Nations Presidentof Local 108, spoke very supportively of the Centre. Mr.Danny Smith, former Director for Legal Services to IndianCentres of the province, also spoke in support of thecontinuance of the Centre. Mr. Smith emphasized thefrustration in lengthy waits required to place many FirstNations adults in upgrading programs to prepare them forvocational training. The January 18, 1977 meeting resulted ina resolution being passed which forwarded the issue to anIndian Educational Conference held in Kamloops on January 26,1977. The resolution recommended that the school continue tooperate and that someone be trained to replace Mr. Collins.THE URBAN NATIVE INDIAN EDUCATION SOCIETYA major action by the First Nations community was to forma committee which would later become the Urban Native IndianEducation Society. The committee negotiated with the Depart-11ment of Indian Affairs for over a year until funding was restored to continue the operation of the Centre. Mr. Collinsretired at the end of the school term in 1978. The newprincipal and the committee sought additional funds to maintain the operation of the Centre. Programming expandedthrough co—operative arrangements with Vancouver CommunityCollege and Canada Manpower to include Basic Education SkillsTraining (BEST), Basic Skills Training Development (BTSD), andBasic Job Readiness Training (BJRT).In 1979, UNIES registered under the Societies Act ofBritish Columbia and established seven goals which encompassedthe educational, community, occupational, and service needs ofthe urban First Nations people. The Society also becameactive in creating better understanding between the Native andnon—Native communities. The seven goals are:1) to help meet the educational needs of the people ofNative Indian origin who have made or are making thetransition to Urban living;2) to provide central and suitable facilities whereeducational meetings may be held;3) to encourage fuller participation of people of Nativeancestry in educational and community affairs;4) to assist in and to undertake if necessary any educational program or activity designed to promote thewelfare of Native people in the community;5) to aim for the creation of better understandingwithin Native groups and between Indian andnon—Indian groups and citizens for the generalbenefits of Native education;126) to plan and develop with agencies of the governments,churches, businesses and benevolent organizations,the increase and improvements of educational,occupational and other beneficial services andfacilities for Native people in the community; and7) to manage and operate an Indian Education Centre.In September 1981, just three weeks prior to classcommencement, the Centre’s funding for BTSD training waswithdrawn by Canada Manpower. After discussions with Ms.Adrian Blunt of Vancouver Community College and Patsy George,Coordinator of Family and Child Services of Region 15,Ministry of Human Resources, a new program began at theCentre. The Native Adult Basic Education (NABE) consisted ofacademic, life skills, culture, and leisure and would continueto grow to include as much as possible, the values, beliefs,history, literature and culture of First Nations people.MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. . . . POST-SECONDARY BRANCHThe Ministry funded Native Adult Basic Education throughits Regionally Accepted Courses (RAC). Due to its continuousdevelopment, the student population at the Centre outgrew the326 Howe Street facility and moved to 224 West Broadway in1982.By 1985, through newly acquired funds under CanadaEmployment and Immigration Commission, the Centre developedSkills Training Programs such as Native Public Administration,Secretarial Office Training, and Micro—computer Training.These funds became available through a Skills Growth Fund and13provided the revenue for the East 5th longhouse building wherethe Native Education Centre is presently situated. The NativeTutoring Centre, Native Youth Job Core, NABE and CollegePreparation Program continued to provide upgrading for FirstNations adults in Vancouver. The development of Outreachprograms in different communities throughout the province alsobegan during this time. The growth of the Society programssaw the increase of the student population from 40 in 1982 toover 300 by the end of the 1989 academic year.PHILOSOPHYThe Native Education Centre is an adult training facilitycommitted to providing educational opportunities to FirstNations adults within their cultural values and beliefs. TheCentre is committed to quality programming consistent withtraditional values and needs of First Nations people and tobuilding on the strengths and skills that the adults bring tothe learning environment.The learning goals and objectives are consistent withFirst Nations goals of self—determination and self—government.The Centre exists and grew out of the educational and careergoals and needs of the First Nations community.To meet its mandate of quality education, the Centreemploys program coordinators and instructors and staff withthe skills, training, commitment and vision to support andguide the learners to meet their educational goals.14AFFILIATION AND ACCREDITATIONThe history of NEC’s and Vancouver Community College’s(VCC) relationship coincides with the development andregistration of UNIES as a non-profit society in 1979. Sixyears after the former administrator of the NEC, Mr.HowardGreen wrote a letter to Grant Fisher (then Deputy Ministerof post—secondary education) to meet and discuss the issues of(a) NEC gaining certification as a community college;(b) the accreditation of NEC programs as accredited ministryof education courses; (c) interfacing of the centre with theMinistry in terms of developing a native community collegenetwork in British Columbia; and (d) the centre receivingfinancial support from the ministry for core funding tostabilize planning beyond one fiscal year at a time (Green,1985:2—3)The Deputy Minister wrote to Green a few weeks later witha negative response to all four issues and suggested that the(UNIES) continue a “...close working relationship with the VCCto better serve the needs of the region’s residents...”(Fisher, 1985:1—2).In February of 1986, Mr. Green followed the advice of theDeputy Minister and submitted a letter to the former presidentof VCC to expand NEC’s “relationship while maintaining itsunique cultural identity while access(ing) the college system,credibility and stability in the British Columbia post-15secondary college network, core funding and possible programexpansion and development” (p. 1).From there the former administrator on behalf of UNIESmaintained contact with the Deputy Minister while meetingseveral times with VCC’s president and “selected” officialsfrom VCC (Green, 1986:1)To attain affiliation the society presented several draftproposals to VCC outlining a rationale, philosophy andnegotiations of the “basic elements of affiliation and fundingto a final proposal submitted to the ministry as an excellencein educational proposal” Green, 1986:1).At a regular VCC meeting, the Board adopted a resolutionin support of the Draft proposal for Affiliation of the NECwith VCC (Jarvis, 1986:1-2). In June 1987, the Ministryreleased a Ministry Bulletin that NEC would receive over $300,000. through VCC. In July, 1987 VCC and NEC agreed to utilizethe Draft Proposal for affiliation. As of April 1988, NECbecame funded by the Province. VCC assigned an affiliationcoordinator to NEC.The draft proposal outlined funding details, programdelivery and library services. This agreement is renewedeach year. The Ministry of Skills, Training, and Labour fundsthe Adult Basic Education programs at NEC plus fifty percentof the fulil-time equivalencies (FTE5) in the Skills TrainingPrograms.16THE PERIOD OF GROWTH:The primary focus of the Society’s activities has been theNative Education Centre. As a result of that focus, theCentre has been able to expand into a valuable resource forFirst Nations people. An integral part of that resource is ateam of three full time counsellors for learners who may beexperiencing personal struggles, a student placementcoordinator, a library and First Nations Family ViolenceResource Centre.The following highlights of 15 years development indicateUNIES’s commitment to education of First Nations people:expansion from one (pre—employment) program to 17programs ranging from basic literacy to first yearcollege programs in 7 areas of study;initiation of a program of studies in Native AdultBasic Education from Level 1(grade 3) to Level 4(grade 11);initiation of College Preparation programs with 2concentrations— general college entry— health!science careers;construction of a Haida long—house to accommodate theexpansion of NEC;all programs enjoy ongoing curriculum development withthe aim of providing a First Nations context whichenables learners to better interpret their experiences;development of culture and life skills programs whichgive the learners “hands—on” experience with culturallyrelated activities for program credit in all NABEclasses;annual Centre/community events— Christmas Party,Elder’s Day, Cultural Festival- to develop andstrengthen the community relationship;17development of outreach education whereby the programsand curricula of the Centre are directly available toFirst Nations communities. In 92/93 the Centre operatedprograms in 9 communities throughout B.C., with a totalenrollment of 163 learners;development of the reputation of the Centre asacademically. administratively and fiscally responsible.The Centre is a well respected institution in theeducational system of the province and is regarded as amodel to emulate as a First Nations controllededucational facility (Shortt, 1993:5); andestablishment of formal affiliation with VancouverCommunity College to provide joint accreditation ofacademic programs).THE SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAMSThere are presently six Skills Training Programs offeredat the Centre which focus primarily on preparing the studentsfor employment. These programs are Office AdministrationTraining, Native Public Administration program, Native TourismSupervisory Development program, Native Family and CommunityCounselling program, Early Childhood Education program, andNative Criminal Justice Studies program. This diverse rangeof programs combines theoretical and practical skills trainingover ten and a half months each academic year. Each has itsown unique history of development, design, and implementation.Office Administration Training ProgramThis program is an amalgamation of two separate programsknown for several years as Secretarial Office Training(SOT) and Microcomputer Office Training (MOT) programs. Thecurriculum “is designed for students interested in acquiringcomputer and word processing skill in business, administrative18and management offices for the 1990s”( UNIES,1994).The students learn to utilize the most up to date software andgain practical skills training at the Centre. There are twointakes per academic year providing training for a total of24 students. They participate in job placements at the end ofthe first semester and the end of the program.Native Public Administration ProgramThis program focuses on training “students in the policyand practice of public and business administration” (UNIES,1994) as it applies to First Nations people. The programprepares the students with the skills to gain employment inFirst Nations organizations, tribal councils and bands. Somestudents may choose to work in the private and governmentsectors also. At the end of the first and second semestersthe students are placed in a practical work experience. Theseplacements are related to the aforementioned businesses andorganizations.Native Tourism Supervisory Development ProgramThis program trains in basic supervisory skills requiredin the tourism industry and introduces the students to theindustry sectors related to First Nations communities. The“curriculum is adapted to the experiences of “First Nationspeople and contains “several courses directly related to thedevelopment of a tourist related business within the Nativecommunity” (UNIES, 1994). This group of students also19complete job placements at the end of the first and secondsemesters. The placements are closely related to thetheoretical and skills training received throughout theacademic year.Native Family and Community CounsellingThis curriculum in this program is adapted to the needsof the learners and includes cultural and spiritualdevelopment. The program content includes “related personaland family crisis situations” focuses on the development ofcounselling skills in family violence and ( UNIES, 1994).Once again, the training prepares the students foremployment in bands, tribal councils or in First Nationsorganizations as entry level counsellors. The students inthis program also participate in two practical work relatedexperiences at the end of the first and second semesters.Native Early Childhood EducationThe curriculum in this program incorporates content andmethods that relate to First Nations cultures and is designedto develop practical management skills required in a day caresetting. The training is divided into four semesters withseveral blocks of practical work experiences.The Centre assists the graduates in securing a child careplacement to complete their 500 hours of work experience whichleads to the child care provincial license.20Native Criminal Justice Studies Training ProgramThe curriculum in this program consists of criminologycourses, writing skills and First Nations Studies. Wherepossible, the courses are adapted to incorporate First Nationsrelated issues in the criminal justice system. The studentsalso participate in two work related experiences at the endof semester one and two. Graduates may work in related fieldssuch as policing, victim assistance, probation, parole, nativecourtworkers, institutions and with offenders (UNIES 1994).ADMISSIONS PROCESSThe NEC is open to adults eighteen years and older. Theadmissions department clearly informs all its applicants ofthe specific steps involved in acceptance and admission.The five steps in the admissions process are: completingan application for admission; writing an assessment testalong with a one page essay; making an appointment for apersonal interview; arranging for tuition and book fees,daycare and other personal matters; and finally participatingin an interview by at least two staff members including acounsellor and admissions coordinator.The purpose of the interview is to ascertain the level ofcommitment and readiness of the applicant to emter a full—timerigorous training program.21PROGRAM COORDINATORSThe coordinator/instructors of each of the programs havesix major areas of responsibilities as outlined in their jobdescriptions. The first priority is to: “co-ordinate theadministrative and academic components of the program; assiststudents in the program in overcoming academic and/or personalproblems which may negatively affect their success in theprogram; co—ordinate and develop appropriate Native curriculummaterials for use in the program; assist students uponcompletion of the program to find employment in a job relatedto their training; assist in assessment, interviews andorientation of all students applying for and accepted in theprogram as required; and to perform other duties as requiredby the NEC administrator”(UNIES, 1994).Beyond these priorities, specific objectives are detailedin the job description to assist the program coordinator/instructors to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.EVALUATIONSIn 1986, the UNIES Board of Directors conducted anevaluation of the programs of the NEC (Echols,1987:4). Theevaluation reported that NEC’s programs were in high demandand that the success rate with First Nations students rangedfrom sixty—five to eighty percent compared to seventeenpercent success rate of the public schools (Echols et al.,1987:65).22Echols et al., (1987) commented on the clearly definedgoals and purposes of the Centre; the expectations that thelearners “...attend classes, be punctual and do their work”(p.66). They also characterized the leadership of the Centreas “strong, effective, and purposeful” (p.66) and the teachingstaff as “...respectful of their students...” (p.66) as welldemanding for positive outcomes.A second study in 1988, by the First Nations Federationof Adult Educators reviewed the programs and services forNative Adult learners in British Columbia. “The Federationmembers were the senior administrators and education directorsof the First Nations controlled adult education programs orinstitutions of British Columbia”(Merritt, 1988:1).The NEC administrator was a member of the Federation.Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training(now Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour); the study was asurvey of the status of First Nations Adult education providedby First Nations controlled institutions and the communitycolleges in the province and a review and assessment of modelsof joint programming and services between the First Nationsinstitutions and the colleges.The highlights of the results are as follows:Most colleges do not consider serving the specialneeds of the Native Indian community as part of theirinstitutional mandate. This is reflected in the absenceof members of the Native Indian community on collegeboards.23Special services and programs that acknowledge thecultural differences and unique learning styles andrequirements of Native Indian students are not availablein most of the colleges in the Province.Colleges appear to be far more successful than Nativecontrolled institutions in obtaining funding supportfrom the Province for providing programs and servicesto meet the educational needs of Native students.Thirteen of the colleges (80%) and two of the Nativecontrolled institutions (25%) reported having receivedfunding from the Department of Advanced Education andJob Training specifically for Native student programmingand support (Merritt 1988:6,8).Finally, Haig-Brown through ethnographic research“explores the ways that people within a First Nations adulteducation centre make sense of taking control of education”(l990:ii). Her study is based on a year of fieldwork duringwhich time she observes, interviews, and participates as ateacher at NEC. The words of the Board of Directors of UNIES,of the staff, teachers, and students provide a basis for herdiscussion about the implementation of the Policy of IndianControl of Indian Education.She recognizes that the common goal of UNIES board andthe staff is to “offering improved educational” opportunitiesand their commitment and flexibility in offering “culturallybased” education (p. 308).CHAPTER IIREVIEW OF LITERATURESOCIO-POLITICAL CONTEXTThe literature review section outlines the elements ofpolicy making in Canada: the history of First Nationseducation in British Columbia; organized political action;the educational policies for First Nations in BritishColumbia; the impact of schooling on First Nations; andtheories (explanations) for academic failure.POLICIESSince Confederation, four major elements have emergedfrom a context of the federal government’s processes inCanadian First Nations policy making (Tennant, 1988). Thefirst element is the conversion of First Nations toChristianity; the second, the signing of Treaties andconfining First Nations to reservations, the establishment ofwhich was completed in British Columbia by 1920. The thirdelement is the compulsory ‘schooling’ of First Nationschildren in government financed religious residential and dayschools. And finally, the fourth element in policy making isthat First Nations were forced to adopt government structuresand processes from British and American models.HISTORY OF FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION IN B.C.By the 1850s, the Methodist church through William Duncanbecame involved to Christianize and to civilize. He arrived2425in Fort Simpson during the winter ceremonies and dancing, andwas appalled to find the Tsimshian enveloped by the darkmantle of superstition. Within a year he had built a schoolnear the fort and began to “educate” the children. Toreinforce his influence as teacher, Duncan established in fourshort years a Victorian village site. He maintained closesupervision and control with the help of constables. He alsoisolated the Tsimshian from contacts and association withwhite men. Duncan’s form of education and control of thepeople were based on several rules: “to attend religiousinstructions; to send their children to school; and to ceasepotlatches” (LaVoilette, 1973:29).Within a few short years other churches would followDuncan’s model of education. The missionary influence ineducation would extend from day schools on reserve to theresidential (industrial) schools. When British Columbiajoined confederation in 1871, the government of the provincewas not interested in taking control of the education ofFirst Nations. In 1878, I. W. Powell, Indian Commissioner inVictoria believed that establishing industrial schools wouldbe most effective in “Christianizing” and “civilizing theIndian”.Because the missionaries did not separatewestern Christianity and western civilization,they approached Indian culture as a whole anddemanded a total transformation of the Indianproselyte (Fisher, 1977:144—145).26By 1880, missions and/or schools were established in theOkanagan, at Nanaimo, near Victoria, in the Nass Valley andNew Aiyansh. Barman (1986) and Haig-Brown (1988) bothrecount the goals of the missionaries at All Hallows School(Anglican) at Yale and Kamloops (Roman Catholic) respectively.Bishop Sillitoe (1880) believed that establishing a school atYale would raise the people from servile work and give them anequal chance in society. The oblates also recognized thestrong influence of the residential schools to isolate thechildren from the daily influence of their parents, theirlanguage, and total way of life. Being at residential schoolfrom August to June with limited visits from home made itpossible for the indoctrination of the Christian ethic. Moraland religious training was at the core of the teaching.Their aim was the complete destruction of thetraditional integrated Indian way of life. Themissionaries demanded even more far—reachingtransformation than the settlers and they pushedit more aggressively than any other group ofwhites (Fisher, 1977:145).Several residential schools, Alert Bay, Alberni, Christie(Clayoquet), St. Joseph’s (William’s Lake), Kamloops, St.George’s (Lytton), Kootneys, St. Mary’s (Mission), andCoqualeetza (Sardis), were opened throughout the province.Many of these schools remained in operation until the earlyl960s. St. Mary’s at Mission, however, finally closedoperation in 1988.27During the 1950s and 1960s the policy was to integrateFirst Nations children into the public schools. Integrationbecame possible through the “Master Tuition Agreement” whichtransferred educational responsibility from Canada to theprovince of British Columbia.ORGANIZED ACTIONHaig-Brown (1991) emphasizes that First Nations leadersin the province have expressed since the beginning of thecentury, concerns about educational practices. These concernswere articulated at meetings and in letters to those legallyresponsible for education. Many leaders continue to voice theimportance of First Nations acquiring educational tools for animproved lifestyle and to meet local community needs(p.64—102)Furthermore, Haig-Brown (1991) showed that First Nationstreat concerns about education and land title as inseparableissues. She established her position through a closeexamination of the McKenna—McBride Report, the activities ofthe Allied Indian Tribes of B.C. to “. . .challenge the outcomesof the McKenna—McBride hearings” and their presence at a 1927meeting with the federal government (p. 80).On August 9, 1923 the Reverend Peter Kelly reiteratedstatements made during the McKenna-McBride Commission (1913-19 16) which emphasized the importance and need for highereducation and training (Haig-Brown, 1991:81).28We would like to have an institution where our menand women would be so fitted that they will be ableto take their place in the larger public life of thiscountry, and feel that they are equal to any life(Conference Minutes 1923:118).He suggested financial assistance for “Indian boys andgirls who are aspiring to be qualified doctors or lawyers”(p.121). Four years later at a meeting with a Specialcommitteeee of the House of Commons and the Senate, theReverend P. Kelly reiterated his concerns. Neithereducational concerns nor land title were settled as a resultof that 1927 meeting.The committee’s concerns reemerged in the 1940s and FirstNations from B.C. bands and support groups made many submissions to the Special Joint Committee of the Senate andHouse of Commons which were appointed to review the IndianAct. First Nations at that time voiced many concerns aboutpoor care and treatment of children attending residentialschools. They raised the issue of having qualified teachersand advocated that First Nations children attend provincialschools (Haig-Brown 1990:77).In the mid l960s, about thirty First Nations communitiesin the province formed education committees and delivered awide variety of adult education programs. These programsflourished to eventually involve about twelve hundred FirstNations in B.C. (Collins, 1984).29During that time, the education division of IndianAffairs expanded to include vocational training andsubsequently added an adult education subsection. In thesummer of 1965, ten educators were appointed and trained in atwo week session to deliver adult education programs and beganto work in different regions of Canada. Ray Collins worked inthe British Columbia region for three years and it was duringthis time that he founded the Native Education Centre inVancouver, B.C.In the late sixties, First Nations in Canada organized toformulate the Indian Control of Indian Education policy whichwas presented to the federal government. Many recommendationsof the policy have had significant impact in educationalchanges in Canada and B.C. One of these changes is thetraining of teachers of First Nations ancestry. Of particularinterest is the implementation of the Native Indian TeacherEducation Program (NITEP) at U.B.C. (Archibald, 1985; Kirkness1985; Lawrence, 1987:3).Many of the graduates are meeting educational needs andgoals in the First Nations and non—First Nations communities.Even though NITEP trains only elementary school teachers thedemand for First Nations teachers in adult education providesemployment for many graduates.More recently, Barnhardt (1991) describes the salientcharacteristics of indigenous higher education institutions in30the world and includes Canadian examples. He groups theinstitutions based on the extent of their autonomy(independent, affiliated, or integrated). This qualitydetermines the cultural context of the institutions (1991).Barnhardt (1991) recounts the First Nations House ofLearning(FNHL) as an ‘integrated’ model, its establishment atthe University of British Columbia and its purpose and majoractivities. The FNHL coordinates the UBC First Nationsprograms on campus which include Ts’kel graduate programs ineducation, the First Nations Health Care Professions Programand the Native Law Program. FNHL is committed to accessingUBC’s resources to B.C.’s First Nations People and in aidingthe University meet the needs of First Nations (FNHL, 1994).Another major form of political action of First Nationspeople is the establishment of the Mokakit (Indian EducationResearch Association (1983) which is committed to theexcellence in First Nations education and research.While the political activity of First Nations people inCanada has culminated to “the process of constitutionalrevision centering on historic rights, past injustices anddifferences from the broader Canadian community (Wherrett1991:ii)”, First Nations people continue to develop facilitiesand programs specifically designed for First Nation childrenand adults. Several First Nation post—secondary institutionsin British Columbia are providing thirty-one certificate,31diploma, and university transfer programs (Dennis et al.,1994: table 5—1).“The ten institutions of The Association of First NationsPost—Secondary Institutions enroll a total student populationof 1729” with the total aboriginal population of 1551 and thetotal aboriginal post-secondary student population of 1102.There are 156 First Nations Bands, four nations and twenty—four independent nations represented in the AFNPSI (Dennis etal., 1994:1)Finally, the organization of a First Nations Post-Secondary Advisory Committee to the Ministry demonstrated thecommitment of First Nations political and educational leadersin the province to address the quality of post-secondaryeducation for First Nations People. A major recommendation isthat the Ministry enact enabling legislation to provide FirstNations institutions with direct formula funding by April 1990(Jones et al., 1990:30).EDUCATIONAL POLICIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIAEducational policies of First Nations education inBritish Columbia are divided between federal and provincialjurisdiction. The Indian Act (1876), The Master TuitionAgreement (1969), The Ministry of Education Policy (1979),the revised Master Tuition Agreement (May 1988), and LocalEducation Agreements have determined the education of FirstNations children in British Columbia.32Sections 114 to 123 of the 1951 Indian Act dealspecifically with the education of First Nations children“normally living on reserves.” Section 114 authorizes theFederal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to“establish, operate and maintain schools for Indian children”.The Minister may enter into agreements for education with: a)the government of a province; b) the Commissioner of theNorthwest Territories; c) the Commissioner of the YukonTerritory; d) a public or separate school board; and e) areligious or charitable organization.The Master Tuition Agreement (MTA) of 1969 was betweenthe Government of Canada and the Government of BritishColumbia. This Agreement was possible through Section 114(1)of the “Indian Act” and “Sections 17 (f) and l57(1)(d) of the“Public Schools Act” which provided the agreements betweenCanada and British Columbia for the education of Indian orother students for whose education Canada assumesresponsibility. The agreement outlines the responsibility ofIndian Affairs Canada for tuition, operation and capitalexpenses.The Minister of Education’s ten point policy of IndianEducation (1979) had the goal of parity as priority for FirstNations Children.33The Public Schools Act provides a mandate to theMinistry of Education, Science and Technology todeliver educational services through provincialpublic school districts to all school-age childrenwhich includes all native Indian children (Section158:1). For public school purposes, native Indianmeans all children of Indian ancestry — status,non—status and Metis - and all native Indian childrenhave equal and universal access to the public schoolsof the province irrespective of tuition support forsome Indian children by the federal government.The Master Tuition Agreement (1988) has the samedefinition as the 1969 Agreement between Canada and BritishColumbia. The old agreement had the following majorcomponents: federal contribution was based on provincialaverage per pupil costs for the previous school year; therewas no provision for agreements between bands and schooldistricts; and there was no provision for evaluation ofeducational progress. The new agreement has however, thefollowing major components: the federal contribution is basedon school district average shareable budget per pupil cost;there is provision for agreements between bands and schooldistricts, and the federal government is to provide a letterof understanding guaranteeing settlement of any disputesarising out of local agreements and British Columbia inconsultation with Canada is to undertake an evaluation processwhich would indicate the educational progress of status Indianstudents towards the goal of Educational parity (Peel,1988:l).34The Indian Act and the Master Tuition Aqreements detailpolicy for the education of status Indians living on reserveor crown lands who attend the public schools of the province.The 1979 Ministry of Education Policy on Indian Education onthe other hand, accounts for the education of “all children ofIndian ancestry - status, non-status and Metis” (1979:141).There are approximately 30,000 native Indian students in theprovince, 7,515 of whom are Status Indians living on reservesor crown land (Peel, 1988:10).IMPACT OF SCHOOLING ON FIRST NATIONSA further review of the literature reveals how schoolingoffered to First Nations children by government and churcheshas resulted in dismal failure and high drop out rates(Hawthorn, 1958; 1967; Lane, 1972; DIAND, 1980; Thomas et al.,1970; More, 1984; Haig—Brown, 1988a; Sullivan, 1988) . Arecent report (1990) of First Nations participation andcompletion in post—secondary colleges, institutions anduniversities in British Columbia cites a 3% completion ratecompared to 15% of the general population. Yet positivechanges in these failure rates is evident since the beginningof Indian Control of Indian Education (Barman, 1987;Charleston, 1988; Atleo, 1991; MacPherson 1991; Kirkness,1992). The success rate of First Nations controlled adulteducation institutes is cited at 85% (Antoine et al., 1990).35In 1954, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration,which at that time had jurisdiction of The Department ofIndian and Northern AfBritish Columbia to thoroughly study the First Nations ofBritish Columbia. The study Indians of British Columbia, waspublished in 1958. It covered the historical and culturalbackground of First Nations in the province and examined theirrole in industry, their education, and living conditions. Thestudy recognized cultural differences of First Nationschildren attending residential, federal, public, and privateschools and recommended special training for teachers toaddress the high attrition rate of the children. This specialtraining began to take place approximately fifteen yearslater. The Native Indian Teacher Education Program, forexample, began at the University of British Columbia in 1974and several similar First Nations teacher education programswere established in many provinces in Canada (Lawrence 1987).A second study, A Survey of the Contemporary Indians ofCanada, (Hawthorn et al., 1967) revealed a dismal picture ofthe education of First Nations children in Canada. Thestatistics of school population loss between grades one and 12was 96% compared to the national rate of 12% for non—nativechildren. The study also pointed to an age-grade retardationof 2.5 years and an extremely small portion of First Nationslearners in Canada who attended universities. The failure36rate of the children was attributed to the following factors:irrelevant curriculum to meet their needs, rigid time—scheduling, the fear of punishment, ridicule, and failure.As a result, reconunendations for change were made basedon the assumption that schooling be modified to meet studentneeds, and that First Nations be encouraged to maintain theircultural identity even though they would continue to depend onthe economy and technology of the Euro—Canadian culture.Despite the many recommended changes which had been implemented, positive outcomes increased only slightly. Lane, (1972)blamed the failure rate of First Nations education on theabsolute lack of First Nations involvement in the design,implementation, and administration of education.The high school completion rate of First Nations childrenin Canada remains less than one quarter of the national rate(Indian Conditions, 1980). Average achievement levels of twoor more years below grade level are common (Thomas et al.,1970;l6—19; More, 1984). Even more recent research attest tothe continued struggle of the schools to meet educationalobjectives for First Nations children.One of the most important and longstandingissues in education in British Columbia, indeedacross Canada has been the provision of suitableschooling for Native youngsters. Using any typicalevaluative criteria, it is apparent the provincehas not achieved its enunciated goal of ‘parityfor Native children.. . .within the public schools’(Sullivan, 1988:205).37THEORIES FOR ACADEMIC FAILUREExplanations for minority failure have generallyfocussed on cultural differences (Hymes, 1974; Cazden et al.,1972; Feuerstein, 1979; Philips, 1983: Emerson, 1987)structural forces and internalized barriers. In BritishColumbia for example, the cultural difference theory wassuggested during the late 1950s (Hawthorne, 1958) andeducational anthropologists began to actively debate thecultural difference theory in favor of the culturaldeprivation theory in the 1960s (Foley, 1991:60—61).The cultural difference theory points to any of a rangeof cultural characteristics that theorists believe may havesignificant implications on minority ethnic school progress.These include value orientations and learning styles with aspecific focus on speech styles and communicative competencieswithin the concept of sociolinguistics (Cazden et al. 1972;Scollon & Scollon, 1982; Philips, 1983).Hymes, however focused on institutionalized communicativepractices of school authorities which discriminated againstblack youth in schools (Foley, 1991: 62-63). Ogbu (1974)questions why immigrant minority groups usually succeed inschool while non—immigrant ethnic minorities tend toexperience school failure. Ogbu (1981) expands theapplication of “micro ethnographies” which focus heavily onclassroom and school in a decontextualized way. He advocates38a “macro” style of school ethnography that has closerconnections to a historical and ecological concept of culture.He argues that socio-linguistic and sociological studies witha “micro” ethnographic approach have a limited focus andapplication which break down when different ethnic minoritygroups do not all have the learning challenges that othershave.Another area of research discusses the importance thatFirst Nations children’s cultural/social experiences, and thatconcepts of achievement be congruent to their educationalexperience. Other researchers argue that schooling is acontradictory or even hostile environment to First Nationschildren’s everyday lives (Phillips 1975; Carnew 1984;Chrisjohn 1988). The areas of difference that Carnew focuseson are cognition and the affective.The affective or feelingly (Cassivi et al. 1985:17)must be considered in the school curriculum. Gibsoninterprets ‘feelingly’ as emotions, hopes, aspirations,ideals, and beliefs which rest in one’s feelings. Because ofdifferent cultural and social experiences, minority or FirstNations may experience undue stress by being placed in anenvironment that contradicts, invalidates, and underminestheir whole way of life and being. Kleinfeld (1971) discussesthe importance of high expectations and rapport and trust inmotivating students to achieve.39Furthermore, research by Feuerstein (1979) posits thatstudents with strong cultural identities adapt quite readilyto other cultures and conversely, students who have beendenied the opportunity to develop a strong cultural base donot adapt as readily as the first group. Emerson (1987)argues that cultural discontinuity results in the absence ofa cognitive-cultural link. Mediation of the student’sworld results in a generation capable of relating to presentwestern institutions such as health, social welfare,education, economic development, and psychology. A strongcultural identity provides a comparative base whereby thestudent can interpret another cultural world.Research by Feuerstein and Emerson support the importanceof the “intergenerational transmission of culture.” Otherwise,cognitive functions of learners are at risk. Such informationshould motivate policy makers, curriculum planners, andeducators to redefine their roles within the classroom, thecommunity, and society at large so that role definitionsresult in interactions whereby children achieve academicsuccess rather than failure (Cummins, 1986:33).Cummins (1986), however suggested that such conditionsof school failure and lack of participation are embedded inthe relationships between teacher and students and betweenschools and communities. These relationships demonstrate thepower structure of the ‘dominant’ society through theeducational system and educators.40To address the patterns of school failure of minoritystudents, Cummins recommended an empowering theoreticalframework of: a) incorporating minority students’ languageand culture into the school program; b) encouraging minorityparticipation as an integral component of their education;c) promoting intrinsic motivation on the part of the studentsto actively use language in order to generate their ownknowledge; and d) involving professionals of assessmentin becoming advocates for minority students rather thanlegitimizing the location of the ‘problem’ in the students.The first and second points of Cummins’ theoreticalframework are philosophically related to the principles oflocal control and parental responsibility of the IndianControl of Indian Education Policy. And a review of theresearch in First Nations education shows changes in schoolachievement and completion since the beginning of IndianControl (Barman et al. 1987; Atleo, 1990; Kirkness, 1992).The theories generated and presented by severalresearchers fail to address the racist implications inherentin making summations and assumptions about First NationsPeople based on “tests with people for whom they were notintended for” in the first place. Chrisjohn et al., (1993)argue further that the way in which educators treatpsychological test results as absolute measures violatesethical standards (p.2).41The researchers point out that even with “the presentethical codification, standards for Educational andPsychological Testing (American Educational ResearchAssociation, American Psychological Association, and NationalCouncil on Measurement in Education, 1985)” that only threegraduate programs in Canada having even one course in cross—cultural psychology results in further bias and violation of“existing ethical guidelines” (p.14).CHAPTER IIIBACKGROUND AND METHODOLOGYBACKGROUNDThe First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) at UBC spentmany months developing the process model which involveddesigning, testing, and implementing a graduate survey and twofocus group sessions.Research is a cultural, human activity and like allcultural human activities it should proceed from theculture (Archibald et al., 1993:13).Developing the process model began in the spring of 1992when the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training andTechnology (now Skills, Training and Labour) asked the FirstNations House of Learning to develop aresearch study thatwould follow—up on First Nations graduates of privateinstitutions, colleges and universities in British Colunthia.The FNHL however, proposed to study only UBC graduates.This decision was made primarily for two reasons: that thediverse range of variables from many institutions would be toobroad, and that First Nations educational research shouldinclude the stakeholders in both the design and in theimplementation phases of the research process (16).A team of four researchers of First Nations ancestry and!or extensive knowledge and experience in First Nationsresearch issues and methodologies worked closely in many ofthe decisions and steps. The team agreed to respond to the4243Ministry’s questions to determine: the relationship betweenpost—secondary education and employment, the factorscontributing to successful graduation and the challenges andbarriers experienced by the students and how they overcamethem (Archibald et al., 1993:16).A second aspect of the FNHL research was to inviteanother post-secondary institution to adapt and pilot themodel, namely the NEC. Finally, a third aspect of theresearch process was sharing it with other interestedpost—secondary institutions in the the province (Ibid.p.16).The Native Education Centre (NEC) was involved inadapting and piloting the University of British Columbia (UBC)research questionnaire and focus group methodologies.The UBC research process provided an opportunity for NECto interact with the UBC research team over a period of sixmonths beginning in February 1993. The interaction consistedof meetings about the details of the UBC graduate surveyprocess, findings and ongoing implementation.Once NEC decided to participate as a separate FirstNations post—secondary institution it became involved in thefollowing research steps. The steps included: adapting andimplementing the questionnaire and focus group researchmethodologies; and examining the substantive findings of thefocus group data and interpreting them.44THE PROCESS MODELThe initial steps in the research process model discussedby Archibald et al. began in 1993 with an evaluation methodcalled impact assessment which establishes as clearly aspossible “whether or not a program is producing its intendedeffects”. The impact assessment also “estimates the magnitudeof the effects”, and reveals both positive and negativeintended effects. The final aspect of the evaluative modelinvestigates “extraneous factors such as maturation processes,social processes, political change, or changes in familystatus or composition” (Archibald et al., 1993:17).The six basic components of the research process modelare: “deciding about the questions to be answered; decidingabout populations and samples of former students, as well asthe definitions of such terms as ‘First Nations’; decidingabout methods of gathering information from the students, andabout relevant data/measures; deciding on a data gatheringand analysis time line; gathering and interpreting theinformation; and communicating the research and its results toothers”(Archibald et al., 1993:18)The research team reasoned that post—secondary impact onthe students would be long term beginning when they firstdecided to attend their programs and would extend to theirexperience both during and after program completion.Formative evaluation would encompass both the objectives ofthe Ministry and the process model.45The process model involved conscious and conscientiousreview and questioning by the research team as each phase ofthe research process evolved. The factor of graduates in theFirst Nations community “giving back” for the benefit of otherFirst Nations post—secondary education graduates contributedto the dynamic process of developing a research model thatwould be adaptable to future users.The research team decided to adopt a predominantlyqualitative research design. Quantitative data was alsogathered and analyzed.The research team deliberately designed a reasonablyshort questionnaire which would likely influence responserates. The design of the questions included restriced—choiceand open—ended narrative—responses which would provide theopportunity for the respondents to: explain reasons forchoosing to go to UBC; recall situations that affected theirprogress; describe their perceptions and attitudes; and inretrospect assess how well UBC had prepared them in theirfuture education and employment (Archibald et al., 1993:33).The questionnaire was piloted with six UBC graduateswho made recommendations for changes. The revised version wasmailed to 216 UBC graduates in December, 1992 with a returnrate of 67 or 31% (Archibald, 1993, p.33).46THE PROPOSAL TO THE NATIVE EDUCATION CENTREIn January of 1993, University of British Columbiathrough the First Nations House of Learning submitted aproposal to the Native Education Centre (NEC) to participatein a research project on its graduates. The proposal outlinedthe rationale and methodology of the overall research projectUBC was undertaking with its graduates and information thatthe project was being funded by the Ministry of AdvancedEducation Training and Technology.The Native Education Centre would participate in adaptinga research model that was already developed by The FirstNations House of Learning research team. The proposal alsoincluded a report of the First Nations House of Learning andUBC research process covering the period July 1992 toOctober 1992; a revised research timeline; and a copy of theUBC First Nations Graduate Survey questionnaire. Theproposal included an explanation that the NEC would bepiloting the UBC research model using either or both thesurvey and focus group methodologies.The FNHL also invited NEC to participate in a meetingwith the UBC research team held February 11, 1993.MEETING THE RESEARCH TEAMMeeting with the UBC research team was an importantprocess contributing to NEC’s decision to participate inthe research project. It was that meeting that I, a member ofthe NEC management team, had the opportunity to present to47the research team members a thumbnail sketch of NEC; thehistorical and present political context of First Nationspost-secondary education in British Columbia, and the possibleimplications in the NEC choice to participate. The NECalso explored some critical questions with the research team.The team reviewed details of the UBC research process;provided a summary report, literature review; and discussedissues related to the research methodologies. It devotedpart of this one day meeting to also review some of thereturned UBC survey questionnaires and discussed approachesto analysis. It also explored ways of contacting UBCgraduates who hadn’t returned their questionnaires and plannedfor the focus group component of the research process.MAKING THE DECISIONThe NEC was given least two weeks to explore and discussrelated issues and inform UBC of its decision. I reviewed mythesis proposal to do research of NEC graduates from thecollege level (Skills Training) programs. I was interested ininvestigating the reasons NEC graduates gave for thesuccessful completion of their programs.Before deciding to participate the NEC the followingquestions:i) What would the political implications be ofparticipating or not participating in the researchproject;ii) To whom would the research data belong;iii) How adaptable are the questionnaire and the focusgroup methods;48iv) Would NEC be able to respond within the UBCtimeline;v) Does NEC have the time and human resources to getthe job done; andvi) what aspect of the research process is adaptable tothe research question that I was interested inpursuing as a thesis topic?I had already submitted a proposal to the Urban NativeIndian Education Society’s (UNIES) Board of Directors toconduct follow—up research on some of the graduates of NECI consulted with the administrator of the NEC on whetherto explore the adaptability of the survey and focus groupmethodologies.Once NEC decided to participate in the research project,it explored which graduates to survey and decided on whichquestions to ask. The FNHL proposal to NEC included two ofthe three questions which were: to identify factors leadingto successful graduation and to determine the relationshipbetween their (NEC) education and employment since leavingNEC. NEC decided to add another dimension to question twowhich was to also determine the relationship between their NECeducation and the graduates’ further education.The third question NEC was interested in was why thestudents chose to attend NEC The target group to survey wasthe Skills Training graduates from 1989 to 1992 inclusive.When NEC decided to participate in the research project itverbally confirmed with FNHL its intentions and wrote a letterof intent to the FNHL at UBC.49ADAPTING THE QUESTIONNAIREThe original content of the questionnaire would meet theoverall objectives that NEC decided to pursue but NEC addedtwo other aspects. NEC wanted to find out about previousschool experiences of NEC graduates and to investigate therelationship between the NEC education experience and furthereducation. I read the methodology section of the literaturereview prepared by the research team and consulted with NECbefore revising the questionnaire.The NEC decided that the language and format of thequestionnaire be maintained. Minimal changes were made andthe whole series of questions was adapted and retyped.HIRING A NEC GRADUATEThe adapted NEC graduate survey questionnaire was readyfor mail out in early June, 1993. To facilitate this process,the NEC, in consultation with the UBC research team chair,decided to hire a NEC graduate. This decision was based onthe expectation that the graduate would be able to gain leadsfrom maintained association with classmates and other learnerswho graduated from NEC.The NEC graduate received lists of Skills TrainingProgram graduates of the four academic years (1988-1989; 1989-1990; 1990-1991; 1991- 992) from NEC and she began makingphone calls to the most recent graduates and worked backwardsto the earlier graduates to confirm mailing addresses.50The NEC (during a three week period) mailed surveyquestionnaires to 171 graduates, and followed up with phonecalls to confirm the surveys had been received.At the time of the UBC questionnaire analysis, 33 (19%) ofthe graduates had returned their questionnaires.The thirty—three surveys were submitted to the UBCresearch team for data tabulation and interpretation. Resultsof these returns were included in the final report to theMinistry.In late July, the NEC mailed a letter of reminder tothe graduates who hadn’t returned their surveys. The NECreceived six additional questionnaire returns which is aneighteen percent increase of the original thirty threequestionnaires.THE SURVEY METHODRESPONDENTSRespondents were the thirty three graduates who respondedin time to be included in the report to the Ministry plus theadditional six who responded after the report was finished.MATERIALSA copy of the questionnaire to which graduates respondedis presented in Appendix A.ANALYSISAs can be seen from the questionnaire in Appendix A,respondents answered both limited—format items and open—ended51questions. The open—ended questions were examined forthematic content and a coding scheme devised so as to reflectresponses (Holsti, 1989). The coding scheme was then applied,and respondent’s answers to open—ended questions were includedin the data file along with the limited-response items.These data were then subjected to a breakdown offrequency of responses to each option of each question. Thecomplete set of breakdowns for all items in the data file aregiven in Appendix B. Also, results of particular interest arepresented here in the text in tables.Originally I had planned to cross-tabulate results bysex, native ancestry, home location, etc. However, because ofthe small N’s associated with the cross tabulations (e.g. onlysix males in the respondent sample), the contingency tables ofinterest contained expected of frequency counts of fewer thanfive, making the x test statistic invalid (Everitt, 1986).Hence, in this thesis I only report and interpret thebreakdowns of questionnaire responses for single items.THE FOCUS GROUPThe focus group is a “carefully planned discussiondesigned to obtain perceptions on a defined area of interest”in an environment that is comfortable and nonthreatening(Archibald et al 1992:72).Krueger (1988) recommends that the group sessions beconducted by a skilled interviewer and with seven to tenpeople.52Focus groups have several characteristics but for thepurpose of this study I cite the following:Focus groups can give qualitative data that provideinsights into the attitudes, perceptions and opinionsof its memberswhich is achieved through open-ended questions. The dynamicof a focus group discussion may provide opportunities for theparticipants to be influenced by each other.The questions of focus groups are carefully planned aheadof time. The focus group may be conducted before, during orafter or independently of quantitative methods to prepare for,expand on or confirm quantitative findings.Kruger (1988) presents advantages and disadvantages tofocus groups. The advantages are that they are sociallyoriented and flexible with high face validity and quick lowcost results (p.47). Kruger also describes the importance ofquality questions to produce quality answers and emphasizesthe skill of an interviewer as being warm, outgoing, friendlyand supportive and skilled in group process. In addition,Kruger gives detailed information on the steps of conductingfocus groups and suggestions on analysis.THE FOCUS GROUP METHODPARTICIPANTSThere were eleven participants; five in one group and sixin the other. They represented each of the four years (1989-1992) and all six Skills Training Programs.53MATERIALSThe graduates had the opportunity to think about andanswer the following questions. The questions relate to theirexperience before, during, and after attending the NEC1) What led you to choose the NEC versus othereducational institutions?2) As a First Nations person, what at the NEC did youfind most/least helpful?3) In what way is your experience at NEC relevant towhat you are doing now, either educationally, careeror community wise?THE APPROACHThe NEC graduate contacted and confirmed attendance ofparticipants at two focus group sessions held in late June1993. She contacted those who had returned their consentformed and confirmed attendance at one of the focus groupsessions. I sent a letter to confirm the time and place ofthe session; to provide the graduates with the questions andinformed them that the session would be tape recorded but thatanonymity would be maintained.The focus groups were led by myself with one or two UBCresearch team members to assist in recording and furtherquestioning.The recordings from both focus group sessions were transcribed and the transcripts submitted to the UBC research team.One of the UBC team worked with me to categorize, interpretand report the findings to the Ministry.54THE ANALYSISThe specific answers to each question were divided byreccurring themes. The themes to each question were placedin the order that they first occurred in one focus group.The other focus group findings where merged into the thematicorder of the first.The contexts leading up to the answers were recorded bythemes and reoccurring themes for each of the focus groupswere noted. The contexts for each of the questions arerecorded in the principal findings chapter.LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDYThe study examined the reasons successful students gavefor graduation but did not examine the reasons other studentsgave for failure. The examination of one group without acomparison does not prove, except for the graduates own wordsthe factors of success. It bears mentioning however, thatthe ratio of failure compared to success is very low.The number of respondents (N=39) is a small sample of thegraduates of the Skills Training Programs. During the years1989 to 1992, 283 students graduated from these programs atNEC and 171 received surveys.There is nevertheless, an amazing consistency in the waythat the thirty-nine graduates and the eleven focus groupparticipants emphasized the importance of a place of learningsuch as the Native Education Centre.CHAPTER IVPRINCIPAL FINDINGSSURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTSDESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTSThe survey questionnaire sample (N=39) was drawn from theSkills Training Programs graduates of the years 1989 to 1992.Eighty-five percent of the respondents were female (n=33) andfifteen percent were male (n=6). Their ages ranged from 25to 54 years, with an average age of 37 years for all graduates(See Table 1, Appendix B). Twenty-nine percent of thegraduates were under 30 years old; thirty—seven percent werebetween 30 and 41 years old; and thirty-four percent of thethem were older than 41 years. (See Table 2, Appendix B).Out of the 39 graduates who responded, 33 indicated theyear they graduated from their program. Twelve percent (n=4)graduated in 1989; thirty percent (n=10) graduated in 1990;eighteen percent (n=6) graduated in 1991; and thirty-ninepercent (n=l3) graduated in 1992. (See Table 3).Table 3: Year of GraduationYear Count Percent1989 4 12.121990 10 30.301991 6 18.181992 13 39.30Thirty-eight (n=38) respondents indicated the number ofprograms they completed at the Native Education Centre.5556Sixty—three percent (n=24) complete one program; twenty—fourpercent (n=9) completed two programs; eight percent (n=3)complete three programs; and five percent (n=2) completedfour programs. (See Table 4).Table 4: No. of Programs CompletedNo. Count Percent1 24 632 9 243 3 84 2 5Thirty-eight (n=38) respondents indicated their level ofeducation when first entering the Native Education Centre.Twenty—nine percent (n=ll) graduated from secondary school;thirty-seven percent (n=14) had Adult Basic Education (ABE)and/or General Education diploma (GED); and thirty-fourpercent (n=13) entered as mature students. (See Table 5).Table 5: Academic Experience Before NECExperience Count PercentS. S. Grad. 11 29ABE (GED) 14 37Mature Entry 13 34THEIR ACADEMIC PREPARATIONOne question asked the respondents to rate their academicpreparation in several areas such as reading, study skills,57essay writing skills, examination writing skills, secondlanguage skills, mathematics, sciences, English, andhumanities.Seventy—two percent (n=26) rated their reading skills asgood; twenty-eight percent (n=lO) rated their preparation asfair; and no one rated their reading skills as poor.Thirty—nine percent (n=l4) rated their study skills asgood; forty-four percent (n=16) rated their skills as fair;and seventeen percent (n=6) rated their skills as poor. Fortypercent (n=15) rated their examination writing skills as good;forty-nine percent (n=18) rated their skills as fair; andeleven percent (n=4) rated their skills as poor.Thirty-eight percent (n=14) rated their essay writingskills as good; forty-three percent (n=16) rated their skillsas fair; and nineteen percent (n=7) rated their skills aspoor.Fifty— eight percent (n=22) rated their English skills asgood; thirty-four percent (n=13) rated their skills as fair;and eight percent (n=3) rated their skills as poor.Seventy-one percent (n=25) rated their skills in thehumanities as good and twenty—nine percent (n=lO) rated theirskills as fair.Twenty—seven percent (n=lO) rated their mathematicalskills as good; forty-nine percent (n=18) rated their skillsas fair; and twenty-four percent (n=9) rated their skills aspoor.58Twenty—eight percent (n=l0) rated their skills in thesciences as good; fifty-three percent (n=l9) rated theirskills as fair; and nineteen percent (n=7) rated their skillspoor.Finally, twenty—one percent (n=7) rated their secondlanguage skills as good; nine percent (n=3) rated theirskills as fair; and seventy percent (n=24) rated their skillsas poor. (See Table 6).Table 6: Academic PreparationSublect Good Fair Poor Total(n) % (n) % (n) % (n %Reading 26 72 10 28 0 0 36 100Study Skills 14 39 16 44 6 17 36 100Exam. Writing 15 40 18 49 4 11 37 100Essay Writing 14 38 16 43 7 19 37 100English Skills 22 58 13 34 3 8 38 100Humanities 25 71 10 29 0 0 35 100Mathematics 10 27 18 49 9 24 37 100Science Skills 10 28 19 53 7 19 36 100Second Language 7 21 3 9 24 70 34 100THEIR COMMENTS ABOUT FIRST NATIONS IDENTITYThe graduates were asked to indicate their First Nationsheritage; whether they identified with a First Nations band,village, lineage, or group; and whether they understood orspoke a First Nations language.59Sixty—seven percent(n=26) of the respondents were ofFirst Nations ancestry of British Columbia while thirty-threepercent (n=13) of First Nations ancestry that originated outside of British Columbia. (See Table 7, Appendix B). seventy-four percent (n=28) said they identified most closely with aFirst Nations group while twenty-six percent (n=l0) respondedthat they did not identify closely with a particular FirstNations group. (See Table 8, Appendix B).They were asked to also share which group they identifiedmost closely with. Seventy percent (n=21) identified mostclosely with their First Nations heritage or lineage whilethirty percent (n=9) identified with First Nations differentthan their heritage or lineage. See Table 9, Appendix B).Sixty-two percent (n=24) said yes to the question thatasked whether they understood or spoke a First Nationslanguage while thirty-eight percent (n=l5) answered no to thequestion. See Table 10, Appendix B). Seventy-f ive percent(n=18) of those above indicated that they understood anc’. spokea First Nations language while twenty-five percent (n=6) saidthey only understood the language. (See Table 11, Appendix B).INSTITUTIONAL IMPACT ON THEIR FIRST NATIONS IDENTITYTo a series of the questions, the respondents recalledhow NEC influenced them in general (both personally and as amember of their community); how NEC helped and/or discouragedthem; whether NEC as an institution had an impact on their60First Nations identity and how; and in what way their FirstNations culture influenced their NEC experience.One hundred percent (n=39) indicated that they all hadbeen all influenced personally in some way usually related toFirst Nations identity and or culture. seventy—four percent(n=29) said that their experience at NEC positively influencedtheir self—esteem, confidence, pride and/or culturalawareness.Out of the 39 respondents, seventy—six percent (n=29)confirmed that their NEC experience had influenced them as amember of their communities. Forty-eight percent (n=l4)reported a sense of belonging and/or increased participationin their communities; seventeen percent (n=5) merely answeredyes to the question; ten percent (n=3) reported theirincreased appreciation of First Nations culture; ten percent(n=3) reported their increased awareness of the importance ofrespect in and toward the First Nations community; andfourteen percent (n=4) reported that they increased theirknowledge in issues such as rights and self—government. (SeeTable 12, Appendix B).In recalling helpfulness of NEC of the 39 respondentsseventy-two percent (n=28) confirmed that NEC had influencedtheir First Nations culture/identity, and pride, and supportedthem during hard times, in employment situations and/orthrough program content. Twenty—one percent (n=6) merely saidyes to NEC’s helpfulness while the other seventy-five percent61(n=21) gave a combination of two to five of the above areaswith the exception of four percent (n=l) who indicated onlyone of the above areas.Of the 39 respondents eight reported that NEC haddiscouraged them in some way. Fifty percent of these (n=4)attributed their discouragement to staff relationships;thirteen percent (n=l) were discouraged by a studentrelationship; and the other thirty-seven percent (n=3) werediscouraged by either the lack of information, program contentor their practicum experience.Of the 39 respondents thirty-two answered the questionon whether NEC as an institution had an impact on their FirstNations identity and how. Ninety-four percent (n=30)indicated that the NEC had an impact on their First Nationsidentity. Thirteen percent (n=4) related the impact to groupbelonging; thirty-one percent (n=lO) related the impact topersonal growth; twenty-five percent (n=8) related it to bothgroup belonging and personal growth; and twenty—five percent(n=8) related the impact to increased awareness in FirstNations issues, culture and/or the acquisition of skills. Sixpercent (n=2) said that they were already culturally oriented.(See Table 13, Appendix B).Finally, of the 39 respondents sixty—nine percent (n=27)reported that their First Nations culture influenced theirNEC experience. Fifty-nine percent (n=16) reported that it62strengthened their self/pride and or knowledge of FirstNations and the other forty-one percent (n=ll) that itincreased their acceptance in their communities. (See Table14, Appendix B).THEIR COMMENTS ON INSTITUTIONAL CHARACTERISTICSThe respondents were asked to reveal how they firstlearned about the NEC. Sixty-eight percent (n=25) heard aboutthe institution through a personal contact; five percent (n=2)learned through an advertisement; twenty—two percent (n=8)learned through a referral agency; and five percent (n=2) saidthey could not remember. (See Table 15, Appendix B). Whenanswering what made them decide to attend the NEC forty-ninepercent (n=l8) attributed their choice to the positivecomments they heard about NEC; forty percent (n=l5)attributed their choices to program characteristics at theNEC; three percent (n=1) attributed their choice to both ofthe previous reasons; while eight percent (n=3) chose toattend the NEC due to unfavourable employment and economics.(See Table 16, Appendix B).The respondents were asked to recall their admissionsprocess. Eighty-one percent (n=30) recalled it in positiveterms; fourteen percent (n=5) recalled it as either neutralor negative; and five percent (n=2) recalled their experienceas both positive and negative. (See Table 17, Appendix B).63The respondents were asked to recall their first fewmonths at the NEC. Forty-six percent (n=17) recalled theirfirst few months in positive terms; thirty-five percent (n=13)in neutral or negative terms; while nineteen percent (n=7)recalled their first few months as both positive and negative.(See Table 18, Appendix B).INSTITUTIONAL IMPACT ON CAREER AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMESA series of questions asked the respondents to report howtheir previous work experience related to their coursework; tohighlight their work experience and education since leavingthe NEC; to evaluate how well the NEC prepared them intheir careers and education; and finally to assess how wellthe NEC met their expectations.Of the 39 respondents thirty—four answered whether or notthey had worked in a field related to their coursework.Fifty-three percent (n=18) reported that they had and forty-seven percent (n=l6) reported that they had not worked in thefield of their coursework at NEC. (See Table 19, Appendix B).Thirty-two highlighted their work experience since theygraduated from NEC. Eighty-four percent (n=27) reportedworking and sixteen percent (n=5) reported not working. (SeeTable 20, Appendix B). Of the twenty-seven (n=27) whoreported working, fifteen percent (n=4) merely reported workexperience; thirty—seven percent (n=10) reported workexperience in their field of education and in the First64Nations community; fifteen percent (n=4) reported working intheir field of education but in the non-Native community;while the remaining thirty-three percent (n=9) indicated thatthey were working in their field of education. (See Table 21,Appendix B).Eighty-five percent (n=23) of those who reported thatthey were working, were doing so in their field of educationtaken at the Native Education Centre.Twenty-five highlighted their education since theirgraduation at the NEC. Ninety-two percent (n=23) reportedthat they had furthered their education since graduation andeight percent (n=2) reported that they had not. (See Table22, Appendix B). Seventy-eight percent (n=18) reported thatthey had furthered education in the same field of educationreceived at the NEC. The remaining twenty-two percent (n=5)had furthered their education but did not indicate whether itwas in the same field as their NEC educational experience.(See Table 23, Appendix B).Thirty assessed how well NEC had prepared them for theircareers. Sixty—three percent (n=19) responded ‘very well’;thirty-three percent (n=9) responded ‘well’; three percent(n=l) responded ‘not well’; and the remaining three percent(n=l) responded ‘okay’. (See Table 24, Appendix B).Twenty—seven percent assessed how well NEC had preparedthem for their education. Forty-five percent (n=l2) responded65‘very well’; thirty-three percent (n=9) responded ‘well’;fifteen percent (n=4) responded ‘okay’; and seven percent(n=2) responded ‘not well’. (See Table 25, Appendix B).Finally, to the general question on how well the NEChad met their expectations, thirty-three (n=33) responded.Seventy—three percent (n=24) responded ‘very well’; eighteenpercent (n=6) responded ‘well’; seven percent (n=2) responded‘not well’; and fifteen percent (n=4) responded both ‘well’and ‘not well’. (See Table 26, Appendix B).THEIR MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBSTACLESThirty-two identified their major responsibilities whileattending the NEC. Forty-one percent (n=13) indicated familyand/or children as their major responsibilities; fifteenpercent (n=5) indicated financial responsibilities; thirteenpercent (n=4) indicated personal responsibilities; twenty-fourpercent (n=B) indicated health responsibilities; and sixpercent (n=2) indicated commitment to self and studies asmajor responsibilities. (See Table 27, Appendix B).Thirty-three identified the major obstacles they faced atthe NEC. Sixty-seven percent (n=22) related the obstacles torelationships in the family and/or community relationships, atthe NEC, or both the above. Nine percent (n=3) reported theirobstacle as financial; twelve percent (n=4) reported personalchallenges; while another twelve percent (n=4) related themto institutional and family circumstances. (See Table 28,Appendix B).66Graduates generally reported funding levels while at NECas inadequate. (See Tables 29 - 31, Appendix B).MAJOR SUPPORT SYSTEMSThirty-seven of the graduates completed the phrase thatasked them to identify their most helpful source of support.Eighty-one percent (n=30) identified program coordinatorsand/or instructors as most supportive; thirty—two percent(n=l2) identified administrative staff as most supportive;and forty-six percent (n=18) identified students as mosthelpful.Fifty-one percent (n=l9) of the respondents reportedreceiving help from more than one of the above sources.Twenty—two percent (n=8) identified more than two sources ofsupport at the NEC.But when asked to identify what really helped them tosuccessfully get through their programs at NEC sixty-fivepercent (n=24) of the respondents checked family; thirty-twopercent (n=l2) checked general NEC student services;eighty—one (n=30) checked friends; fourteen percent (n=5)checked First Nations student services at NEC and twenty-two percent (n=8) checked community services outside of NECSixty—five percent (n=24) checked more than one source ofsupport; thirty percent (n=ll) checked more than two sourcesof support; and sixteen percent (n=6) checked more than threesources of support.67FOCUS GROUP PRINCIPAL FINDINGSDESCRIPTION OF THE RESPONDENTSAlthough the author of the thesis merged and authored theNEC focus group findings in the final report to the Ministryusing a central quote and quotes with some variation to eachquestion; a limitation cited in the final report was the lackof contextual analysis similar to that done with the UBC data.To identify the context of the data, the researcherrevisited the focus groups data separately from one another.The graduates had been sent the following questions whichrelate to their school experiences before and while attendingthe NEC as well as their educational and work experiencesince leaving NEC.1) What led you to choose the Native Education Centreversus other educational institutions?2) As a First Nations person, what at the NativeEducation Centre did you find most/least helpful?3) In what way is your experience at Native EducationCentre relevant to what you are doing now, eithereducationally, career or community wise?THE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 1The contexts that the respondents from one group providedfor choosing to attend the NEC included previous negativeschool, career, or life experiences. The examples they gavewere being in reform school, in public school, in residentialschool as well as being afraid of returning to school andbeing dissatisfied with previous career choices andemployment.68Relevance Of Non-First Nations InstitutionsA couple of the respondents emphasized that otherschools/institutions were problematic:• . . When I was going to (residential school), theypushed this English into my face, whether I likedit or not. I remember the first day I started ingrade 1, I had problems. They didn’t like me.While another commented on the negative effects of beingin residential school:• . . because for years when I was in residentialschool you know, I mean, we were brainwashed intothinking our history was nothing to be proud of..And at least one feels ambivalence about attending a non—native institution:• . . I felt if I went to a non-Native institution Iwould be pretty isolated..The contexts that the respondents from the other groupprovided for choosing to attend the NEC, were previouslyrelated negative and positive cultural issues. The negativecomments included a respondent only knowing part of hermother’s culture and another respondent feeling that otherinstitutions did not represent First Nations people,historically or politically.Cultural Alienation/DeprivationMany of the respondents related serious concerns aboutnot having the opportunity to grow up in their culture. Suchdeprivation caused negative feelings toward oneself:69I didn’t grow up with my Native background andI was at a point (at) my life where I reallyneeded to know who I was and where I came from...because I was changing my life and I wanted a betterlife.., because I didn’t really have a pride in whoI was, not just being Native, but just in who I was...;And one relates it to feeling restless careerwise:.and at this stage, I hadn’t really much to do withmy culture at all, and I think. . there was probably agreat gap in my life. .1 wasn’t aware of it except thatI seemed to be awfully restless. . .careerwise.While another to the importance of learning about oneself:I started to ask myself a few questions aboutmyself, who I was. . .because I didn’t. .1 wasn’traised in the Native way or Native tradition andI didn’t know very much about myself in that aspect.One talks about growing up away from ‘home’:because I was (raised) in a non—Native communityand I knew nothing except for mother’s hobbies, orpart of ‘her’ culture.. .she spoke Native at home andstuff like that, but I never grew up in the environment.The positive comments the respondents made were hearingpositive ‘things’ about NEC from friends and family;indicating the importance of learning about own and otherFirst Nations cultures and sharing that one’s children werealso going to NEC at the time of the focus group interview.Goals Appropriate To First Nations Context/CommunityThere is emphasis on the importance of how educationwould impact self and others in the wider community:.so that it would benefit me and the world out there...70One expresses commitment toward First Nations children:.1 hadn’t really thought of what I wanted to dothen, our children. . .who is out there for ourchildren?.. .you don’t hear of too many daycares onNative (reserves) . . . so, I took my ECE (early childhoodeducation)..;and another expresses commitment to the future and to the nextgeneration:I wanted to be prepared for that (future) and alsohave the educational background of the history ofthe people that were ahead of us; that brought usto this point in our development and we are thestepping stones for the next generation.THE REASONS FOR CHOOSING TO ATTEND THE NEC.The salient themes from both focus groups to question oneare: the desire to learn about First Nations heritage and tobe with First Nations people; the milieu at NEC;accessibility of NEC; and the relevance of NEC topersonal, academic, career choices.Desire To Learn About First Nations HeritageAnd To Be With First Nations People:Some graduates clearly make a connection between learningabout First Nation heritage and being with First Nation’people; learning about heritage as a benefit; taking theresponsibility of learning and passing on that learning toothers.and I wanted to be around Native people and peopleI could relate to and find my roots.And:So I thought I should get myself educated in ourNative heritage and be able to pass it on.71While others emphasize the importance of being with Nativepeople:and I wanted to go to school with Native people...and it was all Native people..to try and say yes, I belong here, I deserve tobe here.Milieu At NEC.:Some expressed the importance of being comfortable andfeeling welcome; feeling at home; and being able to enjoyone’s self.Some express the importance of feeling comfortable andwelcome:• . .when I first came here, even just coming here toapply, I felt immediately welcomed and that was thecomfort in it...;And:.there’s one thing Native people find. . .there’s alot of comfort with each other;the importance of being accepted:.and then I.. .you know.. .1 knew I didn’t have toprove myself...and to enjoy oneself:and they all praised the school. . .how much funit was to be there...And feeling at home:when I came here I felt like I was coming home.Some felt comfortable in a ‘friendly’ atmosphere:the reason I started here was everybody wasfriendly. . .the first time I thought ‘Oh no,shouldn’t go’, but everybody.. .was so friendly72.that I thought, I’ll feel comfortable...I was very impressed... (with) the atmosphere of theschool....When I came here I felt like I was coming home...While others expressed the importance of being accepted andbeing able to anticipate making friends — one especially whenolder:...You don’t know whether you’ll be able to make friends,you know how it is when you get older.Accessibility of NEC.:One described the efficient admissions process comparedto a community college where the waiting list was six monthlong. Another respondent described the personal interviewwith a senior staff member:• . . I found out it really was quite easy to get intothis school. . . if I wanted to go to (other communitycollege), I’d have to put my name on a six monthwaiting list...Another describes the efficient admissions process:It was like, I think I want to go to school and hereI am, I’m here, I’m in! Ya know, I didn’t na, maybenext year...;while one recalls the personal interview with a senior staffmember:...(I had) an appointment with (staff name) so I cameto see (name) and talked to him and he accepted me.Relevance:The topic of relevance was related to aspects ofpersonal, academic and career choices.73They relate their choices to return to school with makingmajor personal life changes:I quit school when I was 16..and I had been going tovarious different schools of f and on, trying to reestablish myself into a learning mode but it wasn’tworking....;and:...I’m a recovering alcoholic and after I’d been soberfor a couple of years I didn’t like where the alcoholhad led me. . .1 decided I wanted to go back to school.Another relates choosing NEC to his responsibility torearing his son:my son came into my life at that time. . . that changed mywhole life.. .1 was thinking I’ve got to find a job. .1thought about going back to school, get my grade 12...I knew about the N.E.C.Others chose to attend NEC because programs relateddirectly to careers they were interested in:I took a work experience and found I liked workingin an office atmosphere. . . they said the NEC hassecretarial training now. • so I ran around. . . and theyaccepted me;I sort of looked around at some of the programs....and Tourism seemed kind of fine;I came here to get all the information (to)benefit me. . . career—wise...;and:I just got tired of working manual labor, differentodd jobs and I always like criminal justice systemso I came down and I ran across a pamphlet...One refers to the transferability of the program:was a university transfer (program)...that’swhat I was looking for..74Another recognizes the employable skills gained:You’ve got employable skills. . .get out there andget a job!Several chose to attend NEC because programs relateddirectly to careers they were interested in:I came across a book from the NEC that had all thatprograms and everything and the Criminal Justice onereally caught my eye.. .it was in the field of what Iwas doing at the halfway house.it was a university transfer (program) . . .that’s whatI was looking for...Finally, one commented on the employable skills developed inrelationship to gaining employment.After answering the first question the respondents addedadditional comments that they wanted to share. During thissecond time around, they confirmed each others’ experience byrelating their similar experiences in similar situations. Inmost cases, the respondents did not make the associationdirectly except as follows:I can really relate to what (name) has said aboutthe comfort. All those years that I spent in otherinstitutions, like mainstream education institutions,I mostly did find it sort of a cold, sort of a sterileenvironment, but I . . . .thought that was the norm. Ididn’t realize that there was anything different untilI came here (referring to NEC) . . . it was like cominghome.QUESTION #2: WHAT AT THE NEC DID YOU FINDMOST/LEAST HELPFULTHE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 2The contexts of from both focus groups in respondirg towhat they found most/least helpful at NEC were: heavy75workload and feeling like quitting; prejudice in grade andhigh school; settling ‘old’ issues; and wanting to stayconnected to the NEC even after leaving. The respondents mostoften emphasized incidents of prejudice and racism.Experience With Preludice And RacismSome of the respondents express painful experiences withracism during elementary school:• . . I really became aware that Native people werebeing really discriminated against...;before, I had a hard time being a minority ingrade school in my environment and in my community;And:...and a lot of things went on during...grade school,like a lot of prejudice against me, and I didn’t understand it.Others experience similar concerns in high school and/orcollege:• . .and a lot of things went on during high school...like a lot of prejudice against me”;the shameful feelings and its effect academically:in high school.. .there weren’t very many Natives. .wewere always picked on, called on, and I became veryashamed of being Native. .the other two learned to fitin with the Caucasians. . .did certain things that theywere accepted. .they figured, oh well, she can’t handleit anyway.. . so I gave up:and the undue stress in proving oneself:in the high schools and even in college. . .was thefeeling of wanting or the need to prove myself to bethere...with this constant fight, the stress wouldoverload.76Finally, one respondent feels caught between ‘both’ worlds:• . .all the way through my childhood, I was not welcomein either my home reserve or in Vancouver in my school.•..I’d hang around with my Native friends and I’d becalled derogatory names, you know, chug and squaw andstuff, and then I’d go home for the summer and becalled honkey, white trash and whatever.WHAT THE GRADUATES FOUND MOST HELPFUL AT NECThe salient themes from both focus groups to question twoare: learning about First Nations cultures/issues; personalempowerment/First Nations identity; helpfulness of instructorsstaff and students; possibility of multiple programs andprogram and course quality and influence of friends andfamily.Learning About First Nations Cultures/Issues:One indicates that learning about heritage as mosthelpful:• . .that (learning about heritage) is the most helpfulthing that I’ve learned at this Centre;and another the strong desire to learn about Native people:• . . and I thirsted for that. I needed to know moreabout the Native people, where we stand in today’ssociety and where we might be going in our future.Personal Empowerment/Self-esteem/Development ofFirst Nations IdentityOne relates how confidence increases with learningabout self:I benefited by learning about myself and who I am..I can stand up and I know what I am talking about...;77and others are empowered by the learning process:You realize your potential and you go, ‘Oh my god,I can do anything’;the opportunity to discover new skills:I really liked the opportunity to start new things..it was really good for the self—esteem and to be ableto practice skills I wasn’t aware that I had. .1 couldhelp others enjoy things in a very positive way..;and one describes how her educational experience increasesher confidence:• .now, (my experience at the NEC) it’s turned meinto a good argumentative person!.. .taught me tobe more proud of who I am...like a more whole person...;and how being at NEC is supportive to self—expression:• . .a lot of people, the way I see it, that come hereare searching for direction of some kind and beingable to express themselves in whichever way they canis good on a positive note...Another speaks honestly about struggles associated withclassroom learning and the effort required to learn:• . .1 had to learn to take my ego and set it asideand be quiet..I had to learn to be quiet. .1 guessI was a detriment sometimes to the learning processin that group. . and it still is difficult..;One relates the difficulty she has with a course because ofthe healing process she was in:I just barely passed (course) because I had so muchhealing to deal with, but the other subjects I hadtaken, I had not problems with...while another strives for academic excellence:Whenever I got frustrated or tired or didn’t thinkcould write another page..I thought of that plaque(award) and I thought how badly I wanted it. .And Igot it!..it is the incentive to actually go out anddo it and be proud of working for it and getting it;78One recognizes the pride in accomplishment:(cultural courses) would increase your confidence inyour abilities too.. it’s known to give a person pridein creating something...;and desiring to be a part of the Native community:I really needed to find out where I fit andI know where I wanted to be, I wanted to bepart of the Native community.Helpfulness Of Instructors/StaffThere are several comments about instructors whoencourage and give positive reinforcement:it was the instructors. .the instructor told meI had good potential. . she said if you really want topass, you got to come in and do work on your own. • soshe gave me a chance and I took the option to do it..,they understand. . I had emotional support as well asthe understanding;They show caring and advise learners to be challenging:some of the teachers were helpful. .they were socaring and took a key interest in our lives and inour thoughts..encouraged us to challenge them, notin a confrontational way but to challenge theirtheories and beliefs;instill pride and promote self—acceptance:• .they talk to you to be proud of who you are andnot to hide the fact or try to be somebody else..it just more or less helped me;insist on high standards:• some of our teachers were brutal.. .everyonewould be complaining and really upset. . he said,‘You’ve got to show improvement in that area,you aren’t going nowhere with that type of writingskill’. .. .After awhile I learned to appreciate that;and encourage learners to ask questions:79.our teachers were very helpful. .we were toldthat no question is a stupid question. . we were openlyencouraged to ask anything. .that was very helpful;I found all my teachers here extremely encouragingand helpful. . even if you asked the same question threetimes. .they would keep answering as long as you neededhelp.Some commented on the approachability of the instructors:.and the instructors as well. And we could approachthem at any time no matter how trivial the question mayseem, they were always there to help and usually thesewere the pieces of the jigsaw that gave you the wholepicture in the final analysis;and their helpfulness:I got that little push and you get that urge togo on;If you had any problem at all, myself I had a bit ofa language problem (and) they provided help for youhere. They got somebody in special. (And) there’sno other place that you can get that...;Ya, they pushed me, cause I was about ready to dropout,especially the first time - and we talked and talkedand talked. Then I said, ‘Okay, I’ll give it a try’.So I gave it a try and I had to talk to them again”;and the teachers, everyone pats you on the backsaying, ‘You can do anything you want to do’.The most helpful for me was.. . there were two teacherswho I really appreciate;...how great the teachers were...Others praise counsellor support:If you need counsellors they were a lot of help tome for solving my difficulties. . . and they were sohelpful when I needed help. They were there andwhen you needed them, they said, ‘Come on in, talkto us’;80and(a staff member) had a whole bunch of doors forme to try and . . . ended up helping me get fundingfrom UIC for the year...;while others note ‘staff ‘ helpfulness:Everybody was just so helpful;approachability:Other staff in the school were good, used to be ableto go talk to them, anybody;and dedication:.the staff and everybody was just great.The staff were pretty good, the instructorsespecially that (program coordinator), she wasreally good. I heard the others were just asgood too.Milieu And AtmosphereOthers comment on the positive and helpful environment:I’m not too sure whether I would have kept on if Iwasn’t in this environment;The most helpful, just being at the Native schoolreally helped a lot;Just the atmosphere I think for me was good for kindof a move from a small town into the city, it waskind of a culture shock. Meeting everybody here, it’slike a family. So that’s the best part;I found most helpful, is everything that’s locatedright here in the building. Everything is so available:the library, the counsellors;andanother thing I found helpful was the environment,just being in the building. . it always a good feeling.81It’s like a big family.Others comment on student unity:and the unity of the students. . .1 really enjoyedthat experience of the students coming together andbeing really close...;The most helpful thing I found here I guess is theunity of all the students and the instructors as well.Two contrast being at NEC to other learning (college)institutions:(in contrast to the NEC)..I found it hard. .going to(community college), ‘cause of the unity of thestudents here. . .you don’t know anybody, they’re notthe same. You don’t get the same unity.in other institutions. . .1 mostly did find it sortof cold sort of a sterile environment. .1 didn’t realizethat there was anything different until I came here...it was like coming home.Possibility Of Multiple ProgramsAt least three of the graduates were enrolled in NativeAdult Basic Education NABE) before they enrolled in the one ofSkills Training Programs:she took her GED, Micro—computer and similar thingsI took...;...I only made it to Grade 8..it’s time I started.I.. I started in ‘89 and then I started here in ECE(early childhood education)...;andI left and I came back again last year and took myECE.. I’ve been wanting to do this for yearsWhile one graduate expresses the desire to take ‘another’program;82.1 wanted to stay and get into another program...;one comments on finishing two office skills programs:I got my Secretarial Office Training and my microcomputer.The above 2 programs were designed as Part 1 and Part 2but are now one program — ‘Office Administration Training’.Courses And Program qualityThe following quotation praises the program organizationand instructor commitment:The course itself was really organized and she(program coordinator) really kept the students (in)with it;the involvement of qualified instructors in the field:The course here was really great, we got a lot ofinstructors from outside the course as well as in;one thing I found most helpful was the small classeswe had a lot of individual attention;the advantage of outside speakers:another helpful thing was the outside speakers, notnecessarily instructors. . even from mainstream society..we had all these neat professional people come in whowere really interested in us;and the added opportunity of practical ‘hands on’ learning:And we went on practicum, we went on field trips andwe did it all made drums. It was all beneficial tothe course;...in office work and computers. .they have practicumswhere you can go out and get work experience..One quotation praises the benefit of many courses:My education with the school, has taught me a lot.We had a variety of courses...;83andThe course here was really great...the following expresses receiving the opportunity to begin andcontinue ‘learning’:the day I stepped in, I started learning. I wentfrom my grade (8), got my GED, and I carried on to myECE, and from that point on I’ve been just goingforward.The next comment shows the pride experienced in learning andthe motivation gained from course opportunities:They basically showed you how to run a video camerathen they took you into the studio where you learnedediting. . .and what we’d do is have little mock newscastand interviews. Then we started getting kind ofpolitical and we started going, ‘Let’s have a marchand video tape it’!Yet others are disappointed that cultural classes are nota part of the Skills Training Programs curricula:what I would like to see. . when I came here I wasreally disappointed that I couldn’t take any of theircultural courses..I had this awesome opportunity tocome to this school and I couldn’t take even one ofthe cultural courses, I was really heartbroken. . thatwould have helped with some of the healing, with thatattitude;and feel ‘left’ out:we are having lecture after lecture downstairswhile (other) students are playing, you know, makingdrums and playing their drums and. . it could havehappened in the second semester...One speaks for self and others wanting cultural classes:I know for a fact we really wanted to get in onsome of the culture;whereas another relates taking cultural classes as being apart of NEC:84they’d feel more part of NEC if they did get to dosomething (a cultural course).Influence Of Friends/FamilyMany commented on the support they also received fromfriends:• . it was the teachers and my friends. .we gave eachother support and it was encouraging that we allgive each other that kind of support;how they formed study groups:(we) kinda reached out to others right from thestart.. once we got to know each other, we usuallyformed our own study groups..we had to help each other. .we did form study groupsand we supported one another and if someone didn’tshow up, we called..;and helped one another:I found my classmates extremely helpful. .you don’twait until you fall into a certain way, we wereautomatically in that circle just by being here..;Because you get all this support from the students.while another felt fitting in was quite natural:You just blend naturally, it’s not like a group apartwhere you have to be a certain way. . everyone acceptseveryone the way they are...Others met relatives/friends from other times:(I found that I)..knew people that (I) hadn’t seenfor awhile. .when (I started talking) to somebody interms you are related to them? I came across a fewstudents that, ‘my god, you’re my mother’s cousin,and you know, stuff like that..’;andComing here... you have friends from different placesand I ran across a lot of people whom I met over theyears. Just kind of never kept in touch. . . it was nice.85THE CONTEXT TO QUESTION 3The contexts that the respondents from one group providedfor the way in which their experience at the NEC wasrelevant to what they were doing in education, employment orin the community, included past negative school experiences;future employment possibilities in relationship to identityissues; and school/work experiences at the N.E.C.The context the respondents from the other group providedwere explanations of how education at NEC reinforced theircommitment to their roles in their own businesses and/orcontributions to making a difference in the community.WHAT THE GRADUATES FOUND RELEVANTThe graduates responded positively to all of the threeaspects of the question.Directly Employment RelatedOf the eleven focus group participants seven wereemployed; two were continuing their education; one wasactively seeking employment; and one was developing her ownbusiness.Some cite their employment experience:Work has really worked out well because (of) whatI gained from different courses — the (program),first—aid, (course). Those things worked for mereally well I’ve been working ever since;two steady jobs, basically, and other part-time jobs.I’ve always been working since I’ve been in school;I’m working now, but all the courses that I tookgot me to this point of employment. And I’m usingeverything I got out of my job training, so, that’sreally helpful, and the job, that I’m in, I’m learninga lot about community services;86With the practicum placements, the majority of theclass, I myself, they were really good. They gave thestudents the experience they were interested in...whatever their interests were. It was a really goodpart of the program. A lot of students did get jobsfrom them. I’ve had a job since then and I’m stillworking;and:now I see people from (my home town) and I tellthem (I finished school at) the NEC. . .they’re like,Wow are you ever lucky... .they asked me what I’m doingnow and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m working for them now’.. .theyjust can’t believe it.Others relate their NEC experience to future careergoals:Just the experience of being here has given me aclearer vision of exactly what I want to do — it’snarrowed down to where I have a target in my mindwhich is always my dream. . it has given me the directionof where I’m going;And now I want to run my own daycare on my reserve...(now I have my E.C.E.)...I’m working together withmy Chief and a social worker to get everything togetherfor me...;and the one who is actively seeking employment:I have two positions that I am waiting for, (field)at (place) and the Band, whichever comes first, I’mgoing to take it;and the other who is developing her own business:.but because I took the Native course I reallyenjoyed what was offered, I would like to positionmyself in Native Tourism industry. It has taught mequite a bit in regards to all my interests, career—wiseand my creativity.87Community Related (First Nations culture/pride/valuesissues)One graduate relates learning about her culture to prideand belonging:And coming to this school made me feel proud of myculture and also let me enjoy and be part of thecommunity; like open the door for me to be acceptedin the Native community;• . . and I learned my heritage.Some emphasis is put on learning about Native rightsespecially pertaining to the concept of community development:.the program. . .gave me overall view of what’savailable out there in the community, or what Icould do for the community. So my experience herecovers all three areas, strongest in career andcommunity, but, educationally, it gave me a broaderview of what I could learn and what I can pass on toothers. My main focus right now, is to encourageall First Nations people to get themselves educatedbecause we’re going into self—government and so weneed educated people that can deal with the communityat large, as well as within the First Nations community;and one reported increasing community sense and bonding moreclosely with family:coming here. .has brought in my community sense...I’ve asked questions, you know it’s strengthened mybond with my family . . it will grow stronger and strongeras I fulfill my needs in the spiritual sense...Another becomes aware of discriminating policies:• . it was like a whole new world opening to me..I became aware of the Indian Act, I became awareof some of the suspicions I’d had in my lifetime...that, yes, Native people were severely discriminatedagainst...;• I learned a lot about politics and Native rightsand this school’s taught me a lot in regards to rights-a lot of Native issues.88while another observes:I think a lot of the students here. .want to givesomething back to the community, to the people. .whatsets Indian people apart is if you ask most of themwhat they want to do it is something in some wayserving their own people...One becomes sensitive to community needs:being at NEC made me aware of all the needs thereare in the aboriginal community. . . to achieve self—government;to involvement in community change:I wanted to encourage other people to become involved,because now we have to do for ourselves what waspreviously done for us. That’s where I stand onthe educational part of it for now.And others become sensitive to community needs:being at NEC made me aware of all the needs thereare in the aboriginal community. . to achieve self—government;I don’t feel too alone. And, because of this program,I try to talk to younger people, be a role model; justdo my best and hopefully they’ll help other people;So its really brought me into the community and thenI’m sharing with the community things that I am learningfrom the Centre itself;and actually become involved:Oh basically, because of coming here, it kinda got meinto the Native community. I got to know a lot of Nativepeople in the city, like a family. It’s good that way;in volunteer work:I wanted to mention something about community as well.I’ve been a volunteer with the radio program andI’ve had a couple of radio shows. All of this is comingout of what I’ve gotten out of the NEC. I had a radioprogram on Native Education...;89I want it to be a continuing series. I want to do aprogram on the residential school. I’ve also had ashow on affordable housing and I have another showscheduled for (date) and I going to be interviewingsome of the instructors of and facilitators of the(NEC program) and (NEC program).Academic Achievement:Two graduates continue education in the field started atNEC:...I’m continuing my education..into my third year at(college) . .1 could have gotten a job but I knew if Ihad taken on a job with good paying money I wouldn’tgo back to school. . . so they’re still in the back of mymind;All I needed was my first year (received at NEC) andthen with the second (at other college) I just carriedon.Coming here was really good for going onto college andmost of the courses were transferable to (local college);and:I’m still going to school today, and I’ll be finishednext summer.The graduates who are employed have future academic goals:(it) gave me a wonderful foundation to go further...I’m going to take more schooling and using the knowledgeI have with the computers and the beginning accountingI would have enough to start my own business..;I’ve got my (field) diploma and right now I’m at acrossroads where I might go for my BA in my (field)at (local university) or (other local university);• .I’m going to continue on towards getting a degreeso I can be a part of the solutions towards educatingFirst Nations people.90Another comments:It wasn’t boring so, educationally it’s taught mequite a lot about the industry that I’m in right nowthat I’m striving for. I’m going into a retail outletthat I’m opening in about 2 months..;and others pass on academic support to students/community:I deal with students pretty well most of the day. . someof them know that I was once a student. .they see thatif they stick with their studies. .they do get somewhere;and:(where I did a practicum) . . the NEC helped me get myties there.. and. .they’re starting a scholarship. . forstudents who have gone through the NEC..so it’s helpedme in that sense as well.Whereas, the following show academic self—confidence:And academically, it helped me out tremendously.. .1had a grade 8 education, I came here and acquired allmy basic education...;• . . now I consider myself to be somewhat academicallysound...;I’m really proud of how far I’ve come — from a grade 8education.. ••;and another passes on pride in being Native:• . there are quite a few Native women there. . and beingthat I found out a little bit more about the Native partof myself I’m more about to help them. .in dealing withtheir Nativeness or telling them that they can be proudof who they are.Finally, one individual finds the program so interestingthat he/she doesn’t want to leave:And I found that it (program) was so interesting thatwhen I did graduate, I didn’t want to leave here...and:91I think I’ve benefited tremendously from walking inand being a scared person with a grade 8 education andcoming up with all these ideas and ambitions.The following expresses improved commitment to education:• . .Then (I) realized, “Ya, that’s what I want to do, iscontinue my education;and one has children attending NEC:• . .1 have three children coming here. . and they aredoing very well right now for themselves. ••;while another relates personal to career development:it put my goals straight. .the position I’m in todayI do. .all the things I like to do. .I’ve had to learnto become more assertive..Some of the graduates added comments beyond career,education and community relevance.General Ability/Self-esteemThe following shows the self-confidence that relates tothe NEC experience:it’s given me the confidence to know that I can,you know, that I can learn. . when I was here I was amazedthat I could do so well. .there must have been neededhealing from past experiences in school.. .1 have theability to attain knowledge;it’s hard to explain, the change that happened tome over the year that I was. • came here. .1 gained theconfidence and I found, I’m clear in what I am andwhere I am going;.when I first started the school here. .1 was verydoubtful I could do it. . now sometime I think (theteachers) wish I’d shut up!.. .I’ve gained a lot ofexperience and confidence here.Others express personal pride:• .1 did graduate. .and now I’m working for the NECand I’m really proud of that...;92in graduating:I didn’t graduate high school and I thought, ‘oh yeah,just another school, probably won’t.. .but then I learnedto be proud of myself...;I graduated from the (program) here last year in ‘92”.General Evaluative CommentsThe following relates her success to feeling comfortableat NEC:.They can’t believe it. .you’re one of the ones whowas always picked on and you still made it. I said,‘Yeah, that’s cause NEC. .you feel comfortable there;and others make the following statements:(I learned) through my program. . and support fromother staff that it was okay to make mistakes. .I’m stilla little hard on myself..;Good education experience, everything’s worked outperfectly..;It’s been a great experience, attending the school.1 really enjoyed my experience at the NEC. .I’m gladI came;So, other than that, everything about the Centre,I find really positive....;So, those things came from being right here in thisenvironment, in the NEC;and finally:• . .if anybody wanted to ask me about this school, Ithink I’d recommend them here.. .it’s a very friendly...the people and the teachers...;.it was beneficial to me and that is what I wasworking for when I first started the program here...it would be a stepping stone for me..93CONCLUSIONThe survey questionnaire findings of this study indicatethe respondents age range, gender, and First Nations heritage.The survey results also show years the respondents graduatedand the number of programs they completed at NEC, their levelof education when entering NEC and their own evaluation ofacademic preparation. The survey and focus group resultsreport the impact of NEC on the First Nations identity of therespondents and the helpful characteristics of NEC. Bothsurvey and focus group results attest to the relevance of NECeducational experience to First Nations identity/culture andcareer and educational outcomes.CHAPTER VSUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONSSUMMARYThe purpose of the study was to examine the role of aFirst Nations—specific institution in the successfulcompletion rates and educational outcomes of First Nationsadults enrolled in skills training programs over a four yearperiod.Survey questionnaires were mailed to one hundred seventy—one NEC graduates of six Skills Training programs: EarlyChildhood Education Program, Micro-Computer Training, NativePublic Administration Program, Family and CommunityCounselling Program, Tourism Supervisory Development Program,and Criminal Justice Studies who successfully completed theirprograms at the NEC during the period 1989-1992. Thegraduates of the programs participated in research between oneto three years after program completion. Thirty-nine of thegraduates returned their surveys and several agreed toparticipate in a focus group discussion. Two focus groupdiscussions were conducted during the month of June 1993 withfive participants in the first group and six in the second.The graduates answered both limited format items andopen—ended questions; reported demographic information: andrecollected their educational experiences at the NEC inrelationship to First Nations identity, culture andeducational and career outcomes.9495The focus group discussion sessions were conducted withone to two members of the FNHL, UBC research team to assist inquestioning and tape recording. I used predeterminedopen—ended questions which were mailed to the respondents whoconsented to participate in one of the combined interviews.The focus group results were transcribed into forty—sevenpages of single-spaced type written data. The data wasreported in themes with a description of the context to eachof the questions.CONCLUS IONIt is clear from the survey and focus group data that theNEC played a major role in the positive cultural identity,educational and career outcomes of the adult learners. Ipresent the plausible argument that public colleges andinstitutions do not have the same level of commitment,development and capacity to address the education needs andgoals of the First Nations population and that First Nationspost—secondary institutions such as NEC are committed toculturally relevant and quality programs for its adultlearners.The survey data verifies that NEC had a significantimpact on the First Nations identity of the graduates byreinforcing their own heritage, and cultural beliefs throughthe school context and culturally relevant issues. Thegraduates attribute the aforementioned approach to96strengthening them in their sense of self, pride and self-confidence. Seventy—five percent of the graduates whoresponded confirmed that their NEC experience had positivelyinfluenced them as a member of their communities.The study also examined institutional characteristics thatattracted and contributed to the positive experience of theadult learners. Almost half of the graduates who respondedattributed their choice to attend the NEC to positive commentsthey heard about the Centre. Another forty percent attributedtheir choices to program characteristics at the Centre.In responding to the questions on the admissions processand the first few months at the Centre, the graduates recalledtheir admissions process in positive terms. The first fewmonths at the NEC were remembered in positive terms and amixture of neutral/negative terms. At least two thirds of thegraduates who responded reported the first few months irpositive terms.Major responsibilities identified by the graduates whileattending the NEC were family and/or children, financial,personal, and health. The major obstacles the graduatesidentified were related to relationships in family and/orcommunity , at the NEC or both of the above. Otherobstacles were financial, personal challenges or circumstancesat the institution and with the family.97In responding to the question that asked the graduates toidentify where most of the help they received came from anover whelming majority indicated the coordinators andinstructors as most supportive followed by administration,staff and students at the Centre.The graduates, however, indicated family, NEC studentservices, and community services really helped them tosuccessfully complete their programs. Over half (65%) of thegraduates who responded indicated more than one source ofsupport and the remaining graduates noted up to more thanthree sources of support.To assess the institutional impact on the career andeducational outcomes the graduates were asked a series ofquestions. The results of the data indicate that asignificant number of the graduates were working in theirfield of education and in the First Nations community.The vast majority (93%) assessed that NEC had preparedthem from ‘okay’ to ‘very well’ for their careers while therest said not well (7%). Over seventy percent were satisfiedthat NEC had met their expectations very well.The focus group data when transcribed resulted in forty—seven single—spaced type written pages — a rich source ofcomments that added texture to the findings of the study. Thequalitative results from three questions that asked a) why thegraduates chose NEC and not another post secondary98institution: b) what they found most/least helpful whileattending NEC; c) to what the graduate found relevantregarding career, education, and community providedrecurring themes that were evident in the survey findings.The positive context for graduates choosing the NEC topursue their education provided a contrast to the negativeprevious school/career experiences of the graduates. Many ofthe graduates related cultural alienation/deprivation ascontexts to choosing to attend NEC They were clear abouthow urgent it was for them to involve themselves ineducational experiences that acknowledged and reinforced theiridentity as First Nations.The most striking reasons the graduates gave for choosingthe NEC were the desire to learn about First Nationsculture heritage, the milieu at the Centre, its accessibilityand relevance to personal, academic and career choices.In relating most/least helpful factors while attending NECthe graduates provided unsolicited topics that included; heavywork load at NEC, prejudice experienced in grade/high school;settling ‘old’ issues; and wanting to maintain contact withNEC even after graduation. Prejudice is discussed in terms ofpolicy, feeling like a minority in school and being picked onby other children.The helpful aspects of NEC school experience provide acontrast to previous negative school experiences of the99graduates. One of the major helpful aspects of NEC experienceis related to personal empowerment through the development ofFirst Nations identity, and academic achievement andemployable skills. The most significant helpful aspects ofNEC were the instructors and staff. The graduatescharacterized them as encouraging, supporting, instillingpride, promoting self—acceptance, insisting on high standards,being approachable and being helpful.The counsellors and administrative staff are alsocharacterized as reliable, helpful, approachable anddedicated. The milieu and atmosphere in question two arerecurring themes. These themes are referred to in terms ofits environment, being a first nations school, feeling likefamily, (just) being in the building, and student unity. Afew of the graduates compare going into colleges as lackingwarmth and student unity.Other helpful aspects of the NEC educational experiencethat the graduates relate are: possibility of the multipleprograms; course and program quality and influence of friendsand family. Graduates define program quality as beingorganized; having qualified and committed instructors; havingsmall classes, receiving individual attention, hearingresource people and participating in hands on learning.Family, friends, and fellow students are included as having asignificant and helpful influence on the positive outcome ofthe learners.100Like the survey data, the results in the focus groupdiscussions verified the relevant career, community andacademic relevance of the NEC education experience.The graduates relate their employment status and furthereducational endeavors after graduation. They relate theircommitment to community belonging and development. They havea commitment to ‘give back’ to the community and to facilitatesteps towards self—government.The graduates associated academic relevance to continuingtheir education to college/university transfer programs, whilethe employed share future academic goals. Others relatepersonal pride and self—confidence in learning and attaininggraduation.The results of this study helps to support the importanceof a First Nation post—secondary institution in the movementtowards positive education/career outcomes for First Nationadults and to present an argument that for some First Nationspeople an institution such as the NEC is critical. Theresults support the statement that “no one is more expert thanFirst Nation communities themselves in what their situationrequires” (Chrisjohn 1991:185).The implication of a separate facility with programsspecifically designed to prepare First Nations people in their‘own’ social, educational, political and economic advancementas expressed by the graduates is critical and effective. The101atmosphere, warmth, friendliness and supportiveness have beencomforting and encouraging to many of the graduates.All of the programs include the necessary college coursesfor accreditation in their fields. What makes the educationalexperience unique is the delivery of the programs in afacility owned, administered and operated by a First Nationsnon-profit society elected by First Nation community members.Although the institution is affiliated with a localcommunity college for funding and accreditation, a significantlevel of autonomy is maintained in the adaptation, developmentand implementation of courses and programs which are unique incontent and delivery.The NEC is able to attract serious contenders ineducation from a diverse population of First Nations peoplealthough predominately from British Columbia are from otherprovinces in Canada.The infrastructure of the NEC, the administration,administrative staff, the student support services whichincludes the registrar, library, family violence resourcecentre, counseling department and student placementcoordinator and the full time program coordinator/instructorsassigned to each of the skills training programs make up thedynamic delivery and support mechanism of this educationalsetting.102The other most striking attributes offered by thegraduates were the relevance of the NEC experience to theFirst Nation culture/identity, the helpfulness andsupportiveness of instructors, staff, and fellow students.The graduates assess NEC as meeting their educational andcareer outcomes. Many have secured employment in the FirstNations community with which they have developed closer tiesand commitment.In addressing the question as to whether publicinstitutions could incorporate dimensions found positve in theNEC setting, I have observed that several of the colleges anduniversities are attempting to do so more than in the past.While they might over a given length of time encorporate amore congenial atmosphere for First Nations People, they havea long way to go in developing and delivering programs thathave their focus the preparation of First Nations to beequally competitive in the ‘wider’ community as well as theirown. It is doubtful that the same level of commitment andquality of educational opportunity can be served better thanby institutions governed and operated by First Nationsthemselves.In a dynamic mechanism in a separate facility designedas a North West coast longhouse NEC is a service of strengthand support for the learners/graduates of the programs and tomany it is a ‘home’ away from home.103The Urban Native Indian Education Society Board ofDirectors are committed to the ongoing development of theNative Education Centre offering programs which are at thediploma and degree levels. In addition, they have developedpolicy and procedures regarding research in their institution.The survey questionnaire and focus group methodologiesare useful research tools. As an educational institution,follow—up of graduates and other learners is crucial tounderstanding and assessing the effectiveness of programcontent and delivery. A shorter version of the surveyadministered as an exit survey to graduates warrants somethought. The Board of Directors has asked NEC to developand present ways which the study results of this researchmight be useful in the community.104BIBLIOGRAPHYAtleo, Richard. (1989). “Grade 12 Enrollments of StatusIndians In British Columbia: 1949-1985.” Unpblisheddoctoral dissertation, University of B.C., Vancouver.Archibald, Jo-ann. (1986a). “Locally Developed Native StudiesCurriculum: An Historical and Philosophical Rationale.”In Selected Papers from the First Mokakit Conference.Mokakit Indian Education Assoc., Vancouver, B.C.Archibald, Jo-ann et al.(1993). “Honouring What They Say: ThePost—Secondary Experiences of First Nations Graduates.”First Nations House of Learning: U.B.C. Vancouver, B.C.unpbl.(l986b). “Completing a Vision: The Native IndianTeacher Education Program at the University of BritishColumbia.” Canadian Journal of Native Education. Volume13, Number 1.Ashworth, Mary. (1979). The Forces Which Shaped Them. NewStar Books, Vancouver, B. C.Assembly of First Nations. (1988). Tradition and Education:Towards a vision of Our future.” Ottawa, Ont.Barman, Jean. (1986). “Separate and Unequal: Indian and Whitegirls at All Hallows School, 1884—1920.” In Barman, J.,Hebert, Y.M. & McCaskill, Don,eds. 1986 Indian Educationin Canada: Volume 1. The Legacy, 110-131. Vancouver,B.C.:Barnhardt, Ray. (1991). “Higher Education in the Fourth World:Indigenous People Take Control.” Canadian Journal ofNative Education. Volume 18, Number 2.Barman, Jean; Hebert, Yvonne & McCaskill, Don,eds. (1986).Indian Education In Canada, Volume 1: The Legacy.Vancouver, B.C.: University of British Columbia Press._____(1987). Indian Education In Canada, Volume. 2: TheChallenge. Vancouver: University of British ColumbiaPress.___(1987). “The Challenge of Indian Education: AnOverview.” In Barman, J., Hebert, Y.M. & McCaskill, Don,eds. 1987 Indian Education In Canada, Volume 2: TheChallenge, 1-21. Vancouver B.C.: University of BritishColumbia Press.105British Columbia. (1916). Report of the Royal Commission onIndian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia.Victoria: Acme Press Ltd. (in four volumes). Transcriptsfrom the library of the Union of British Columbia IndianChiefs.________(1969). Master Tuition Agreement. Victoria,B.C. Ministry of Education.(1979). Policy Statement on Indian Education.Victoria, B.C. Ministry of Education.(1988). Master Tuition Agreement. Victoria.B.C. Ministry of Education.Canada. (1927). House of Commons. Special Committee Appointedto Inquire into the Claims of Allied Indian Tribes ofBritish Columbia. Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence ofJoint Meeting with like Committee of Senate. Ottawa: F.A.Acland, Printer to the King.Cardinal, Harold. (1969). The Unlust Society: The Tragedy ofCanada’s Indians. Edmonton: M.B. Hurtig Ltd._(1977). The Rebirth of Canada’s Indians.Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers.Carnew, Fred. (1984). “Toward Policy in Native Education.”Multicultural Education Journal, Volume 2, November 1984.Carnoy, Martin & Henry M. Levin. (1985). Schooling and Work inthe Democratic State. Stanford: Stanford UniversityPress.Cassivi, Denis & MacNeil, K. (1985). Dialogue on Curriculum.University College of Cape Breton Press. Sydney, NovaScotia.Cazden, C., V.John, and D. Hymes, eds. (1972). Functions ofLanguage in the Classroom. New York: Teachers CollegePress.Chrisjohn, R., Pace, D., Young, S., & Mrochuk, M. (1993).“Psychological Assessment and First Nations: Ethics,Theory, and Practice.” Submitted for publication in theFourth Mokakit Conference Proceedings, J. Archibald & S.Selkirk eds. Vancouver: Mokakit.106Chrisjohn, Roland. (1986). “The Mythology of IndianEducational Research.” In Selected Papers from theMokakit Conference. Mokakit Indian Education ResearchAssociation: Vancouver.Chrisjohn, Roland, Towson, Shelagh & Peters, Michael (1988).“Indian Achievement in School: Adaptation to HostileEnvironments.” In Berry, J.W., Irvine, S., & Hunt, E.eds. Indigenous Cognition: Functioning in CulturalContext, 257-283. 1988. Dordrecht, The Netherlands:Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Chrisjohn, R., Belleau, C., & Others. (1991).”Faith Misplaced:Lasting Effects of Abuse in a First Nations Community.”Canadian Journal of Native Education, 18, 161—197.Collins, Ray. 1984. “Native Indian Education Centre: SomeHistorical Notes.” Unpub. Essay,Vancouver, B.C.Cummins, Jim. (1984). Bilingualism and Special Education:Issues in Assessment and Pedagogy. Cleveland, Eng.:Multilingual Matters, and San Diego: College Hill Press.Dennis, Jackie. & Zacharias, J. (1994). “Association of FirstNations Post Secondary Institutes: StudentDemographics.” Unpbl.Dosman, Edgar J. (1972). Indians: The Urban Dilemma.McClelland and Steward Ltd.Duff, Wilson. (1964). The Indian History of British Columbia.Volume 1: The Impact of the White Man. Anthropology inBritish Columbia. Memoir No. 5.Echols, F. & Kehoe, J. (1987). “An Evaluation of the Programsand Policies of the Urban Native Indian EducationCentre.” Unpbl .paper. Vancouver: U.B. C.Emerson, Larry W. (1987). “Tradition, Change and Survival.”Canadian Journal of Native Education. Volume 14, Number3.Fisher, Grant L. 1985. Letter to Howard Green, Administratorof N.E.C., December 2.Fisher, Robin. (1977). Contact and Conflict. Vancouver B.C.:University of British Columbia Press.Feuerstein, R. (1979). The Dynamic Assessment of RetardedPerformers: The Learning Potential Assessment Device,Theory, Instruments, Technique. Baltimore: UniversityPress.107FNHL. (1991) .FNHL Longhouse brochure. Vancouver,B.C: FirstNations House of Learning. University of BritishColumbia.Foley, Douglas E. (1991). “Reconsidering AnthropologicalExplanations of Ethnic School Failure.” In Anthropologyand Education quarterly. Volume 22.Gardner, Ethel B. (1986). “Unique Features of a Band-controlled School: The Seabird Island Community School.”Canadian Journal of Native Education. Volume 13,Numberl.Green, Howard. (1985). Letter to Dr. Grant Fisher, DeputyMinister. November 8._______(1986). Letter to Dr. Grant Fisher, DeputyMinister. May 20._(1986). Letter to Dr. Grant Fisher, DeputyMinister, August 12.Green, Howard. (1985). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1984-1985.” Unpbl.(1986). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1985-1986.” Unpbl.(1988). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1987—1988.” Unpbl._(1989). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1988-1989.” Unpbl.Haig-Brown, Celia. (1988a). Resistance and Renewal: SurvivingThe Indian Residential School. Vancouver: TillicumLibrary._(1991). “Taking Control: Power and Contradictionin First Nations Adult Education.” Unpblished. doctoraldissertation. The University of B.C.: Vancouver.Hawthorn, Harry B. (1958). Indians of British Columbia.Ottawa: Queen’s Printer.Hawthorn, Harry B. , ed. (1967). A Survey of the ContemporaryIndians of Canada: Economic, Political, Educational NeedsAnd Policies. Volume II. Ottawa: Indian Affairs Branch.Hebert, Yvonne. (1987). “Evaluation of Indian Education:Issues and Challenges.” In Barman, Jean et al. 1987.Indian Education in Canada. Volume 2: The Challenge.Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.108Hoisti, Ole R., Loomba, Joanne K., and Robert c. North.(1968). “Content Analysis.” In Lindzey, Gardner andAronson Elliot, eds. 1968. The Handbook of SocialPsychology. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley PublishingCompany.Holzner, Burkart and Marx, John H. (1979). KnowledgeApplication: The Knowledge System in Society. Toronto:Allyn and Bacon Inc.Hymes, D. (1974). Foundations in Sociolincruistics: AnEthnographic Approach. Philadelphia: University ofPennsylvania Press.Indian Act. (19780. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer.Jarvis, Elizabeth 1986. Letter to The Hon. S. Hagen.Minister of Continuing Education and Job Training,Victoria, B.C. December 01.Jones, Peter. and Antoine, G. 1990. Report of The ProvincialAdvisory Committee on Post—Secondary Education forNative Learners. Victoria: Ministry of AdvancedEducation, Training and Technology.Kirby, Sandra & McKenna, Kate. (1989). Experience, ResearchSocial Change: Methods From The Margins. Toronto:Garamond Press.Kirkness, Verna. (1985). “Indian Education: Past, Present andFuture.” A paper presented at the Indian HeritageConference, Walpole Island Reserve, Ontario, Nov., 1985.______(1986). “Native Indian Teachers: A Key ToProgress.” Canadian Journal of Native Education,Volume 13, Number 1.Kirkness, Verna & Bowman, Sheena S. (1992). First Nations andSchools: Triumphs and Struggles. Toronto: CanadianEducation Association.Kruger, R.A. (1988). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide ForApplied Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.LaViolette, Forrest E. (1973). The Struggle for Survival:Indian Cultures and Protestant Ethic In BritishColumbia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.MacPherson, James C. (1991). Report on Tradition andEducation: Towards a Vision of our Future. Ottawa:Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.109McKay, Alvin and McKay, Bert. (1987). “Education as a TotalWay of Life.” In Barman, Jean et al., eds. 1986 IndianEducation in Canada: Volume 2: The Challenge. Vancouver:U.B.C. PressMerritt Group. (1988). “Affiliation and Accreditation:Research Study REport for the First Nations Federation ofAdult Educators.” Unpbl.More, Arthur (1984). “Quality of Education of Native IndianStudents In Canada.” In Selected Papers from the FirstMokakit Conference. Vancouver, B.C.Ogbu, John. (1974). The Next Generation: An Ethnography ofEducation in an Urban Neighbourhood. New York: AcademicPress.Peel, A.L. June (1988). Memorandum Re: Master TuitionAgreement. Province of British Columbia.Penner, K. et al. (1983). Indian Self-Government in Canada:Report of the Special Committee on Indian Self—Government. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer.Philips, S. (1972). “Participant Structures and CommunicativeCompetence: Warm Springs Children in Community andClassroom.” In D. Hymes, ed. Functions of Language inthe Classroom. Teachers’ College Press, N.Y. 1972._______(1982). The Invisible Culture: Communication inClassroom and Community on the Warm Springs IndianReserve. New York: Longmans._(1983). The Invisible Culture: Communication inClassroom and Community on the Warm Springs IndianReserve. Longmans.Pike, R. M. (1981). “Contemporary Direction and Issues inEducation: A Sociologist View of the last 20 Years in J.D. Wilson (ed.) Canadian Education in the 80s. Calgary:Debseley Enterprises.Scollon, R.,& Scollon,S. (1981). Narrative Literacy and Face inInterethnic Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex PublishingCorporation.Selman, Gordon (1988). The Invisible Gian: A History of AdultEducation in British Columbia. Centre of ContinuingEducation, The University of British Columbia, Canada.110Shortt, Ron. (1990). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1989-1990.” Unpbl.________(1991). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1990-1991.” Unpbl.__(1992). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1991-1992.” Unpbl.(1993). “Annual Report: Urban Native IndianEducation Society 1992-1993.” Unpbl.(1992). “First Nations Education for FirstNations Learners.” In ACCC Community, Volume 5,Number 5.Sullivan, Barry M. (1988). A Legacy for Learners: The Reportof the Royal Commission on Education 1988.” Victoria,B.C.: Province of British Columbia.Stanbury, W.T. (1973). Autumn. The Education Gap: UrbanIndians in British Columbia. B.C. Studies. Number 19,pp.21—49.Tennant, Paul. (1988). “Aboriginal Rights and The PennerReport on Indian Self—Government.” In Boldt, N., Long,J., Little Bear, L. eds. The Quest For Justice.Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.(1990). Aboriginal Peoples and Politics: TheIndian Land question in British Columbia, 1849—1989.Vancouver, B.C.: University of British Columbia Press.Thomas, W.C., Fiddler, S.T., Hingley, W.,and M. Stern. (1979).Onchaminahos School— An Evaluation of the OnchaminahosSchool at the Saddle Lake reserve. Saddle Lake, Alberta:Saddle Lake Tribal Council.Urban Native Indian Education Society. (1994). “ProgramCalandar.” Vancouver,B.C.: NEC.Wherrit, B. J. (1991). “The Struggle For Inclusion:Aboriginal Constitutional Discourse in the 1970s and1980s.” Unpbl. Masters Thesis, University of BritishColumbia, Vancouver.111APPENDIX AWhen you have completed the questionnaire, please place it in the enclosedenvelope and mail it back to us. You will notice the envelope is coded. Thecode identifies you only so that we know who has responded. It does notidentify your questionnaire. Your questionnaire will be removed from theenvelope without noting your identity, in this way not only confidentiality,but complete anonymity, will be maintained.FIRST WE’D LIKE TO KNOW A BIT ABOUT YOU!1. Are you: Female? Male?2. Year of birth:3. What is your First Nations ancestry?_______________________________4. Do you identify most closely with a particular First Nations people,village, lineage, band or other First Nations group?_______If so, which one?__________________ ___ ___5. Do you speak or understand any First Nations language?If so, which one(s)? 1.__2._Speak SpeakUnderstand Understand6. Your graduation history: Please fill in one line of the table for eachcertificate, diploma or degree program you have completed.Certificate Type ofProgram Dates Faculty Concentration Diploma or Institutionor Major Degree191st to19192nd to19193rd to19194th to19In 19Progress to19N.E.C. Graduation SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE112THANK YOU FOR FILLING IN THE ABOVE ITEMS. NOW WE’D LIKE TO KNOW SOME THINGSABOUT YOUR LIFE AND EXPERIENCES IN EDUCATION BEFORE ATTENDING N.E.C.7. What was your academic experience prior to entering N.E.C. (pleasecheck or specify).____Secondary School Graduation____Mature Applicant__Adult Basic Education/General Education Program_____Other8. Please comment on how you felt about your school experience (forexample, information or assistance you received or failed to receive;any difficulties, etc.).9. As you look back, how would you rate your academic achievements?Please check on for each area listed:Math C Good C Fair C PoorSciences C Good C Fair C PoorEnglish C Good C Fair C PoorHumanities C Good C Fair C PoorFine Arts C Good C Fair C PoorMusic C Good C Fair C PoorPhysical Education C Good C Fair C PoorComments:10. The questions in this section begin with a phrase. Please complete thephrase with the response that seems appropriate to you. Use the backof the page if you need more space.a) The most support I receive in my educational experience came fromN.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE113b) The things that really helped myD Family0 Teachers0 Counsellorswhile at school were:0 Friends in School0 Friends out of School0 Community Services out ofSchoold) Besides my academic work, the major responsibilities I had whileattending school were:e) My First Nations culture influenced my pre-N.E.C. schoolexperience by________________________________________________________11. Would you comment on how the school helped and/or discouraged you (forinstance the administration, the faculty, the rules).YOU FOR FILLING IN THE ABOVE ITEMS. NOW WE’D LIKE TO KNOW SOME THINGSYOUR LIFE AND EXPERIENCES WHILE ENTERING AND ATTENDING THE N.E.C.How did you hear about N.E.C. and its programs?_ _ _c) The major problems and/or obstacles I faced at school were:THANKABOUT12.13. What made you decide to come to N.E.C.?N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE11414. Please comment on how you felt about your application, admission andregistration (for example, information or assistance you received orfailed to receive; any difficulties, etc.).15. Did you have any previous work experience in the area of yourcertificate or diploma program? Is so, what was the nature of thatwork experience?16. While I attended N.E.C. my funding was usually: (Please check on box)C adequate C barely enoughC at subsistence level C below starvation level17. My funding came from (Please fill in each line of the table below, andif you check “yes” to any funding source please check “adequate” orinadequate’.Band C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateDIAND/INAC C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateStudent Loan C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateBursaries C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateScholarships C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateOther C Yes C No C Adequate C InadequateComment of funding:________________________________________________N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE11518. As you look back, how would you rate your academic preparation forN.E.C.? Please check one for each area listed.Reading Skills 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorStudy Skills 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorExam Writing Skills 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorEssay Writing Skills 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorSecond Language Skills 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorKnowledge in Math 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorKnowledge in Sciences 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorKnowledge in English 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorKnowledge in Humanities 0 Good 0 Fair 0 PoorComments:19. Most of the questions in this section begin with a phrase. Pleasecomplete the phrase with a response that seems appropriate to you. Usethe back of the page if you need more space.a) My first few months at N.E.C. were____________________________b) The most support I received at N.E.C. came fromc) The things that really helped my get through N.E.C. successfullywere:0 Family 0 Friends0 General N.E.C. student services 0 First NationsStudent Services0 Employment opportunities at N.E.C. at N.E.C.0 Other 0 Community services(Outside N.E.C.)N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE116d) The major problems and/or obstacles I faced at N.E.C. were:e) Besides my academic work, the major responsibilities I had whileattending N.E.C. were:f) My First Nations culture influenced my N.E.C. experience by20. Would you comment on how N.E.C. as an institution helped and/ordiscouraged you (for instance, the administration, the faculty, therules).THANKS AGAIN FOR HELPING US. NOW COULD YOU TEL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LIFEAND FURTHER EDUCATION AFTER N.E.C.?21. Please share some of the highlights of your (a) work experience and/or(b) education since your last graduation from N.E.C.a) Work:_____N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE117b) Education:___________________________________________________22. As you look back, how well did your N.E.C. program prepare you for yourcareer/education? Please be as specific as you can.a) Career:b) Education:___________________________________________________23. How well did N.E.C. meet your expectations?24. How has your experience at N.E.C. influenced you in general (bothpersonally and as a member of your community)?25. Did N.E.C. as an institution have any impact on your First Nationsidentity? If so, what?N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE118THANKS ONCE MORE. AND NOW, A GLANCE INTO THE FUTURE.What would you like to see for First Nations people at N.E.C. Please usethe rest of this sheet to respond to Questions 26 & 27.26. What comments and/or suggestions would you like to give the NativeEducation Centre?27. Once again, we’d like to make sure that you know how much we appreciateyour input. Please feel free to add any other comments you may have.Were there questions we should have asked but didn’t?N.E.C. Graduate SurveyNATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE119N.E.C. First Nations Graduate Research ProjectOur research team would like to host a discussion session after thequestionnaires are analysed. We are looking for volunteers who would agreeto spend approximately three hours with other N.E.C. graduates. In thediscussion session, participants will have an opportunity to express theiropinions about the results, and will be able to voice additional commentsabout any of the questions and to make suggestions about theprograms/activities of the Native Education Centre. The discussion sessionswill be held at various locations in the province.If you are interest in participating in a discussion session, please fill outthe form below and return it to Grace Mirehouse at the Native EducationCentre. Thank you for your attention to this matter.NATIVE EDUCATION CENTRE GRADUATE DISCUSSION SESSIONName:Address:Phone:120APPENDIX B: TABLESTable 1. --Gender of GraduatesVarih1c—-——,-. %Male 6 15Female 33 85Total 39 100Table 2.--Age RangeVariable nUnder 30 years 12 29Between 30 and 41 years 14 37Over 41 years 13 34Table 7.--Native AncestryVariable nFrom B.C. 26 67Outside B.C. 13 33Total 39 100Table 8.--Identify with Firstgroup, etc.Nations people,Variable n %Yes 28 74No 10 26Total 38 100121Table 9.--Identify with ancestry/lineageVariable nSame as FM ancestry 21 70Different than ancestry 9 30Total 30 100Table 10.--Speak/Understand FM languageVariable n %Yes 24 62No 15 38Total 39 100Table 11.--First Nations LanguageVariable n %Understand 6 25Understand and Speak 18 75Total 24 100Table 12.--NEC Influenced Graduate in CommunityVariable nBelonging/increased participation 14 48Simply said yes 5 17Appreciation of FM culture 3 10Increased awareness of importanceof respect 3 10Increased knowledge in FN rightsand self—government 4 14Total 29 100122Table 13.--NEC’s impact on FN identityVariable n %Group belonging 4 13Personal growth 10 31Both of the above 8 25Awareness of FN issues,culture, skill acquisiton 8 25Already culturally oriented 2 6Total 32 100Table 14.-—Graduates’ FN culture influenced theirNEC experience.Variable nFN identity, strength,knowledge 16 59Acceptance in community 11 41Total 27 100Table 15..--How heard about NECVariable n %Personal contace 25 68Advertisement 2 5Referral(agency) 8 22Don’t know 2 5Total 37 100123Table 16.--What made you decide toVar1h1attend NEC?nAtmosphere,welcome,support 18 49Program characteristics 15 40Both of the above 1 3Employment, economics 3 8Total 37 100Table 17.——NEC admissions process experienceVariable nPositive 30 81Positive and negative 2 5Neutral and negative 5 14Total 37 100Table 18.--First few months at NECVariable nPositive 17 46Positive and negative 7 19Neutral and negative 13 35Total 37 100Table l9.——Work experience related to courseworkVariable nYes 18 53No 16 47Total 34 100124Table 20. ——Work experience since graduationVariable n %Working 27 84Not working 5 16Total 32 100Table 21.——Work experience since graduationVariable n -—Working 4 15In NEC field of educationand in FN community 10 37In NEC field of educationand in non—Native community 4 15Working in NEC field of educ. 9 33Total 27 100Table 22.——Education experience since graduationVariable nFurthered education since 23 92Had not furthered education 2 8Total 25 100Table 23.--Field of education since graduationVariable nSame field as NEC education 18 78Did not indicate field 5 22Total 23 100125Table 24.——How well NEC prepared graduates for careerVariableVery well 19 63.33Well 9 33.33okay iNot well 1 3.33Total 30 99.99nTable 25.--How well NEC prepared graduates for educationVariable nVery well 12 45Well 9 33Okay 4 15Not well 2 7Total 27 100Table 26.--How well NEC met graduates expectationsVariable n %Very well 24 73Well 6 18Well and not well 2 6Not well 1 3Total 33 100126Table 27.--Major responsibilities while at NECVariable n %Family and/or children 13 41Financial 5 15Personal 4 13Health 8 25Commitment to self and studies 2 6Total 32 100Table 28.--Major obstacles7ri h1 nRelationships in family and/orcommunity at NEC or both above 22 67Financial 3 9Personal challenges 4 12Institutional and familycircumstances 4 12Total 33 100Table 29.--Funding LevelsVariable nAdequate 7 19Subsistence 9 24Not enough 21 57Total 37 100127Table 30.——Primary funding sourcesVariab1Band (DIA ) 10CEC 230—-n -2762Health and Welfare 4 11Total 37 100Table 31.——Adequacy of primary sourceVariable nAdequate 10 31Inadecuate 22 69Total 32 100


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