UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Viewpoints of native people on education: problems and priorities of schooling in Cat Lake, Ontario Agbo, Seth A. 1996

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1996-090353.pdf [ 15.21MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0064490.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0064490-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0064490-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0064490-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0064490-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0064490-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0064490-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

VIEWPOINTS OF NATIVE PEOPLE ON EDUCATION: PROBLEMS AND PRIORITIES OF SCHOOLING IN CAT LAKE, ONTARIO By SETH A. AGBO B.A. (Education), Cape Coast, Ghana, 1976 M.Ed., Lakehead University, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Educational Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1995 © Seth A. Agbo, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of -&<E>U 6 f t T*tQ N*/H- 5 T U D l b T The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date b ^ C £ ) V \ 6 g R XT/ K? 9 ^ DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Contemporary literature on Native education attributes the failure of education for Native children to the negligence of educational policy analysts to obtain grassroots understanding of Indian education from Native perspectives, and that providing successful education programs for Native students should entail an understanding of the purpose and priorities of education from the viewpoints of Native people. The premises for this study were that, first, the failure of education for Indian children was, partly, due to the failure of researchers to analyze education concepts within a framework which fully interprets Native people's perspectives about schooling. Second, that Native people are capable of acting to improve their school system. This study had a dual purpose. First, it was to examine how the present system of education provided for Native children in the Indian reserve of Cat Lake, Ontario, might have been inadequate in terms of the expectations of the Indians living in the reserve. Second, the study was to serve as a basis of helping community people to mobilize themselves for action on educational issues. The study documented what Native people perceived were the shortcomings as well as priorities for their school system, and proposed strategies for the improvement of schooling. The objective of the study was to collaborate with the people of Cat Lake to identify problems, and priorities for their school system and find strategies by which to act on both the problems and priorities for the improvement of the school system. The research strategy for this study drew on participatory research, an alternative research approach to social science and educational research. The methods of investigation included document analysis, workshops, public meetings, recorded observations in the form of field notes, and semi-structured interviews involving the use of open-ended questionnaires with ii fifty-eight respondents. The various sources of data and procedures employed in their analysis promoted both the verification and cross validation of the results. The researcher's position as principal of the school in Cat Lake provided deep insight into understanding, interpreting and analyzing the data for the study. The results of the study indicated that although community people perceive schooling as an institution alien to the traditions and values of Indian people, they deem it important for their children to obtain quality education and attain standards comparable to children in the mainstream Canadian society. This study showed that community people lacked understanding of the meaning of local control and the processes involved in school governance. The study also indicated that among the factors that hinder an effective provision of quality education for Native children are, the poor general social and economic environment of the Indian reserve, and attitudes of community people towards schooling. Finally, the study highlighted community people's priorities for schooling in the reserve, and strategies they suggested for their implementation. This study concluded that: (1) a two-way or bi-cultural approach to education, that is, children maintaining the Indian way of life, while at the same time being competent in literacy and numeracy skills, is a way of making education relevant to the Native child; (2) in order to enhance the quality of school programs for Native students, Indian schools should minimize their reliance on mainstream Canadian school curricular products and develop a new school concept which emphasizes the traditions and culture of Native people; (3) priorities for the education of Indian children should include a re-conceptualization of local control, the articulation of a new meaning and purpose of education, the development of a suitable curriculum, and the provision iii of adequate support and maintenance facilities for the school system; and (4) for local control of education to be beneficial to Native students, politicians and education policy analysts should clearly redefine objectives concerning local control and the devolution of power should necessitate the empowerment of local people to maintain control under conditions of increasing and multiplying awareness of a philosophy of education that is capable of improving the social and economic lives of Native children. I have discussed the implications for policy, practice and further studies, as well as recommendations arising from the research and concluded with a summary of the study. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS v LIST OF TABLES . . . x LIST OF FIGURES xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xii CHAPTER 1 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY 1 Background of the Study . 1 Purpose of the Study 8 Assumptions of the Study 11 Structure of the Thesis 13 CHAPTER 2 15 LITERATURE REVIEW 15 History of Native Education 15 Treaty Rights, Promises and Indian Education 25 Local Jurisdiction 28 Interpretations of Success and Failure of Native Education 38 Decentralization and School Improvement 38 Organizational Decentralization 40 Accountability 42 Efficiency • • 43 Political Decentralization 45 Redistribution of Authority 47 Cultures of Learning 49 Compensatory Legitimation 51 Role of Culture in Education Among Ethnic Groups 52 Concluding Summary 57 CHAPTER 3 • • 60 METHODOLOGY 60 Personal and Cultural Introduction 60 The Research Design . . 65 Research Procedures 69 Documents 70 Workshops Based on Group Discussions 71 v Interviews 75 Public Meetings 77 Research Phases 78 Phase 1: Negotiating the Research Relationship 80 Phase 2: Identifying the Most Significant Problems 81 Phase 3: Collective Educational Activities 82 Phase 4: Classification, Analysis and Conclusion Building 83 Phase 5: Definition of Action Projects 83 Data Analysis 84 Categories of Research Questions 90 CHAPTER 4 92 THE COMMUNITY, INDIAN EDUCATION AND THE SCHOOL 92 The Community 92 Community History 93 Native Traditions Today 95 Population 98 Community Facilities 100 The Productive Life of Cat Lake 103 Problems 106 Schools for Indian Children in Canada 107 The INAC Indian Day Schools 108 Band-Operated Schools 108 Urban Boards of Education 109 Ontario Isolate School Boards 110 The Northern Nishnawbe Education Council 110 Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Document 112 The Common Curriculum (1993) 112 Principles Underlying the Common Curriculum 114 Principles Underlying Teaching 115 Principles Underlying Assessment and Evaluation 116 Commentary on Ontario Common Curriculum, 1993 117 Titotay Memorial School Profile 118 The School and Windigo Education Authority 122 Policy for Windigo Education Authority Schools 122 A Review of the Titotay Memorial School Report, 1992-93 130 Teacher Evaluation and Professional Development 131 Student Welfare 132 Titotay Memorial School Discipline Policy - 1989 135 Teachers' Goals, Objectives and Long Range Plans 137 vi CHAPTER 5 139 PURPOSE OF SCHOOLING 139 Perceived Purpose of Schooling 140 The Status of Cultural Education 143 CHAPTER 6 . . . • 152 CONTROL OF EDUCATION 152 Local Jurisdiction 152 Roles of Chief and Band Council in Education 154 The Local Education Authority (LEA) 158 The Education Coordinator 164 CHAPTER 7 169 SCHOOL-COMMUNITY RELATIONS 169 The School With A Fence 169 Parental Involvement in Education 171 Communication 175 Teacher Orientation and Integration into Community 179 CHAPTER 8 183 PROBLEMS OF SCHOOLING 183 The Titotay Memorial School Curriculum 183 Native Language and Culture 188 Religious Instruction 189 Physical Education 190 Home Economics 190 Student Discipline 190 Absenteeism 193 Hi-Health 194 Opposition to Schooling 195 Social Problems • • • • 196 Student Dropout 197 School Supplies, Facilities and Utilities . 203 School Maintenance 205 Problems of School Governance 207 Accountability 207 Efficiency 208 - CHAPTER 9 210 PRIORITIES OF SCHOOLING 210 Priority 1 - Discipline 213 Fundamental strategy suggested to deal with priority 1 . . . . . . 213 Detailed implementation strategy for priority 1 . 214 Priority 2 - Parental Involvement in Schooling 215 vii Fundamental strategy suggested to address priority 2 215 Specific implementation strategies for priority 2 216 Priority 3 - Traditional Education 217 Fundamental strategy suggested to deal with priority 3 . . . . . . 219 Specific implementation strategies for priority 3 219 Priority 4 - The Purpose of Schooling 220 Fundamental strategies suggested to deal with priority 4 222 Specific implementation strategies for priority 4 . 222 Priority 5 - Attitudes Towards Education 223 Fundamental strategy suggested to deal with priority 5 224 Specific implementation strategies for priority 5 225 Priority 6 - Facilities and Special Services 225 Fundamental strategy suggested to deal with priority 6 226 Specific implementation strategies for priority 6 227 Priority 7 - Control of Education 228 Fundamental strategy to address priority 7 228 Specific implementation strategies for priority 7 229 CHAPTER 10 230 SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION 230 Summary of the Study 230 Discussion of the Results 234 A Two-Way Approach to Education 234 Problems Associated with Local Control 239 Problems of Schooling 247 Limitations of the Study 260 Implications Arising From the Study 264 Implications for Policy at the Federal and Provincial Levels 265 Implications for Practice at the Local Level 270 Suggestions for Further Study 273 BIBLIOGRAPHY 276 APPENDICES . 283 Appendix A 284 Sample Interview Questions . 284 Guiding Interview Questions with Community Elders 284 Guiding Questions for Interviews with Community People . . . . 285 Guiding Questions for Interviews with School Staff 288 Guiding Questions for Interviews with Students 289 Appendix B 290 Letters of Contact and Consent Forms 290 Appendix C . 299 Problem Identification Workshops - Suggestions for Discussion 299 viii Appendix D 307 Summary Report for Community Workshops 307 Appendix E 317 Letters of Consent 317 Appendix F 320 Scope of Issues 320 Appendix G . 322 Document Summary Form 322 Appendix H 323 Coding System of Respondents and Responses 323 ix LIST OF TABLES Page Table 1: Research Phases 79 Table 2: Population Projections for Cat Lake . . . 99 Table 3: Distribution of Full Time Employment 104 Table 4: Yearly Enrolment of Students 120 Table 5: 1994 Enrolment 121 Table 6: High School Student Enrolment 199 Table 7: Summary of Priority Issues and Suggested Strategies 212 x LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1: The Education Organization Structure of Windigo Schools 126 xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS One cannot accomplish a study of this nature without the support and dedicated patronage of several people from different walks of life. I have many people to thank for the assistance they rendered me in doing the research and writing the results. I was, particularly, blessed with a Supervisor and Committee members who showed committed and steadfast interest in my accomplishments. It is with great pleasure that I note my sincere thanks and debt to Professor Kjell Rubenson, my student advisor and Research Supervisor, for his unwavering support, guidance, supervision, and encouragement. My special thanks also go to the other Thesis Committee members; to Dr. Graham Kelsey, for being a guardian angel by constantly perusing the whole study and offering valuable ideas, warmth and support; to Dr. John Willinsky for his ideas, encouragement and patronage. My thanks are also due Chief Wilfred Wesley and Council of the Cat Lake Indian Band Reserve, who gave me permission and encouragement to undertake this study and supported me throughout the phases of the research. To Jerry Wesley, my interpreter, for leading me through snow-packed streets in frigid weather conditions, and the warmth and support he offered throughout this study, I acknowledge my debt. I gratefully acknowledge the Cat Lake Local Education Authority, the staff and students of Titotay Memorial School whose support certainly taught me that life is with people. The residents of Cat Lake, who offered support are too numerous to mention, but they made a substantial contribution toward the general design of this study. Special thanks are due all the community people who offered their time and expertise. In diverse ways some part of them and their ideas are in this study. Subsequently, I would like to show my appreciation to the several friends and colleagues who have helped me in various ways through my education at UBC. To Dr. and Mrs. Hans Schuetze, for their academic and moral support, I express my appreciation. I also express my thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Abu Bockarie, Terry Dashcavich, Dr. and Mrs. Sitsofe Anku, Bill Slaney, Malongo Mlozi, Dr. Stephen Dudornoo and family, Dr. Emmanuel Awuku-Darko, as well as Dr. and Mrs. Sam Aggrey for their friendship and support. A special note of thanks goes to Bob Johnston, Margaret Angeconeb, Cecilia Fiddler and Sophia Angel of Windigo Education Authority, who were always ready to offer help. Also to my colleagues, Ana Delaney and Andy Schardt of the Windigo school system, I am xu extremely grateful for their support and encouragement. To Tom Terry and colleagues at VGIS, Sioux Lookout, Ontario, for their advice and support, I acknowledge my gratitude. Finally, I would be remiss to fail to extend due acknowledgement to my wife, Fatima foi offering expert word processing directions, assistance and encouragement. To her and our two sons, Kwame and Alex, and daughter, Jennifer, the dedication speaks for itself. xiii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Background of the Study Native people around the world as well as those in Canada are calling for self determination. They are validating the relevance of their own cultures, and are reassessing education, political, economic, and social priorities within the context of modern times. The control of Native education by the Native people themselves is crucial to Native self-determination (Senese, 1991). As the National Indian Brotherhood (1980) asserts: The possession and control of one's own educational system is vital to the development and survival of a people. If Indians in Canada are to survive as people we must develop and control our own education" (p. 5). While Native people feel that education is fundamental to the integrity of the Indian culture, many researchers contend that there is a misplaced emphasis on the present system of education for Native children (Christie, 1988; Hampton, 1988). As Kawagley (1993) writes: The Western educational system has made an attempt to instill a mechanistic and linear world view in indigenous cultural contexts previously guided by a typically cyclic world view (p. 1). Accordingly, researchers such as Hampton (1988), Thies (1987), and Christie (1988) advocate a total control of Native children's education by Natives themselves. In Canada, the first expression of the desire for Indian control of Indian education was the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) document entitled Indian Control of Indian Education. The document stressed the importance of Indian people developing their own philosophy of education that would adapt Indian values to modern society (Barman, et al., 1987). Hampton (1988) argues that in order to enhance the quality of Indian education, schooling should be on the terms set forth by the Indians themselves instead of being on the 1 terms set by Anglo-Saxon principles of education. As Hampton (1988) writes: Indian Education will not be truly Indian until we develop our own research, our own philosophies of education, our own structures, and our own methods (p. 20). The Indian Education Paper - Phase 1 (1982), maintains that the difficulties facing band education authorities were not created by the take-over from federal agencies. Rather, deficiencies in the federal school system were not eliminated before Indian authorities assumed responsibility of Indian schools. Accordingly, Indian education authorities inherited several problems from the federal system of education, and "Indian education organizations were not supported or developed to assume functions associated with provision of quality of education" (p. 3). Thus, Native people need to identify these problems in their own terms and act on improving the schools. Among the many problems identified by researchers as impairing the quality of Indian education are lack of theories of Indian education (Hampton, 1988), lack of development and implementation of policy and curriculum respectively (Barman, et al., 1987; Paquette, 1986b; Hampton, 1988; Indian Education Paper Phase 1, 1982). King (1987) describes the situation in which band-controlled schools find themselves in respect of policy and curriculum development and implementation as "role shock". According to King (1987): Role shock evolves as a cumulative set of frustrations and escalating stresses. It occurs when an individual accepts a status with a feeling of assurance that he or she can provide appropriate role behaviours, only to discover that others in the social situation do not accept those role behaviours as appropriate. Further, no corrective feedback is given, no 'successful' models are available" (p. 44). Thus, in most Native schools, the lack of a body of knowledge from which to derive formal policy and to communicate this policy to the practitioners of Native education hampers the quality of the schools. Paquette (1986b) notes that there seems to be a lack of policy-making process in the Native education system. Paquette asserts that: a lack of this sense of how policy decisions are and ought to be taken has helped to make aboriginal education particularly troubled and uncertain education arena (p. 32). Many researchers believe that one of the most serious problems facing Native education is the lack of school policy in most band-operated schools (Paquette, 1986b; King, 1987). Paquette (1986b) writes that "Whether at the local or area level, a policy vacuum is typically perceived to be having intolerable effects on educational delivery" (p.35). Although some schools, have developed their own policy, there is an apparent lack of implementation by teachers, most of whom are predominately non-Native, and they tend to teach the way they were themselves taught (King, 1987; Paquette, 1986b; Hampton, 1988). Because band authorities regard teachers as professional people, in most cases, teachers are left to themselves to do whatever they deem fit in their classrooms (King, 1988). Paquette (1986b) argues that in order to enhance the quality of education in Native schools, it is necessary to develop coherent programs. As Paquette writes: Ultimately, to be excellent, an educational program must be coherent and must be formulated on the basis of something more substantive than the sum of the uncoordinated teaching instincts of individual teachers - all the more so in a situation where most teachers are cultural and linguistic aliens" (p. 37). Similarly, Hampton (1988) contends that programs in Indian schools fail, largely, because of a lack of an explicit strategy for Indian education. As Hampton writes: I believe that the limited success of programs designed to educate Indians, the prevalence of isolated research findings, and the tacit nature of Indian educational practice all point to the need of an articulated approach to Indian education. A theoretical articulation would serve to organize research, guide practice, and serve as an explicit aid to discussion and clarification (p. 22). 4 This study also investigated whether the lack of effective policy and strategy towards the education of Indian children was due to the failure of educational authorities to obtain a grass-root understanding of Indian education from Native people themselves. If this were the case, one could assume that it would be necessary to depend on the Native people in finding practical solutions to problems of the education of Indian children. The problems of the relationships between Native culture, curriculum development and implementation are crucial to Native education. Hampton (1988) argues that Native control of education is meaningless unless it is linked with the control of the structures, methods, and school faculty. Similarly, Paquette (1986b) contends that, excepting a few cases, the curriculum of the Native school does not respond to the realities of the community. He asserts that most Native schools tend to follow the footsteps of public schools, "to teach provincially mandated curricula without systematic modification to recognize the cultural and linguistic milieu students come from "(p. 45). Because Native education authorities do not control the training of teachers for Native schools, and the majority of teachers of Native children are non-Native, these teachers tend to teach the way they were taught in the provincial schools. Thus, researchers, Native and non-Native, feel that Native culture and history must form an integral part of Native education. As Bouvier (1991) writes: All school systems, whether federally, provincially or band-controlled, must take into consideration the history, language, culture, present experience, and aspirations of aboriginal people. These elements together must form the foundation for legislation, policy, curriculum, instructional and evaluation decisions, leadership development, preservice and in service for teachers, instructional resource decisions, and other programs and services within the entire spectrum of an educational system (p. 97). Many researchers, therefore, advocate a balance between Native and non-Native curricula content (Douglas, 1987; Hampton, 1988; Paquette, 1986b). As Paquette (1986b) maintains: 5 Establishing a desirable balance between Native and non-Native curriculum content is at once one of the most elusive and most crucial questions in Native education today (p. 45). Similarly, Douglas (1987) asserts that: relevant education both for and about Native people is possible. The Native perspective on culture, history, and the contemporary situation can be integrated into any existing provincial curriculum (p. 181). But Hampton (1988) sees the main problem facing Native education as lack of a theory of Native education. He maintains there is a need to build a comprehensive theory of Native education; that is, establishing a body of knowledge that can legitimately be called a theory of Native education. There has been considerable research done on the education of Native children. Yet, many researchers have felt that studies on Indian education are susceptible to explanation through Anglo-Saxon theoretical frameworks, and have excessively relied on research which analyzes hypotheses that are irrelevant to the Indian situation (Hampton, 1988; Christie, 1988). As Hampton (1988) writes: Indeed, there are no theories of Indian education from which to derive hypotheses to test. This lack of theory compels researchers to import hypotheses from other areas or to approach Indian educational research in a piecemeal disorganized fashion (p. 21). The absence of a theory of Indian education impedes research and practice of Indian education (Hampton, 1988). It seems education may become relevant to Native children only when researchers begin to analyze educational concepts within a framework which fully recognizes Native values within the cultural milieu. Furthermore, education researchers have been concerned about the role and meaning in the practice of education in contemporary times. Several researchers have critiqued existing sociological theories of education (Apple, 1990; Giroux, 1991; Giroux and Simon, 1989; Giroux 6 and Freire, 1987; Rothstein, 1991; Willis, 1983) and have advocated a new sociology of education. Researchers believe that education should equip students with the capacity to contest and reconstruct dominant social and political patterns rather than simply conforming to them (Giroux, 1991; Apple, 1990). Giroux and Freire (1987) assert that one of the principal aims of contemporary sociology of education should be a critical pedagogy which should encourage the rebuilding of a political and instructional discussion in which patterns of historical and social analyses are connected with educational programs. As Giroux and Freire (1987) write: [Critical pedagogy] has a practical bent in that it aims critically to appropriate, from a number of disciplines and radical traditions, insights and social practices that can be used in the service of a politics that provides theoretically useful support to teachers, parents, and others engaged in an ongoing struggle for justice and peace (p. xiii). Accordingly, contemporary researchers view critical pedagogy as resistance of subordinate groups to dominant forms of school experience. Livingstone (1987) acknowledges the effects of critical pedagogy on the education and society of subordinate groups. As Livingstone (1987) writes: Subsequent critical research has been more sensitive to the resistance of subordinate groups to dominant forms of school knowledge and offered suggestive schematic or illustrative analysis of how school systems, both in their relations with the wider society and their internal cultural forms, are constructed and changed through negotiations and conflicts between and within dominant and dominated groups (p. 9). For Giroux (1991), critical pedagogy expands the notion of culture, "while breaking down barriers between 'low' and 'high' culture" (p. 62). Similarly, Giroux and Freire (1987) believe that critical pedagogy redefines schooling as a segment of a broader process of education, and, "it calls attention to the need for critical educators and others to develop a radical theory of education in which it becomes essential to examine how diverse public spheres interact in shaping the ideological and material conditions that contribute to instances of 7 domination as well as struggle" (p. xii). Further, Giroux and Freire (1987) note that one of the principal aims of critical pedagogy "is to contribute to the reconstruction of a political and pedagogical discourse in which forms of historical and social critique are joined with programmatic considerations for extending the imperatives of democracy in those public and private institutions that shape the quality of human life" (p. xiii). Accordingly, educational researchers should view involvement of community people as essential in the improvement of the education of Native children. The recognition of the shortcomings in the education of Native children by government authorities and Native people is a first step towards the improvement of education of Native children. The next step should be an understanding of problems of Native education by educational authorities and the development of cooperation between Native people and the educational authorities for the improvement of the Native schools system. Planning for effective provision of education for Native children must take into account the aims and objectives of the native people as well as public goals and aspirations. The basis of this study, therefore, was to investigate how the present system of education provided for Native children in Indian communities might have been inadequate in terms of the expectations of the people of the Native communities. This study formed a basis for an overall direction of school policy for the Cat Lake Indian Reserve. The relevant questions that arose were: What do the Native people see as inadequacies in the educational system? What are the Native people's aspirations, purposes, and priorities towards schooling? How can educators improve specific inadequacies? What strategies should assist educators in planning for the education of Native students? This study, therefore, concerned an investigation of elements 8 which might contribute to or hinder schooling for Native children living in remote communities. The study drew on traditional critical pedagogy by collecting data through document analysis, participant observation, interviews, and what Thies (1987) calls "a mode of ongoing participation of Aboriginal people" (p. 8) and "a method of research-in-dialogue with communities" (p. 8). The exploratory and action oriented purpose of this study led me to believe that a paradigm based on an alternative research or participatory research (Participatory Research Network. 1982; Maguire, 1987; Hall, 1993) was the most practical orientation for this study. Contemporary researchers should not only study Indian education from viewpoints of explanatory frameworks, hypotheses, insights, propositions and models which justify a particularly differentiated phenomenon or set of phenomena that should influence Native education, but should also attempt to put into practice what Native people perceive as meaningful education. The alternative research approach, that is, participatory research, to the study is necessary because of my concern for the development of a critical understanding of the problems regarding schooling, their structural causes and possibilities of overcoming them. As Maguire (1987) writes: "Rather than merely recording observable facts, participatory research has the explicit intention to collectively investigate reality in order to transform it" (p. 4). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to investigate community perspectives, opinions, and attitudes about issues concerning the education of Native children living in an Indian reserve, and enhance Native people's understanding and the ability to control their own education. Specifically, this study documented the perspectives Native people in a Northwestern Ontario 9 Indian reserve had on education, and the information formed a basis for involving and mobilizing the community people for action on issues concerning the education of their children. In order to effectively involve and mobilize themselves for action, Native people needed to identify issues which might positively influence, or hinder the achievement of, an adequate provision of education to their children who lived in a remote community. They needed to adopt the objective of transforming the schools to suit the purpose of the Native child. Matthew (1991), in his evaluation of Native schools in British Columbia, finds that Native people perceive that one of the major problems facing Native schools is either lack of a school philosophy or that existing philosophy was not sufficient to guide school programming. In order for research to be beneficial to Native people, especially during a period of Native control of schools, researchers must actively involve the participation of Native people in problem posing and solving (Maguire, 1987). Any attempt at reforms in Native schools should involve Native people at all phases of the reform process and aim at providing what Native people want in the Native context based on ideas referring specifically to Native culture (Christie, 1988). Progressive people in and outside the Native community of Canada are seemingly becoming impatient with studies about Native people which bear little or no significance to Native people's needs. It is the feeling of most Native people that researchers should direct their studies towards providing both instantaneous and long term improvements in life conditions for Native people. My initial contact with Native educators about the idea of a study of Native education makes it explicit to me that any such attempt should involve Native people in the research process and aim at contributing directly to the improvement of the quality of education of Native children. Native people should, therefore, regard the value of any educational 10 research in terms of its contribution to making their children have appropriate control over the quality of their lives and the lives of those for whom they are immediately responsible. Accordingly, in this study, I did not only describe and interpret community attitudes, perceptions, and opinions about educational issues facing the Native community but worked with the community people to effect a radical change. Community people determined the order of priority in which they held educational issues and sought ideas and suggestions for change. This study was to be practical and useful to community people because they sought their own ways of improving their school system. As Thies (1987) writes: People who have experienced the problems at first hand are well placed to suggest strategies for improving education in directions they themselves deem to be important and in the interest of their children and their communities (p. 8). Placed against this background, five categories of questions emerged. The first called for an investigation of the viewpoints an isolated Native community had on education. These included: What are the views of community people on the purpose of schooling? What do community people who live in an Indian reserve want their children to achieve from schooling? What do they perceive as an appropriate curriculum for the children of their community? The second category of questions concerns the issue of Native control of education. These include: What powers does the federal government bestow on the Native people in the control of education? What powers do the Native people in Cat Lake perceive they possess in the control of education? What are the actual structures that the community people employ in the control of education? The third category examined school-community relations: These include: What is the nature of the relationship that exists between the school and community? What is the nature of parental involvement in education? How do parents and teachers communicate? How 11 are teachers integrated into the community? The fourth category of questions addressed the need for an examination of Native people's priorities as to what issues educational authorities should be addressing. These included: What do Native people in the Indian reserve consider as the major shortcomings of the education of Native children in Cat Lake? Which areas of Native education have priorities for action? The fifth category of questions addressed strategies to be suggested by Native people for meeting the felt needs of an educational system for remote Native communities. These included: What ought to be the curriculum, administrative, short term, and long term goals for solving the problem of schooling in the reserve? And, what should the community people and educators do to achieve these goals? This study sought to link all five categories of questions and thereby generated knowledge about the school for Native children in the reserve; in particular, its governance, school policy and curricula processes within the Native context. An investigation of Native people's perspectives on education could provide insight into the best way to initiate reform in Native schools. Such a study was timely as researchers continue to debate the quality of the educational system in Native-controlled schools, the question of curriculum in Native schools, and the role of the schools in Native self-determination. Assumptions of the Study In this study, I based my research questions and methodology on certain assumptions about Native education in Canada. They were: (1) that the problem of schooling in Native communities involved a power relationship of which researcher and participants were aware (Maguire, 1987), and that both researcher and 12 participants would be able to shift the power and control of decision making and decision taking into the hands of Native people; (2) that Native people were capable of socially constructing knowledge and could adequately understand their own life situations and that participation in the investigation process could enhance their understanding (Hall, 1993; Maguire, 1987). (3) that Native people needed empowerment for the control of schools for Native children, and the participatory research approach should contribute to social change; (4) that researcher and Native people could contribute to knowledge creation because: "'We both know some things; neither of us knows everything. Working together, we will both know more, and we will both learn more about how to know' " (Maguire, 1987 p. 46); (5) that when Native people acquired the necessary tools and opportunities, they should be able to critically reflect and analyze their own realities of life (Maguire, 1987); (6) that by becoming both subjects and partners of this study, Native people would benefit from both the opportunity to learn and understand the problems of schooling in their communities, and of sharing directly in successive policy and program decision making and control of their schools; (7) that the power of knowledge production and use to Native people should encourage them to create a more reliable crucial thought about the realities in their schools and mobilize them to solve problems of schooling in Native communities (Hall, 1975; Maguire, 1987); and, (8) that this study would emerge as a dual purpose study; it would contribute to knowledge by documenting the viewpoints of Native people on education and at the same time operate as a stimulus for community people to act in the improvement of their schools. Consequently, the 13 methods I adopted in this study would, to a large extent, depend on these assumptions. Structure of the Thesis In consideration of the research questions and assumptions underlying this study, I have organized the remaining sections of this thesis as follows: Chapter Two presents the review of the literature for the study. The chapter explores the history of Native education in Canada and presents descriptive overview of Native treaty rights and promises as a context for schooling in the community; interpretations of problems related to success and failure of Native education, decentralization and school improvement, and the role of culture in education. The literature review will guide the presentation and analysis of the results of this study. Chapter Three provides a methodological context for the study. The chapter includes my personal and cultural introduction, the research design and procedures I used to gather data for the study as well as the method of data analysis for the study. Chapter Four describes the community of Cat Lake and its school. It interprets the geographical, social and economic facts, examines different types of schools for Indian children in Canada, and it also discusses the Common Curriculum for Ontario schools. Chapter Five discusses community people's viewpoints on the purpose of schooling. Chapter Six deals with the control of education. It examines local jurisdiction with particular emphasis on the meaning of local control and the role of various community policy actors in education. 14 Chapter Seven describes school-community relations with emphasis on parental involvement and parent-teacher cooperation in education. It also deals with the orientation and integration of teachers into the community. Chapter Eight focuses on shortcomings of schooling in the community. It presents a descriptive overview and analysis of problems related to curriculum, student discipline, attendance, and dropout, school supplies, facilities and utilities, school maintenance, and the problems of school governance. Chapter Nine presents priorities of schooling in Cat Lake. It deals with the scope of issues related to schooling in the community; it identifies priorities, describes fundamental strategies suggested by community people to deal with the priorities, and presents specific implementation strategies recommended by community people. Chapter Ten presents a conclusion for the study. It provides a summary for the study; it discusses findings, limitations and implications for policy and practice; it provides suggestions for further study. CHAPTER 2 LTTERATURE REVIEW In an effort to comprehend Native people's viewpoints on schooling in the Indian reserve of Cat Lake, that is, the field of this study, it is essential to generally understand the social and educational contexts in which the community is located. This chapter reviews literature relevant to the research problem. I divide the literature review into four major sections. The first part focuses on literature dealing with the history of Native education in Canada in order to outline some of its major themes as a backdrop for a more suitable conceptual framework within which to analyze schooling in Native communities; the second part reviews interpretations of success and failure of the education of Native children; the third part examines the concept of decentralization of education; and the final part deals with the role of culture in education. I use the literature review to reflect on some of the challenges now confronting students of Native communities, the leadership of the Native people, and the Natives themselves as they rethink and develop a means of making a meaningful use of tradition and culture to produce a self-sustaining contextually oriented educational system. History of Native Education Contemporary literature on Native education conveys a notion of previous domination and suffering (Paquette, 1986b; Hampton, 1988; Atleo, 1990). In order to better understand the concept of Native control of Native education it is important to briefly explore the history of Native education in Canada. Giroux and Freire (1987) attach great importance to historical 15 16 memory in that it explains how oppression comes about and allows room for practical action which naturally leads to confrontation of the ideological and political conditions that caused such oppression. Mallea (1989) asserts that historical and current concrete realities of social situations suggest the importance of adopting a new approach to the sociology of education. The history of Native schooling in Canada corresponds to the history of Native people (Matthew, 1991). Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, traditional Native education was in the form of oral histories, teaching ceremonies, stories, apprenticeships, responsibilities of family life, and this form of education generally prepared children for all aspects of adulthood (Barman et al, 1987; Hampton, 1988; Matthew, 1991). At this period Native people were self-sufficient, self-governing nations with existing economies, traditions and lifestyles (Matthew, 1991). However, the arrival of Europeans increasingly exposed Native communities to new forms of education, technology and different religious beliefs which seriously reduced the ability of Native communities to remain socially, economically and culturally independent (Matthew, 1991; Barman et al, 1987; Hampton, 1988; Atleo, 1990). Christian missionaries and the federal government developed a policy to annihilate Native cultures through the schooling of Native children and to assimilate Native people into the dominant society (Barman et al, 1987). The first schools for Native children in Canada were operated by missionaries and funded by the federal government. These schools were designed by missionaries to "civilize and Christianize" (Gardner, 1986 p. 15). As Matthews (1990) writes: The History of schooling for First Nations People shows that outside forces, represented by the federal government and religious organizations unilaterally set down purposes for the schooling of First Nation people which denied the full expression of First Nation culture or recognition of their rights as aboriginal people (p. 15). 17 As early as the beginning of the seventeenth century, Jesuits made the effort to provide residential schools for Native students in New France. By the mid nineteenth century, Egerton Ryerson suggested a system of boarding schools which would provide training in religion and basic skills for Native children in Upper Canada (Paquette, 1986a). The system of boarding schools, which became known as residential schools, was to be undertaken as a joint venture between government and churches of Upper Canada. The residential schools became the major pattern of education for Native children in Canada (Paquette, 1986a). The residential schools became significant for their adeptness in isolating Native children from their mother-tongue, traditions, culture, beliefs, and attitudes. As Paquette (1986a) explains the federal government's education policy as regards residential schools: The ethnocentric paternalism which lay at the heart of 'Indian Policy' from pre-confederation had two basic goals to protect Native people from certain potentially harmful aspects of non-Native culture to which they were seen as particularly susceptible (e.g., alcohol, the machinations of unscrupulous land speculators, and so forth), and the eventual replacement of the languages, cultures, values and beliefs of native peoples with those of their 'more advanced' Euro-Canadian neighbors (p. 28). So, the two goals, that is, training of the Native person in religion and basic skills were reflected in the Indian Act and government made definite attempts to follow these through as dominant policy goals. Therefore, the government of Canada used education as a vehicle to assimilate Indian children. The goals for the residential schools resulted in procedures which collectively led to cultural extermination. Residential schools were determined to do anything to transform the Indian child into a "modern, civilized" person. In the process, they "spared not the rod and spoiled the child". Writing about residential schools, Tschanz (cited in Paquette, 1986a) substantiates the intensity and tenacity with which residential schools endeavoured to exterminate 18 and replace the language and culture of Native children. Tschanz asserts that upon entering school, Native children who spoke no other language but their Native tongue, were inhumanly confronted by school authorities who were determined to suppress their only means of communication. Corporal punishment was most often the principal form of punishment administered to children for merely speaking their mother-tongue. By the end of the Second World War, assimilation through education ceased to be official government policy because it became apparent to the Government of Canada that Native people would not easily abandon their cultures and be assimilated into the dominant society. The trend of Native control of education is inextricably linked with the trend of Native self government. Native people in Canada possessed self government, as well as education long before the coming of Europeans (Cassidy and Bish, 1989). Since the advent of European occupation of Canada, Canadian governments treated Indian governments in a variety of ways. As Cassidy and Bish (1989) write: Canada has attempted to deal with, separate, accommodate, absorb, limit, mould, and replace Indian governments, but it has never been able to fully ignore or do away with them. Today, many Indian governments are stronger than they have been in recent history, and Indian people are asserting with renewed vigour their wishes and efforts to govern themselves. Their goal is clear. It is self government in the fullest sense of the term; it is the use of government to foster their lives as they see fit (p. 3). When, in 1876, the Canadian Parliament passed the Indian Act, the legislation that embodies all existing laws concerning the Indian people in the provinces and territories, Indian governments became susceptible to the management of their affairs by the government. The Indian Act was to acknowledge the Indian way of life and at the same time assimilate Indian governments and their people (Cassidy and Bish, 1989). However, as one could see, the Act was controversial from the onset in that to acknowledge a people's way of life and assimilate them at the same 19 time were not easy bedfellows. The Canadian government introduced the concept of electing chiefs who would be responsible for carrying out government powers in the process of assimilation. The impasse caused by the failure to acknowledge Indians' way of life and rather to continuously insist on their assimilation into mainstream Canadian way of life has, since the nineteenth century, pervaded every feature of the relationship between Indians and the government. By the close of the 1960s, there was increased evidence that the Canadian Government's policy for Indians was an abysmal failure and could degenerate into profound long term social and economic implications for the welfare of Canada. It also became evident that the educational assimilationist policy of the government was more and more isolating Native people from the dominant middle-class majority culture rather than bringing them into it. It had become obvious that Canadian Indian policy had crumbled as Native people continuously resisted all efforts to haul them into the Canadian mainstream (Paquette, 1986a). Although the degenerate conditions of Indians became noticeable to most Canadians, no serious attention was given to the situation by the government until 1967 when Hawthorn released a report which clearly depicted the shortcomings of government policy for Native education. The report became an official document which clearly spelt out the failure of the assimilationist policy. The Hawthorn report based its main recommendations on three assumptions: first, that educators of Native children could modify the established school system to meet Native students' needs; second, that it should be possible for Native people to maintain their culture and identify themselves with it; and, finally, that Native people would continue to depend upon western economy and its technology. Accordingly, the Hawthorn report did not 20 advocate a radical change, but a change that would better accommodate the Native child in the existing school system. Certainly, the government of Canada needed a new policy for the Native people. More important was the reaction of Native people to the report. The crusade for Indian self government began to develop into a movement which aimed at becoming a force to reckon with within the federal system (Bish and Cassidy, 1989). The response of the federal government to this movement was to issue a new policy on Indian affairs. The new policy, the White Paper, was publicized in 1969 by the then Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chretien. One of the main themes of the White Paper was to abolish the appellation "status Indian" that is, those legally recognized as Indians as a result of the Indian Act. In other words, the government contemplated repeal of the Indian Act and from then onward disassociating itself from its unique relationship with the Indian people. Apparently, one of the relationships that the federal government may want to discontinue is its involvement in Indian education (Paquette, 1986a). The Canadian Indian community responded instantly. Native peoples in Canada became more united than ever towards self determination. Canadian Indians, to this day, interpret self determination in terms of defending their distinct status as Native people and doing things their own way. As Cassidy and Bish (1989) write: Self government has been asserted as a fact to be recognized, not as a path to assimilation. Self government has been defined by Indian peoples and their governments as a way of protecting the special status of Indian peoples in Canada and of affirming the independent nature of their governing authority. Self government has come to mean "doing it the Indian way" and this has led to many practical efforts by Indians to press Canadian federalism to expand its bounds to accommodate another reality, a third force, a third order of government (p. 10). 21 In 1969, Native opposition compelled the government to withdraw the White Paper which "advocated assimilation through Indian equality within the dominant society" (Barman et al, 1987 p. 2). In 1972, the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) provided an alternate policy statement to the White Paper - Indian Control of Indian Education, which has become the viable Native policy statement on education. The Indian Control of Indian Education Paper invited Canadians to learn and share the history, customs, and cultures of the Native people. The NIB paper provided a philosophy, goals, principles, and directions emphasising Native culture. Put simply, the policy stated that Native people have the right to control the education of their children by exercising parental responsibility and local authority (NIB, 1972). The philosophical statement in the NIB policy of education stressed pride, understanding among people, and living in harmony with nature. The question of the teaching of Native language and culture was a central issue for the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) for advocating Indian control of Indian education. As the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) paper states: Indian children must have the opportunity to learn their language, history and culture in the classroom. Curricula will have to be revised in federal and provincial schools to recognize the contributions which Indian people have made to Canadian history and life (p. 29). As an essential part of conveying culture and tradition, language is the pivot on which Native people stabilize the alternatives they see available to them to educate their children (Thies, 1987). The Royal Commission on Learning (1994) found that First Nations in Ontario unanimously view the language and culture issue as a major concern. As the Royal Commission on Learning stated: 22 Like Franco-Ontarians, First Nations are very concerned about the survival of their cultures and languages. They fear their children are failing to develop a better sense of identity, and that curricula rarely reflect their history and culture (p. 41). If the stated reasons for decentralization of Indian schools were to hold any credence to Indian people, community people and educators of Indian children should face the language and culture issue squarely and try to find its solutions. The approval of the NTS policy on education in February, 1973, by the Federal Government brought a turning point to Native education. According to Atleo (1990), the NTB education policy: represented a major ideological shift from the colonial 'White prerogative, culturally superior' mentality which guided Indian education policy from its inception, to the more egalitarian policy-making characteristics of the 1970s onward" (p. 53). However, the meaning of Native control of education is still shrouded in ambiguity. The National Indian Brotherhood paper was seemingly contradictory in that, while advocating full control over education, the paper at the same time declared that jurisdiction remained with the federal government. The paper also compared full autonomy with a condition similar to that of a provincial school board. It should not be surprising, therefore, if one finds band operated schools functioning in many ways similar to their operation under the federal government. But many Native communities began to move towards greater control of educational programs in their school systems. Since 1973, many Native bands have taken over the control of schools on reserves. Indian people and their leaders have embarked on intensive political activity, aimed at taking control of education from federal and provincial agencies. Many bands have established cultural survival schools and have attempted to develop local curricula products. Universities across Canada have established Native teacher education programs and other post secondary programs which have produced many graduates. 23 It was not the intention of the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) paper that the federal government hand control of education to the Native people without preparing them for the crucial task of educational governance. The National Indian Brotherhood (1972) advocates a smooth transition in the form of training people from communities which wish to control their education locally. As the National Indian Brotherhood writes: Training must be made available to those reserves desiring local control of education. This training must include every aspect of educational administration. It is important that Bands moving towards local control have the opportunity to prepare themselves for the move. Once the parents have control of a local school, continuing guidance during the operational phase is equally important and necessary (p. 27). The Indian Education Paper - Phase I was presented by the Department of Indian Affairs in 1982 to support Native control of Native education. The Paper's definition of 'control' was equivocal. While the Department of Indian Affairs defined control to mean "a degree of participation" (Longboat, 1987), the NIB defined Native control to mean that Native people should make all decisions about education at the local level. These decisions would include educational finances and would involve all local education facilities, hiring of teachers, curriculum planning, administration, and evaluation. Thus, the NIB essentially defined Native control of Native education as the development of education and its administration under a local school jurisdiction. Although the Indian Education Paper - Phase 1 identified the same areas of Native control as the NIB, Longboat (1987) asserts that the Department of Indian Affairs definition "allowed the department to move slowly, delegating programmes of administration rather than policy development and real management and financial control" (p. 25). So it seems, therefore, that the issue may not be the definition,of Native control, but the definition of the role of the Department of Indian Affairs in ensuring the delivery of Native control (Atleo, 1990). 24 One important aspect of NIB's document was the emphasis it placed on jurisdiction and control at the local level. Cassidy and Bish (1989) contend that the NIB made education a fundamental matter, at a period when the move towards self determination was becoming prominent in several Indian communities. According to Cassidy and Bish (1989): [TJhe NTB's identification in the 1970's of jurisdiction as a critical issue was insightful. Jurisdiction on the part of governments represents the authority to control. If jurisdiction lies elsewhere, then control eventually lies elsewhere. Indian governments have increasingly experienced this fact as they have sought to gather more control at the community level (p. 10-11). Although many band-operated schools have emerged within the past two decades they vary in their degrees of operation (Longboat, 1987). Longboat (1987) does not believe that Native control of education exists in the absolute meaning. As Longboat writes: First Nations control of education does not exist in the purest sense. There are at present 'degrees' of control in which a particular First Nation may administer part or the whole of a DIAND [the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development] education activity. The deception surrounding the concept of control has been built by the federal government, which offers the pretence of free choice of control only within a carefully managed framework of possibilities (p. 26). Similarly, in his evaluation of Native schools in British Columbia, Matthew (1991) found conflict in the exercise of power between the school management and the band council. As Matthew writes: The absence of clearly defined roles and responsibilities for governance has at times resulted in complaints from the community of 'too much politics' surrounding school operations, distrust between school boards and staff and general vagueness in overall direction of the school" (p. 39). Thus, Hampton (1988) asserts that local control, while a defining characteristic of Indian education, should not just be a "philosophical or political good" (p. 52). Native control of education should mean that the structures, methods, content, and faculty should be Native, and 25 not merely implanting Native ideas onto Anglo-saxon structures. The Nishnawbe-Aski Nation [NAN] (1991), advocating a NAN community-controlled schooling system gives a new meaning to Native education: The overall goal is to put in place a Nishnawbe Aski-Nation community-controlled education system in First Nation communities. NAN First Nations do not see their rights and responsibilities in the education sector limited to an elementary and secondary definition of education. Rather, tradition, needs, and the wherewithal to meet our educational needs, demand that education be defined on a comprehensive basis. By a comprehensive definition of education, we mean any educational activity, course or program that will allow an individual to move forward in their life and to contribute to the well-being and growth of their community. A comprehensive definition of education would include, for example, daycare, upgrading, skills development, literacy, adult education, cultural and traditional studies, secondary and post-secondary education (p. 1-2). Treaty Rights, Promises and Tndiati Fducarirm In order to be able to determine powers government gives Native people in the education of their children, it will be necessary to discuss the actual powers that government has historically had over control of Native education in Canada before handing over the control to Native people. The National Indian Brotherhood (1972) paper acknowledged the federal government's obligation towards Native education as specified by the various treaties and the Indian Act. As the National Indian Brotherhood writes: The Federal Government has legal responsibility for Indian education as defined by the treaties and the Indian Act. Any transfer of jurisdiction for Indian education can only be from the Federal Government to Indian Bands. Whatever responsibility belongs to the Provinces is derived from the contracts for educational services negotiated between Band Councils, provincial school jurisdiction, and the Federal Government (p. 5). The Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 (formerly, the BNA Act, 1867) specifies the extent of control the federal and provincial governments have over the education of Native people in Canada. Section 91(24) of the Constitution specifies that the federal government has control 26 over "Indians and Land Reserves for Indians" (p. 16). However, section 93 specifies that the education of each province in Canada is under the authority of the provincial government. At first glance, it does not seem clear where to draw the line between federal and provincial control of Indian education. Smith and Associates (1994) contend that in legal terms, section 91(24) and section 93 of the constitution "creates what is known as concurrent legislative competence or joint jurisdictional competence" (p. 16). As Smith and Associates (1994) write: What this means is that the federal government can use its constitutional authority to specifically handle education but is forced to concentrate on the 'Indian' aspects of education. Similarly, each provincial government's authority over education as a result of section 93 can be used to create laws which affect Indians and Indian reserves but cannot be used to focus precisely on 'Indianness'. Simply stated, both the federal and provincial governments are empowered to pass laws relating to Indian education but cannot encroach on each other's jurisdiction (p. 16). While Smith and Associates acknowledge that the shared obligation between federal and provincial governments in the control of education is conflicting and confusing, it is, nevertheless, explicit that in the main, the federal government is responsible for the education of Native students residing on reserves. Although constitutionally, the federal government could make laws regarding education for all Native children, the federal government concentrates on students living on reserve. Subsequently, the provincial government is responsible for Native students in the mainstream Canadian schools although the federal government pays tuition fees through Native organizations to the provincial government on behalf of students who leave their reserves to attend school outside the reserves. Jurisdiction over the education of Indians is embedded in the various treaties signed between the federal government and Native people. The education provision of Treaty 9 (1964), to which Cat Lake belongs states: 27 His Majesty agrees to pay such salaries of teachers to instruct the children of said Indians, and also to provide such school buildings and educational equipment as may seem advisable to His Majesty's government of Canada (p. 21). In Treaty 9 it seems that the federal government's obligation towards the education of Native children is limited only "to pay salaries to teachers and maintain school buildings and educational equipment" {Treaty 9, p. 21), and, that the federal government will provide education from kindergarten through grade 12. However, it appears that recent interpretations of treaty rights go beyond the limitations imposed in the treaties. As Smith and Associates (1994) write: The interpretations of these Treaty rights varies depending on who is analyzing the content. Nonetheless, if one refers to case law and Supreme Court decisions on Aboriginal and treaty rights, one should expect a broad, contemporary interpretation of the treaty clauses (p. 17). Accordingly, the federal government has the obligation of providing lifelong education for Native people. As Lancaster (1994) maintains: A just broad and liberal reading of the provisions of the treaty would suggest that the schooling to be provided would, in today's changed world, have to include university, college, vocational and continuing education (p. 19). The Indian Act entrusts the responsibility for education to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (TNAC). However, in Ontario, for example, the federal government has depended on the Province of Ontario to formulate standards, and curriculum, and to control teacher training and qualification for Native schools. While the province's Ministry of Education and Training develops standards, policy and regulations for all the schools in the province, the main function of federal authorities is to ascertain funding levels for Native schools and also to maintain standards for school buildings, plants, and equipment. From the literature reviewed for this study, one can safely say that decisions made by the province's Ministry of Education and Training as regards quality of education have not been relevant to the needs of 28 Native schools. Also, federal authorities do not seem to have ensured that Native schools meet the standards provided by the provincial government. Local Jurisdiction. As I have already stated in preceding sections, the withdrawal of the federal government's White Paper in 1969 and the issuing of the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) document in 1972 brought a renaissance to Native education throughout Canada. The move by Native people toward greater control of schooling in their communities, or rather the desire for the federal government to hand the control of schools over to Native people had become a common practice in the 1980s. It became obvious that most Native communities did not ask for the control of their educational system but they sooner or later had to assume some responsibility for their schools. When the federal government handed over the control of education to local authorities, the federal authorities literally vested in the local people all decision making with respect to education. The one thing that local authorities understood was that the federal government would continue to provide the necessary funds for education. There were neither guidelines as to how to administer education funds nor how to manage the school system. Barman, et al. (1987) assert that while the federal government was quick in handing schools over to local people, the government neither provided the people with a definition of their role, nor a power base for the transfer to local control. The key issue vital to local control here lies in the major role that the local authorities play to ensure the maintenance of education and its complex structures through the provision of suitable curricula, general support services, and additional teaching services. A general understanding I gathered from the literature review on Native control of education in Ontario was that the decision to take control of their schools was not an 29 immediate result of persuasion or push by the Native people themselves. It became quite clear that the decision to seek local control was a decision which was handed down to them from the district level. Given that the decision to seek local control was handed over from the district level, it is not surprising that band-operated schools would continue to operate under the ministry's guidelines because of lack of suitable alternatives. Despite the problems that Native education endured under the control of government authorities before the hand-over to local authorities, there is evidence that there was, certainly, some form of management which included such things as establishing priorities among all the possible goals of the school system, allocating resources to meet the goals, and organising the activities of the members of the school system to accomplish the goals more effectively. Educating children of Native origin for productive lives in contemporary times requires an administration that is capable of defining goals for education, determining what goals should take precedence over others, and apportioning the available human and financial resources to fulfil the goals, and coordinating all the components of the educational system to accomplish the goals of education in a more competent manner. Interpretations of Success and Failure of Native Education Many people interested in the education of Native peoples seem to communicate an idea that Native education in Canada has been a dismal failure. In a study conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training entitled, Native Student Dropouts in Ontario Schools, Mackay and Myles (1989) link Native students' poor performance and dropout to difficulty with English language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking in class. As they write: 30 Students may avoid submitting homework for fear that it will be graded poorly or even rejected outright. Several educators made a further link between this language-related behaviour and the problem of attendance. They suggest that if assignments and homework are not completed, students may give in to the temptation to skip that class in order to avoid trouble with the teachers to whom the work is due. By missing classes, they fall further behind until they have no idea what is required of them or how to complete further homework assignments. They find themselves sucked into a vortex from which the only escape is opting out (p. 21-2). Cummins (1993) rejects the view of past researchers that students from minority groups failed in school because bilingualism caused language barriers and emotional conflicts among children. Cummins asserts that while early research reports might confirm that children from minority groups failed in school, their failure was not due to difficulties they experienced in dealing with two languages, but rather it was due to how school authorities treated these children. As Cummins (1993) writes: However, virtually all of this early research involved minority students who were in the process of replacing their first language by the majority language, usually with strong encouragement from the school, many minority students from North America were physically punished for speaking their first language in school. Thus, these students usually failed to develop adequate literacy skills in their first language and many also experienced academic and emotional difficulty in school. This, however, was not because of bilingualism but rather because of the treatment they received in schools which essentially amounted to an assault on their personal identities (p. 16). The most frequent theoretical explanation that past researchers attributed to the failure of the education of Native societies centred on cultural differences between Native and non-Native societies (Atleo, 1990; Ogbu, 1987; Erickson, 1987). According to these researchers, Native children failed in school because of cultural deprivation. While Atleo (1990) explains the notion of cultural deprivation in terms of what he calls "significant discontinuities" (p. 7), Hampton (1988) explains it in terms of disrespect of, and lack of recognition of Native ways of life by non-Native educators. Atleo (1990) asserts that while Native people's culture may place 31 a significant value upon group goals, non-Native people, particularly, the White group may place a higher value upon individual goals. Such differences, he says, may constitute a significant discontinuity for the Native child at school. Similarly, Bowd (1977) asserts that socio-cultural factors of the Indian child impose a discontinuity between the home and the school. As Bowd writes: The home environment of the Indian child both physically and psychologically, was considered to be deficient in fostering skills likely to assist adaptation at school. The typically non-punitive protective discipline, flexible routines for learning and the encouragement of independence and autonomy in children by Indian parents were considered contrary to the practices of the school and therefore likely to contribute to the child's 'retardation' (p. 333). Contemporary researchers believe that historical references to differences in language, beliefs, behaviour, skin colour, and so on, which defined Native and non-Native culture may not constitute a significant discontinuity (Atleo, 1990) because such differences have become blurred. In other words, as some Native people today may only speak the language that White people speak, and behave in a way similar to Whites, and may even have a skin colour that may not be differentiated from Whites, one may assume that there may be no cultural discontinuity. However, some researchers believe that because of historical roots, Native culture is different from non-Native culture. Atleo (1990) contends that historical roots are important because basic beliefs about life are transferred from one generation to another and these beliefs which are automatically transferred "become assumptions of culture which are not usually articulated" (p. 7). Thus, even though some Native people may not experience significant discontinuities in culture, the notion that culture is rooted in the past makes Native people culturally different from non-Native people. 32 Hawthorn (1967) recounted that during the 1950s, because White researchers perceived a cultural superiority of White cultures over Native culture, White people did not anticipate that Native children in general could achieve success in school along the same course as White children. There was also the notion that since minority cultures were impoverished, concomitantly, minority groups were genetically inferior and they were bound to be maladapted and fail at school (Atleo, 1990). However, researchers in the 1960s dispel this notion of cultural impoverishment and minority group genetic inferiority which allegedly led to the failure of Native people at school. Hawthorn (1967), Gue (1974), Ogbu (1987), Christie (1988), Hampton (1988), and More (1986), for example, believe that failure of Native students at school is neither due to cultural impoverishment nor genetic inferiority, but rather, it is due to cultural discontinuity. In fact, the Hawthorn report (1967) asserts that Native children fail in school because the rich experiences they acquire in their own culture and language do not prepare them for the boring routines and activities of the school. The Hawthorn report states a number of problems associated with the school that cause the failure of Native education. Some of these were, the school's concept of time and space, discrepancies in the curriculum, and, the incongruity of Native worldview to the discipline system of the school. As the report states: It is difficult to imagine how an Indian child attending an ordinary public school could develop anything but a negative self image. First, there is nothing from his culture represented in the school or valued by it. Second, the Indian child often gains the impression that nothing he or other Indians do is right when compared to what non-Indian children are doing. Third, in both segregated and integrated schools, one of the main aims of teachers expressed with reference to Indians is to 'to help them improve their standards of living, or their general lot, or themselves' which is another way of saying that what they are and have now is not good enough, they must do and be other things (p. 142). 33 Also, Gue (1974) explains cultural discontinuity in terms of value differences. Hampton (1988) explains it in terms of what he calls "cultural genocide" (p. 72). He argues that since western education seeks to indoctrinate the Native child by substituting non-Native for Native knowledge, values, and identity, "Western education is in content and structure hostile to Native people" (p. 72). More (1986) characterizes cultural discontinuity in terms of differences in learning styles of Native children. According to More, as learning styles are culturally determined, Native children experiencing a strange learning style in school may suffer cultural discontinuity. DeFaveri (1984) supports More's (1986) argument by contrasting the Native worldview with the White worldview. DeFaveri asserts that while the Native worldview symbolizes unity with creation, the White worldview symbolizes individualism and isolationism. Thus, while the Native worldview espouses that all things are integrated and united in some way, the White worldview maintains that reality does not necessarily constitute related or connected components. Hampton (1988) sums up the differences in worldview between Native and White cultures when he writes: At the historical level Native and non-Native look at the world from opposed positions. Not only must they contend with personal differences in viewpoint, language, and experiences; not only must they contend with cultural differences in value, understandings of human relationships, modes of communication; but they must contend with the world shattering differences between the conquered and conqueror, the exploited and the exploiter, the racist and the victim of racism. It is this historical difference of perspective that demands more than 'learning about each others culture'. It demands that we change the world (p. 82). Accordingly, Hampton believes that the failure of Native children at school is a manifestation of resistance to non-Native domination and an assertion of Native integrity. The dilemma of the Native student, therefore, is due to the fact that teachers have not been able to combine Native and non-Native cultures in their teaching. It seems apparent that because Native and White 34 conceive their senses of time, space, energy and humanity in different terms, and their conceptions of epistemology, ontology, and cosmology are also different, they fail to understand each other's actions, thoughts or purpose (Hampton, 1988; Atleo, 1990). A relevant question may arise here as to why Native students fail in school while students from other minority groups with similar handicaps as Native students succeed in school (Ogbu, 1987). Atleo (1990) views the failure of Native students from what he terms a theory of context. According to Atleo, this theory assumes that there is a connection between an individual and the society in which that individual lives. This means that individuals fail when society views them as failures. As Atleo writes: For example, if society rejects an individual socially, politically and economically, then that individual may respond by committing suicide, behaving in unacceptable deviant ways in order to survive, or emigrating to another country if possible. On the other hand, the theory of context holds that when a society accepts an individual socially, politically and economically, then that individual may respond by behaving in socially acceptable ways (p. 10). Ogbu (1987) distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary minorities and asserts that voluntary minorities are more successful in school than involuntary minorities. According to Ogbu, Native people are involuntary minorities in that unlike immigrants in the North American society, Native people were colonized and have not had any other choice but to live with the colonization. For example, Ogbu (1987) found that while the Buraku, a minority group in Japan fail in school in their homeland, they tend to succeed in school when they emigrate to the United States. Similarly, Mexicans born in the United States fail in school while other Mexicans who emigrate to the United States succeed in school. Accordingly, Ogbu's (1987) findings tend to support Atleo's (1990) theory of context which tends to explain the failure of Native children in school. 35 On the other hand, Hampton (1988) strongly believes that one can explain the failure of Native students in school in terms of the malevolence of Western education in its structure, curriculum, context and personnel. He asserts that since Western education is a political, social and cultural institution that represents and conveys Anglo-saxon values, knowledge and behaviours, the Native child is bound to fail in school. Hampton (1988) argues, for example, that the demands for higher standards is inevitably a demand for Anglo-saxon standards. According to Hampton, Anglo-saxon education "is never a call for a more adequate presentation of the knowledge of devalued minorities, creative thinking about pressing social problems, higher standards of equity and respect, or recognition of institutional racism" (p. 75). For Hampton, therefore, the lack of recognition of Native culture by non-Native people constitutes a major impediment to the success of Native students in school. As Hampton writes: The idea that different cultures and different races may have standards just as worthy seems never to have crossed the minds of the proponents of 'higher standards'. Rather, they assume that they possess the one true standard yardstick and that any consideration of Blacks, Indians or Chicanos would simply lower standards. The challenge is ... the negotiation of multicultural yardsticks. We live in a world of many cultures, all of whom have different standards (p. 75). So, Hampton (1988) believes that rather than simply admit failure, one must recognize the fact that White educational systems and procedures have not been competent in educating Native children who struggle against an atypical system endemic to the larger society in which they live. Until Native children stop the daily struggles of attacks on their ways of life, their identity, their intelligence, and their essential worth, they could not attain success in education. Also, Paquette (1986a) sees the inability of Native students to measure up to their Anglo-saxon counterparts in educational achievement in terms of the way policy is formulated and implemented for Native students. He believes that the interpretation researchers give to the 36 quality of education of Native students is erroneous because researchers fail to acknowledge the "political 'black box' of Native education policy making" (p. 52). In other words, researchers fail to consider the effects of government educational policies on minority groups. As Paquette writes: Minorities are expected to integrate and assimilate because it is the best thing for them and for society at large. If they fail to do so, the problem is 'inadequate learning' and the treatment is more often than not, even heavier than immersion in the values, beliefs, and languages of the majority. In such a view, minorities are powerless to change either their circumstances or the content and form of the education provided to them and this powerlessness is seen by the dominant group in society as fitting and just...If minority children fail to make the desired adjustment, into the majority language and culture, the cause is seen to lie in their failure to learn even though given the 'same educational opportunities' as their majority-culture counterparts (p. 56). Perhaps, one can safely assume that failure of Native children in school is due to how governments define educational problems for Native children and the type of policies they formulate for their cultural displacement and assimilation. As Paquette writes of Canadian Native education policy: Most Canadian Indian education policy, then, both formal, stated policy and the actual practices in the field were, at least the early 1970s, dominated by a problem definition based on the learning deficit model. Such educational policy was both a reflection of and the chief policy instrument for accomplishing the larger meta policy of assimilation. The residential schools were the embodiment of this policy of cultural replacement (p. 56). Accordingly, if the residential schools, from their beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, to the middle of the twentieth century focussed exclusively on basic skills, it would seem obvious that educators of Indian children would downplay high academic achievement. While many of the reasons for the failure of Native students may be closely related to policy and general attitudes of society towards the education of minority groups, Mackay and Myles (1989) contend that Native parents, generally, have a "lack of 'know-how' to motivate 37 their children" (p. 37). These authors' findings suggest that since Native parents may feel that the educational success of their children may alienate the children from them, parents do not encourage their children to attend school. Their findings cited the lack of parental support as a major cause for absenteeism and dropout of Native students. As Mackay and Myles put it: Certain Native dropouts lacked parental support because of the multiplicity of social problems that affect their families. Educators thought that these problems including the difficulties facing single parents, family breakdowns, alcoholism, and financial problems were so pressing that such parents had little time to address the educational needs of their children (p. 37). Although many researchers accept the failure of the education of Native children as an unfortunate heritage in Canadian society (Barman, et al., 1987), others believe that current changes taking place in Indian communities may improve education in the future (Atleo, 1990; Matthew, 1991; Hampton, 1988). According to Matthew (1991), "it is becoming apparent that First Nations schools can become a very positive force in the development of First Nations communities" (p. 28). Changes taking place in the Native communities are a part of an ongoing need for Native people around the world to achieve self determination. These changes may be significant in making Native people in Canada begin to perceive the education of their children in new terms and may begin to explore ways and means of making education more meaningful to their children. Similarly, Hampton (1988) acknowledges in spite of the difficulties facing Native schools, recent evidence shows that Native schools are making significant progress. He cites the example of a Native tribe which has been successful in reducing the dropout rates from about 40 percent to about 3 percent. There are also undocumented examples of Native schools in British Columbia which have succeeded in lowering their dropout rates to 0 percent (Matthews, 1991). 38 Matthew's (1991) evaluation of Native schools in British Columbia recounts that the most pressing issues in Native education today are those concerning governance, student progress, parental involvement, administration and teaching, curriculum, and funding. As regards school governance, for example, Matthew (1991) found that parents and teachers were concerned about the absence of a school philosophy in most of the schools. Concerning student progress, Matthew's (1991) findings suggest the need for "more effective discipline policies or strategies to motivate students to engage with school activity in positive ways" (p. 40). Furthermore, many parents found their involvement in school affairs restricted by lack of effective communication between the home and the school. Matthew (1991) asserts that while community people expressed some satisfaction with teaching and administration, they felt the need to develop a cultural curriculum for the schools and the need to provide adequate funding for the training of cultural teachers. Accordingly, this study will attempt to describe all the concerns of Native people in Cat Lake in the areas of school governance, student progress, parental involvement in school affairs, administration and teaching, curriculum, and school funding. The questions that community people, administrators, teachers, and students may pose regarding these issues form one of the bases of this study. Decentralization and School Improvement This section explores the concept of decentralization and school improvement in the context of band-operated schools. In this section, I discuss some elements and dimensions of decentralization and provide an analysis of organizational and political effects of decentralization 39 of schools for Indian children. Educational researchers regard decentralization in education as a necessary structural overhaul which could possibly improve education. Centralization of schools suggests a significant degree of uniformity in school practices, procedures, and salaries, notwithstanding provincial and local disparities in educational needs of students. A centralized nature of schooling usually causes dissatisfaction of parents about the educational system (Winkler, 1993). In a centralized system, the education ministry's monopoly of school functions may restrict parents from influencing the direction of their children's education. Therefore, decentralization of schools is seen by many researchers as a modern reform process in education, propelled by convictions that justify the privatization of education in the interest of freedom and equality (Lewis, 1993). While educational decentralization is a common phenomenon of educational reform throughout the world, the meaning of educational decentralization is country-specific (Winkler, 1993). Decentralization in educational systems seems to be a deliberate attempt by central governments to cede power to local or provincial governments to manage the affairs of their school systems. An attempt to define decentralization of education may depend on the form of decentralization in question. Some researchers define decentralization in education in terms of community control of schools, where community people take responsibility for making practically, all decisions affecting the school (Elmore, 1993). Winkler (1993) considers centralized and decentralized school systems in terms of the degree of decision making authority wielded by central and local authorities respectively, as regards educational goals. As Winkler (1993) writes: 40 The resulting mixes of decision-making power with respect of education functions, decision-making modes, and levels of government are what lead to the description of an entire educational system as 'centralized' or 'decentralized' (p. 106). Some researchers term decentralization as site-based management (Sergiovanni et al., 1987), or school-site management (Elmore, 1993), and others, in terms of objectives, that is, whether decentralization is organizational or political (Brown, 1990; Hannaway, 1993; Fantini and Gittell, 1973). For the purpose of this study, decentralization simply means community control. As Fantini and Gittell (1973) write: The concept of community control represents an effort to adjust existing systems to new circumstances and needs. It seeks a balance between public, or citizen, participation and professional roles in the policy process (p. 113). The purposes for decentralization could be either organizational or political. The next section discusses the rationales for organization and political decentralization. Organization^ rwv^nt ra l i yat ion Brown (1990) contends that objectives for organizational decentralization pertain to the way power is distributed. Traditionally, organizations are created and controlled by legitimate authorities who establish the goals, frame the structure, employ and administer the employees, and attempt to ensure that the organization functions in ways that are inkeeping with their objectives (Bolman and Deal, 1991). Organizational decentralization concerns the way an organization distributes authority to make decisions (Brown, 1990). In attempt to simply define organizational decentralization, Brown (1990) writes: Decentralization is the extent to which authority to make decisions is distributed among the roles in an organization (p. 36). 41 Thus, organizational decentralization is a means of distributing responsibilities in order to enhance efficiency. Hannaway (1993) asserts that the basis for organizational decentralization concerns the notion that decentralization increases efficiency when those with the best information about a particular field can use their discretion to act on the information. For Hannaway, organizational decentralization concerns distribution of information. As Hannaway writes: The basic principle presumed to guide decentralization in organizations is simple: those actors with the best information about a particular subject should have the discretion to make decisions about the subject. Consistent with this argument, empirical research has shown that two conditions - large organizational size and complex or dynamic technology - are likely to lead to decentralized organizational structures ... In the case of size, it is presumed that decision demands, at some point, outstrip the decision-making capacity of top management. Management is simply not able to process the large volume of information and make all decisions necessary to manage the organization effectively. Thus, out of sheer necessity, management delegates decision making responsibilities to lower levels in the hierarchy (p. 136). So, the point for decentralization is that as information is crucial in the operations of educational organizations, in-school authorities may have better information about day-to-day operations of the school than central office authorities (Brown, 1993). Also, Hannaway contends that in cases where top management is unable to keep up-to-date of current technology, management assigns accountability of technological decisions to lower level employees who are better informed about the latest technological trends. As Hannaway (1993) writes: In education, decentralization proponents argue that the technology of teaching is complex and dynamic and that decision making about what goes on in the classroom should therefore be located with the classroom teacher, or at least somewhere within the school. Proponents assume, quite reasonably, that teachers understand better than central authorities, the requirements of the classroom teaching and learning process. Proponents also presume that the autonomy and discretion of lower-level units, meaning schools and the actors within them, are constrained by higher authorities. If these constraints were liftedjjt is argued, and schools (particularly teachers) were empowered to use with more discretion the information that they possess, then they would do things differently and 42 better. The expectation is that school actors, freed from state and district prescriptions, would focus their efforts in ways that would lead to greater achievement (p. 136-137). Researchers explore different kinds of effects of organizational decentralization on education. For the purpose of this study, I will examine only two of the effects that proponents of organizational decentralization most frequently cite. These are: accountability; and efficiency. Accountability. Brown (1990) characterizes accountability as a "rather basic value" (p. 104), and an impression that we expect from other people but do not expect others to use the impression to judge us. According to Winkler (1993), "accountability requires clear assignment of responsibilities, public information on finance and performance, and mechanisms by which to hold decision makers responsible" (p. 128). As Brown (1990) simply put it: "To be accountable means to answer for one's actions to someone else" (p. 104). The issue of accountability in educational organizations poses more questions than answers (Brown, 1990; Elmore, 1993; Winkler, 1993). While researchers assume that there could be no decentralization without accountability, basic questions remain. Some of the most frequent questions pertaining to the concept of accountability are: who is to be accountable to whom (Elmore, 1993; Winkler, 1993)? For what should people be accountable (Elmore, 1993)? Elmore (1993) argues that if the school should be accountable to the public, then who make up the public? Whereas advocates of decentralization assume that schools will improve by holding school officials responsible for their actions, Winkler (1993) believes that decentralization may have vague results on accountability of school officials. As Winkler (1993) writes: Decentralization is likely to have ambiguous effects on accountability. While it may encourage parents and voters to monitor the school more closely, it may also reduce the information available for those doing the monitoring (presuming that central ministry officials have, on the average, better information than parents and voters do) (p. 117). 43 Similarly, citing examples from New York and Chicago, Elmore (1993) contends that it is ambiguous to assume that there is a connection between decentralization and accountability. As Elmore (1993) writes: Decentralization in both New York and Chicago is a creature of state policy. In both instances, reformers at the city level took their case to the state legislature and were able to gain significant changes in the institutional structure of the local education system. After these policies are set in motion, local actors tend to treat the institutional framework as given, rather than as an artifact of politics at a higher level of government which can be changed whenever the politics at the level change. To say, then, that community district decentralization in New York or school-site decentralization in Chicago make schools more accountable to their immediate communities is to say something important about the short-term incentives operating on schools, but also to ignore the longer-term dynamics of accountability in the system at large (p. 46-47). Despite several arguments that decentralization does not make schools more accountable to their neighbourhoods, some role changes may occur in areas such as school budgeting that may, perhaps, benefit community schools. Whereas teachers of Indian children, for example, were previously accountable to central office authorities about educational functions of Indian schools, decentralization may have held Indian schools accountable to Indian parents. Considering the nature of education for Indian children prior to the period of the takeover from central authorities, one could assume that when Indian parents are involved in the education of their children, their confidence about schooling may increase. Efficiency. The efficiency argument for organizational decentralization mainly concerns cost effectiveness. Brown (1990) labels efficiency as "service increase" and "reduced costs" (p. 95). Weiler (1993) contends that efficiency in education is to reinforce "the cost-effectiveness of the educational system through a more efficient deployment and management of resources" (p. 57). Elmore (1993) asserts that proponents of decentralization think in terms of "reduction of overhead costs" (p. 49). As Elmore puts it: 44 Centralized bureaucracy is always an attractive target, and reformers usually see decentralization as opening up opportunities for more efficient government through the reduction of overhead costs associated with centralized administration and through the use of those resources for direct delivery of services at the lowest level of the system (p. 49). Accordingly, decentralization advocates assume that control by central authorities does not allow schools, and teachers in particular, to do their job in the best possible way. They also assume that schools and teachers would perform more efficiently if central authorities give them all the power and discretion to use the information they possess. This line of reasoning suggests that if central authorities make schools autonomous, in-school authorities would channel their efforts in a direction that would lead to greater student accomplishment (Hannaway, 1993). However, Elmore (1993) does not accept that decentralization increases efficiency at the in-school level. As Elmore writes: To say that decentralization increases efficiency, however, is to say very little in the absence of knowledge about the level of aggregation at which efficiency is important and in the absence of knowledge about how resources are used in so-called decentralized systems (p. 49). In fact, Elmore argues that there is no connection between decentralization and student achievement at the school level. As Elmore writes: Indeed research on centralization and decentralization in American education is characterized by the virtually complete disconnection between structural reform and anything having to do with classroom instruction and learning of students (p. 35). Despite a common belief by some researchers that decentralization does not increase efficiency at the school level, Brown (1990) sees some effectiveness in decentralization at the in-school level. As Brown writes: The literature on school-based management suggests that money for supplies may be spent more efficiently and it raises the possibility that decentralization is more likely to permit suitable local expenditures for local purposes. The argument is put forward that 45 some equity of student treatment may be attained. However, it warns that workloads for school personnel may increase (p. 97). While proponents for decentralization argue that decentralized systems are more likely to be efficient than centralized systems, they fail to provide a simple criterion by which to establish the relationship between decentralization and efficiency. As Elmore (1993) observes: |TJt is sufficient to observe that the relationship between decentralization and efficiency in education is tenuous at best. There is no simple formula for establishing a relationship between decentralized authority and efficient use of resources; there is only a series of complex, interrelated puzzles (p. 50). However, from the literature, one could assume that proponents for decentralization believe that community people and in-school authorities are more knowledgeable about most school functions than central authorities, and are more capable of making and effecting decisions that would result in school improvement. The notion that decentralization would make band-operated schools efficient derives from the claim that excessive control and regulation from the central office estranges school teachers and parents from their own ideas and suppresses their inventiveness. As part of this study, I will investigate how efficiently school authorities use resources in band-operated schools. Political Dprant ra l iTat inn While many researchers treat educational decentralization in an organizational context, others (Weiler, 1993; Sergiovanni et al., 1987; Tyack, 1993; Elmore, 1993) treat it in a political context. This section addresses the political dynamics of the argument over decentralization in educational governance. 46 In most cases, decentralization in education, virtually, has nothing to do with either structural reform or with classroom instruction or the learning of students (Elmore, 1993; Weiler, 1993). Decentralization is a process of participative management (Bolman and Deal, 1991) which politicians design to support fulfilment of people's needs. It is an example of "co-optation" (Bolman and Deal, 1991, p. 228). According to Bolman and Deal, co-optation is "a process whereby an organization gives something to individuals so as to induce them to ally themselves with organizational needs and purposes" (p. 228). Elmore (1993) terms decentralization in American education as a "democratic wish" (p. 35). Elmore describes two underlying tenets of American political culture: first, there is trust in government, based on honest democracy; and second, the concern that convergence of power in institutions of government is threatening to personal freedom. Therefore, as a guard against convergence of power, Americans frame their political institutions in ways that "institutionalize conflict and disperse responsibility" (p. 35). As Elmore (1993) writes: Periodically, reformers act on the democratic wish to return power to 'the people' through reforms that push decision making out into smaller, simpler, more directly accountable institutions. These new reforms almost never displace existing institutions, which are the products of earlier, similar reforms and of attempts to disperse and fragment power. The new institutional forms, born of democratic wish, emerge and become routinized (p. 36). For political analysis of decentralization, the most relevant explication of governments' intentions may be found in Weiler's (1993) thesis, Control Versus Legitimation: The Politics of Ambivalence. Weiler maintains that decentralization serves as a political instrument of "conflict management and compensatory legitimation" (p. 56). Bolman and Deal's (1991) political view of organizations suggests that conflict is a dilemma that hinders the achievement of organizational objectives. As Bolman and Deal (1991) write: 47 Hierarchical conflict raises the possibility that the lower levels will ignore or subvert management directives. Conflict among major partisan groups can undermine an organization's effectiveness and ability of its leadership to function. Such dangers are precisely why the structural perspective emphasizes the need for a hierarchy of authority (p. 199). Accordingly, Weiler's (1993) discussion of the politics of decentralization emphasizes control, conflict, and legitimacy. Weiler's main premise is that in exercising its prerogative, the state has a two-fold agenda: first, to ensure effectiveness and maintain control; and, second, to strengthen and maintain the normative basis of its power. To understand the political debate over decentralization, I will examine Weiler's treatise in four areas: (1) redistribution of authority; (2) cultures of learning; (3) conflict management; and, (4) compensatory legitimation. Redistribution of Authority. Weiler (1993) contends that the state, as a centralized power base wields authority over educational policy in various ways, such as setting standards of qualification by determining curricular examination criteria, or certification and accreditation rules for students, teachers and other employees. Also, the state allocates resources to education. While Weiler believes that centralization enhances equity and reduces disparities in educational organizations, there is no form of decentralization that genuinely redistributes authority. As Weiler writes: A decentralized system of governance tends to introduce into the processes of regulation and allocation of certain interests (such as those of parents and local communities) that may disturb the relatively smooth and privileged interaction between the state and capital accumulation... Given this basic incompatibility between the power-sharing logic of decentralization and the interest of the modern state in maintaining control, it is not surprising that forms of decentralization that involve the genuine redistribution of authority are rare (p. 61-2). 48 Similarly, Winkler (1993) asserts that while politicians seldom use the term redistribution of political power as a goal for decentralization, they suggest that the objective of decentralization is to democratize or to include minority groups in society. However, Winkler argues that if redistribution of political power were the main objective for decentralization, then the state's objective for decentralization may be to empower groups in society that champion policies of the central government or to weaken groups that do not support the policies. Thus, Winkler does not believe that decentralization concerns the redistribution of government power. As Winkler puts it: From this perspective, decentralization is less concerned with the transfer of power from one level of government to another than with the transfer of power from one group to another. Ironically, one consequence of decentralization may be to increase the effective control of the central government, or at least that of key decision makers with the central government (p. 105). So, a relevant question arises here as to what form of powers Government has ceded to Native people to control their schools and how much power do Native people wield in the control of education? Mintzberg (1983) simply defines power as "the capacity to effect (or affect) organizational outcomes" (p. 4). Mintzberg (1983) asserts that "to have power is to be able to get things done, to effect outcomes - actions and the decisions that precede them" (p. 4). Bacharach and Lawler (1980) contend that influence and authority are both subsets of power in that lower level employees in an organizational hierarchy may have substantial influence, while higher level employees may have substantial authority but little influence. Further, Bacharach and Lawler (1980) assert that authority and influence rely on different bases of power. Bases of power are the elements of control that are available to users of power; that is, the means that people adopt to manipulate the behaviour of others, such as, coercive, remunerative, knowledge, 49 and normative means. Bacharach and Lawler identify four sources of power, namely, structural, personality, expertise, and opportunity. Whereas authority rests solely on structural sources of power, influence rests on any of personality, expertise, or opportunity. Frohock (1979) notes that people in positions without authority engage in "gaming" (p. 10). As Frohock writes: "A gaming approach to politics concentrates on the tactics or the strategies of people in no conditions of authority" (p. 10-11). As part of this study, a few more relevant questions may arise as to why government ceded control of education to Native people in Canada. First, what are the stated goals for transfer of control of education from government to Native people; and second, how does the central government increase its effective control of Indian education? Cultures of Learning. Many educational researchers believe that the context of the learning process is crucial to student achievement (Hawthorn, 1967). The rationality behind cultures of learning argument is to localize education in order to meet the various social and economic needs of students. The most frequent argument advanced by the National Indian Brotherhood (1972; 1980) for Indian control of Indian education in Canada is the cultures of learning argument. The National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) (1972) states that the current system of education is culturally foreign to the Indian child. The NIB further maintains that Indian people want an education that would develop in their children Indian attitudes, and values which form the basis of Indian tradition and culture (p. 2). Accordingly, the NIB perceives centralization as creating a disparity between Indian children and the culture of the school. Similarly, a version of the same reasoning has to do with the language of instruction in Indian schools. The National Indian Brotherhood sees Indian languages as providing a more 50 practical connection between learning at home and learning at school. As the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) writes: While much can be done by parents in the home and by the community on the reserve to foster facility in speaking and understanding, there is a great need of formal instruction in the language (p. 15). While this thinking of cultural learning has some theoretical justification and significant political appeal, it is hard to reconcile it with the statement by the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) that Indians want education "to provide [their children] the training necessary to make a good living in modern society" (p. 3). Weiler (1993), argues that even under centralized educational systems, educators increasingly recognize the significance of culturally specific learning environments and accept the learning of languages that are peculiar to specific locales. However, as Weiler appropriately notes, centralization caters for the demands of modern labour markets and communication systems, which need more universalized and similar skills, and credentials at both national and international levels. As Weiler concludes: The link between culture and learning tends to get replaced by the link between learning and technology: the link between culture and learning tends to benefit from a more decentralized, disaggregated notion of learning and educational content, the link between learning and technology tends to require more homogeneity and uniformity as far as the content and outcome of education are concerned (p. 65). In other words, a centralized system of learning deals better with the universalities of modern systems of technology, communication, and living. So, given Weiler's contention, one can safely argue that if education were to provide the Indian child with the technological skills of modern society, then Indian schools would be better off under a centralized system. 51 While the idea of decentralizing the contents of learning for Indian children as a way of identifying and accommodating the diversity and significance of different cultural environments in Canada is valid and meaningful, it would be necessary to balance the content in a way that schooling would provide the Indian student with necessary skills to survive in two worlds, that is the Indian world and the mainstream Canadian society. Educators and advocates of cultural learning should take care that sentiments about culture do not override the main purpose of education. Excessive reliance on culture may deprive students from learning experiences that may serve them in a modern society. The rationale for this statement is that Indian traditional ethos may not have a link between learning and technology (Paquette, 1986a). In order for Indian children to benefit from learning, Indian schools should develop a happy marriage between their traditional ethos and technological learning. Compensatory T^gititnafian Addressing compensatory legitimation, Weiler (1993) defines legitimacy as "the normative basis of the state's authority, or the state's 'worthiness of recognition' " (p. 70). According to Weiler, because of the enormous task of government business and exigencies placed on it, government is unable to respond adequately to the demands of the modern state. As a result, government encounters 'delegitimation of authority' (p. 70). In other words, the normative basis of government authority has become continuously unstable, to the point where the main preoccupation of politicians and civil servants is to safeguard government legitimacy. Weiler, thus, asserts that those who plan educational policies do not consider outcomes such as excellence, efficiency, equity, or more employment of school leavers. What they consider most is how educational policies would preserve or recapture as much as possible the state's legitimacy. 52 In his analysis of decentralization as compensatory legitimation, Weiler (1993) states two reasons for decentralization. First, as the problem of government seems to be in its overcentralized structure, decentralization can make the state look more accommodating to internal differences of needs and conditions. And, second, in modern societies, there is a growing awareness of the adverse effects of overcentralization in education, and the advantages that cultural and language education may bestow on minority groups. As Weiler (1993) writes: The resurgence of cultural regionalism, or local languages, dialects, and cultural and folkloric traditions, and of subnational alternatives for national conceptions of cultural identity have led to more emphasis on the limits of centralization in education. These developments have further reinforced (and been reinforced by) the perception that centralized state structures (other things being equal) tend to be greater obstacles to democratic expression than decentralized structures tend to be (p. 71). Therefore, Weiler believes that the more the state decentralizes education, the more it gains control and legitimacy over education. However, while Weiler's theory of compensatory legitimation may be directly persuasive in considering the circumstances leading to the hand-over of Indian schools to the Indians themselves, some pertinent questions remain: Does the government of Canada gain more legitimacy over Indian education as a result of Indians controlling their own education? What structures does the government employ to ensure that Indian children receive quality education? These questions and related ones form an integral part of this study. Role of Culture in Education Among Ethnic Groups The role of culture in the meaning and practice of education among ethnic groups has been documented by contemporary researchers. There have been studies that have supported cultural education that symbolizes interests and values of dominant and subordinate groups of 53 society (Andereck, 1992; Bouvier, 1990; Giroux et al., 1989). Freire and Giroux (1989) express: the need to reclaim a cultural literacy for each and every person as part of the democratic idea of citizenship that dignifies and critically engages the different voices of students from both dominant and subordinate groups in ways that help them to define schools as part of the communities and neighbourhoods they serve (p. x-xi). Giroux and Simon (1989) also argue that while politics of popular culture form an important part of a new sociology of education, many radical educational researchers have overlooked its importance in their analysis. As they write: "By ignoring the cultural and social forms, that are authorized by youth and simultaneously empower or disempower them, educators risk complicity silencing and negating their students" (p. 3). Similarly, Livingstone (1987) believes "Cultural power involves the capacity of social groups to convey notions of actual, possible and preferable social beliefs and practices to their own groups and throughout society as a whole" [italics his] (p. 7). Also, speaking to the promotion of heritage languages in Canadian schools, Cummins and Danesi (1990) contend that a child's general educational achievement is closely associated with the child's development in his or her culture. As Cummins and Danesi write: The personal and conceptual foundation that the child develops in her culture and language increases her sense of confidence and enhances cognitive growth and success in acquiring additional languages. There are also strong arguments relating to the importance of rooting children's development in a knowledge and appreciation of the culture and traditions of their ethnocultural community (p. 77-78). Because culture is important in the lives of dominated, exploited, poor or otherwise left out minority or ethnic groups, researchers have offered various models of conducting research on these groups. In his article, "From Margins to Center? Development and Purpose of 54 Participatory Research", Hall (1993) traces the development, use and benefits of participatory research in countries such as Tanzania, Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, and India. As Hall writes: Participatory research' were the words which evolved in the Tanzanian context of the early 1970's for a practice which attempted to put the less powerful at the centre of the knowledge creation process; to move people and their daily lived experiences of struggle and survival from the margins of epistemology to the centre" (p. 1). Kemmis' (1991) study of Aboriginal education and teacher education in the Northern Territory of Australia illustrates how research can lead ethnic groups to maintaining a central role in their own development. As Kemmis writes: The projects in Aboriginal education and teacher education undertaken in the Northern Territory exemplify the shift from 'facilitatory' roles to collaborative ones. They have shown how one can establish modes of work which recognise and respect different interests (p. 114). Similarly, Maguire (1987) studied battered families in Gallup, New Mexico and found women's participation in participatory research projects boosted women's self-esteem as well as the control and organizational power of women's groups. There are also studies that address the resistance of ethnic groups to a dominant culture. In a study of Irish immigrants in the United States, Andereck (1992) found ethnic groups do not easily replace their ethnic cultures with a dominant culture. According to Andereck, "Every ethnic group has boundary rules to maintain ethnicity" (p. 3). She found ethnic groups may choose to do one of three things: (1) to totally absorb (or assimilate) the culture of the dominant group; (2) to gradually move toward totally absorbing (or acculturate) the dominant culture; and (3) to maintain its homogeneity (acculturate) by modifying any attitudes or values of the dominant group using boundary rules that may minimize the possibility of assimilation or acculturation. 55 LeVine and White (1986) in their study of agrarian ethnic groups found that even though these groups may acquire Western education, they may often stick to their traditional objectives and may prefer to mesh the latter with new mixture of inherent and alien interpretations. Similarly, Thies (1987) conducted a study on the Aborigines of the East Kimberley region of Australia and found that although the Aborigines viewed education as a process whereby the student learned the lifestyles necessary for survival in the society, they believed that a full and competent young person in their community should acquire both traditional and Western education. LeVine and White (1986) believe, therefore, that in any attempt to formulate policy for Native education, policy-makers should recognize and understand Native culture and history. As LeVine and White write: The particular agrarian culture indigenous to each country or province sets the stage for an interaction with foreign ideas that continues for centuries, creating distinctive contexts for life span development. To ignore these contexts, their historical roots and their influence on personal experience, when designing policy is to court failure in its implementation. Cultural, historical and psychological understanding is a practical necessity for the policy-maker, but it has not yet found a secure place in the analysis of educational policy and practice (p. 13). Paquette (1991) asserts that "public systems seeking to assimilate minorities by replacing their cultures and languages have a very poor track record internationally of adequately preparing minorities for full participation in their host societies and economies" (p. 124). However, it is not to assert that foreign domination has not disrupted indigenous cultures. As Kawagley (1993) writes: The indigenous people of the world have experienced varying degrees of disruption or loss with regard to their traditional life styles and world views. This disruption has contributed to the many psycho-social maladies that are extant in indigenous societies today" (p. 2). 56 Accordingly, the need for more critical education research or participatory action research (Hall, 1993; Whyte, 1991) in dominated, exploited or poor societies is paramount as researchers move beyond methods suggested by positivist and interpretive social sciences. Researchers must concern themselves with forms of educational theory and research aimed at transforming the works of schools and educational systems of deprived communities "forms of research whose aim is not to interpret the world but to change it" (Kemmis, 1991, p. 102). The Canadian Education Association (CEA) Report (1984) asserts that non-Native teachers of Indian children lack understanding and experience with Native people. As the report states: Too often, non-native teachers have little or no professional understanding of the lifestyles, values and cultures of native people. There is no doubt that native education must recognize and respect these differences and obviously native teachers and counsellors are ideally suited to meet the needs of the native student. However, the need for native teachers is only partially being met and it is the non-[N]ative teachers, often ill-prepared to deal with the cultural and linguistic differences, who are responsible for providing the greatest share of native children's education (p. 75). This study should investigate how community people and teachers collaborate to improve the children's education and how teachers could become familiar with things that are important to Native people? The National Indian Brotherhood (1972) addresses the concern by stating: Federal and provincial authorities are urged to use the strongest measures necessary to improve the qualifications of teachers and counsellors of Indian children. During initial training programs there should be compulsory courses in inter-cultural education, native languages (oral facility and comparative analysis), and teaching English as a second language. Orientation courses and in-service training are needed in all regions. Assistance should be available for all teachers in adapting curriculum and teaching techniques to the needs of local children. Teachers and counsellors should be given the opportunity to improve themselves through specialized summer courses in acculturation problems, anthropology, Indian history, language and culture (p. 19). 57 It is important to note that theories regarding minority group education either come from the viewpoints of very well educated Native people or from scholars of dominant cultures. Therefore, the need to document the different ways that Native people, living in remote communities, view their own children's schooling is crucial. As the culture of Native people living in remote communities is different from the dominant culture, and their understanding of schooling issues may be different from their educated counterparts, it is important to investigate their conceptions about schooling. How these conceptions about schooling affect the education of Native children and how Native people would engage themselves in exploring ways to improve their schools so that they may closely reflect the culture and aspirations of their communities are the key questions that researchers must address. These questions are at the very foundation of my study as I seek to engage Native people in a participatory (or action) research. Concluding Summary This chapter has attempted to review literature in order to provide an outline within which to analyze schooling in Indian reserves. A broad review of the history of Native education in Canada reveals that the first schools for Native children, operated by missionaries made a deliberate attempt to exterminate Native cultures and assimilate Native people into the mainstream Canadian society. However, by the end of the 1960s it became increasingly evident that Native people could not abandon their cultures and be assimilated into mainstream Canadian society. Accordingly, the literature asserts that the control of Native education by Native people is closely linked with Native self determination. This perspective suggests that Native people 58 should develop a new meaning and purpose of education and employ new structures for the control of their schools. Therefore, the purpose of education from Native people's perspectives and the control of education will form some of the bases of this study. A review of treaty rights and government promises indicated that jurisdiction over the education of Indians in Canada is located in the various treaties signed between the federal government and the Indians. While it seems generally that there is a shared obligation between provincial and federal governments in the control of Native education, it is clear that the federal government is responsible for Native students residing on reserves and provincial governments are responsible for Native students attending schools in the mainstream Canadian society. Despite the rhetoric about local control it appears in the treaties signed between the federal government and Native peoples that the federal government has an obligation to provide lifelong education for Indians. An extensive review of the literature on the interpretations of success and failure of Native education dispels the notions of cultural superiority of White cultures over Native culture, the impact of bilingualism on educational achievement, and minority group genetic inferiority. Rather, the literature reveals that failure of Native students in school is due to cultural discontinuity. Some of the elements viewed as causing cultural discontinuity are, the school's treatment of minority students, its concept of time and space, contradictions in the curriculum, and Native people's worldview to school discipline. Based on the literature on interpretations of success and failure of Native education, this study will investigate the challenges and priorities of schooling in Cat Lake and attempt to elicit from research participants strategies they suggest to deal with these challenges and priorities. 59 While decentralization of schools is seen by many researchers as a contemporary reform process, some researchers argue that it may have ambiguous results on efficiency and accountability of school officials. However, decentralization may benefit school systems only if it has something to do with structural reform, classroom instruction and learning of students. The literature also criticizes the nature and purpose of the practice of education in modern times and it highlighted the importance of cultural education among minority groups. As Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has handed most of the schools in Ontario to Indian bands, this study will examine what the handover means in terms of control and curricula implementation. While investigating the purpose of schooling, the control of education, school-community relations, problems and priorities of schooling in Cat Lake, this study sought to use the literature as a framework to guide the discussion of the results. CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY In this chapter, I provide a methodological context for the study, which includes my personal and cultural introduction, the research design and procedures I used to gather data for the study, and, the way I analyzed the data I collected for the study. My personal and cultural introduction are relevant to this study because I was bom into a traditional society and as a child I found my community values and standards entirely different from that of the school. While this study is a cross-cultural research, given similarities that exist in traditional societies, my background may possibly contribute to better mutual understanding and interpretation of the findings of the study. Personal and Cultural Introduction I was born in a small, rural community in Ghana, where the majority of the inhabitants were engaged in subsistence farming. Fundamentally, my community people based their livelihood on their subsistence and reproductive lives. At an early age, I learned the community vocabulary, logic, morals, values, and standards that were different from those I acquired at school in later life. I, as well as every child or adult of my community, was aware of the virtues and vices that existed in our society and how individuals fought to augment their social lives in terms of community ethics. 60 61 The young members of the community regarded adults as fountains of knowledge and looked up to them for cultural education. The social identities of adults in the community were established by a local age-sex hierarchy that offered support, structure and opportunities for self-fulfilment. Reciprocal obligations of clan and neighbour provided support for all members of the community. Customary practices of interpersonal morality that clearly specified virtue and vice, and formed a basis of trust, and positive consciousness provided structure to all the members of the community. Members basically derived motivation from expectations of advancement in the age-sex hierarchy, with its concomitant prestige, wealth, power, and security. Advancement in the hierarchy specified expansion of life opportunities in the community context. Community members did not, for the most part, aim at social individuality that would outshine or oppose conventional communal bonds in the search for individual accomplishment. I have come to entertain the feeling that my community was very traditional and unique in its values and standards. Child-bearing, religious piety, and a variety of social skills such as obedience, cooperation, helping, and respect for life and property, for example, were seen by community members as necessary for the optimal development of the individual. There were moral codes for parent-child relations and there existed a cultural model in which parenthood was symbolically the centre-piece of community life. Women and men had their specific roles which were defined by community conventions, and hardly could there be a conflict of roles between husband and wife. In other words, from childhood, girls learned to become ideal mothers and effective housekeepers, while boys learned to become ideal fathers and providers for the household. The individual who wished to achieve optimal development should maximize 62 his/her attachment to the community which bestowed the welfare of security, continuity, and trust. Although the community recognized a point for individual ambition or achievement motivation, it limited its expectations within reach of the average community member. However, there were also high ideals that might not be achieved by anyone in the population. I went to school at the age of 5, and had to learn English as a third language; my second language being a local one which I learned alongside with English at the inception of school. At school, I did not learn my native tongue, the dialect I spoke at home and in the community. I became aware, early in my school life that the school did not recognize, let alone incorporate the virtues or vices I learned from my home. Community standards, values, morals, ethics, and religious practices, which we held in reverence as integral parts of our very existence were, in the language of the school evil, and should not have a place in our lives. I very well remember doing punishments for speaking my own language at school. The very tasks that I did as punishments formed the basis of the livelihood of my family, that was, working on the school farm. I learned at that early age that the occupation of my parents, grandparents, and forefathers which sustained our livelihood was regarded by the school as a sort of punishment and, therefore, degrading. It was never clear to me why I had to go to school. For, as I learned later in life, school was originally introduced into my community in order to train people in the basic skill of reading and writing so that they could interpret the bible. During my time, interpreting the bible was no longer essential, for, colonialism has succeeded in imbuing the tenets of Christianity into old and young, and Christian life and routines had already become part of the life of the community. All I knew was school was a necessary evil. It became a meaningless 63 routine for me and the other boys and girls of the community. One either dropped out or continued. With some restructuring of education to incorporate our traditional values in schooling, school began to make sense to some of us. I was one of those who continued schooling. Despite all the Western education I have had, I still feel there is still something missing from me. That is, I have to understand what it means to be me. I need to discover who I am. I have always felt that my education has not adequately endowed me with the necessary skills I need for survival in my own community. Rather, it has tampered with some of the values, morals and standards, and above all, my placement as a member of my community. This is not in any way to say that education has not been useful to me. I have rather realized that education has taught me to look at the world with two viewpoints, that is, with a compromise between Western and indigenous values. I have come to believe that I am the true educated person who sees things with two eyes. Since I earned my bachelor's degree, I have taught at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education and at various times taken up administrative positions as principal of Native schools in Canada. My experience in Band-controlled schools, located in remote Indian reserves, makes me conceptualize the education of the Native child in my own schooling terms. To the Native child, the culture of the school may be meaningless, yet essential for survival in the mainstream Canadian society. Is the Native child being deprived of the very fabric of her/his existence-the good things of her/his culture? As I recall my own schooldays with mixed feelings of joy, pride, remorse, resistance, and fear, I wish to investigate the feelings of Native people about schooling. 64 My interest in the study of Native people's viewpoints on education has been rekindled by my own personal and educational background. With my experience working in schools in remote Indian reserves, I have felt that my doctoral dissertation should be concerned with helping to improve schooling conditions of Indian children. Yet, I thought that I could not be helping by doing a research for the Indian people, but rather with the Indian people. My knowledge of various research paradigms teaches me that participatory research would go a long way in helping to understand and improve the education of Native children. Knowing the principles involved in participatory research, I "put myself out to be requested" (Maguire, 1987) from Indian school authorities for the research. My decision for this study (and its methodology) was a result of discussions about problems of schooling which I had with Native people in the communities in which I did my research, and those I had with intellectual people among the Indians at the University of British Columbia. When I decided that I was going to study Native people's viewpoints on schooling, I was aware that the only way to be able to do a meaningful research was to integrate myself fully into a Native community, and to be in a position to influence policy. I could only conduct a purposeful research in a school system if I were part of that system. By early December 1992, I sent resumes out to Native communities in Ontario to seek a position as a teacher. In May, 1993 I was invited by the Windigo Education Authority to an interview for the position of principal in one of their school systems. I came out of the interview as the successful candidate for the position. With little information about Cat Lake, I made a commitment to undertake a participatory approach for my thesis research. The decision was, somewhat, an answer to my desire to work hand in hand with community people to bring some improvement into their school 65 system. The question of whether participatory research could be a knowledge-generating enterprise for a doctoral thesis came up several times in discussions I had with colleagues and thesis committee members. I was convinced that there could not be any better way of helping to improve schooling and at the same time producing a doctoral thesis. From my literature review about participatory research, I learned that the process should be a cooperative venture. The initial problem I had was that I had not yet known a specific group with which to work. However, with my position as principal of the reserve school, I was confident that my position of influence in the school could let many things happen. I viewed my study as a way of collaborating with Native people to analyze and act on problems affecting the schooling of their children. Hopefully, this study has gone a long way in empowering the people in the community of my study to make education meaningful to their children. One substantial purpose of the study was an attempt, by thinking and rethinking along with the community people, to find a way of redefining and implementing an education worthy of their culture and their children. The Research Design The research design for this study drew on participatory research, an alternative research paradigm approach to social science and educational research (Maguire, 1987). The methods I chose for this study were a function of the purpose of the research (Bodgan and Biklen, 1982), and to a large extent, depended on the assumptions underlying the study. Hampton (1988) writes that it may not be the lack of research that impedes Indian education "but a shortage of research that is useful from Indian points of view" (p. 21). As this study concerns not doing 66 research for the Native people but with the Native people (Hall, 1993; Maguire, 1987; Carr and Kemmis, 1986a), and as the research was designed to directly involve Native people in implementing change, I believe that the participatory research methodology was the most appropriate for the study (Maguire, 1987; Hall, 1981, 1993; Participatory Research Network, 1982). Maguire (1987) asserts that participatory research goes beyond merely interpreting and describing social phenomenon. As Maguire (1987) writes: Participatory research offers a way to openly demonstrate solidarity with oppressed and disempowered people through our work as researchers. In addition to recognizing many forms of knowledge, participatory research insists on an alternative position regarding the purpose of knowledge creation. The purpose of participatory research is not merely to describe social reality, but to radically change it (p. 34). As a research process, participatory research explores social problems which are proposed and resolved by participants; as an educational process, participatory research educates both researchers and participants by engaging them in the analysis of structural causes of selected problems through collaborative discussion and interaction (Participatory Research Network, 1982; Maguire, 1987); and as an action process, participatory research enables researchers and participants to take collaborative action for radical social change in both the short and the long run (Hall, 1993; Maguire, 1987). As Hall (1993) defines participatory research: Participatory research has been expressed most generally as a process which combines three activities: research, education and action. Participatory research is a social action process which is biased in favour of dominated, exploited, poor or otherwise left out women, men and groups. It sees no contradiction between goals of collective empowerment and the deepening of social knowledge. The concern with power and democracy and their interactions are central to participatory research. Attention to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, and other social factors are critical (p. 3). 67 Accordingly, the most peculiar aspect of participatory research is the direct link between research and action (Hall, 1993; Maguire, 1987). The combination of the creation of knowledge about social reality with actual action in that reality distinguishes participatory research from traditional research methods (Tandon 1981b; Hall, 1981, 1993; Maguire, 1987). According to Maguire (1987), the objectives of participatory research are: Development of critical consciousness of both researcher and participants; improvement of the lives of those involved in the research process; [and] transformation of fundamental societal structures and relationships (p. 36). Therefore, the objective of this study was to use a collective inquiry procedure to involve the people of the Cat Lake community in building a group ownership of information as they moved from being mere objects of research to acting as subjects of their own research process (Maguire, 1987). Put simply, the methodology employed in this study involved a group of Native people residing in an isolated community in deciding what problems of schooling to investigate, what questions to explore, how to collect data, and how to organize and use the data according to their own priorities (Participatory Research Network, 1982). Thus, working towards what I believe is the fundamental need for understanding and improving Native education, I saw my research as an example of a critical education research process that "is organised to produce collaborative action which can then be submitted to reflection and evaluation, and produce further action" (Kemmis, 1991 p. 103). In other words, I organized this study within an alternative social science framework by employing data collection processes that combined the activities of research, education, and action (Hall, 1993; Maguire, 1987; Kemmis, 1991). 68 So, unlike a study using an externalist position, this study did not intend merely to produce information about Indian education and remain on the shelves. Moreover, the study was also unlike more latent interpretive forms of critical theory. The study, as Kemmis (1991) puts it, was: "learning by doing in collaborative groups - 'critical and self-critical communities' whose aim is to improve their understanding of the world, their practices, and their organization as groups committed to the development of more rational, productive, satisfying, just and humane forms of life" (Kemmis, (p. 103). The method of critical education research described by Kemmis (1991) and the method of participatory research described by Hall (1993) move educational research further than usual in directing it toward action. One may be tempted to ask how this participatory research can fit as a doctoral dissertation and at the same time work out in the context of a Native community in Northwestern Ontario. This study had two major components, the first, which documented issues concerning the education of the children in an Indian reserve, and the second, which utilized the documentation as a basis for local people to act in the improvement of their school. The knowledge producing aspect, a characteristic of dissertations, has been served by the first component. Matthew's (1991) evaluation of Native schools in British Columbia indicates that while community people are usually determined to involve themselves in changing schools, their involvement is restrained by lack of impetus which would act as an effective link between the school and the community. As Matthews (1991) writes: All nine reports found that greater involvement of parents in the schools was desired by teachers, administrators or the parents themselves. Parents interviewed in the studies were supportive of the concept of local control but sometimes their involvement was restricted by lack of communication between the school and the home and they did not know how to become involved (p. 40). 69 I assumed, therefore, in this study that community people were willing to participate fully in the affairs of the school but were restricted by a lack of stimulus. One of the relevant questions that arose in this study, therefore, was: How could the school within the reserve build effective communication lines with the people in the community? Research Procedures The purpose and objectives of this study determined the choice of procedures I employed in data collection and analysis. Hall (1993) asserts that participatory research literature has always been unexplicit about the problem of methods. According to Hall (1993) "there are no methodological othodoxes or cook-book approaches to follow" (p. 11). For participatory research: the most important factors are the origins of the issues, the roles which those concerned with the issues play in the process, the immersion of the process in the context of the moment, the potential for mobilizing and collective learning, the link to action, the understanding of how power relationships work and the potential for communications with other[s] experiencing similar discrimination, oppression or violence (Hall, 1993, p. 10-11). Thus, the precept is that participatory research is context-bound and the procedures employed should emanate from both researcher and participants. The Participatory Research Network (1982) documents various approaches to participatory research. These include group discussions, public meetings, research teams, open-ended surveys, community seminars, factfinding tours, collective production of audiovisual materials, theatre, education camps, and many more. For the purpose of this study, I drew on data collected through document analysis, workshops based on group discussions, meetings, and interviews. I restricted the focus of this study to people directly connected with the school 70 system. The data were collected through participant observation during the period September, 1993 to August, 1994. I conducted interviews with local education authority members, community leaders and people, directors, teachers, and students of the school. Documents It is difficult to understand schools without giving attention to documentary material. Since schools acquire all kinds of documents in their day to day operation, it is necessary for the researcher to review all available documents as a basis of understanding the operation of the schools. Hammersley and Atkinson (1989) assert that researchers should treat official documents as social products and should carefully examine them instead of merely treating them as a resource. Researchers should, therefore, consider documents in the same way as information they gather using other research tools. In other words, documents, especially primary documents, though may be useful, may also be inaccurate, or biased or may contain hidden agendas in their preparation. They may also be incomplete. This study used documents produced by the Ministry of Indian Affairs for Native schools, as well as those produced by the tribal council education authority and those produced by the local education authorities. I incorporated four major documentary sources in my analysis. The first source was the various documents the Windigo Education Authority had prepared for the school since the inception of band control in 1988. These included Policy for Windigo Education Schools (revised edition, 1992-93); Annual Reports of the Windigo Education Authority ; minutes of the Windigo Education Authority Meetings (1992-93). The second source comprised various documents at the local level such as A Review of the Titotay Memorial School 71 Programme—Learning Sources (1992-93); and the Titotay Memorial School Discipline Policy (1989); the third source was Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Document, the Common Curriculum, 1993, available in the school for teachers' use in preparation for teaching. The final source was teachers' goals and objectives and their long range plans. I identified topical descriptors in all the documents and verified if the different documentary sources used common themes. My approach was to search for patterns, common themes or ideas. In my view, a careful examination of documents conveyed information about the school in Cat Lake in particular, and information about curriculum, policy, and governance of schools for Native children in general. Whereas my general interest was in schools for Native children since 1973, the year Native people started to take control of schools for their children, my specific interest in Cat Lake meant that it was appropriate to concentrate data collection from 1988, the year the community took control of its own school. Specific documents that were useful in this study included mission statements, band policy on schools, curricular material, program evaluation reports, minutes of staff meetings, and many other pertinent pieces of information that the school possessed. Workshops Based on Group Discussions According to the Participatory Research Network (1982), "Group discussions are probably the most widely used method in participatory research. They occur throughout the process, and are often used together with other methods" (p. 6). The Participatory Research Network (1982) suggests small numbers of 8, 12 or 25 who meet to solve problems by sharing experiences, information and support. For this study, I targeted the small group of five people 72 who form the Local Education Authority, who were active on school affairs, to act as an advisory or reference group for the project. Basically, this group advised on what to do in the course of the project. I encouraged participants to present and talk about their own ideas especially about what changes they required for the school in the community. Group discussions helped in problem posing, identifying causes, discussing possible solutions and evaluating actions (Participatory Research Network, 1982). Group discussions also created circumstances under which people felt relaxed and free to speak. Researcher and participants used group discussions to build a sense of trust, support and cooperation among community people who shared the same ideas or problems; group discussions maintained communication among researcher and community members, and also acted as productive interviews (Participatory Research Network, 1982). In order to clearly identify the shortcomings of schooling and find solutions for them, school staff, the Local Education Authority and community people attended a series of workshops (see Appendix C and Appendix D). The purpose of these workshops was for the school staff, the Local Education Authority, and community people to come together as a team and discuss how the present form of education provided for the children of Titotay Memorial School might have been inadequate in terms of the expectations of the people of the community. The workshops concerned an investigation of elements which might contribute to, or hinder the achievement of an adequate educational provision for the children. The data for this study come from workshops that took place in January and February, 1994 (see Phase 2 below). Although I invited as many as 45 people to attend the first workshop only 28 participants attended. These people comprised the school teaching and support staff, Local Education Authority members and 73 some community people. During the second workshop, 32 people participated. These people included 26 of those who attended the first workshop, four others from the community who joined, and the Director and Assistant Director for the Windigo Education Authority who flew in from Sioux Lookout. The themes of the workshops reflected the viewpoints of participants in relation to the problems they viewed most pressing to the school. Prior to the workshops, the principal, teachers and Local Education Authority (LEA) engaged in a problem identification exercise. In a participatory research enterprise, I believed that the identification and recognition of problems of schooling in the community by researcher, school staff, the Local Education Authority, and community people was a first step toward participation in the solution of the problems. Discussions I had with school staff, Local Education Authority members and community people suggested that they were aware of several problems that faced the school. I asked the school staff, members of the Local Education Authority, and community people to submit lists of problems that they felt affected the school. The purpose of the problem identification exercise was to identify problems that existed in the Titotay Memorial School in 1993/94 and demonstrate that the situation was different from the expectations of the people involved in the school system, and that the problem identification process would show the differences. In other words, participants at the workshops attempted to describe the existing condition in the school and planned for a more desirable condition in the future. Recent reviews of the Titotay Memorial School program (Learning Sources, 1993), indicated that in order to develop an effective school it would be necessary to undertake innovations in many areas of the school. The principal and staff felt mandated to ensure that 74 students received high quality education and they supported a problem identification enterprise as a source of information about the quality of schooling they are delivering to their students. The principal, teachers and LEA have committed themselves to developing an effective school program and perceive that identifying the problems of the school is a means to achieving that end. As part of this study, the problem identification process was one component in the school improvement program, which would lead to planning towards the achievement of broader goals. One of the most important purposes of this participatory study is to expose the problems of schooling in order for community people to deal with them squarely. The recognition of the shortcomings of the education of the children by the school staff and the local authorities was a first step towards setting priorities for the improvement of education in the community. The next step should be an understanding of the problems of schooling by the school staff and the local authorities, and, the development of cooperation between the local authorities, community people, and school staff for the improvement of the school system. Planning for effective provision of education for the children must take into account the aims and objectives of the community people as well as public goals and aspirations. The problem identification exercise leads to a relevant question. In what way can problem identification improve the quality of schooling in the community? I believe that a clear understanding of the quality of the school program, that is, understanding the present state of affairs, would provide a clearer understanding of possible solutions for the problems facing the school. Secondly, all those involved in the schooling system could accomplish the task of building an effective school when they work together to identify problems, find solutions for them, and provide an integrated leadership to support students to achieve high performance at 75 school. During each of the workshops, participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group comprised teachers, parents and Band workers. The objective of the workshops was for the groups to draw on the existing knowledge about the problems facing the school in the plan of an appropriate strategy for their solution. The group, which constituted a research team worked together with a teacher as secretary on discussing issues and finding solutions for them. As principal researcher, I acted as facilitator and joined in various group discussions. After spending the whole of the morning discussing issues in groups, participants broke up for lunch and came back in the afternoon to discuss their results in a plenary session. At these sessions, group secretaries presented their reports for comments from participants. On the whole, the arrangement worked effectively as participants indicated that they found the exercise very interesting. Sometimes, disagreements resulted in arguments and it made it necessary for participants to take votes on issues. If participants agreed, the discussions were documented by a general secretary and tape recorded to ensure that important remarks were not overlooked. After the discussions, I produced a summary report (see Appendix D) for distribution to all participants who were free to draw my attention to any issues that I missed in the report. Interviews In this study, I based the interview process on Freire's (1970) concepts of dialogue and problem-posing. According to Freire: Since dialogue is the encounter in which the united reflection and action of the dialoguers are addressed to the world which is to be transformed and humanized, this dialogue 76 cannot be reduced to the act of one person's 'depositing' ideas in another, nor can it become a simple exchange of ideas to be 'consumed' by the discussants (p. 77). Freire (1970) further argues that "Without dialogue, there is no communication and without communication, there can be no true education" (p. 81). Thus, in the terms of Freire, dialogue encourages critical thinking and action. This study involves the mobilization of community people to pose problems and find solutions to them. The interview process should, therefore, be flexible to accommodate all the necessary viewpoints of participants. As Freire writes of problem-posing: Problem-posing education, as a humanist and liberating praxis, posits as fundamental that men subjected to domination must fight for their emancipation. To that end, it enables teachers and students to become Subjects of the educational process by overcoming authoritarianism and alienating intellectualism; it also enables men to overcome then-false perception of reality (p. 74). Patton (1980) warned against using 'why' questions in qualitative investigation because the objective of the interviewing process is not to put things into people's minds but to inquire into what is in their minds. In contrast, the dialogue process persuades people to explore the "whys" of their lives. For example, why do Native children drop out of school? What causes the problems of dropout? The use of the dialogue concept in this study, however, was not to put ideas into people's mind but to encourage them to "reflect on parts of their lives that they might not ordinarily question or pay attention to" (Maguire, 1987, p. 166). The interview process in this study encouraged people to begin to explore 'truth' more critically. So, in this study, dialogue with individuals and groups meant a process of developing conversation with the Native people, respecting their ways of knowing, their ways of working, and thinking about reality. I heard the voices of parents, students, teachers, elders, band council, and education authorities-what they said, thought, and wanted to do to improve their 77 school. I first asked open-ended questions to allow participants to express their unique views about schooling. I used a semi-structured interview guide that focussed on basic questions, e.g. How do participants view their children's schooling? What do they view as the shortcomings of the present system of schooling? What are their priorities for schooling? How useful do they think schooling would be to their children? What do they wish to do to improve their school system? Because of the cross-cultural nature of the research, I had to employ an interpreter to translate the answers of people who could not respond to the interview questions in English. I tape recorded all the interviews, and transcribed the tapes verbatim as soon after the interviews as possible. The interview process allowed me to explore areas of unique participant concern or importance which I might not initially have anticipated, as well as areas of concern common to all participants. Throughout the interview and transcription process, I highlighted responses that appeared either especially relevant or that were similar to other responses. I also reviewed those responses that were different from others but had particular intensity or relevance to specific issues. Public Meetings Public meetings formed an integral part of this study. I used public meetings to inform community members about the research as it progressed. I used them to provide a chance for the community members to contribute to the plan and implementation of the research project. I used them to involve more community members in playing an active part in the research project by joining small group discussions, interviewing people and allowing themselves to be interviewed. Since the balance between Native and non-Native conceptions of schooling may 78 be important for the development of education in the community, I met with non-Native contract teachers and community people together at certain times and met them separately at other times. For example, questions that arose during meetings with non-Native teachers concerned issues such as orientation of non-Native teachers into the community, e.g. What kind of orientation should new teachers be given by the community? How long should this orientation be? How can non-Native teachers integrate themselves into the community? Should they have host families? During these meetings, I encouraged teachers to write down observations in their own words while I jotted down notes on my observations about individual interactions, group activities, and statements by participants. I highlighted priorities in participants' comments and recorded overall reflections. Research Phases This section presents the phases in which I conducted the study. It presents time periods and the activities accomplished by researcher and participants during those periods. This study proceeded in five phases: the first phase involved negotiating the research relationship; the second phase involved identifying the most significant problems; the third phase involved collective educational activities; the fourth phase involved classification, analysis and conclusion building; and the final phase involved definition of action projects. Note-taking and tape recording of interviews formed an integral part of all the phases of the research. Table 1 shows the research phases and activities initiated. 79 Table 1: Research Phases TIME PHASE ACTIVITY September - October, 1993 1. Negotiating Research Relationships a) Gathering and analysing information about research area b) Establishing relationships with groups c) locating research problem within site d) formed advisory group e) journal keeping November 1993 - January 1994 2. Identifying Most Significant Problems a) Setting up a problem-posing process b) Dialogue with groups and individuals c) Daily journal keeping and notes from interviews a) Workshops February 1994 -April 1994 3. Collective Educational Activities a) Connecting participants' personal perceptions of issues b) Workshops c) Compiled themes for investigation d) Participants began to assume f u l l e r responsibility d) Preparing for action May 1994 -July 1994 4. Classification, Analysis and Conclusion Building a) Information gathering, analysis and conclusion building b) Meetings with participants d) Development of theories and search for solutions e) data gathering, classification and analysis for thesis August 1994 - 5. Definition of Action Projects a) Deciding on Action projects b) Ongoing participation in school development 80 Table 1 shows the research phases of this study. It shows that in all, there are five phases. The sections that follow provide a more detailed description of the activities initiated during the phases. Phasp. 1: Negotiating the Research Relationship (September. 1993 - October. 1993) I arrived at the Indian reserve of Cat Lake during the last week of August 1993. The initial problem I encountered was how to establish myself, particularly, how to be accepted by the community people as a researcher and at the same time as the principal of the school. I realized that as the principal of the school, I stood in a unique advantageous position as a researcher, compared with other researchers who might not have positions of authority in the community. As soon as I entered the community I started gathering and analyzing information about the research area. This was a period I started establishing relationships with groups within the community and inviting these groups to participate in the research process. It was also a period, during which I tried to locate the research problem within the community. I identified the small groups within the community that were active in school affairs and formed an advisory or reference group for the project. Data gathering was in the form of journal keeping and note taking during interviews and dialogue with people in the community. 81 Phay 2; Identifying the Most Significant Problems (November. 1993 - January. 19941 By November, I started setting up a problem-posing process which enabled me and participants to start identifying the community's most significant issues about schooling of their children. It was a period of ongoing problem-posing in the form of dialogue with groups and individuals, leading us to a more complex and critical understanding of the problems and issues as perceived and experienced by us. It became quite clear to me during this period that the community people were aware that problems existed in the school and were prepared to work together for the improvement of the school. I started collecting data in the form of daily journal keeping and notes from interviews and dialogue with community people. In December, an idea came from a member of the Local Education Authority to conduct a needs assessment for the school. We agreed at a general meeting that we would all submit lists expressing problems of the school. I received lists from classroom teachers, support staff, Local Education Authority members and community people. In total I received 36 lists from respondents. Some respondents provided causes of the problems and suggestions for their solution, while others merely listed the problems. The high standard of responses, the efforts that respondents put into identifying the problems of the school and the number of suggestions reflected the importance members attached to the notion of school improvement and participatory research. We decided to hold workshops to discuss the problems raised by participants We held the first two-day workshop in January, 1994. The themes of the workshops reflected the viewpoints of participants in relation to the problems they viewed as most pressing to the school (see Appendix D). In order to identify most precisely the problems that were common in the 82 submissions, I analyzed the submissions in two stages. First, I thoroughly scrutinized all the submissions identified by participants. Second, I subjected the submissions to a coding process. In coding the submissions, I categorized all the issues by using coloured stickers to reflect common themes expressed by the participants. Phay. 1; Collective Educational Activities (February. 1994 - April. 1994). In the third phase, I attempted to connect participants' personal perceptions of issues to the wider context of the community. It had become obvious at this stage that the teaching staff of the school, the Local Education Authority and I were all interested in the improvement of the school. We all felt mandated to ensure that students received high quality education. We became committed to developing an effective school program. We conducted another two-day workshop in February, 1994. At the January and February workshops, I allocated discussion topics to six to eight participants who came together for the general purpose of solving problems by sharing experiences, information, and support (see Appendix C). The group posed problems, identified possible causes, discussed possible solutions and prepared the grounds for evaluating actions. A group leader was responsible for presenting the group's findings at a general meeting of all members. Participants critiqued group findings to arrive at a general consensus. In this way, by the end of this phase, we compiled the questions and themes for the investigation. Also in this phase, participants began to assume fuller responsibility for the project through the workshops which encouraged group discussions. They had increased their understanding of the issues concerning their school and had been cultivating a preparedness to 83 commit themselves to solving problems. They also began to realize their potential and abilities to mobilize and act on school issues. It is important to note that as community people seemed to lack the literacy skills and information for critical analysis, I embarked on collective educational activities, such as showing videos which helped participants to further examine their interpretations of issues. Phase 4; Classification, Analysis and Conclusion Balding (May, 1994 - July. 1994). During this phase, I involved participants, through various means, such as inviting them to regularly visit the school and talk to students and teachers, to gather information, classify, analyze, and build conclusions. Participants and researcher met two times in every month, to investigate problems posed in Phase 3. It was also a period when participants began to develop their own theories and understanding of issues and began to find solutions for them. Phase four was crucial to the dissertation component of the study in that this was the phase where I put together information, classified, analyzed and started to build a thesis. Basically, the dessertation stops at this phase. P h a s e 5: Definition of Action Projects (August, 1994 - \ The final phase, which at this time is still ongoing, has involved researchers and participants in deciding on what actions to take to address the issues they have collectively identified and analyzed. At this stage, community people have "moved from being objects to subjects and beneficiaries of the research" (Maguire, 1987, p. 51), I have become an involved activist in the school improvement program. Although the process of the research has indicated 84 direct immediate value for me and the participants, one cannot determine the final results of the research, since phase 5 of the research is still ongoing. Definitive results should be realized by both participants and researcher by the end of this phase. This is a phase which would utilize the documented findings of the study as a basis for ongoing participation in school affairs. Data Analysis In this study, the initial question that came up regarding data analysis was to find the best possible way to analyze data within the framework of an alternative research paradigm in order for the study to conform to traditional ideas of social science research. Like data collection, participatory research literature does not specify "one best way" of data analysis. As the data for this study came from the notes I took throughout the phases of the research process, submissions of participants, and the transcribed tape recorded interviews, I felt I had to analyze the data using qualitative approaches to research. However, Lather (1992) contends that data analysis of alternative research paradigms transcends the ordinary application of qualitative approaches. As Lather writes: Rooted in the research traditions of interpretive sociology and anthropology, alternative practices of educational research go well beyond the mere use of qualitative methods. Their focus is the overriding importance of meaning making and context in human experiencing (p. 91). Researchers in the social sciences use a variety of methods to collect and analyze qualitative data. Standard approaches that emerged out of a myriad of methods include: first, the interpretive technique which emphasizes importance of patterns, categories and descriptions (Patton, 1980); second, the realist approach which stresses explanation of events as they occur and involves three simultaneous paths of activity, namely, data reduction, data display, and 85 conclusion drawing/verification (Miles and Huberman, 1994), and, finally, analysis that highlights categorization, description, relationship, and data explication (Dey, 1993). Despite the variations in method and terminology, in general, qualitative data analysis emphasizes data classification, connections between classifications, and explicit interpretation and understanding of the data. The method of analysis depends on the kind of data collected. For example, Miles and Huberman (1994) contend that because participatory research is an approach which aims at changing the social environment through a method of critical inquiry by acting on the world, data analysis should concentrate on descriptions in the initial stages, and go through to the search for underlying concepts or ideals. As Miles and Huberman write: The analytic tasks emphasize the use of action-related constructs, seen in a melioristic frame and intellectual 'emancipation' through unpacking taken-for-granted views and deleting invisible but oppressive structures (p. 9). Analyzing data is a continuing process in participatory research. While there are several ways to analyze data collected from interviews, discussions, field work and workshops, the data analysis of this study essentially utilized qualitative procedures with a focus on generating meaning within a particular setting (Lather, 1992). The analysis process primarily followed Owens' (1982) conceptual funnel. Owens' (1982) method of data analysis is an ongoing process from the inception of data collection which entails: Working with data all the while, ever trying to more fully understand what the data mean - making decisions as to how to check and how to verify as the investigation unfolds (p. 11). Accordingly, data analysis formed an integral part of the whole gamut of the research strategy of this study. That is to say, I analyzed the data continuously from the beginning of the research although I did most of the analysis after I had collected all the data. Therefore, 86 there were two major phases of data analysis in this study, namely, the collection phase, and the analysis phase. Owens (1982) contends that in the early stages of the study, the researcher devotes about 80 percent of the time and effort gathering data and spends about 20 percent of the time on the analysis; and in the latter stages, the researcher may devote about 80 percent to analysis and 20 percent to data collection. During the collection phase, while I continuously referred to, and reflected on the data being collected, I also compiled some systematic field notes that might be useful to the study. The analysis period entailed classifications, the formation and testing of ideas, making connections among ideas, and relating concepts to the literature review. The initial stage of data analysis for the interviews was data reduction. Miles and Huberman (1994) describe data reduction as: the process of selecting, focusing, simplifying, abstracting, and transforming the 'raw' data that appear in written-up field notes or transcriptions . . . data reduction occurs throughout the life of any qualitative oriented project (p. 10). This stage comprised the preparation of interview summaries of the fifty-eight interviewees for verification by respondents. First, I listened to each audio tape and made detailed notes or transcription of the interviewees' responses. I then subjected each of the responses to a coding system I developed to identify each of the respondents and the interview questions to which they responded (see Appendix H). I separated each of the respondents/responses using as guidelines the research questions for the study. The objective was to categorize each of the responses according to common patterns, themes or ideas that fit into the research questions. Following data reduction was a descriptive analysis which gave a feeling for the views of the participants and sorted out the actual data that would answer the research questions. This stage of analysis included the search for patterns, repeated themes or views that conform to 87 categories such as purpose and meaning of education, control of education, school-community relations, shortcomings and priorities of schooling. As the analysis continued, I recorded theoretical memos about what the patterns possibly meant, and drew from research questions and the analytic insights and interpretations that emerged during the data collection. I then assigned the emerging ideas and patterns to categories. For example, first, I assigned pieces of information relating to school governance, budgeting, accountability and efficiency in the schooling system to the category of control; second, I assigned issues relating to parental involvement in schooling, teacher orientation into the community, communication between teachers and parents, to the category of school-community relations; and, third, problems relating to curriculum, student attendance, school supplies, facilities, and so on were in the category of shortcomings of schooling. In order to prevent incidents of single, possibly well-articulated or emphatic views of individual respondents from outshining the others, I counted the number of respondents who expressed a certain view or theme relating to a concept. Rather than considering the majority view of total respondents, the unit of analysis was each of the groups I invited to participate in the research. I considered groups such as the advisory committee, elders of the community, parents, teachers, and students as levels of analysis. To view a perception as a factor, a majority of participants belonging to each of the groups would have had to refer to it as an issue, and, therefore, deserving to be considered in the analysis and presentation of the results of this study. Apart from helping to shape meaning for the combined viewpoints of respondents, the counting also helped me to understand the viewpoints held by the majority of respondents. Thus, data analysis at this stage essentially, involved coding and counting the data according to 88 the categorized indicators and highlighting further indicators that became evident from the raw data. The counting helped me to remain objective about the meaning of the data. As Miles and Huberman (1994) write: Doing qualitative analysis of all data with the aid of numbers is a good way of testing for possible bias, and seeing how robust our insights are (p. 254). Lastly, I verified the final conclusions by confirming and substantiating the interpretations that appeared in the data for their validity to establish some truth in the responses of participants. In order to establish and communicate meaning from the data, and, to provide conceptual consistency by grouping details under more general ideas, I identified and labelled emerging themes and patterns (Miles and Huberman, 1994). In analyzing documents, first, I reviewed them and determined their significance to my study, and prepared a document summary form (Miles and Huberman, 1994). A series of questions guided document analysis, such as what notions of education for Native children did the documents reflect; what perceptions of viewpoints on schooling did the documents convey? The issues that arose from the analysis of the documents provided some direction and guidance in the field and enabled me to understand the problem of schooling in the Native community (for an example, see Appendix G). Group discussions also constituted a valuable source of data for this study. I prepared guidelines for discussions and took notes which included observations about individual interactions, and group dynamics, comments by participants about schooling, and overall reflections. These notes, summary reports, and daily journal entries constituted a major part of the data for my dissertation (see Appendix D). 89 Given the researcher's and participants' commitment to enlightenment and action, the researcher did not intend to present the results of the study with the purpose of making them more reliable and valid than those of dominant research paradigms. However, to ensure credibility and trustworthiness of the data, the design of this research utilized Lather's (1986) four-way approach to validating alternative research paradigms. Lather asserts that researchers should build triangulation, reflexive subjectivity, face validity, and catalytic validity into their research designs. First, Lather addresses triangulation as the inclusion in the research design of various data sources, procedures, and theoretical outlines which seek contrasting patterns as well as similarities. This research utilized various data sources, such as field notes, interviews, discussions, meetings and workshops. Second, reflexive subjectivity concerns an honest documentation of how the researcher's personal impressions have been influenced by the logic of the data. This chapter starts with my personal and cultural introduction to enable the reader understand any subjectivity of opinion that may emerge in the thesis. Third, face validity is created by "recycling categories, emerging analysis, back through at least a subsample of respondents" (Lather, 1986, p. 78). In this study, after typing the interview summaries for example, I took the summaries back to participants in order for participants and researcher to review them and make necessary modifications. I also presented all participants with workshop summary reports (see Appendix D) in order for them to read them and make the necessary corrections. Furthermore, because I had to employ an interpreter to translate the answers of community people who could not answer the interview questions in English, there may be a possibility for misinterpretation. In order to minimize this possibility, I subjected the tape recordings in Ojibwe to a second interpretation. In all cases, the second interpreter confirmed 90 the translation of the first one. Finally, catalytic validity follows when there is "some documentation that the research process has led to insight and, ideally, activism on the part of the respondents" (Lather, 1986 p. 78). Catalytic validity should be crucial to this study, as its main purpose was to promote participants' understanding of their own capabilities and right to control decisions affecting them. Chapter 9 of the study addresses this concern, in that the chapter documented participants' priorities for schooling and their suggested strategies for action. Accordingly, this study meets the four criteria forjudging the trustworthiness of a participatory research. Categories of Research Questions There are five categories of research questions in the study: Category 1 dealt with an investigation of the viewpoints community people of Cat Lake had on education: (a) What are the views of community people on the purpose of schooling? (b) What do the people of Cat Lake want their children to achieve from schooling? (c) What do community people perceive as an appropriate curriculum for their children? Category 2 pertained to issues of Native control of education: (a) What powers does the government bestow on the people of Cat Lake in the control of their school system? (b) What powers do the Cat Lake people perceive they possess in the control of education? (c) What are the actual structures that the community employs in the control of education? 91 Category 3 explored school-cx)mmunity relations: (a) What is the nature of the relationship that exists between the school and the community? (b) How do parents and teachers communicate? (c) How are teachers integrated into the community? Category 4 called for an examination of community people's priorities as to what educational issues they should be addressing: (a) What do the people of Cat Lake consider as the most pressing drawbacks to schooling? (b) What are community people's perceptions of their priorities for schooling? Category 5 dealt with strategies community people suggested for meeting the felt needs of their school system: (a) What ought to be the short term and long term solutions for problems facing the school? (b) What strategies would community people and educators adopt to solve the problems affecting the school? CHAPTER 4 THE COMMUNITY, INDIAN EDUCATION AND THE SCHOOL This chapter presents a portrait of Cat Lake and its school. It describes the broad geographical, historical, social, traditional and economic conditions of the community as a backdrop towards a better understanding of the conditions that directly influence schooling in the community. The chapter also reviews the various schools for Indian children in Canada, the Ontario Common Curriculum (1993) and outlines the organizational structure of the school as a basis of understanding the context of schooling. The Community Cat Lake is a relatively small isolated Indian reserve in the Sioux Lookout District of Northwestern Ontario. The Sioux Lookout District has over twenty small Native communities. Cat Lake, about 2,000 kilometres from Toronto, the provincial capital, relies on the metropolitan centres of Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, which are each of about 700 kilometres away, for its essential supplies of merchandise. The reserve is reached only by daily scheduled flights or by a winter road during February and March. One can fly into the reserve only when the weather permits. The first language spoken in the community is Ojibwe with English being a second language. While many people between the ages of 5 and 40 speak good English some older people speak very little and others do not at all speak English. The reserve is a member band of a number of First Nations organizations, namely, the Windigo Tribal Council, the Windigo Education Authority (W.E.A.), the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), and, the Northern 92 Nishnawbe Education 93 ion Council (NNEC). All these organizations influence the development of education in Cat Lake. Cat Lake, Bearskin Lake and Sachigo Lake formed the Windigo Education Authority and initiated local control of their schools in September, 1988. Each of the three communities has an education authority with a local education coordinator or director. Community History Many elders in the community believe that the area has been inhabited by Indians for about a thousand years. Their beliefs emanate from arrow-heads that were found by airport construction workers and identified by archaeologists. The community people also believe that the area acted as a trade entrepot for the fur trade in the eighteenth century. As Keewatin-Aski Limited Consulting Engineers and Planners (1991) write: Early recorded history of activity on the Cat Lake River system dates back to 1798, and a Hudson Bay post, and elders talk of a Northwest Trading Company agent prior to the Hudson Bay presence. In the 1930's, negotiations were generally brought about to establish a reserve on Cat Lake and in 1940 a section of land was surveyed and designated to be a Reserve. In this period, a significant community had been established at Cat Lake, as an extension of the Osnaburgh Band 63B (p. 9). Situated on the promontory of a lake which afforded easy access by Europeans during the period of the fur trade, Cat Lake attained a band status, with its own chief in 1970. Before the coming of Europeans, the people of Cat Lake based their livelihood on hunting and gathering. As W.M. an 87 year-old woman claimed: We didn't have houses like we have today. We lived in tents. We lived in the community during the summer months only. We returned from the traplines to the community by the end of May. We lived here in June and July, and by August, we started leaving for the traplines (Interview with Community elder, Cat Lake [E0102]). 94 Community law and order were specifically designed to protect the people's means of livelihood. There were laws about respect for one another during hunting periods, family safety laws which specified areas that were dangerous hunting grounds particularly during the winter months, and laws that required people to notify their neighbours whenever they went hunting. The notification law, for example, meant that community people could trace hunters in case they were lost or involved in accidents and did not return to the community. Kinship ties were very strong among community people. They did not see the need of using punishments to keep law and order. I asked an elder about the kind of punishments that existed in the past. As W.M. remarked: / can remember that when I was a child, they didn't use to punish people [She paused and thought for a while]. In fact, there were not many problems as we have now, and there were no punishments. Elders talked to the person who did something wrong. They asked the person to correct his or her behaviour. Even if the person repeated the offence, elders will still talk about forgiveness and ask the person to try and change his or her behaviour. Forgiveness is part of our lifestyle (E0102). Accordingly, the respondent suggested that in the past, community people resolved problems by sitting together and talking about issues until they reached a consensus. They first explored the root causes of each problem and tried to find ways and means of solving it. Polygamy was common among the people of Cat Lake. As W.M. stated: / married in the church. I married in 1934 at the St. John's Church in Cat Lake. It was during the time when the Church started that polygamy stopped. During our time, a man should have at least a five-year relationship with a woman and all the parents of both the man and the woman should agree before a marriage took place. Nowadays men just meet women and they get married without the consent of parents (Interview with a community elder, Cat Lake [E0103]). 95 Native Traditions Today I found a significant level of awareness of past traditions among the elders of the community. Younger people in general, are not knowledgeable on matters concerning past traditional beliefs, cultural patterns and expectations of the Native people. Nevertheless, data from elderly people strongly confirm that even though children are raised to speak Ojibwe, there is a comprehensive pool of information on local traditions which is virtually unknown to the young and non-Native people who teach the children. The first group of community people to acquire formal education went to school outside the community in the 1920's. The early years of formal education attempted to replace Native traditions with western ones. Despite the effects of western education in replacing Native traditions, many elders conserve some cache of traditional knowledge. One of the most important traditions upheld by all the people of Cat Lake is the social bond that ties every community member to a common ancestry, and the Ojibwe language which conveys traditional knowledge to the people. Most community people speak the Ojibwe language fluently, and a few others who have tended to lose their language because they lived outside the community for long periods of time, wish they could speak as fluently as others. A common attitude I observed among community people is that they do not like to speak English when there is at least one person around them that can understand Ojibwe. The notes I recorded at a meeting the school staff attended with the Chief and Council on a school closure confirm how much community people like to speak the Ojibwe language: At our meeting this morning to discuss the school closure caused by the oil spill contamination, I noticed that while we were discussing what teachers and students should be doing during the closure, in English, [Name of community member] who speaks English fluently changed to Ojibwe. Deliberations continued in Ojibwe for a period of 96 about fifteen minutes before changing back into English. We the non-Native participants didn't know what was goimg on. Our strangeness was immediately apparent to us. Strangely, nobody explained to us what was discussed in Ojibwe before continuing the discussion in English (Field notes: April 18, 1994). This observation would appear to support the importance of the Ojibwe language for the people of Cat Lake. The community people feel that everybody is related to everyone else in the community. The people of the community convey this relationship during periods of joy or sorrow. Christmas, for example is a communal affair, which culminates in a community feast at the Recreation Centre. During a period of bereavement, everybody in the community takes a holiday and partakes in burial arrangements and ceremonies. Cat Lake Native tradition has not survived in the youth of the community. I did not find much evidence of the involvement of the middle-aged and young people in traditional ways of life, and ways of thinking. Not many of the middle-aged and young people have close ties with the events of the Cat Lake past. As with all cultures, the culture of Cat Lake is dynamic. It is changing and adapting to new times. The ideals and ethics of Native life which old people take for granted are not observed by the broad spectrum of society, particularly the younger generation. The establishment of band councils by the government of Canada to administer Native communities and enforce law and order has much to do with the demise of Native culture in some Native communities of which Cat Lake is no exception. Native law has been replaced by western law and the values, customs and conflict resolution ideals of Native people are largely unknown by the present generation. For example, the present generation does not seem to uphold values such as respect for elders and helping each other. 97 The most significant element that has kept the pattern of life intact for the Native people of Cat Lake has been the system of kinship that developed among the people long before the influence of the whiteman. This system of common descent or lineage has been the basis of the Cat Lake society. The powerful and thorough social system gave to every individual status, virtue, obligations and responsibilities within his or her society, all through those years when Native people had suffered degradation and had no rights or responsibilities in the Canadian society. I found interest, patronage and pride in the comments of the 87-year old woman regarding some facets of Native life in the years before the advent of schooling. When I was a young girl, people had respect for one another. People helped each other and families that didn't have food were helped by the others. When the head person of the family was sick other people would hunt for the sick person's family. When people go hunting, everybody should know where they were going so that when they were lost, we would go look for them. If anybody had a problem, the whole extended family sat down to talk about it and discussed ways of solving it. Marriage issues were discussed by the two families concerned. They discussed the issue until they came to a consensus. There were never broken marriages in those days (Interview with community elder, Cat Lake [E0104]). However, some elders indicated that the close affinity that kept the people of Cat Lake together, and which made them a common extended family is giving way to individualism among younger families. Families have started shrinking into the nuclear family system and parents do not educate children about the relationships in the community. As the elderly woman put: Today, parents do not educate their children about their relations. Children should not forget that they have uncles, aunts, grandfathers and grandmothers. One of my grandsons next door did not know that I was his father's mother until recently. Although he calls me 'kokom' [grandmother] he didn't know I was his father's mother. That is not good. Parents don't communicate much with their children (Interview with community elder, Cat Lake [E0105]). Some young people have confirmed the loss of their tradition, particularly language. I heard M.C. in his early forties complaining about the loss of the traditional form of speaking. 98 As the man stated: Sometimes 1 find it difficult to know the exact Ojibwe words to use when 1 describe things. I have noticed that most young people mix English with Ojibwe when talking. Sometimes 1 wonder if our elders understand when we talk to them. The English language contains words that we can't use traditionally. But these words are very common with we the younger people. Our language doesn't have swear words, but nowadays most of us use these words very frequently (C4119). P o p u l a t i o n The community has a rapidly growing population. The population has grown from 392 in 1986 to about 500 in 1993, an average annual growth of about 4 percent. The population lives in 85 households with an average of about 6 occupants per household. Unlike the general trend of an ageing population in Canada, the population of Cat Lake is young. About 55 percent of the population is under 20, and about 25 percent is at present in school in the community. There are about 20 teenagers attending high school outside the community. For community decision making and planning purposes, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has a population projection for Cat Lake for a half century. Table 2 shows population projection from 1990 to year 2040. 99 Table 2: Population Projections for Cat Lake YEAR POPULATION | 1990 456 1995 576 2000 728 2005 919 2010 1,161 2015 1,466 2020 1,853 2025 2,341 2030 2,958 2035 3,737 2040 4,720 Source: INAC, im Table 2 shows that the population of Cat Lake may grow up to over 4,000 residents by the year 2040. The population projections are important for the future planning for the community. As Keewatin-Aski, Consulting Engineers (1991) for the community stated: Analysis of population has traditionally been the cornerstone of community decision making and planning. It establishes upper limits or thresholds for size of services and/or facilities and it serves as an indication of future need for a variety of land uses such as housing (p. 26). Given that the community has a higher percentage of younger population than an ageing population, if the community retains its young population, Cat Lake will continue to grow in population as these younger people grow to establish their own family units. However, in a survey conducted by Keewatin-Aski Consulting Engineers (1991), they found that because of 100 lack of employment opportunities in the community, people of working age leave to find jobs in other places. C o m m u n i t y Facilities Cat Lake has a number of facilities that are common in most reserves in Northern Ontario. In 1988, Ontario Hydro began to supply electricity to the community. Electricity is provided by a diesel generating terminal located at the airport. The generator provides adequate power for lighting and basic needs to almost every home and community facility. Access to the community from outside is by plane. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications built an airport in 1984 to handle air transportation needs of the community. The airport supports a small bungalow facility for its personnel, who usually come from Thunder Bay. Cat Lake's airstrip sometimes closes down temporarily at the outset of spring. The airport is not equipped with modern technological facilities such as instrument landing. The Ministry has provided a small cabin for departing and arriving passengers. The Bearskin Airlines provide on average two daily flights to Sioux Lookout, the Sabourine Airlines, Wasaya Air, and Wild Country Airlines provide one daily flight respectively. The main aircraft that ply the routes are Beech 99's and Cessna 180's. The community people also make considerable use of float and ski-equipped aircraft for trapping and hunting trips and travelling to other communities. During winter months, community people construct a winter road, which usually officially opens in February until the end of March. The winter road is an important means of transporting vehicles and other heavy equipment into the community. 101 Other facilities in the community are a television which is mainly for the transmission of TV Ontario and CBC (Montreal) channels. Health services for the community are provided by Health and Welfare Canada, through the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital, Medical Services Branch. There is a community radio station operated by the local people as a means of communication. Almost every household has access to a telephone maintained by Bell Canada. One Northern Store supplies groceries, clothing and merchandise. There is the Wahsa Distance Learning Centre which was established in 1991 and financed by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The learning centre is mainly to assist high school dropouts to complete their courses. There are two local pool houses which are important centres for the youth. The Cat River Motel, operated by a community member, is the only lodging for visitors, who are usually government employees, business consultants and contractors. Although Cat Lake is not linked by an all weather road, many families own different kinds of vehicles, such as trucks, cars, four-wheelers, boats with outboard motors and snowmobiles. They usually bring these items into the community through the winter road. Almost every household/family owns a snowmobile, which is a major form of transportation during winter. The community becomes ebullient with the sound of the snowmobile as soon as the first snowfalls begin, usually, by the end of September or the beginning of October, until late April or early May when most of the snow thaws away. With the advent of the use of vehicles and fuels for vehicles and heating, pollution as a problem is now being recognized by the community people. Apart from scrap metal of old vehicles and gadgets lying around in some parts of the community, oil spills from old tanks, particularly, in the school yard, and sewage and material from packaged goods which community people buy from the Store account for 102 pollution within the community. Garbage and sewage is a problem in the community, and will continue to be a problem if the Band does not make proper arrangements for the disposal of garbage. The severity of the problem of garbage disposal has been exemplified by field notes I recorded: The snow had now almost thawed off the ground completely after a long, cold winter. I took a walk around the community this morning and have been surprised by the amount of garbage that was underneath the snow. It was amazing to see the heap of pop cans lying around the community. The whole community seemed to be in a blanket of wrapping papers, large moose bones and empty cartons. The airport is strewn with garbage blown from the dump site and it seemed that most of the garbage sent to the dump site was blown by ghastly winds into the community. I found the situation appalling as it may endanger the health of community residents [Field notes: April 7, 1994]. The present system of garbage disposal does not predict the good health of community residents. A better garbage disposal system may be to bury or burn all the garbage instead of exposing it to be carried back into the community by strong winds. There are the Anglican, Pentecostal, and a local church in the community. However, the people of Cat Lake do not, in general, seem to be religious. Although there are the three churches in the community, few people participate in worship on Sundays. Cat Lake, in many ways, does not seem to uphold its Native tradition to a very high extent as some of the Native communities I have known. Although traditional pursuits such as hunting and trapping are still a way of life to some families, most of the community people do not encourage traditional beliefs and indigenous religious practices. The most celebrated event is the "Moose Derby" which takes place in the second week of September. During this period, most of the adult male population flies out to various hunting grounds for a moose hunt. The community organizes a feast on the last day of the hunt and awards prizes according to a set criterion, usually by 103 measuring the size of antlers. For example, in 1994, the first prize of $6,000.00 went to the hunter who had a moose with antlers that were 52 inches in diameter. The Productive T jfe. of Q t Takp Unemployment is relatively high in the community. In 1994, there were 74 full time employees in Cat Lake. Most of the full time employment in the community is at the Band Office, the School, the Northern Store, and the Nursing Station, with a few more positions becoming available with road, electrical, airstrip, water and sewerage, and telephone services. The only non-Native residents of the community are teachers, nurses, and Northern Store workers and manager. Table 3 shows a breakdown of employment of Native and non-Native employees in Cat Lake. 104 Table 3: Distribution of Full Time Employment Between Native and Non-Native Residents of Cat Lake in 1994. Employment * Airport School Police Band Office Nursing Station Distance Education Northern Store Bell Canada Post Office Recreation TOTAL Table 3 shows that in 1994, the Band Office was the largest employer, with 33 employees. The school employed 16 staff people, 9 of whom were Native. Apart from the kindergarten teacher, all the teaching staff and the principal were non-Native. Among the Native staff were 3 tutor escorts, an assistant teacher, the school secretary, an education counsellor, and a custodian. The Nursing Station employed 2 qualified non-Native nurses, and employed 5 Native support staff. The Store manager and two other employees were non-Native. There are very few other part time or seasonal employments in Cat Lake. The inhabitants of Cat Lake still undertake traditional pursuits of fishing and trapping on a small scale. Fishing and trapping provide a seasonal income to some families. A commercial fishing industry started in the early 1990s but could not survive because residents were not making much of Native No. of non- Total Staff Native Staff 2 0 2 9 7 16 1 2 3 33 0 33 5 2 7 1 0 1 6 3 9 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 60 14 74 105 income out of it. During the summer, some community people earn income as tour guides to American fishermen and hunters. While Cat Lake seems to have many problems peculiar to most Indian reserves in Canada, it also has a vision for the future. The community is intensely interested in developing to the maximum extent fitting to its own dream of itself as a Native community and wants to be able to provide for its own needs in the near future. Although Cat Lake might not realize its aspiration for self sufficiency in the near future, there might be some progress towards decreasing the usual dependence on welfare. However, it may not be possible to decrease the average dependence on welfare if the population continues to grow at an annual rate of 4 per cent over the next few decades. At the present 66 per cent welfare recipient rate, it is difficult to see how the Band could reduce the present dependency level even if it utilizes all the available opportunities for creating employment efficiently. Given the constant unemployment problems in Cat Lake, it seems contradictory that most people would prefer to keep the young generation at home. However, the Economic Development Office located in the Band Office is aware of the unemployment problem and has embarked on a number of job creation plans. First, the office has established a Native Residential Construction Worker Program in which the band has invited experts from outside to train community youth in construction, plumbing and electrical fields. The program started with about 10 students in May, 1994 and the first graduates would receive their diplomas by December 1994. Second, the office is embarking on a plan of creating small businesses in the community. For example, in order to take control over some of the retail trade, the band office has planned to establish a band-operated cooperative store to compete with the Northern Store. 106 The two pool houses in the community have started operating small grocery outlets. By far, the most ambitious projects conceived by the Economic Development Office are the construction of homes for seniors, and a water and sewerage project to commence in 1995. The construction of homes and the water and sewerage project should provide new job opportunities for the community people. Although some of the development plans are explicitly long term, and a few might seem too ambitious to undertake in the near future, it is certain that the people of Cat Lake are definitely aware of what they need in their community that would make life easier for the residents. Accordingly, Cat Lake stays a small Indian reserve with a vision for the future. Community administrators are becoming aware that in order to sustain an effective self government, they do not only need funds to be supplied by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), but they also need qualified personnel to administer the funds for the development of the community. This is where they see the need for young people to be well educated in order to help develop the community. Problems Alcoholism, teenage suicide, starvation and single-parent families are serious social problems in Cat Lake. Although Cat Lake is a dry reserve, that is to say, alcohol and intoxicants are not allowed in the reserve, people have been known to brew or distill their own sources of alcohol. Some community people become intoxicated and sometimes engage in violent activities against family members. Gasoline sniffing and alcohol abuse are serious 107 problems among school children. At the time of the study, twelve students were in various detoxication and rehabilitation centres outside the community. In one year there had been two teenage suicides. Schools for Indian Children in Canada In this section, I discuss schools for Indian children in Canada as a backdrop for a more suitable understanding of the context in which to analyze schooling in Cat Lake as it exists today. Indian children in Canada attend different kinds of schools. Indian children attend school according to where they are located. Although, by law, there are no schools exclusively for Indian children, many schools in Northern Ontario are attended only by Indian children. Most of these schools are in Indian reserves. Schooling outside the Native communities has not been a pleasant experience for Native children. Perhaps Paquette (1986a) draws a parallel that would capture the social world of a Native child. Paquette asserts that to educate the Native child by mainstream Canadian standards is the equivalent of middle-class Anglo-Saxon parents making their children educated in the Native Language, living several years with Native families on an Indian reserve, and spending several winter months dwelling on traplines, fishing and hunting grounds. As Paquette writes of the analogy: While the inverted analogy of such a move is perplexing within the positivistic worldview of non-Native world, the implications and emotional impact are perhaps worth considering in understanding the widely observed hesitancy of the great majority of northern Native parents to encourage their children to leave the reserve for further education (p. 132). 108 The INAC Tnrfian H a y Schools Up to the late 1980's, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provided education to most of status Indian children who lived on reserves. These schools were known as Indian Day Schools (to distinguish them from residential schools). INAC provided the financial and human resources for the Indian day schools and, maintained and administered them through regional and district offices. INAC allowed Indian communities to have differing proportions of control over distinctive areas of the school system, such as custodial services, cultural and language programs. While communities might operate and maintain the school plant, utmost control would lie in the hands of the Department of Indian Affairs. In some cases the Department of Indian Affairs encouraged Native people to form school boards or councils. The level of operation of the boards or councils would vary from one reserve to another. Where the school boards might be functional, their role would be limited to purely that of an advisory board with the ultimate authority in decision making residing in the Department. Band-Operated Schools Since 1973, the Department of Indian Affairs has ceded most of its day schools to on-reserve local education authorities. Band-operated schools have grown in their numbers in the 1980's and there are only a handful of Indian Day schools in Ontario under INAC's control. Whether or not local control makes the schools a better place for Indian children will form the subject of another section. However, there is growing evidence that bands are gradually moving towards controlling many facets of the education of their children. In effect, they control the 109 hiring and termination of teachers, they maintain and operate the school plant, and control the income and expenditure of the school. It may seem to many outsiders and Native people that local control of education was, perhaps, impossible because Native people lacked both the human and material resources to manage an educational enterprise. Individual Native communities may, certainly, lack the expertise to control the many vital components involved in the provision of educational services. An individual community may not be able to produce and support extensive and relevant curriculum and maintenance utilities for its educational system. Perhaps, too, local education authorities could not have a voice in the training of the kind of teachers they might want for their schools. It is not surprising, therefore, that bands are joining together to form area, district and regional Native Education authorities and in some cases education councils which for now are managing the affairs of primary, secondary and post secondary education. Urban Boards of Education There is a relatively significant number of non-status Indian students attending public schools in urban centres across the country. In some urban centres, there are public schools which are exclusively attended by Native children (an example is the Children of The Earth School in Winnipeg). While some schools across the country feel that they are ethically obliged to provide suitable programs for their Native students, in others, the Department of Indian affairs has to arrange tuition-cost contracts with school boards to make concerted efforts to modify or refurbish their programs to meet the demands of Native children. In general, public schools have not done much to improve educational standards of Native 110 children: According to Paquette (1986a): The rule [in public schools] appears to be much closer to a wholesale streaming of Native students into basic and least promising 'vocational-course' sequences. Even where a generous and carefully crafted tuition-cost agreement is in place between INAC (or band) and a board of education, no effective guarantee exists of a commensurate improvement in the relevance or quality of programs available to Native students (p. 44). Ontario Isolate School Boards Provincial governments across Canada have made provision for the administration of schools in remote areas. In northern Ontario, for example, isolate boards exist in all three regions, namely, the northeastern region with its headquarters in North Bay; the mid-northern region with its regional office in Sudbury; and, the northwestern region with its regional office in Thunder Bay. The provincial government provides the funds for the schools in these regions by a method of funding which depends on the number of students in the school. Many of the schools run by isolate boards are predominantly for Native children. In northwestern Ontario, for example, there are about fifteen of such boards. As the boards run the schools in a provincial manner, they are different in operation from the Indian day schools and band-operated schools. They usually follow the provincial curriculum and are controlled and supervised from the regional capital. The Northern Nishnawhe Education Council A recent development of a district education council for Native children in Ontario is the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (N.N.E.C.) with its headquarters in Lac Seul, Ontario. The N.N.E.C. was established in 1979 "to administer INAC's 'off-reserve' secondary and post I l l secondary programs on behalf of the (now) 23 First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area" (Long, 1994, p. 10). The N.N.E.C. is an education authority which employs full time staff to undertake diverse secondary and post secondary activities of Native children. According to Long (1994): The creation of the N.N.E.C. in 1979 provided a measure of control of education by the Sioux Lookout First Nations which had not existed since the signing of treaties (p. 10). Although the N.N.E.C. regards itself as a forerunner of the establishment of local control of education in the Sioux Lookout District, local education authorities did not want the council to interfere in their educational affairs when local communities actually gained control of education in the late 1980's (Long, 1994). As Long (1994) explains the position taken by the local education authorities against the N .N .E .C: The situation may be because NNEC was established in a completely different way, which by-passed individual First Nation control, totally excluded L.E.A.s' and relied on a form of regional control - which by its very nature and despite the goodwill of its staff - inherently lacked an ability to accommodate community differences (p. 11). The N.N.E.C. describes its objective for the post secondary program as follows: To support status Indians to gain entry to post secondary education and to graduate with the qualifications and skills needed to pursue individual careers (N.N.E.C, 1993 p. 1). Thus, the N.N.E.C. provides money for the maintenance of status Indians who are recommended by their communities for sponsorship, and willing to pursue post secondary education. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) directly provides funds for the operation of the N . N . E . C , as well as local education authorities. N.N.E.C. uses INAC's funds in various ways: first, to pay school boards, colleges, and universities for Native children's education; second, as allowances for students; and, third, for the transportation of students between their communities and schools. The role N.N.E.C. plays in overseeing the 112 welfare of high school students by providing them with essential services such as counselling and boarding home facilities, makes it a unique education council in Canada. The future autonomy of the N.N.E.C., as well as the local education authorities, greatly depends on their ability to develop a power base capable of controlling the numerous essential demands in the provision of educational enterprises. Indian control of Indian education would become meaningful only when Indian education authorities begin to develop their own curricula and begin to influence teacher education programs in the universities. Perhaps, it seems, INAC will continue to control Native school systems, one way or the other, as long as it continues to provide the funds for their upkeep. However, whether INAC's control remains only a fiduciary obligation will depend on the extent to which Native people have come to understand the concept and processes of educational administration. Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Document In order to provide a suitable background for interpreting curriculum issues in the school in Cat Lake, this section reviews the Ontario Ministry of Education Common Curriculum document. The Common Curriculum (1993) The Common Curriculum is the Ministry of Education and Training's curriculum for the Province of Ontario for Grades 1 to 9. The framers of the curriculum designed it to respond to present and expected developments and changes internally and world-wide. The intention of the Common Curriculum is to provide directions for teachers, principals, consultants, school 113 boards and trustees in curriculum development, implementation, and review. The document is not intended as a blue print for schools in Ontario, rather, its aim is to enable individuals to design programs that comply with local needs. According to the framers: The curriculum supersedes the one described in the Formative Years, 1975, and the subject guidelines for Grades 7 to 9, including those developed under Ontario Schools, Intermediate and Senior Divisions (OSIS), 1989. However, these and other earlier ministry documents remain valuable as resources for program planning (1993 p. 1) [italics theirs]. The Common Curriculum, (1993) has five major features. First, the developers defined it in terms of learning outcomes rather than objectives or time allocation. Outcomes involve knowledge that is observable or measurable; and, values and skills that students would have to acquire and develop at specific stages of their schooling. The outcomes describe what students should know, what they should be able to do and what they should value in course of their learning experiences. The learning outcomes form the basis of the programs, class activities and specific outcomes that education authorities may develop for each grade. Second, the curriculum planners developed it in such a way that school programs can adapt to differing abilities, needs, and interests, as well as various racial and cultural backgrounds of all the students in the school. Third, the curriculum takes a holistic view of the world by placing emphasis on links and relationships. It considers relationships among ideas, among people, and among occurrences. As a result of their holistic view, the framers of the curriculum gave little attention to traditional subject disciplines and organized subject matter and outcomes into wide syllabus areas. Fourth, the curriculum makes it necessary for school systems and school boards to collaborate with staff, students and community people to ensure that school programs meet local 114 needs. That is to say, schools may be able to adapt to the varying needs of their students by organizing their programs and work towards the achievement of the stated outcomes in a wide variety of ways. Finally, the curriculum provides a basis for assessing student achievement and the effectiveness of programs by emphasizing outcomes. Continuous assessment would provide the basis for program and method modification which would gear instruction towards meeting the needs and interests of individual students. A major appealing aspect of the Common Curriculum is that it clearly spells out principles underlying the curriculum, those underlying teaching, and those underlying assessment and evaluation of student achievement. Principles Underlying the Common Curriculum. There are five principles underlying the curriculum. First, the school culture should possibly contribute to learning. That is to say, all experiences students acquire in school should directly contribute to learning. Generally, the curriculum contains all the experiences that students might encounter in school. These include all the activities and experiences that the program might contain, available learning resources, teaching strategies, disciplinary and evaluation procedures, and, staff and student relationships. The curriculum also emphasizes experiences that students would acquire from their social interaction in the classroom, the school, and the society-at-large. The Common Curriculum requires school administrators and teachers to ensure that the school climate strengthens the ability of students to achieve its learning outcomes. Second, the curriculum should prepare students for the modern world. The framers of the curriculum suggest that in order for students to understand educational issues broadly, school programs should be integrated. The integration of programs would enable students to understand 115 relationships between ideas and be able to apply knowledge and skills to a wide variety of subject areas and contexts. Third, the curriculum should adapt to changing needs and circumstances. In other words, curriculum developers must ensure that programs reflect current and future requirements. Teachers and students should regard learning as a lifelong process in which the student develops knowledge, skills, and understanding by interpreting and solving problems creatively. The fourth principle underlying the curriculum is that it should reflect the diverse groups of society and should be free of bias. This aspect of the curriculum mainly deals with the relationship of the student's culture to the curriculum. Because students' self-conception, as well as their perceptions of others and attitudes towards them, is affected by what they learn, the curriculum should acknowledge both the diversity and common aspirations of the various racial and ethnocultural heritage of all students. In other words, the curriculum must be relevant by reflecting the various cultures of all students. Finally, the curriculum should recognize individuals' strengths, needs, and backgrounds through relevant learning activities. Students need a variety of learning activities in order for them to develop their personal effectiveness and aspirations. Principles Underlying Teaching The Common Curriculum (1993) lists three major principles underlying teaching. First, teaching methods should respond adequately to the differing backgrounds of students, their needs and abilities. Teachers should use a variety of teaching methods to enable students of a wide range of backgrounds, interests, abilities and learning styles to learn effectively. Second, instructional methods should stress vigorous enquiry and relationship between ideas. Finally, all members of the school community should 116 collaborate in their search for implementing a curriculum and a learning situation that is holistic. That is to say, teachers, principals and community members should draw upon each other's resources to develop a workable curriculum. Principles Underlying Assessment and Evaluation. The curriculum document specifies four major principles underlying assessment and evaluation of students. First, assessment and evaluation of student progress should form an integral part of the Common Curriculum. Student assessment should be based on expected outcomes. The assessment should be continuous and ongoing involving the student, peers, teachers, and parents. Evaluation results should be used by teachers to appraise the effectiveness of programs and to make modifications which would enable students to achieve the intended outcomes in the classroom. Evaluation results should also form the basis of reports concerning student achievement. The second principle requires teachers to utilize a broad range of assessment methods that are compatible with the teaching methods they use and are appropriate in describing the progress made by students. That is to say, because of the complex nature of the learning outcomes of the common curriculum, teachers should use both qualitative and quantitative methods of assessment which should include all facets of student learning and should be relevant for students' ages and levels of maturity. The third principle requires teachers to consider the special requirements of students and work in collaboration with their parents while evaluating them. Finally, principals and teachers should base the evaluation of school programs on school board and provincial standards and should use evaluation results for school improvement. 117 Commentary on Ontario Common Curriculum, 1993. In a study of Native high school dropouts in Ontario, Mackay and Myles (1989) assert that curriculum-related factors are among the most significant reasons for dropping out of school. Students are not interested in school because they feel school is of little importance in their lives as much of the work they do is meaningless to them. While many researchers of Native education give lip service to the importance of developing a relevant curriculum for Native children, the reality remains that most of the schools for Native children, including band-operated schools, continue to adhere to curriculum guidelines developed by the province for mainstream Canadian schools without any modification. Apart from the area of curriculum, teacher training and qualification, additional teaching services, and professional development are within provincial jurisdiction. The Common Curriculum offered suggested guidelines for teaching practices in Ontario. It was the intent of the Ontario Government, and the framers of the curriculum document that classroom teachers throughout the province of Ontario would use the document as a guideline for their daily teaching practices. Unlike conventional curriculum documents that might suggest themes and topics for teaching, the Common Curriculum would enable individual school systems to plan programs that would meet their specific needs. As the framers write of the Common Curriculum: It is intended to provide direction to all those who have responsibility for curriculum development, implementation, and review in Ontario - teachers, principals, consultants, school board supervisory officers, and trustees. Ultimately, its aim is to enable individual schools to design programs that meet local needs (p. 1). The expositions of the Common Curriculum would definitely enhance the control of education at the local level. The relevant question is as to whether principals and teachers of 118 schools have clearly understood the principles underlying the Common Curriculum, and, whether they are prepared to follow its guidelines in designing programs to meet the needs of their communities. The study was timely, in that it was a clear manifestation of the way the school and community people could come together to identify priorities for the school, and to design programs that would better meet the needs of the school. Titotay Memorial School Profile Formal schooling in the community started in 1954 as an enterprise run by a local resident, William Titotay. The philosophy of the first school was mainly to teach community people how to read and write the Ojibwe language in syllables. As 73-year old W.S. told me during my interviews: The school-teacher William Titotay spoke little or no English, I think he knew a few words in English but did not teach English in the school. The school was one open classroom for every child who wanted to learn syllables. William did many things as you do them today in the school. For example, he had a morning and afternoon recess time and the lads went out for lunch and came back in the afternoon. My wife attended that school and she still talks about the things they used to do in the '60's (Interview with a community elder, Cat Lake. (E0206). The Titotay Memorial School has been named after William Titotay, its first school-teacher. In 1973, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) took over, and provided a four-classroom block for the school to accommodate 90 students. It has since expanded to accommodate a larger number of students. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) which used to provide schooling for children of Indian communities handed the school over to band control in 1988. 119 At present, the Titotay Memorial School is a kindergarten to grade 8 school. The staff comprises twelve members and a custodian. Seven of the teaching staff members, who are non-Natives live in quarters near the school. The Windigo Education Authority makes, evaluates, revises, and enforces policies for the school. The highest authority at the in-school level is the principal, who is directly responsible to an education coordinator. The education coordinator is in turn responsible to a local education authority and the community at large. The Local Education Authority is made up of five members and a chairman. There is a band council member in charge of education, who is responsible to the Chief and Council of the Band. The school buildings are an assortment of permanent facilities and prefabricated classrooms. The school is housed in 6 classrooms, two of which are in portables. There are no self-contained libraries, science laboratories, technical shops or family studies facilities. There is a community centre attached to the main school building. The Centre, built in 1989, houses a gymnasium which the school uses for purposes of physical education and assembly. The population of the school has been quite stable since 1990. Table 4. shows enrolment of students since 1990. Table 4: Yearly Enrolment of Students (1990-1994) 120 Year Number of Students 1990 115 1991 110 1992 114 1993 119 1994 102 Table 4 indicates that within a period of five years the highest number of students attending the school in Cat Lake was 119, and the lowest was 102. There has been a relative fall in enrolment in 1994. The fall in enrolment is due to movement of students between community schools rather than a real fall or rise in the number of school-age children, that is, the enrolment figures are affected by transfers in and out of the school. When I reviewed the yearly admissions and transfers records, I found that in 1990, there were 8 transfers in and 16 transfers out; in 1991, there were 9 transfers in and 18 transfers out; and, in 1992, there were 2 transfers in and 24 transfers out. Class sizes are relatively small. Table 5 shows student enrolment by class in 1994. 121 Table 5: 1994 Enrolment GRADE ENROLMENT Kindergarten 14 1 10 2 10 3 15 4 11 5 12 6 15 7 7 8 8 Total 102 Table 5 shows that the largest class size is 15 and the smallest class size is 7. Grade 7 and 8 class sizes are small because many of the teenagers who should have been attending these classes are out in detoxication and rehabilitating centres. The school offers the type of programs offered by most Ontario school boards, particularly, the Dryden School Board. Unlike most Native schools, the Titotay Memorial School has not been offering Native language and a cultural program since the takeover from INAC in 1988. It is unfortunate that a spill from an oil tank contaminated the school grounds and it remained closed continually for most of the 1993/94 school year. Students and teachers did part of the first term of schooling in the three churches and the boardroom at the Band Office until they returned to the proper school building in November. The band closed the school in April, 1994 and it never opened until September, 1994. The closures probably accounted for the low 122 enrolment in 1994, as parents moved to other communities to enable their children to gain access to schooling. Apart from its role in educating the children of the community, the school is important for two other reasons. First, it acts as a major employer of community people; and second, it acts as an important political symbol, in that the Chief and Band Council could close down the school in demand for certain amenities from the Federal Government. The next section reviews the relationships between the school and Windigo Education Authority. The School and Windigo Education Authority Indian control of Indian Education started in many areas of Canada since 1973 when the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) first expressed the desire for Indians to control their own education. However, Indian bands in Northern Ontario, generally, did not start to control then-own education until 1988, during which period Windigo First Nation communities of Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake and Sachigo Lake "recognized the potential for their children for a system based on 'Indian control' and parental involvement within that control for education of their children and themselves" (Policy for Windigo Education Schools, 1992-93:1.1). The Windigo Education Authority was formed in 1987 to create a plan for the Indian communities under the Windigo Tribal Council towards a takeover of education from the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (TNAC). Policy for Windigo Education Authority Schools. The Windigo Education Authority released the first policy statement for Windigo Education Schools in September, 1988. It articulated the principles of the Windigo Education Authority plan regarding full control of 123 education by members of each community. A basic premise upon which the policy document rested was that the transfer of management and control of the education system from INAC to the Windigo Indian communities assured that Native people would fully control the education of their children. The document clearly stated that: The most desirable education system for Windigo Education communities is one in which members of each First Nation, through the Education Authority, and the Chief and Council, develop a system designed to meet the individual needs of the community. To ensure this, the long range plan for the Windigo Education Authority includes the following: (a) Implementation of control at the local level; (b) Encouragement of First Nations to develop their own philosophical statement on the purpose of education to: * develop long and short range goals for their education system; * formulate policy; * supervise the system; * ensure that their programs fulfil their needs (1992-93: 1.4.1). The Windigo Education Authority's responsibility was, therefore, to outline the intended structure and purpose of the new system of band management and control of education. The Education Authority was flexible in its philosophy and structure in order to allow the various communities the opportunity to offer their own input regarding the establishment of their own system of control and management. The purpose of the document was stated as follows: The following is a working document to be used as a guide by the First Nations and the Windigo Education Authority. The Windigo Education Communities will benefit from annual revisions of this manual. The manual can also be individualized to meet community needs (1992-93: 1.6). Nevertheless, it was not the intent of the Windigo Education Authority to imply that the Policy for Windigo Education Schools was one without grounds or direction. The Local Education Authority embraces a philosophy and a governing structure which are characteristics 124 of the ideals of the Windigo Education Authority policy and transmits such characteristics into its day-to-day operation of the school system. The next step, then is to outline the philosophy espoused by the Windigo Education Authority. The policy document states the philosophy of education as follows: Education is a life-long learning experience Happiness and personal satisfaction are related to one's ability to learn skills that will let a person grow individually within the society in which she/he lives. The children have traditionally learned from their parents and their environment. Children have the right to gain knowledge of their traditional culture and heritage, integrated with today's technology and academic education. Windigo Education Authority schools emphasize the importance of retaining the Native language. While formal education is centred on the young, there must be a process provided for community members to understand the importance of education. Community members must be encouraged, and provided with opportunities, to continue their physical, mental, and spiritual growth through formal education, job-related experience or practical training (Section 1.5). The Windigo Education Policy clearly regarded education as a life-long learning experience. The emphasis on providing education to adults as well as children in the community was a significant step ahead of the traditional INAC system which only focused on the education of children of the communities. The priority offered Native language was also an important step toward bridging the gap between the community and the school. The fundamental principles that the framers of the policy document outlined in the philosophy of education for band-operated schools prevailed throughout the document. In particular, the roles of the principal and teachers were closely linked with educating parents 125 about issues affecting the school. The framers of the policy believed that the introduction of the teaching of Native language in the schools was a significant step towards cultural preservation. Another important aspect of the Windigo Education Authority policy is the proposal for school governance and the education organizational structure. Figure 1, shows the structure for school governance in the Windigo schools. 126 liWINDIGO EDUCATION CHIEFS ill EXECUTIVE COUNCIL HlWINDIGO EDUCATION IIIAUTHORITY (WEA) "L WINDIGO EDUCATION DIRECTOR 'ASSISTANT [DIRECTOR j(ATS) II ADMINISTRATOR SECRETARY LOCAL CHIEF AND COUNCIL EDUCATION III AUTHORITY "L EDUCATION COORDINATOR BOOK-KEEPER L =1! PRINCIPAL TEACHERS III CLASSROOM IliASSISTANTS "l lllTUTOR ESCORTS "L [liNATIVE LANG, ill INSTRUCTOR IIIEDUC^ION"" i i ! COUNSELLOR Iii SCHOOL/ ED. [^ AUTHORITY HI SECRETARY "L FIGURE 1: The Education Organizational Structure of Windigo Schools 127 Figure 1 shows that the policy designates the Chief and Council of each community as the ultimate authority at the local level. The role of the Chief and Council are two-fold. First, they give assent to decisions made by the local education authority; and secondly, they provide the necessary political support for the implementation of the programs. Under the policy guideline, the Chief and Council can make recommendations about what they consider unsatisfactory decisions made by the Education Authority and return them for further consideration. The Chief and Council determine the role of each local education authority. However, the Windigo Education Authority recommends that where the Chief and Council are unable to establish a written policy, the Local Education Authority (LEA) can adopt the Windigo Education Authority policy as a basis to make, evaluate, revise, and enforce policies that the community might deem necessary for the smooth running of the school. Also, with the approval of Chief and Council, the education authority adopts a budget which enables the "Education Coordinator to implement the policies and carry out the educational goals and objectives of the community"(2. 6. 2). In order to accomplish its role in making, evaluating, revising and enforcing policies for schools and education systems under the jurisdiction of Windigo Native communities, the Education Authority is headed by a Director who carries out its policies. The Education Authority maintains a staff which assists in the supervision and management of programs previously under the control of INAC and adopts a budget which enables the Director to carry out its goals and objectives. 128 The are six main responsibilities undertaken by the Windigo Education Authority. First, it sets a philosophy of education for the schools under its jurisdiction. Second, it sets goals and objectives for its schools; third, it formulates personnel and program policy and provides job descriptions for each of the positions within the education system; fourth, it submits all decisions to the Windigo Education Council for ratification; fifth, it educates the Windigo Executive Council on political concerns and issues they need to know and deal with politically; and finally, the Education Authority updates the Chiefs, Band Councils and community members on activities and progress of Windigo Education Authority. The responsibilities of the Local Education Authority (LEA) are outlined by the Chief and Council through a Band Council resolution. The Windigo Education Authority recommends eight roles for the local Education Authority. First, the LEA sets an education philosophy for the community in consultation with Band members; second, it consults Band members in setting goals and objectives for the community education system; third, it formulates personnel and program policy in all areas of education under the responsibility of the community; fourth, it submits all motions to the Chief and Council for ratification; fifth, it updates the Chief and Council on political concerns relating to the education system; sixth, it updates the Chief, Band Council and members of the community, on its own and the school's activities and progress; seventh, the LEA hires an Education Coordinator, classroom teachers, classroom assistants, Education counsellors, Native Language teachers, secretaries, custodians, and a book-keeper. The LEA has the power to dismiss employees after seeking approval from the Chief and Council. Finally, the LEA ensures that all school supplies are ordered for the school. 129 The Windigo Education Authority is composed of one member from each reserve. The member is designated to the Education Authority at the community level. The policy states that the teaching staff and custodians should not be members of the Windigo Education Authority. The Education Authority selects its own chairperson, and, in the event that a member is unable to attend a meeting, the community would send a replacement. Members of the Windigo Education Authority hold meetings monthly as well as agree to hold yearly meetings in each of the communities. Board meetings are open to all members of the tribal council and the Windigo Education staff. Members only pass motions after they receive acknowledging comments from all the people present at the meeting. The Board discusses personal and budgetary matters in closed sessions. All the closed sessions are open to appropriate staff and some community members might be invited. In order for motions to be passed at meetings, a designated member of each of the communities should be present. The Chiefs, Windigo Education Authority and staff, Local Education Authorities and the schools should all have access to the minutes of the meetings. According to the policy statement, some other responsibilities of the Windigo Education Authority are to assist the various communities in locating and hiring of teachers, arranging contracts for teachers, supervising and evaluating teachers, paying teachers salaries and assisting in the professional development of education staff. In order for the framers of the policy statement to acknowledge that the schools in the various communities are controlled by the people themselves, they have been careful in articulating the goals of education. According to the policy statement: Windigo Education is governed by its participating member communities. As such, it is to provide advisory services in the management and operation of the educational systems 130 in the way that communities want. Its goals must reflect the desires of each community (4.2). Figure 1 shows that the link between the local organizational structure and that of WEA is through the Education Coordinator and the Director of Windigo Education Authority. This means that at the community level, the Chief and Council with the LEA cannot directly deal with WEA without going through the Education Coordinator. Similarly, at the in-school level, the principal, teachers and support staff cannot have direct dealings with the Windigo Education Authority without going through the Education Coordinator. This arrangement ensures that local control is concentrated in the hands of the local authorities. A Review of the Tltotav Memorial School Report. 1992-93 An important source of information about the Titotay Memorial School was the Learning Sources Report, 1992-93, prepared for the Cat Lake Education Authority. Learning Sources, an educational consultant firm, conducted a comprehensive review of the school in the 1992-93 school year to determine the directions, operation and extensions of the school. The comprehensive review provided an analysis of school accomplishments and needs, and offered suggestions that might lead to specific development. A major push for change in the school system of the Titotay Memorial School came through the report released by the Learning Sources 1992-93 school review. A basic premise upon which the document rested was that the school system needed a complete overhaul in areas such as the administrative leadership of the Local Education Authority; administrative leadership of the principal; staff responsibilities, curriculum and instruction; the school and the community; board and administrative outreach; staff outreach; and the school environment. I will discuss 131 some of the major issues and present the recommendations that Learning Sources made towards the improvement of the school. Teacher Evaluation and Professional Development. Since 1988, teacher supervision and evaluation have been the responsibility of the Windigo Education Authority. Learning Sources noted that it was necessary for the principal to deal with the direction and quality of teaching on an ongoing basis. The principal should be responsible for giving extra help and encouragement to teachers, particularly those who were new. Furthermore, at the beginning of the school year, Windigo could assist the Education Coordinator, principal, teaching and paraprofessional staff to list the things that would make good teaching and learning, such as quality in planning, instruction and student progress. Windigo could also help the principal and teaching staff to make an action plan which they would use regularly in evaluating how successfully teachers were working to meet the goals of the plan. Learning Sources felt that the role of the principal in evaluation and supervision of staff should be clearly stated in the principal's job description. It should be the responsibility of Windigo to (a) help the principal to make supervision and evaluation plans for all new staff members; (b) assist the coordinator to evaluate the principal; (c) settle disputes between local administration and teachers; and (d) to regularly spot-check the evaluation process during on-site visits. Learning Sources found some staff members did not work together as a team. The Report suggested that the Local Education Authority should develop a statement of professional conduct, specifying professional rules of behaviour which could define how all staff people should act. 132 The Report noted that areas such as gossiping, community relations, lack of proper lines of communication, and care and use of staff quarters were significant problems that needed to be addressed by the Local Education Authority. The lack of a set way of dealing with staff grievance and discipline was another issue addressed by Learning Sources. The report suggested four ways of dealing with staff grievances: (a) the principal should review problems presented by staff; (b) the principal should make a written statement to the coordinator if s/he could not resolve the problem; (c) the coordinator should make a written statement to the Local Education Authority if s/he could not arrive at a solution; and, (d) the Local Education Authority should consult Windigo before giving a final ruling on the matter. The principal's role as teacher and at the same time as administrator was stressed in the report. Learning Sources noted that as the principal combined teaching and administrative duties, it was necessary to plan for the time the principal gave to the various jobs. The report recommended that the Local Education Authority should review the role description for the principal and should highlight the responsibilities that would be necessary at the community level. The principal should also be required by the Local Education Authority to submit reports on the progress of the school on regular basis. Student Welfare. Learning Sources reported problems in the areas of meeting the needs of special learners, setting standards for student accomplishment, evaluating student achievement, encouraging student decision making, and enhancing students' knowledge of the community. The report indicated that the school did not adequately meet the needs of special learners. According to the report: Based on survey results and discussion with staff, Additional Teaching services for special needs students are not being provided in the way outlined in the Windigo 133 Education Authority Policy Manual. A plan should be made which lists things that should be taught, how they should be taught, and check to see how well the work has been learned. Withdrawing students would appear to be the primary way of delivering special education services at Titotay Memorial School" (p. 16). The report suggested that the principal and teachers should regularly review information on student progress and decide on those students who might need special education. Principal and teachers should inform parents of changes that their children might require and report regularly on how well these changes would have worked. Apart from lack of provision for students with special needs, the report also indicated that teachers did not plan their teaching according to specific standards provided by the school. As a result, teachers seemed to be unsure of what was the acceptable level of work in each grade. Learning Sources suggested that if the Local Education Authority was unable to provide a course of study, the school could adopt the curriculum outline for the Province of Ontario as stated in the Common Curriculum Grade 1-9, 1993. The Common Curriculum would direct teachers' planning and would serve as the basis of evaluation of students. Another crucial issue raised by the Learning Sources report was the lack of effective evaluation of students. According to the report: Survey results and discussion with teachers and Learning Sources achievement screening point to a need for regular curriculum-based assessment and external group achievement testing at least at the end of each division (p. 19). The report suggested regular evaluation of student achievement based on what the school would expect the students to learn during the school year. Teachers would use assessment information to place students in grades and programs. 134 Learning Sources' surveys and interviews with staff, parents, graduates and dropouts supported the need for students to make their own decisions in setting personal goals. The report suggested the need for students to actively solve their own problems and learn how to act appropriately with others. To achieve this end the report recommended the teaching of guidance courses, designed to afford students the opportunity to set goals, make plans, communicate, and gather information. The need for students to have adequate knowledge of their community was stressed by the Learning Sources report. Knowledge of the history and operation of the community would enhance students' self esteem and self-concept. The report recommended that the Local Education Authority should assist teachers in gathering information about history and statistics of the community, and show teachers special things about the natural environment of the community. The school could also identify resource persons from the community who would be ready to visit the school and talk to students about people, history, or changes in the community. The writers of the Learning Sources report noted the lack of information in the school. They suggested that the school should provide an information gathering facility in the form of a data bank. The information should include curriculum time allocations, all that is necessary to know about students and students' own work folder files, specific information about staff, standard forms, and future plans. 135 Titotay Memorial School Discipline Policy - 1989 The Titotay Memorial School Discipline Policy, 1989 served as another documentary source of vital information about the operation of the school. It was necessary to review this document to determine how the school operated as regards issues pertaining to student behaviour. The document states that the main purpose of the school is to help young people learn the skills, knowledge, and values that would enable them to live full and worthwhile lives. It stresses mutual respect among students and staff. In order to have a safe and nurturing school environment, the Local Education Authority expected students to behave in a way that would promote social, emotional and spiritual growth as well as learning. The following were what the Local Education Authority expected from students as expressed in the discipline policy: (1) to respect the rights and property of others; (2) to be positive and courteous towards others; (3) to accept leadership and authority of staff; (4) to accept responsibility for their own actions; (5) to attend and be punctual in school; (6) to exhibit safe play with peers; and (7) to use acceptable language at all times. The Local Education Authority recommends in the policy that teachers use a reward system to reinforce acceptable behaviour. As it was stated in the policy: Teachers are encouraged to use behaviour modification techniques at the individual, class and school levels. This means respecting and recognizing positive behaviour. A reward system will be implemented using items such as the following: small prizes, healthy snacks, special privileges, 'Student-of-the-Week' Certificates, etc. Students who achieve 136 these awards should receive public recognition, e.g., at the entrance of the school, in the Band Office, in the Community Newsletter (p. 2). The policy statement indicated that the Local Education Authority arrived at methods of discipline for the school by conducting a survey of community members about school discipline policy. Some of the methods of discipline advocated by the education authority were, removal of privileges, behaviour contracts, detention, writing of lines, and in-school suspension. According to the policy statement students who infringed school rules and regulations might have privileges temporarily withdrawn from them. The withdrawal of privileges was expected to encourage students to desist from repeating unacceptable behaviour. Behaviour contracts would be signed by students between them and their teachers with parents. Students would agree during the period of contracts to improve unacceptable behaviour in a specific way by a certain period. Students who would improve their behaviour during the specified period might receive rewards and might have privileges restored to them. Students who might show unacceptable behaviour could use recess period for work that could improve their behaviour. Teachers might assign students to write out lines that might help in modifying behaviour. Although disruptive students might remain in school, they might be working away from other students at places such as the principal's and social counsellor's offices. Unacceptable methods of discipline were, time-out, corporal punishment, and suspension from school. The policy specified procedures for dealing with unacceptable behaviour. First, the teacher might deal directly with minor infringements personally; second, the teacher would notify the principal if an incident required further intervention; third, the principal would consult the social counsellor who would contact parents and arrange a meeting to take place to discuss 137 the concern and to develop a plan of action to modify the behaviour; and finally, in the event of recurrent, serious misbehaviour, the Community Discipline Committee and the Local Education Authority might assist the school and parents in dealing with the problem. Teachers' Goals, Objectives and T/mg Range Plans (1990 - 1994) Teachers working within the jurisdiction of Windigo Education Authority are required by policy to prepare personal goals and objectives, as well as long range plans for a ten-month period, from September to June. An examination of the personal goals and objectives of teachers from 1990-94 revealed that teachers, generally, spelt out their intended relationships with students, colleagues, principal, and the community at large. The personal goals and objectives convey teachers' viewpoints on the role they have in the education of Native children. Since almost all the teaching staff of the school were non-Native, the review of their personal goals and objectives was important, on the assumption that their personal goals and aspirations would go a long way in influencing the way they taught Native children. In contrast to curriculum guidelines, teachers' long range plans were more detailed plans which spelt out specific topics that teachers would teach throughout the year. Teachers indicated how much time they would spend on each of the topics. The need to include this source in my document analysis was to establish whether there was a continuity of themes between policy and curriculum documents and whether there was continuity in face of teacher turnover. In preparing their long range plans teachers tried as much as possible to choose topics that could be suitable for Native children. However, discussions with classroom teachers June 1994 and examination of their daily teaching plans led me to conclude that many of the teachers were not familiar with the 1993 Common Curriculum. CHAPTER 5 PURPOSE OF SCHOOLING This chapter presents results on the purpose of schooling in Cat Lake. The purpose of schooling constitutes the first group of my research questions. This is important because, as stated in the literature reviewed for this study, the failure of the Government of Canada to assimilate the Native child through education, and the control of education by Native people should give Native people a new meaning for the purpose of education. The sections that follow will now present the viewpoints of community residents on the purpose of schooling. There are two main groups directly involved in the education of children at the Titotay Memorial School. These groups are, first, local people who include the Chief and Band Council, the Local Education Authority, and parents. The second group comprises the predominantly non-Native teaching staff. As already stated in the preceding sections, the Chief and Band Council are the ultimate authority in the affairs of the school. A Band council member in charge of education conveys educational issues to the chief and other council members for consideration. The Local Education Authority comprising five members, is directly responsible for education. Although school control lies in the hands of the local people, actual teaching and learning are based on the views of the non-Native school staff, who in many cases, are not aware of the priorities of the local people. The sections that follow investigate whether teachers and parents share the definitions, aims and objectives of schooling and whether all the groups involved in the schooling process of the children understand and share common beliefs and ideals 139 140 for a successful educational process. As stated in Chapter Four, families in the Indian reserve of Cat Lake are experiencing swift social and economic changes. While many of these changes such as the modernization of community facilities have been advantageous for the development of life in the community, others have been disastrous. In Cat Lake today, children grow up against a background of traditional conservatism. The children are struggling to adjust in a society controlled by an Anglo-Saxon cultural bloc foreign to the traditional patterns of their own people. Perceived Purpose of Schooling Respondents I interviewed about the purpose of the school in the community made it explicit that community people are intensely informed of the importance for children to obtain the same proficiencies in education as their counterparts in mainstream Canadian society, and, therefore, they find the school important. Some community people, especially those who had some education in residential schools indicated that the school is important in the community because the presence of the school would prevent children from going out to the outside world to acquire education. However, they find the need for improvements in the schooling system of the community. Most elderly people are also aware of the importance of the education of the children, but feel that the school has not tried to help children to maintain their language and culture. Community people interviewed perceived the main purpose of the school as teaching the whiteman's way of life. They acknowledge schools as being the 'whiteman's' establishment, and believe that it is necessary for their children to learn the 'whiteman's' way in order to be 141 able to survive in the wider society. I asked a prominent member in the community, M.T. (about 50 years old), what he considers the purpose of education for their children. / want our children to be as competent as those in the South. In the old days, people were not educated, but that didn't mean much to them. Nowadays, you need to be educated to survive. Our children need to become lawyers and doctors if we want self government. They should be able to understand and interpret treaties and issues concerning land claims, otherwise, they will have no land to live on in the future (C3308). For this respondent and a lot of others like him, education is an essential to self determination. Whereas one may think that self determination may be directly linked to the extent to which Indians are able to assert their Indianness through their traditions and culture, this study suggests that perceptions about self determination go beyond culture. In fact, many believe that true self determination lies in both technological proficiency and traditional pursuits. Another renowned member of the community, 51-year old K.J. , whom I asked about the status of Native culture in the school stated: Native culture is important, but it is not as important as reading and writing and that computer stuff. Right now, we are looking for people in the band office to work, using the computer. Yes, that is the kind of stuff the teachers should be teaching (C3518). Parents identify and value two separate aspects of education, western and traditional, and they indicate that the existing schooling system does not adequately deal with both of them. A 45-year old Band worker, O.P., whom I asked the purpose of education stated: Our children should learn English, computer and all those things, and should be able to do all the things others are doing, but they should also learn how to hunt, make fire and the things we learned when we were small. I will go with my father on the trap line and will teach me how to make traps and catch animals. The school should teach them our own things too (Interview with Band worker, Cat Lake [B1803]). Teachers I talked with were divided in their opinions as to what they saw as the main purpose of schooling for Native children. While some felt that the purpose of education was not 142 different from mainstream Canadian society, others felt the need for cultural education for the Native child. I asked a teacher, H.S. in her mid 30's what she thought was the purpose of schooling for her students: / don't distinguish between Native and non-Native children. I believe that the purpose of education for all children is to equip them with the skills necessary to: effectively cope with life situations, make responsible choices and decisions; and make general contributions to the general society (T0801). Like the teacher who does not distinguish between the purposes of Native and non-Native education, another teacher F.D. in her mid-twenties expressed a similar view as she stated: The purpose of education is the same for children everywhere, that is, to teach them to be responsible human beings in society and to develop in them a sense of self-respect and personal satisfaction (T1001). While the views expressed by the majority of teachers appeared not to distinguish between purposes of schooling for Native and non-Native children some rather contrasting views which stressed cultural education were expressed by some of the teachers. S.D., in her early 30's says of the purpose of education for Native children: J believe the purpose of education for Native children is to provide them with skills that will enable them to have choices, freedom and independence. Education will provide a larger pool of skills at the local level, thus enable people to be employed in their own community, and not having to look elsewhere for people to provide these services. This will also provide an opportunity for Native people to educate their children in the way that is culturally relevant, as they will have the skills required for teaching, and will not hire non-Natives to do the job (T0901). It was evident from the interviews that some community people and teachers felt that the main function of the school was to bring up children to fit into the mainstream Canadian society without giving up their culture and the notion of being Indians. However, some teachers and community people, saw the need for western as well as cultural education. As a 32-year old male teacher, H.D. stated: 143 The purpose of education for Native children is to help them learn about, and survive in their world as it pertains to them. This is also true for any child in any culture. Education can give children thinking and analytical skills which they can use to pass on their own culture to their children and people. In this changing Native culture, education is vital to help children learn skills that will be necessary to cope adequately to change. It will also provide them with skills to use if they choose to live in a non-Native community (Tl 101). Similarly, a 35-year old parent W.V., educated in a residential school, expressed: They [children] should learn how to read and write well, and they should also learn their culture. Teachers should help children to preserve their culture by teaching programs of Native culture. Native language should be taught along with history and culture. I was taught the bible to believe in God but I want my children to be taught the culture of the people (C3408). What W.V. suggested was that teachers' over-reliance on Anglo-Saxon curricular material at the expense of Native culture was undesirable given the fact that children need to develop self-respect and self-identity through the knowledge of their own culture. The results presented above have indicated that both parents and teachers advocate a two-way or bi-cultural education. In other words, an education that will equip students with the knowledge and skills to survive in their own community and the outside world. The Status of Cultural Education This section discusses the status of cultural education. In the discussions I had with community people and teachers, it was evident that a majority of community people perceive the importance of local culture and tradition in the education of the children. However, the people were divided in their opinions as to whether it is important to teach the Native language, Ojibwe, in school. Teachers, particularly, felt that culture and tradition, including the language should form an integral part of the school program. The study indicated that there were two 144 groups of people who opposed the teaching of the language, culture and traditions. The groups comprised people who believed that local traditions were evil, and those who, although do not see them as evil, believed that teaching language and traditions constitutes a waste of students' time. Among those who see the teaching of the local culture and traditions as evil are people who received education from residential schools and/or are Christians. Particulary, Christians felt that tradition, language, and culture are not of much priority in the education of the children. They felt that most traditional ways of life are evil and children should not be subjected to evil ways of life. Others who opposed the teaching of the Native language, particularly, for the reason that it is a waste of time said that their children learn the language as they speak it to them at home. The views of 43-year old man, K.E . , were generally representative of those who think that teaching the language is a waste of time: Parents speak the language to the students at home and I don't think it's important that the school wastes time on teaching Native language. The kids need to know how to speak and write English. Their language is going down. When I was in school, I learned English. We were not allowed to speak our language at school. Nobody spoke the language to me when I was way out in school. I only spoke the language when 1 visited my parents once a while, but I haven't forgotten it, I speak to my children at home (Interview with a Band worker, Cat Lake. [B2309]). The social pattern of traditional Native society today seems to be undergoing serious change. The ideals such as kinship, respect for elders, and helping, for example, taken for granted by elders, are not observed by younger members of the society. To some of the younger people, teaching the traditions of their people in school means relegating students into a primitive era. When asked about the importance of teaching the traditions in school, the views of a 33-year old man, K.K. were typical of those expressed by other people in a similar age group: 145 Traditions! What are you going to teach them? Pow-wow? We don't do those things here. I think the school is for teaching the whiteman's way. Our children don't need to know about old things, they need to know about things such as computers (C5218). Similarly, some elderly people who attended residential schools in the old days view the school as a place to acquire literacy and numeracy skills rather than traditional values. The view expressed by W.S., a 73 year old man who attended a residential school in the 1920s and 1930s, is not symbolic of other views expressed by elders who never attended school. When I asked W.S. whether it was important to teach Native language, traditions and culture in the school, he acknowledged the teaching of culture, but not the Native language. According to him, children already speak the language in the community and need to acquire proficiency in English for them to survive outside the community. As he stated: When I went to school at [name of school], the teachers had a strap which they used to punish us. You could speak the Native language but the teacher would always want to know what you are saying. You couldn't write love letters to girls except Valentine day. We were not allowed to talk. There was always a supervisor watching us. The girls were told not to speak to the boys. The girls would go out first, and the boys would follow. They didn't teach us Native language but we never forgot to speak it. They taught us arithmetic, reading and writing. That is what the kids should learn at school. Learning the Native Language is not important. It is important for them to spend more time on English. A lot of people would like to know how to read, write, and speak English. Cultural program is important [he scratches his beard]. / think it is important. It is also good to teach them about motors. Let them take the motors apart and learn about them (E0213). The perceptions of the old man, W.S. represent his concern about a generation that would be able to take machines apart and repair them. This concern suggests a viable message about the changing nature of the culture in Cat Lake. While the study suggests that some people see the relevance of children acquiring proficiency in the three R's above everything else, some others, particularly elderly people who never went to school, generally felt that the language, traditions and culture are important in the 146 education of the children. The views of the majority of respondents in regard to cultural education appear to suggest that community people and teachers have one theme in mind, that is, the education system should be able to meet the changing times of society. As J.S., a 66-year old parent put it when asked what type of cultural program the school should teach: When we were kids, we used to go hunting with dog-sleds in winter and summer time we use canoes on the lake. But now we use sMdoos and outboards. I remember how my father used to teach me how to get the dogs prepared for the trapline. In my father's days, they used bows and arrows and every child should know how to make them but nowadays we no longer use those things. I guess the children should learn how to handle guns properly. Oh yes, they should know how to repair snowmobiles, outboards, things like that so that you don't get stranded in the middle of the forest (E0708). As snowmobiles have replaced dog sleds, and boats with outboard motors have replaced canoes in most Indian communities including Cat Lake, respondents see the need for people in the community who are able to repair these machines. Almost every household in Cat Lake owns a snowmobile and a boat with an outboard motor. As there are no people in the community capable of taking these machines apart and putting them back together, many people abandon their machines as soon as they start to give problems. Respondents feel the school should be responsible for teaching children the skills needed to repair these machines. Although there were divisions in opinions about teaching the Native language, it seems that on the whole, the majority of community people and teachers will like the present day school to become a clearing house for community traditions and culture. Evidence collected as field notes at a meeting which the L.E.A. and the staff attended and interview data I present below clearly suggest the importance of the school becoming a clearing house for community culture: At today's staff meeting the staff and L.E.A. members agreed that the school should regularly invite elders to come in to tell stories about old times. The children should 147 document these stories as a form of newsletter for the community. The older children should be made by their teachers to collect pieces of information from the very elderly people and compile these pieces of information into a book which will contain traditions and culture of the past. Teacher H.D. agreed to coordinate the information gathering activity (Field Notes: February 17, 1994). Like the L .E .A. and the school staff, a 38-year old woman, B.K., offered her opinion: Why won't the school organize a cultural day and invite everybody in the community to bring something that has to do with our culture—a kind of cultural fair. You can ask G.M. [actual name deleted] to teach students bead-work, and W. G. [actual name deleted] to teach them Native art. They will bring all these things and then we will find the best, perhaps first, second and third prizes and then give them something for the prizes. I think this' kind of neat. It'll make people see different kinds of things about our culture. I think the school should be doing this kind of thing (C3818). Some rather totally different, interesting views about the status of culture in the school were expressed by some respondents. One of these views was expressed by 43-year old J .M. , who attended a residential school: I went to school far away from my community and I lost contact with my parents, sisters and brothers. I remember that for a long time, 1 could not visit home and when I returned, I saw my sisters and brothers had grown older. It kind of kept me away from my family and up to now, we are not as close as we were before we all went to school. I kind of lose my culture. Now our kids will be together at least up to grade 8 before going out for grade 9. Actually , we have to bring in grade 9 before too late. As soon as you go out, you lose your culture (C3118). I find the above point interesting because some people felt that the very existence of the school in the community is a means of cultural preservation. Many people acknowledged the view held by J.M. that attending school outside the community deprived children of some part of their culture. They felt that the school being in the community allows parents to be with their children for a longer period of time than they would have been with them if the children were to go out to attend residential schools. Parents, therefore, indicated that being with their children is in itself a way of preserving their culture. 148 Another interesting point revealed by an elderly man was that in the past parents did not want to send their children to school outside the community for fear that they would lose the children to the outside world. As 73 year-old, W.S. stated: Parents did not want to send their kids to school because they were afraid that they'd never come back. Sometimes they'll go with them to the trapline so that the authorities won't see them. Anyone who put children in school was given welfare support and didn't have to go trapping. It was only when this welfare thing came that parents started sending their kids out (E0207). This respondent further hinted that in effect, the welfare scheme received support from many parents who were compelled to send their children to school. What he felt was significant, however, was that once children went to school, they were separated from their parents and siblings by schools, missions and welfare authorities and these authorities did everything to estrange them from their traditions and culture. The loss of the Native language, traditions, and culture are of great concern to a majority of the elderly people in Cat Lake. The elders I interviewed during the study indicate a sublime respect for their language and traditions and are disturbed about the possibility that the present generation of school children may lose their language entirely. One elder, W.C. (63 years old and never attended the Whiteman's school) remarked: It's very important to teach the Native language in the school. The children should be able to write syllables [Native alphabet]. If they're not taught syllables, how will they keep their culture? How will they write newspapers in syllables for the elders to read? Elders like reading that sort of thing. Young people these days are losing that skill. They can't write syllables. It is the Native people's curriculum, you know (E0308). The fear W.C. has about the loss of Native language and culture is also evident among many others. K.D. (36 years old, attended school outside the community, held a prominent position in the Band Office, and had a child in the school). I asked him about what he considered the 149 purpose of education in the community. His perceptions were typical of educated people of similar age in the society: Preservation of culture. I would like to see programs of Native culture. Native language should be taught and teachers should teach Native history and culture. I was taught the Bible and to believe in God, but I would like children to be taught the culture of our people. Teachers must have the knowledge of Native ancestry, how governments have influenced and affected Native people and their children (B2818). As I have already stated in Chapter Four, the school in Cat Lake does not teach Native language and a cultural program since 1988, the year the school was taken over by the band authorities. Because some interview respondents indicated that they were concerned about the lack of Native language and a cultural program in the school, and others did not see the importance of teaching the Native language, the issue became an important focus of discussion in one of the workshops. Researcher and participants, who comprised school staff members, Local Education Authority people, Band Office personnel, and community people discussed the importance of introducing these programs in the school at the January, 1994 workshop (see Appendix D). At that workshop, disagreements developed into arguments. In order to reach a consensus, participants had to vote for, or against the teaching of Native language in the school. After the vote, we came out with a blue print which states: We find Native language important in the school. We feel it would enhance students' pride in their heritage and would also help to bridge the gap between the school and the home. It is essential, therefore, to have Native language in the school under the following conditions: (I) there is a qualified Native language instructor who could teach both the language and syllabics; (ii) we could use one half-hour per day for each class; and, (iii) the Native language teacher would instruct non-Native teachers in the basics for one half-hour per week (Meeting of School Staff, LEA, Band Workers and Community people, February 15, 1994). With respect to a cultural program, we arrived at the following statement: There is the need for a cultural program for boys and girls from grade 3 to 8 in the 150 school. The school could use Friday afternoons for the students to study the arts, crafts, and survival skills of Native people. There would be two components of the program: (i) the in-school program for the study of Native art work, needlework and sewing, and Native crafts; (ii) the out-school program for the study of survival skills in the woods. We recommend that the instructors are paid employees of the school and are incorporated fully into the entire life of the school. The cultural program should start in October, 1994. We may encounter possible problems in the implementation of the program, such as: (i) difficulty of finding suitable instructors; and, (ii) budget constraints (W001). It is important to note that discussions at the workshop revealed that those who opposed the teaching of language and culture in the school acknowledged the importance of the children acquiring both the language and culture but argued that parents were in a better position to teach their children than the non-Native teaching staff who were not familiar with the culture. Participants acknowledged at the workshop that designing a viable and beneficial program of education for students whose traditions, language and culture differ primarily from that of their teachers requires input and collaborative planning of all the groups involved in their education. Community people of Cat Lake in collaboration with the non-Native teachers of the school see the purpose of schooling to be one which will equip the students with the ability to think and speak, first as Native children, and secondly, as mainstream Canadians. Respondents believed that in order to face the two cultures confronting them, students need a degree of competence in each of the cultures, an essentially bi-cultural system of education. When asked what teachers should teach children at school, a 49 year-old parent A.W. commented: They should teach them to know that they're aboriginal people and should be proud of that. We the aboriginal people know a lot of things that other people don't know. Our great grandfathers have survived in this part of the world without the whiteman. Our children should know that we have a culture of survival and that's important. The children should be able to know about different parts of the world and they should know that there's a place beyond Cat Lake. Education for the children should be the aboriginal education and the whiteman's education. They should know how to read and write our language and they should also read and write English well (C4407). 151 The comments made above by A.W. are representative of the thinking of most community people. The study indicated that community people have a notion of an education that will be meaningful to the children. They deem it important for teachers to strike a happy balance between Native and non-Native cultures in their teaching. To go beyond parents' viewpoints to those of their children, the study showed that a majority of the children do not know why they go to school. To them, school is a daily routine imposed on them by teachers and parents. When asked why she goes to school, O.K., a grade 7 student stated: I don't know. I guess it's because my parents want me to go and my teacher always gives me trouble when I don't come. I don't like school. I have to wake up early everyday even when it's cold out there. I wana quit [She laughed]. I'm kidding (S5601). Similarly, B.V., a grade 6 student maintained that he goes to school because all his friends attend. As he stated: Everybody else is going and nobody will go hunt birds with me. Sometimes me and John go hunt or fish and we don't come or when I sleep in I can't come, then I wake up am late. My mother sometime wake me and I am angry so she don't like to wake me (S5301). So, the school acts as the only place for the children to socialize in the community and they cannot afford to stay at home when others are in school. CHAPTER 6 CONTROL OF EDUCATION This Chapter presents results of the study on the group of research questions that deals with the Control of Education in Cat Lake. The chapter draws on data I collected through document analysis, and the other data collecting procedures I have specified in Chapter Three. Since 1988, the control of education has literally been in the hands of the people of Cat Lake, and what it really means to them to control education is the theme of this chapter. Local Jurisdiction The control of education by the local people of Cat Lake is a new experience. When INAC handed over the school to community people in 1988, they established a Local Education Authority (LEA) whose members are appointed by the Chief and Council. The data suggested that the most formidable task that has faced members of the Local Education Authority has been how to clearly define and identify the powers they have and use them to the benefit of the schooling of children in the community. In many cases, Local Education Authority members have not been able to identify their responsibilities and limits in the administration of education. During interviews, discussions, and meetings with community people, I found that most people do not understand what it means to be in control of a school, let alone to be prepared for the processes that involve educational governance. I asked W.D., a 48-year oid woman who has never been to school to tell me what she knew about band control of education. Her response was typical of most community residents: 152 153 / don't know how the system works. I know teachers and support staff are hired but I don Y know what goes on after that. Perhaps things are changing. I have never had a teacher from the school coming to my house to ask me about the school before. I am surprised you want me to talk to you about the school (C3710). The above response was not limited to those who never went to school. Even people working in the Band Office, the centre of all control, power and authority, gave similar responses to the same question. For example, O.C., a 32-year old woman who occupied a position of great responsibility in the Band Office stated: / started with the band but I don't know what it really means. I guess it means they are controlling the money that comes in and they hire staff. I hope I'm right (B1412). People who showed an understanding of the concept vaguely understood band control of education to mean controlling educational finances that are sent to the community by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), hiring, and dismissing staff. K . H . , in his mid forties, a former member of the Local Education Authority who has three children in the school, and a prominent worker in the Band Office, explained in impeccable English what he understood by band control of education: 7 guess we are supposed to control everything that goes on in the school, but I am not sure what that is. At least we employ local staff, and I know the money comes to the band for buying stuff for the school. The band pays local staff, and of course fires them when they violate the by-laws. When 1 was appointed as an LEA member, I asked myself what the heck am I going to do? (B1617). The views expressed by the majority of respondents in regard to the meaning of band control of education appeared not to have considered the importance of the curriculum and supervision of school programs. None of the respondents I interviewed felt that control meant a complete jurisdiction over all the areas of the school system, let alone did they realize that it is the community's responsibility to ensure there is an appropriate curriculum and supervision 154 of school programs. Nevertheless, results of this study suggest that whether the people of Cat Lake understand that they have control over their school or not, there is evidence that at least in recent years, they have begun to understand the enormous task, and, complexity of school management ahead of them. They are aware that it is their responsibility to amass and utilize all the resources that can make schooling better for their children. The comment by W.P., Band worker in his mid forties which appears below was indicative of the awareness: We're now in control and we have to do something to improve that school. If nobody does anything, nothing will happen. The problem here is nobody wants to do anything. People always expect others to do things for them. Look at D.K., he doesn't seem to care about anything. People are paid for not working. We really need to do something about that school (B1913). The next section provides data on the roles of Chief and Band Council in education. As a backdrop for understanding the data, I start the section with findings from documents reviewed for this study that deal with the expectation of the Chief and Council in education. Roles of Chief and Band Council in Education As already stated in Chapter Four, the Chief and Band Council of each community under the Windigo Education Authority decides on its own functions and the functions of the Local Education Authority (Windigo Education Policy, 1992-93). Windigo Education Authority policy recommends that if the Chief and Council are unable to provide a blue-print for their functions, they should "ratify all decisions and policies made by the Education Authority and, provide political support where necessary to implement programs" (1992-93, Section 2.5). As the Chief and Council have jurisdiction over all decisions made by the Education Authority, it is possible 155 for one to confuse their educational functions with those of the Local Education Authority. In Cat Lake, the Chief and Council wield the administrative authority of the entire community. Workers of various departments I interviewed at the Band office readily expressed their frustration about how the Chief and Council attempt to control every department in the community. A prominent official of the Band Office, and a former member of the LEA, V.C. , vented the frustration most people experience working in the Band Office: They [Chief and Council] want to control everything and they don't manage anything well. They make us look like we don't know what we are doing. Any decision we make, there is political interference and any political interference they make costs them money. They keep on blaming people for the problems they create themselves. It's so sickening that I am planning to resign by the end of November if the situation continues like this (B2502). However, it is interesting to note that most people I interviewed, including the Chief and members of the Band Council, believe that education is an area that should be managed by the Local Education Authority (LEA). The comment by M.E. , a 36-year old worker of the Band office substantiates most people's views: The LEA should totally control education. The Education Coordinator should be responsible to the LEA and they must attempt to settle all school matters. I and my Council will not interfere in school affairs unless the LEA refers a problem to us. Chief and council should be responsible for political stuff. We will look after the political side of the school. If the school has a problem that has to do with politics, then it is Chiefs problem. You see, the contamination of school grounds is a political issue and no-one should interfere with that issue. I will be going to Ottawa on Monday to talk to the Minister (B2003). During the 1993/94 school year, the Band administration used the school for various political ends. In the mid 1980s there was a leakage from an oil tank installed on the school grounds by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The Band Council believed that the oil spill contaminated the school grounds and that it was the government's responsibility to effect a clean-156 up of the school grounds. On August 30, 1993, the Band administration wrote a letter to the Education Coordinator, and sent a copy to the school staff. It stated: Please be advised that in a Council meeting this morning, consensus was for the school to be closed until the issue of contamination is suitably dealt with by Indian Affairs... We apologize for the inconvenience (Cat Lake First Nation, August 30, 1993). Although the school was to open on September 7th for the 1993/94 academic year, it did not open until after the school teaching staff sent a letter to the Band Council in October, informing them of the possible effects of the closure of the school on the children. The letter from the school staff stated that as there were specific skills for students to learn at each grade level of their schooling, continuous closure of the school would deprive children of the learning experiences they needed to acquire at a particular period of the year. The staff noted that there was a detrimental effect on the academic achievement of students when there was no continuous schooling process. Owing to the concern of the school staff, Chief and Council ordered the students back to school on November 2nd. In April 1994, the Band administration again ordered the closure of the school because the government had not complied fully with the clean-up of the school grounds. Although environmental experts attested that the oil spill was not of immediate health hazard to school staff and children, the school had remained closed. The Band justified the closure of the school on the grounds that it was the only way by which government would take the contamination issue seriously. The school remained closed until September 1994. During meetings, discussions and interviews I had with community people I gathered that the Chief and Band Council use school closures as a powerful political weapon against the government. As one of the elders, W.S. said: 157 Whatever we say to the government, they don't listen until we tell them we have closed the school because of them. That is the only thing that seems to put them on their toes. When we use our children, we can get what we want. Without closing the school and crying out to the government that 'our children are not in school because of you', nothing happens here. I guess it is one of the reasons why the school is important. It has always been difficult to get what we want without closing that school (E0210). When the school closed in April, the Chief, the Council and school staff attended a meeting in order to decide the fate of the students. The evidence I collected from this meeting and recorded as field notes clearly supports the data that the school is usually used by the Band Council to attain political ends: We attended a meeting with Chief and Council this morning and Chief announced to the school staff that the Band administration would not tolerate any interference from the staff about their decision to close the school because it is a highly political decision and it's between the Band and the government. The Chief would like the principal and staff to maintain a low profile, that is, they should not embark on any activities that would negate the effects of the school closure. The closure of the school would not be a problem as far as salaries of teachers are concerned. The school staff would continued to be paid as long as school remained closed (Field notes: May 10, 1994). Although the school staff spent all their working hours in school from April to June, they did not have children to teach. Whereas many community people showed concern about the education of their children, they, at the same time, justified the actions of the Chief and Council in using school closures to demand facilities from the government. A parent, M . C . , in her mid forties remarked: If the government will only listen to us when the school is closed, then I don't see why we should not close the school so that we get what we want. The government doesn't care about us. They only care about our children. Whenever we tell them our children are not in school because of them, they give us what we want (C4110). While some respondents feel that the Local Education Authority (LEA) should have control over the school, and decide on all matters concerning the school including its opening and closure, they have reservations as to whether the LEA would be able to run the school 158 effectively. O.P, a man in his early forties commented: Basically, LEA has the authority to run the school. Band Council should just have ultimate control. There is no way Chief and Council can run the Band and the school at the same time. Chief and Council are there for political problems. The problem with the LEA is that board participation is not good. Most of the members are not aware of what their position on the LEA means (B1810). It became clear that during the period Indian and Northern Affairs Canada controlled the schools, newspaper reporters had been very much interested in reporting school closures. These newspaper reports usually made the government heed to the demands of the community since the school was directly under the government. Local control has not changed the situation. The Band Council continues to use the school as a political pawn. The Local Education A i i t h n r i f y (TrF.A) This section presents results on the Local Education Authority's control of the school. To provide a background for understanding community people's viewpoints on the performance of the Local Education Authority, I first present data about the expected role of the Local Education Authority as stated in the documents reviewed for this study. Documents reviewed for this study indicated that the National Indian Brotherhood (NTB) (1972) set forth the philosophy and rationale of Native control of education at the local level. According to (NTB), the purposes for local control are, first, to incorporate Native cultures into the school system; second, to foster greater involvement of parents; third to harmonize education with local development; fourth, to make community people accountable for the education of their own children; and finally, to assert the right of Native parents to circumscribe the type of education necessary for their children. A local education authority is supposed to perform its day to day 159 activities of the school in consideration of the philosophy and rationale set forth by the National Indian Brotherhood. The members of the Local Education Authority of Cat Lake are appointed by the Chief and Council, who vest in them all the powers for the management of education. The Windigo Education Policy states that "under the authority of the Chief and Council, the Education Authority makes all decisions and insures the implementation of all education programs" (section 7.3). Among other things, the Local Education Authority is expected to control the budget for the school system, determine education goals and see through their achievement within a period of time. In the area of curriculum, the Authority is expected to determine and provide suitable programs, approve the subjects taught in the school, and support the implementation of all programs. The Authority is also required to hire staff and provide orientation for new staff members. In the area of support services, the Authority is expected to make necessary arrangements to transport students safely to school. Finally, the Local Education Authority is expected to assist the in-school administration in dealing with various kinds of school problems including problems of student discipline, and help to provide various policies such as those for the use of school facilities and equipment and follow through their implementation. The study revealed that the Local Education Authority's real duties have been limited to issues such as hiring and firing staff, and providing transportation for students. The LEA faces many obstacles in its day to day activities of school governance. Some of the problems confronting the LEA are, lack of control over the budget; lack of knowledge of issues concerned with the curriculum; lack of effective planning; and, lack of policy formulation and implementation. One of the deficiencies of the budgetary procedure in Cat Lake is that the 160 Local Education Authority never seems to know anything about the school budget. During discussions and interviews with LEA members I asked them to explain how they control the school budget. All members of the LEA indicated that they did not know how much money INAC allocates for the school, and they also did not know the procedures employed by INAC in the allocation of funds for the school. An impression I gathered from the LEA members suggests that they do not actively engage themselves in issues regarding school budgeting. A statement by an LEA member, S.V., is typical of all the members I interviewed. As the member stated: I don't know how much money INAC gives the school and I don't know how they calculate the money. The Band Manager is in charge of all money affairs for the school and if you want to know anything about school money, you better ask him. I think it is necessary for us to know how much money is in the school account at all times. It is only then that we can determine how to spend the money. We have to know how much money we use on various items such as school supplies, salaries, heating etc. Right now we don't have any idea about the school budget (C4311). Data from this study showed that although the federal government has ceded the control of education to the bands, financial and human resources for education still come from the Department of Indian and Native Affairs Canada (INAC). The Department finances education according to the nominal roll, which is, simply, the student population in the school by the last day of September of each school year. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) pays all school support funds to the Band Council directly. The Band Manager administers both the school funds and Band Support Fund (BSF). There is no distinction between the two sets of funds. The school arranges for its supplies through the Education Coordinator, who in turn seeks approval from the Band Manager or Council member responsible for education. All the bills the school incurs are paid for by the Band Manager. The L.E.A. has nothing to do with 161 either school funds or school supplies. The consequence of such budgetary mechanism is a Local Education Authority left without any mandate in the financing of the education the Band Council has authorized it to control. The view expressed by the finance officer, B.M., at the Band office in regard to the failure of the Band to assign the school budget to the LEA is that the Band Council senses that while the Band Manager should have a know-how of budgetary procedures, it is not possible to entrust the education budget into the hands of the Local Education Authority members who may not be familiar with the details of government funding mechanisms and the general procedures involved in educational budgeting. As B.M. stated: If Education [meaning LEA] wants to control their budget, they can have it, but I'm not sure if they'll know what to do with it. They think it's just matter of taking money out of the budget and paying bills. There's a lot more than that. They don't know what goes on this office so they keep saying 'we want to control our own budget'. Let them take it and they'll see the mess that they'll make of themselves (B3005). The Band, as well as the school, lacks funds for its projects. Respondents feel that INAC should review its method of allocating funds to the school. The notes I made as part of my daily journal entries substantiate this point: The Education Coordinator came to my office this morning to tell me I made a mistake in preparing the nominal roll for 1994. I asked him to point out the mistake and he said I had left out some of the students' names from the nominal roll and this situation has led the school to lose as much as about $200,000.00 in funding. I checked the nominal roll with him and we both agreed that the figures were correct. What did occur was that the school's enrolment was down by 17 students compared with the previous year. The coordinator thought that because of the cut in funding, the LEA might be forced to lay off some teachers and support staff unless INAC does something about the situation (Field notes: December 16, 1994). Allocations for school supplies per student are the same as in mainstream Canadian schools. However, the high cost of supplies in isolated communities makes a difference in spending. The 162 study suggests that there has been much corruption in expenditure especially on the part of suppliers to the school in Cat Lake. For example, the school has recently replaced all its fuel tanks at a startling amount of about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, only to find that suppliers have not properly hooked up the tanks to the furnaces. Any visit made by contractors or suppliers cost more money to the Band. Since the school is not financially independent of the Band, any financial problems confronted by the Band are bound to reflect on the school. This study revealed an INAC regulation that required that the Band Office returned all unspent monies into INAC's coffers. The Band could only spend allocated sums on projects specified by INAC. In other words, when INAC allocated funds for supplies or transportation, for example, the school could not spend the monies on any other items but those specified by INAC. In the process of keeping within INAC's budget the Band made all attempts to deplete all the funds they received from INAC each year, sometimes by over buying the specified items. This way of spending money has not changed even though INAC no longer demands unspent monies back into government coffers. Another area of concern for respondents is long term and short term planning. Discussions suggest that because the Local Education Authority does not control school funds, it impossible for them to embark on short and long term plans. The views expressed by this former LEA member, W.A., which appear below are indicative of how the lack of control of the budget puts the LEA in an awkward position: You're asking me about how the LEA plans for the school? Are you kidding? How can you plan when they [meaning the Band administration] want to control everything? They don't tell us how much money they have and we can't do anything when there's no money (C3905). 163 The Authority is unable to confirm what funds are available for the use of the school, how the school would budget its spending for the present time and the future. It seems impossible for the Local Education Authority to initiate how to amass material and human resources and plan for training activities that would assist in a successful implementation of school programs. Apparently, there seem to be no specific goals that the Local Education Authority wishes to attain instantly and consequently. Closely related to lack of planning is a seeming lack of concern for the curriculum. Interviews and observations revealed that one of the most crucial problems facing the Local Education Authority is a lack of knowledge at the local level from which members of the LEA would derive formal policy and a lack of a means of communicating formal policy to school staff. Like medical doctors who need to do their jobs without interference from lay people regarding treatment procedures, local people have always regarded teachers as professional people who know their jobs very well and need no interference. As a parent R.S. in his mid-fifties and a former chairperson for the LEA commented: Teachers attend school for many, many years and know what they're doing. I can't tell them what to do. Of course, they know better than me. I only have a grade ... education. I don't want to interfere with their job (C4209). Discussions with community people revealed that during the period Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) controlled the school, community people never had an input into the conduct of school affairs. At best, there were puppet school committees which had minimal influence in confined areas of the school program. The school committee neither controlled funds nor had decision making authority. The federal government never took any steps to properly transfer the power deemed necessary for decision making to the local authorities. As local people had 164 nothing to do with school staff and policy for the staff, the legacy of non-interference in the way teachers do their work remains. Even though teachers expect some directions from the Local Education Authority, they never receive any. As a Band worker, W.M. remarked: In this community, if nobody ever tells you anything, then it means you're doing your work properly. If you do something wrong, you will find everybody blaming you and that's where the trouble begins. Teachers have had problems here and they had to leave. Nobody bothers teachers who do their work properly. I think the teachers we've had from last year are a good bunch of people (B2605). But, a relevant question is, what do people in the community regard as proper when there are no set down criteria for assessment and evaluation of teacher performance? From general observations I recorded as field notes, it appears that the government has not made attempts to support the LEA in its control of the school: I have been in Cat Lake for sixteen months and there has not been a provincial orfederal education person coming into the school to view what goes on here. There has never been any concern either from federal or provincial authorities as to how the school is doing, especially as regards to quality of teaching and learning (Field notes: December 10, 1994). Respondents within the LEA indicated that it should continue to be the responsibility of federal and provincial authorities in ensuring that students receive quality education. They went as far as suggesting that the school should adopt provincial standards (see Appendix D) and either the provincial or federal education authorities could visit the school at any time to ensure the appropriateness of the quality of school programs. The Education Pxiorriinatnr This section presents data on the role of the Education director. I use the expected roles of the coordinator as stated in the documents reviewed for this study as a backdrop for the 165 presentation of the data. The Windigo Education Authority Policy document (1992-93) defines the Education Coordinator as "the link between the school and the Local Education Authority, and the school and the Windigo Education Authority" (Section 8.2.1). The policy also states that "the Coordinator will be knowledgeable about all areas of education". According to the structure of school governance in Cat Lake, the Education Coordinator is the contact and public relations person between the school, the LEA and the Windigo Education Authority (see Figure 1). By virtue of the position, the coordinator should understand the concept of Indian control of Indian education. Among the duties of the Coordinator, the most important are: first, to ensure that community people are aware of school programs and involve themselves in the programs; second, to seek viewpoints of community people on school programs and carry the information on to the school staff; third, to supervise and evaluate local school support staff; and, finally, to assist the Education Authority to carry out short and long term planning. The study revealed that within a period of fifteen months, there were six different Education Coordinators for the Titotay Memorial School. The Coordinator I met in the School in September 1993, was terminated by the Band Office the following month. The Band Office appointed a replacement at the beginning of November, and by the end of the first school term in December the new Coordinator abandoned his position. The Band employed another Coordinator in January, who held onto the job until July, when he took a leave of absence. An Acting-Coordinator took the position in August and relinquished it when the Coordinator returned to work in the middle of September. Early in October, the Coordinator resigned, and at the time of writing, the School has been dealing with the sixth Coordinator in fifteen months. 166 The frequent turnover in the position of education coordinator, by far, the most important position in the school system raises a number of questions. First, what are the causes of the frequent turnover of coordinators? When I interviewed some of the coordinators who had left the job, the most frequent reason they gave for leaving the job was that they experienced increasing stress and frustration. As one of the ex-coordinators, N.D., now working in the Band Office put it: / feel tense and have constant headaches at work. If I were to be working on education issues alone, perhaps, I won't be feeling this way. I do mostly Band's job at that office. They call me to attend meetings which are not in any way connected with the school. I sometimes sit in for the Band Manager and prepare cheques. When I get back to my office I find so much waiting for me that I don't know where to start. I will like to go back to work again if they will ask me to do only one job because I can't combine education work with other jobs (B2405). As the Education Coordinator's office is located in the Band administration building, it is easy to regard the Education Coordinator more as a band worker than a school official. As in the case of the management of the school budget, all the departments are responsible to the Band Office, and it becomes difficult to define their specific job descriptions. Tracing the educational background of those who have held the position since the takeover from INAC in 1988,1 found that the highest grade attained by any coordinator is the eighth grade. As a result of their low level of education, coordinators may simply lack the power base to control or even influence the many important factors involved in the provision of education. How, for example, can an eighth grade graduate, who has not had any training in management or school governance expect to supervise professional teachers to ensure that they are doing exactly what the community demands of them and what education is all about? 167 The organizational structure of the windigo education Authority schools (see Figure 1) suggests that the education coordinator is the only link between the local school administration and the Windigo Education Authority. Community people as well as teachers look up to the education coordinator to make all decisions about the school. However, this study revealed a Native tradition of decision by consensus. As a result of this tradition, the coordinator tends to become a rubber stamp for decision making. In other words, coordinators do not simply make decisions on their own. They seek consensus about each and every decision. Accordingly, simple administrative decisions tend to delay for days, weeks, or even months. Owing to the lack of immediate decision making on issues which demand immediate attention, coordinators seem to have too much on their shoulders as they keep on piling minor issues which they sometimes forget totally to address. While the results above reveal a number of things that may constitute to major drawbacks for local control, none seems to be as crucial as the beliefs and traditions of Native people themselves. The Native tradition of decision by consensus, for example, causes a major drawback for school improvement. Evidence recorded as field notes clearly suggests that lack of decision making in certain cases was indeed a major problem: The teachers attended a staff meeting and decided that an unoccupied room within the main school building should be converted into a computer lab for students. As principal, I consulted the coordinator about converting the room into the computer lab. The coordinator promised to consult the LEA and get back to me. It has been three weeks since the coordinator made this promise. Today, the LEA, the coordinator and the staff have had a general meeting and 1 raised the issue about the computer lab. As one of the LEA members could not attend the meeting, the coordinator and the LEA couldn't arrive at the decision as to whether we should use the unoccupied room for the computer lab. Instead, they would consult the LEA member who was absent and get back to us at a later date (Field notes: November 28, 1994). 168 The data presented in this chapter suggest a wide array of problems facing local control of education. While admitting a lack of understanding of the meaning of control, all respondents expressed that the Local Education Authority (LEA) should be in charge of the school. The results indicated that to all respondents, the Band administration wields too much power in the control of educational finances. Views expressed by respondents revealed that the lack of control of the school budget does not allow the LEA to adequately plan for the school in the short and long run. The data further indicated that some beliefs and traditions of Native people, particularly the tradition of decision by consensus stifle the decision making process of school authorities. CHAPTER 7 SCHOO^OMMUNTTY RELATIONS In this chapter, I present the results of the third category of research questions which deals with school-community relations. I present the results based on the views expressed by the majority of residents on the level of community involvement in education, how the school reaches out into the community and what community people and educators do to achieve the purpose of schooling. The data in this chapter were, in some ways related to those in Chapter Five. This chapter draws on data collected through workshops, observations and discussions recorded as field notes to ascertain viewpoints of community people and school staff about school-community relationships. First, I review the school as a fenced-in enclave of the community; and second, I address parental involvement in education; third, I present data on communication between home and school; and finally, I present data on teacher integration into the community. The School With A Fence The present premises that harbours the Titotay Memorial School was built by INAC as an Indian Day School. The school with its teachers' quarters lies on a sandy, gentle, slope in the north-eastern corner of the community facing a sprawling lake to the south. There is a fence that clearly defines the boundaries of the school and its elite residents from the community. Within the school and teachers' quarters are modern facilities of running water, showers, water closet toilets, and oil furnaces for heating. Until a few years ago, the school and its teachers' 169 170 quarters were the only places in the community that had electricity from a small diesel generator. While the whole community slept in darkness, the lights from the school area illuminated the lake to the south and the coniferous forest that borders it to the north. Immediately beyond the fences are community houses with wood-stove heating systems, and little out-houses at the side of each of the homes. To the south of the community is the sprawling brown-water lake from which all community people acquire their water supply for all purposes all year round. During winter months, when the lake is frozen, families bore holes in the thick ice to collect water for their household chores. Community people told me that during the period Indian and Northern Affairs controlled the school, they did not have anything to do within the confines of the school fence. The school was regarded by all community people as an ivory tower and whatever happened behind the fences was the business of professional teachers. Community people as a whole could at best only guess what actually happened at the school. As an elder, 63-year old J.S. put it: A bus would come round to pick our children to school in the morning and would bring them back after school. I knew they went to school but I didn't know exactly what they were doing there. They will be there, behind the fence until it is time for them again to come home (E0410). Parents said they never visited the school nor the teachers' homes either because they were never invited or felt that there was nothing they could do in those places. The comment by this 51-year old parent, K.J. , below was instructive in regard to the perceptions most parents had about the school: When there was no bus, we dropped the kids off at the gate. There will be one or two teachers waiting for them. We never went inside the fence except there was something wrong with your kid then the principal will invite you to the office. We had one principal here who will visit the kids home everyday after school to talk to their parents. I think he was an Irishman ... No, we never went to their [teachers'] homes (C3510). 171 So, the school maintains a legacy as the fenced-in modern quarter of the Indian reserve, that is, a community within a community. Undoubtedly, this legacy continues, and it seems local control has not changed the notion community people have about the school. Certainly the school has its own value systems, laws and regulations which are entirely different from those of the community-at-large. Parents feel that teachers continue to assume that as soon as children enter the school-yard, they are expected not to behave as Indians, but as "civilized" persons and could only be Indians after school. The comments by this 49-year old parent, and a former LEA member, A.W. presented below were typical of how a majority of parents felt: The children don't behave well at school, they carry their behaviour at home to the school. Teachers shouldn't allow them to do that. They can do what they want to do at home but when they go to school, they should behave as school children. The other day X and I went to grade ... classroom to see the teacher and the kids were swearing at us. They were calling us names. If they do that at home they shouldn't be allowed to do it at school (C4405). The above quotations support the perception that the school is a fenced-in enclave, which is different from the home. As revealed in the data in Chapter 6, the change from INAC to local control does not change many of the notions community people had about the school. Based on these data I examine the extent of parental involvement in education in the section that follows. Parental Involvement in Education Results in Chapter Five indicated that most parents who participated in this study are informed of the fundamental principle of educational philosophy. That is to say, parents are aware that education should equip their children with the necessary tools for survival in both Native and western society. Furthermore, parents believed that their children should be self-172 sufficient, competent, and should be able to confidently manage their lives and those for whom they are responsible. As in all cultural milieus, young Native children in Cat Lake gain the basic concepts of the social order of traditional First Nations' cultural knowledge, first, through interaction with parents and close family members, and eventually, others in the community, that is, peers and other adults that the child notices outside the immediate family. The data in this study suggest that community people feel that in some cases teachers and school officials completely overlook First Nations' cultural values. This feeling supports data in Chapter 5 which have pointed out that some teachers do not see the difference between the purpose of education for Native and non-Native children. Whereas teachers support a view that the education of the children is supposed to continue to augment and reinforce the cultural and social experiences which the child brings from home to school, parents feel that the school is different from the home. Results relating to school-community relations generally revealed that parents and teachers do not work together for the improvement of schooling. Parents think that they should not involve themselves in their children's schooling. Although they are in control of the school, local people do not understand and are not aware of alternatives and how to involve themselves in choosing among them. Most teachers I interviewed indicated that the most frustrating aspect of their job was lack of parental involvement. As one of the female teachers, H.S., commented: I find the apparent apathy in the community towards education and providing recreational opportunities for the children and the lack of parental involvement the most frustrating aspects of the job. It appears that if the non-Native people in the community did not do things for the kids, nothing would get done. There appears to be a general expectation of the community that the teachers can do everything where the kids are involved (T0811). 173 Although community people I interviewed showed considerable interest in the affairs of the school and the improvement of the school system, they accepted that there was little parental participation in school affairs. Some parents did not know that there was a local education authority in charge of the school. They still entertained the notion that the school was under the control of the 'whiteman', and they did not have anything to do with the schooling of their children. Also, some parents did not know that they could visit the school at their own will and talk to teachers about the progress of their children. An incident comes to mind to illustrate this point. During the fall of 1993, the school staff organized an open house for the parents and guardians of all the children in the school. The staff invited them by sending letters to them through their children and by making an announcement on the community radio. When the day had come for the open house, only a hand-full of parents, about five of them visited the school. I found later that those parents who visited the school were parents who had lived in fairly urban centres before moving into the community. Perhaps the comments of a community member about the seclusion of the school from the community prior to the takeover from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), can provide a reason for lack of parental involvement. As 67 year-old, G.C. commented: The only time we saw our children during school time was at recess when they played within the fence. Sometimes 1 would like to speak to my children during recess time but teachers would not allow them to cross the fence. They are all over the place guarding the fence and since I know that they don't want us to speak to the children, I don't want to offend them. Teachers know their job and we should leave them free to train our children (E0510). While parents felt that they were not welcome in the school, teachers thought that it was necessary for parents to participate in their children's education. Another female teacher, M.C. , 174 in her late twenties remarked: To improve schooling for students, parents and teachers must get to know each other. Parents should feel that the teacher has the best interest of the child in mind, and teachers should feel that they have the support ofparents in carrying out their programs. Parents should become involved in the daily programs of the school. When children see their parents taking an interest in school, they may begin to develop the attitude that school is important (T1203). In soliciting ideas from community members as to how much participation is fitting or preferred by community people, I found that many people felt that it was the duty of the local education authority to encourage parents to urge their children to go to school. They felt that as soon as the local education authority gets involved in schooling, parents would follow suit. Another requirement that community people most frequently stated in our discussions regarding parental involvement in schooling was the need for more effective communication and more understanding between community people and non-Native staff. Respondents indicated that community people do not want to get involved in school affairs because there is lack of communication between the school and the community. As W.T., in his 30's who worked in the school a couple of years ago stated: Community people don't want to get involved. People are afraid to communicate. They need lot of public education. Teachers need to sacrifice their time to get to know people and try to gain knowledge from Native people. They need to establish trust and respect. Teachers should invite parents and ask them questions. They should establish friendship with parents. I have never seen a teacher going to visit a parent except report card day. Teachers go from their houses to the school, they never bother to know what is happening in the children's homes. As I said earlier, the most important thing is getting to know people (C4613). As I personally found out during this study, it is difficult to communicate with Native people without getting to know them. This study has the benefit of establishing a direct contact between personnel from the school and community people. I found that the personal contact I introduced 175 between me and community people went a long way in enhancing the image of the school staff. One community member I visited, R.S., made a remark after I had interviewed him and his wife. As he said: You are the first principal who has ever visited my house since the 1970s when I started having students. I have never had anyone from the school coming to ask me what I think about the school. It seems you [the school staff] mean business this year. If teachers and principals were to be doing this in the past, our school would have become a better one. I didn't ever know I had anything to offer the school. I hope I have been able to help you. You are welcome any time you have further questions (C4212). This comment from the parent confirms how important it is to get to know Native people. Many respondents indicated that it will take trust, friendship and understanding on the part of teachers to get parents involved in schooling. As W.T. claimed: If my people don't trust you, they '11 have nothing to do with you. Some of them feel that their children don't behave well at school and teachers will find fault with them so they won't get near the teachers. Teachers have to open up to parents and make them aware that they 're here for the welfare of the children. As I said earlier, the only way by which to do this is ... I guess, they should be friendly towards parents. Teachers should also learn to understand parents (C4613). W.T. suggested that a major problem facing parental involvement in school matters is lack of effective communication between the school and the community. The section that follows presents viewpoints of school staff and community people about the problem of communication. Communication One of the drawbacks cited as facing schooling was lack of effective communication between parents and teachers. I asked a middle-aged man working at the Band Office, O.R. to tell me the way by which school could become more effective for the children: You see, the problem of schooling in this community is lack of communication between parents and teachers. All of you teachers are new to our way of life. You don't know 176 what we do with our kids at home. Ask your teachers, how many of them have ever attempted to visit a parent and spent a weekend with him, and perhaps, go on the trapline together and see what children and parents do over there. You are teaching children whose way of life you don't understand. You are just teaching them what you think they should know. It is only when teachers know about the home environment of the children that they can teach them well. I don't blame the teachers. It is poor parenting that brings about problems in the school. Some parents just don't care about what their children do. Teachers and parents have to work together (B2106). The study revealed that teachers acknowledge the lack of communication between them and parents. Teachers believe that the school can build effective lines of communication with parents by hosting school events and inviting parents, visiting parents at home, and attending community events. They suggested that it is necessary for the school to create venues, where parents can meet and discuss school issues together (see Appendix D). Teachers feel that they can become well acquainted with parents when they do things together. As a female teacher, S.D., commented: Teachers and parents can work together to improve schooling by communicating with, and supporting each other. When the school plans an event, parents should come out and show their support. When possible, parents should be included in the planning process and volunteer to help. That way, they will see the effort that goes into the planning by the teacher, and not just the end result. Teachers and parents should communicate with each other, not only when there is a problem with a student, but when there is good news also. I think a PTA would help because then parents would have an opportunity to get inside look. If a school has an open door policy for parents, that's great. However, parents need to use it to come in. If an open door is not used, it only lets in the cold (T0410). Respondents I interviewed felt that what makes the problem of communication between teachers and parents more serious is that the language and cultural backgrounds of teachers differs from that of community people. As a prominent worker in the Band Office, B.M. , remarked: Non-Native teachers think that we have nothing to offer them, so they refuse to learn anything from us. How many times has a teacher gone to spend a week-end with a 177 family to experience real life in a student's home? I feel the main problem is that teachers don't understand the kids they teach and as they have isolated themselves from the children's homes, parents can't approach them. Teachers have to learn about our customs and tradition. They should visit students' homes, spend time with them, and talk to their parents (B3012). Participants recommend that the initial necessity is for teachers to become acquainted with parents and develop a new footing of trust, agreement, and cooperation. It is clear from the present study that community people want to feel that non-Native teachers are reinforcing family values, that is, respect for parents, elders and Native culture, rather than teaching children only western values. I asked 38-year old M.G. , a mother of two, what she would recommend for teachers to teach in school. As she stated: Teachers should teach children our values. We were taught to respect our parents but these kids don't want to listen to us as parents. The other day I saw some of your school children in front of the school teasing that old man ... 1 asked them to stop, they won't listen. Some of them were even throwing snowballs at him. These kids don't respect elders, they just do what they like. I think teachers should teach them all these things like respect for elders, and our culture too (C4807). Respondents also indicated that in order to communicate effectively with parents, teachers need to understand the cultural differences, Indians' way of life, their problems and aspirations. As B.M. of the Band Office remarked: You the teachers are different from us and you've got the way you do things and we also have our own way of doing things. I know parents won't come to you if you don't go to them. You have to show understanding of our way of life and our problems. If you invite parents and they come late you should understand that they're on Indian time [laugh] (B3009). Teachers believe that the problem of communication partly lies in parents' refusal to involve themselves in school affairs. Teachers expressed that all attempts they make to invite parents to school events prove futile. Thus, teachers feel that while they try all they can to keep an open door policy, parents would not make efforts to visit the school. As 30-year old male 178 teacher, H.D., stated, when I asked the question: How can the school build effective communication lines with the community? I think this question is a reflection of the problem that now exists. The onus is put on the school to build effective communication. If you look at a relationship between two people, one person cannot make it work by him/herself. If one person is a great communicator, and does everything possible to make the relationship work, yet receives little or no response from the other person, the relationship will eventually die. No matter how great a communicator you are, you cannot carry on forever alone. Quite often, teachers put a great deal of work into planning events to involve parents. Quite often, they receive little or no support, and little or no turn out for their efforts. After a while, they get tired of it, and they don't want to try any more because there seems to be no purpose. Nobody communicates anything good that is done, only complains when they don't like something. This is very discouraging for teachers. For a relationship to work, between two people, both partners must put effort, support, and communication into making it a good relationship. Each person has an equal responsibility. I believe for effective lines of communication to exist between the school and the community, each has to accept the responsibility for making this happen. Each has to work at making it become a reality (Til 11). Even though a number of parents said that teachers are unable to communicate effectively to parents, some indicated firmly that the problem of communication does not lie with the teachers at school because students convey messages of invitation by notes to homes. However, it is clear from the study that as many parents are illiterate and do not read as well as speak English, they have a problem of comprehending messages sent by teachers. Some parents feel that it is the responsibility of the Local Education Authority and the Band Council to be actively involved in school events, and draw the community into accepting to be part of the school. As 66-year old J.S. commented: The Band Council should provide effective relationship to community people. The Band should communicate effectively with the people, for example, who are the teachers? What are they doing? What have they planned for the school? How should community people support the plans for the school? The Band Council is unable to report about the school to the people. They don't deal with the school properly. The Band doesn't inform us about what happens in the school. There should be a regulation that the Local Education Authority and the Band Council should report periodically to the people what 179 the school is doing. They can communicate with the people through radio shows, community meetings or newsletters (E0711). While a majority of respondents indicated that lack of communication was a major drawback for schooling, at the same time a few respondents blame parents for apathy. Those respondents felt that most parents do not care about the school and nothing could involve them in schooling matters. As Local Education Authority member S.V. remarked: The parents just don't care. They have other things bugging them and won't worry about school. (C4320) What this respondent suggested was that problems associated with deplorable living conditions, lack of job opportunities, lack of recreational facilities and adjoining problems of gas sniffing and alcohol abuse could contribute to parental apathy towards school matters. Teacher Orientation and Integration into Community This section presents results on teacher integration into the community. Teachers felt that the two-day orientation they receive before coming into the community is inadequate to prepare them to understand their students and parents. They recommended that they need two types of orientation: first, one prior to their arrival in the community; and, second, the other after their arrival in the community. The first orientation should be at least one week long. It should thoroughly explain differences in culture; it should offer some training for teaching English as a second language; it should provide an information package of the community including pictures and videotapes; and most of all, it should spell out teacher expectations. As teacher H.S. simply put it: The orientation prior to arriving in the community should include suggestions as to how to 'break the ice' with the local people, what the community views as the role of the 180 teachers both in and outside of the school environment; the duties and responsibilities of the Education coordinator and the LEA; administrative procedures/paper-work and brief synopsis of the Windigo Education Policy (T0802). Teachers indicated that the orientation after they arrive in the community should be ongoing. They said they could use the first few days to familiarize themselves with community people and the environment. As teacher M.C. stated: Once in the community the teachers could be taken on a •walking tour of the place, to familiarize themselves with the layout; they could be introduced to the families. This could be done in one morning or afternoon. The pot-luck dinner this year was a good idea. It would be nice to have someone tutor the teachers for about half an hour once a week in Ojibwe, so we could learn some common greetings, expressions and phrases (T1203). Some teachers also indicated that as part of the orientation process in the community, it is necessary for non-Native teachers and community people to discuss issues directly pertaining to the education of the children. As teacher S.D. remarked: The orientation in the community should include: a discussion of the local goals of education; an introduction to local resource people for cultural activities, traditional values, and those willing to assist in the classroom and extra-curricular activities when needed; a list of community activities in which teachers could participate; and a list of band 'officials [that is everyone who works in the Band Office], and their responsibilities, and an introduction to these people (T0903). Teachers expressed the need to have families volunteer to prepare them for some aspects of community lifestyles, such as hunting, fishing, cooking and craft-work. These families could 'adopt* teachers and bring them up to know the Indian way. Teacher H.D., in an answer to the kind of orientation to receive in the community stated: If possible, various families in the community could adopt a teacher and invite them to go hunting, fishing, trapping and participate in their everyday life—hauling water, getting wood, and eating with the family. The teachers would gain valuable information and understanding of local life that would benefit them in teaching their children. This adoption would create a better rapport between the parents and the teachers and would promote cooperation. Teachers would be made to feel welcome in the community and 181 would feel as if they were part of the community. A great benefit to the teachers would be first hand experience/assimilation into the local way of life (T1103). When I asked teachers about how much they need to know about Native people before teaching their children, almost all of them agreed that it is important for them to understand the social and cultural realities in the community. They also indicated that they need to have some understanding of the general learning styles of Native children and how they could adapt curriculum and resources to local needs. As one of the female teachers, M.C. maintained: / think it is important to be aware of the realities that exist both socially and culturally in the community. We need to know what kind of behaviour is acceptable. Also, we should have an understanding of the general learning styles of Natives (T1212). While community people felt that teachers are unwilling to learn about their way of life, teachers, on the other hand, indicated that they are willing to learn all that they can, provided community people are prepared to teach them. A majority of teachers expressed that it is the duty of the community people to find ways and means of imparting their culture to non-Native teachers. Teachers further indicated that as part of its involvement, the community should help teachers to learn the culture, language and history of the local community. Discussions with non-Native teachers revealed that most of them did not know anything about Native people and their culture before arriving in the community. Teachers would have preferred to have learned about Native people and their culture at the university. They felt that the university should play a vital role in improving the quality of teachers for Native children. As female teacher, S.D. remarked: / believe all education programs should include courses on Native studies. Some of these should be taught by Native people, and some taught by non-Natives who have worked with Native students. This would provide teachers with culturally relevant information, as well as information that will help prepare them for what they will face in working in Native communities (T0912). 182 Teachers stated that universities should devote research towards collecting material from Native communities for use in courses such as in sociology of education and educational psychology. Also, teachers felt that universities should organize seminars and give presentations in classes about Native education. H.D, whom I asked how much teachers need to know before teaching Native students put it this way: The focus of knowledge, I think should deal with psychology, how Native children think is crucial to designing approaches to helping them learn and especially for classroom management and discipline. Teachers need to know a lot about children, their relationship with the community and how the community responds to the needs of children not as it was traditionally, but as it is today, or maybe both (Ti l 12). When I asked the same teacher, what he thinks should be the role of universities in improving the quality of teachers for Native children, he said: With the help of Native organizations and committees, content can be collected and submitted to universities to use in conjunction with sociology and psychology course content; otherwise, Faculties of Education should hold seminars, have presentations in classes, and hold a Native awareness day or week annually at the universities in order to kindle the interest of student teachers in Native education (Ti l 13). CHAPTER 8 PROBLEMS OF SCHOOLING This chapter presents perceptions of community residents on the fourth category of research questions which explored the viewpoints on the problems of schooling. The focus will be on the problems associated with schooling as viewed by community people, teachers and students of Titotay Memorial School. In order to clearly identify these problems, I reviewed documents, interviewed teachers, students and community people, and held workshops to identify and discuss issues to try to answer the following questions: What do community people view as problems of schooling? What do teachers view as shortcomings of Native students? What do students perceive as inhibiting them from achieving success at school? The chapter addresses issues related to the curriculum, student discipline, school attendance, social problems that obstruct schooling, student dropout, school supplies, school maintenance and the problems associated with school governance. The Titotay Memorial School Curriculum This study revealed that a serious problem facing the school is the irrelevance of the curriculum. The Local Education Authority members in Cat Lake are not knowledgeable about curriculum issues, and therefore, they are not concerned about what teachers teach in school. I asked 35-year old W.E. , a former member of the LEA what she thought teachers should teach at school: J don't know. They're trained and should know what to teach. I'm not a teacher and I don't know anything about teaching so I can't say teachers should teach this or that. I 183 184 guess they came prepared and know what they're going to do (C3507). While there was a popular belief by community people that their children are not achieving at the same level as children in urban centres such as Winnipeg, they did not seem to know what teachers should do about the curriculum. The views expressed below are typical of the majority of educated community people in regard to the relevance of the curriculum being used by the school. M.C. in his early forties, educated in a residential school stated: The entire curriculum needs to be changed. Most of the things I learned in school aren't relevant to me. Here 1 am in the community not using those things I learned. They should change the curriculum and teach things about our culture and our people. When you teach history, for example, and say Christopher Columbus discovered America, Native people will be wondering where their great, great grandfathers were before Christopher Columbus came. Children should know the facts about Native people (C4107). The views appeared to have generally reinforced community people's perceptions about the irrelevance of the curriculum for their children. A majority of educated people indicated that there is the need for a major modification in the curriculum. Both teachers and the majority of parents specify that unless the curriculum reflects the children's culture, values, customs, and language, education would be meaningless to them. The study revealed that teachers do not understand how to use the Ontario Common Curriculum. A majority of those I interviewed find the curriculum document a meaningless blueprint. As female teacher F.D., in her mid-twenties stated: The curriculum document does not tell us anything specific. It says we should make lessons relevant to students but does not give any specific guidelines that would help our situation in Cat Lake. I have attended a number of workshops on the Common Curriculum and all that I hear about is cooperative learning. I don't think this is new. It is the same as the group work I did when I was in primary school, and have been doing with my students since I became a teacher. The developers should come out and tell us plainly what we are supposed to teach in isolated communities such as ours (T1004). 185 What this teacher suggested was that Native people knowledgeable about curriculum development and implementation should develop such a curriculum that would be relevant to their own situations. Indeed, one of the issues that continued to puzzle me throughout my time as principal of the school was teachers' use of mainstream curriculum material to teach Native children. Through my discussions with teachers, I tried to determine what the general attitude was about the use of mainstream Canadian schools' curriculum to teach the students. At first, I thought teachers were not very concerned about the type of curriculum they implemented. However, some classroom teachers indicated they were deeply concerned but lacked any alternatives to replace the mainstream curriculum. One male teacher, M.R., in his early thirties put it this way: / know that these kids need something relevant to them, but I'm merely using what I found here. To teach Native children we must take into consideration the environment in which they live. The textbooks don't reflect any aspect of Nativeness, and sometimes children don't know what the books are saying when they talk about subway stations in Toronto or the Union Station (T1312). The data presented above revealed that non-Native teachers expect some directives from the community level as to what they should teach the students. The views expressed by the majority of teachers convey a notion that when teachers accept positions in the communities, they have a feeling that they could successfully accomplish their tasks. After a short while when they realize their students are not adaptive to their teaching, they begin to have a feeling that something terribly is wrong. As the teacher S.D. stated: We cannot become members of the community on our own. Often when arriving in the community, we feel overwhelmed by our lack of knowledge of the culture and the language. This leads to feelings of insecurity and loneliness. The things we know and the 186 rules of social behaviour no longer apply and the acceptable rules for the culture is unknown to us. It's like trying to find your way in the dark with no light to guide, or being expected to participate in a game where nobody tells you what to do or what the rules are. Often we make attempts which are misunderstood and we become discouraged and give up (T0905). Meanwhile, when I interviewed community people and LEA members, about what type of curriculum they would like teachers to implement in the school, I found a majority of my interview notes representing similar views. As LEA member S.V. stated: I want our children to learn the same things that students are learning in Thunder Bay, Sudbury or Timmins, or anywhere in Canada. They should know how to read and write English well (C4307). When asked who should develop a curriculum for the school, most community people felt that it was the responsibility of the principal and the school staff. Some indicated it was the responsibility of Windigo Education Authority. The data indicated that nobody among all the people I interviewed felt that the Local Education Authority should be responsible for curriculum development and implementation. In the present study, it is clear that community people do not expect the Local Education Authority to develop and enforce implementation of a school curriculum, because the Local Education Authority members do not have the expertise in curriculum development and implementation. However, a majority of respondents indicated a similar line of thinking on the curriculum issue as was on the issue relating to the purpose of education. In both issues they indicated that students should have the opportunity to learn about their culture, history of their people, their values, customs, and language (see Chapter Five). Both school staff and community people came to a common understanding during one of the workshops (see Summary Report for Workshop in Appendix D) that the curriculum does not 187 respond to the realities of the community, that is, the curriculum does not recognize the cultural and linguistic milieu of the students. Participants advocate a curriculum that responds to the realities of the community without compromising comparable standards in the province. They suggested that Native language, culture, and history must form an integral part of the children's education. Teachers felt that they were capable of developing a curriculum for the school. However, they cited problems such as funding and the lack of adequate knowledge of their students' culture as major constraints. Observations and notes recorded from the discussions that occurred at one of the staff meetings confirm the point: We all agreed that we were willing to lengthen the school day by 30 minutes in order to close the school for the summer holidays by the first week of June. We would then spend about three weeks developing a suitable curriculum for the school. H.S. observed that while it was a good idea to develop a curriculum, we would need some money from the Band office. H.S. also noted that without the input of community people, we couldn't develop a suitable curriculum. She, however, did not believe community people would attend the workshop with the staff for the entire period of three weeks (Field Notes: February 17, 1994). When I contacted the LEA about the staffs proposal, I was told there was no money allocated in the budget for curriculum development. I found the LEA is unable to deal with issues concerning the curriculum because they do not have both the financial and human resources that go into curriculum development. The sections that follow present results at workshops attended jointly by school staff, LEA, and some community people to discuss problems facing the school (See Appendices C and D for the Summary Reports of the Workshops). 188 Native T*"ffregf and Culture In order to examine the attitudes and viewpoints of community people and teachers on the language and culture issue, I asked the question: Would you explain why you would like (or not like) your child/student to learn Native language at school? While all the teachers and a majority of parents acknowledged that they would like their students/children to learn Native language and culture, a few parents felt that since their children speak Native language at home, they would rather like them to use the time that would be spent on Native language to improve their skills in English language. While this line of thinking seems logical, it is clear that some parents do not understand that the teaching of Native language at school can be a way of enhancing self identity of the Indian child. By learning the language at school, children may give the same credence to Native language as they give to other school subjects. When I interviewed elders who only speak the traditional language, they indicated that they want their children to be able to speak their language and in the majority of cases see it desirable for them to be able to write it. As J.S. commented: It is very important to teach Native language in the school. The children should be able to write syllabics. If they are not taught syllabics, how will they keep their culture? How would they write newspapers for the elders to read? Elders like reading that sort of thing. Young people these days are losing that skill. They can't write syllabics. Syllabics is the Native people's curriculum (E0708). At one of the workshops (see Appendix D) a discussion group felt that as the learning of Native language may bring the school and the home together, Native language and culture should be of top priority in the school. The group's presentation posed a heated argument for discussion as other participants continued to indicate that the teaching of Native language constituted a waste of resources. After several discussions, participants arrived at two conclusions: first, that 189 Native language could enhace children's self identity and self esteem as they give the same credibility to their language as other subjects in the curriculum; second that children will come to give more respect to elders in the community who do not speak any other language but the Native language. Participants, therefore arrived at the conclusion that Native language should be taught in the school. However, there was a feeling from participants that there was a problem of finding a qualified person in the community to teach the Native language. Closely related to the problem of l