UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

Indian education newsletter Sep 1, 1972

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 VOLUME 2 #9
MAY, JUNE, 1972
B. C.
At this time of the year all schools are faced with dropouts or potential drop-outs. My concern is that Indian students
are considered synonymous with this phenomenon of our school system.
This article will make suggestions as to probably preventative
approaches or immediate steps that should be included at the end of
the school year.
All schools should ensure that there is every effort made
to provide a one to one relationship counselling in the last few
weeks of school, for those who are failing all or at least half of
their school year. Without this direct line of communication with
these particular individuals, the school and its personnel are
guilty of encouraging a school drop-out!!
Drop-outs are not caused by inherent or hereditary factors
- they are caused by everyday forces (tensions, complex situations,
poor adjustment, (or none at all) in the out-of-school and in-school
environment).  These daily forces are usually cushioned by the warmth,
love and guidance of parents - those Indian students on the Boarding
Program are denied this cushioning-effect-of-the-causes, since they
are away from their parents the whole school year.
It seems logical then, to look into the adjustment part of
the Indian students school life, if he, or she is failing.  Perhaps
a concentrated effort to ensure a better chance of adjustment for
these students for the coming term, will decrease the chances of
failure.  In the more pronounced or extreme cases of low achievement
- a series of conference/consultations with the Indian Affairs
Guidance Counsellors, or with the parents, and the school personnel
may be all that is needed.
Students who were not properly assessed as to the pupil
potential, at the start of the school year are usually found in the
low achievers group at the end of the year.  Perhaps, an attempt at
this time of the year (supplemented by this years school records,)
to assess the actual potential of the student will help this particular
student to get out of the low achievers bracket for next term.
Finally, the forces acting on the student during the school
year, are not chosen ones.  They happen at random, and if no cushioning of these forces are offered, the student withdraws into a protective shell, and the individuals defense mechanisms begin to take - 2 -
over (no classroom participation, no homework, smart alex's, skipping
school, antagonism towards teachers and class etc.)  It may be to the
student's and the school's advantage to set-up a Team Counselling
approach for the next school term. That is, genuinely interested
teachers (regarding Indian students) may be asked to keep daily contact with the Indian students from the first week of September (say,
from three to six students per teacher), and just simply be a consistent, warm and interested friend to these students. As the weeks
progress, pronounced uncontrollable weakness areas for these students
can then be analytically diagnosed and referred to the proper channels,
and alleviated at the on-set of the problem situation, instead of
letting these problem situations multiply one on top of the other,
until finally, the student as well as the teachers, are so engulfed
by the multi-complex problem situations, that no one can ever begin
to alleviate the problem areas.
Educational research has proven that a well adjusted student,
in and out of school, is receptive to learning.
* * *
The Indian Education Resources Center has finally acquired
larger office space!!!
By the beginning week of July, 1972 - our Center will be relocated in the Brock Hall (right behind the main library),
in Room 6 (South end the basement).
* *
By September, 1972 - the first unit of a series of twelve -
Teacher/Pupil Supplemental, Illustrated Reference Units -
will be made available in every provincial school and federal
schools.  It is dealing with the historical and contemporary
aspects of the general Skeena River Valley - focussing on the
K'san Cultural Project in Hazelton, B. C.  The unit was prepared by Mr. Gordon Reid - Vice-Principal of the Hazelton
High School.
* - 3 -
3. Please notify us of your change of address regarding the Indian
Education Newsletter.  (This chould be done by September, 1972.)
4. See last Newsletter, Volume 2 # 7 & 8 - March - April, 1972
issue for summer schedule of Indian Education Resources Center.
5. POTLATCHES - Indian Dances, story telling, bone games, harheque
fish, canoe races etc. Please note the following dates:
1) Duncan - (Vancouver Island) - June 17, 18, 1972.
2) North Vancouver - June 24, 25, 1972.
3) Stanley Park, July 22, 1972.
4) Victoria - (Vancouver Island) - August 12, 13, 1972.
5) Neah Bay - (U.S.A.) - August 26, 27, 1972.
* * * *
* * *  * * *
****  ****
*****  *****
******  ******
jal tii^fc a£i^i» <3i^b * Jnlr «&Afr >tAi* (J^UU *SiU. -"-'- J^^ A
On February 18th, we were fortunate in having Chilliwack
School District Teachers invite Alvin McKay, George Wilson and Dr.
Art More to their District Convention, for an afternoon presentation
from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 r->.m.
The man most responsible for securing these gentlemen for
the workshop was Walter Viebe, who is in charge of Special Counselling
in School District #33. - 4 -
Kathleen and myself have found our work in the area becoming much more significant due to the co-operation of Mr. Wiebe.
Many of the Chilliwack Teachers who participated in the
presentation "Understanding the Native Student" left the meeting
with a much broader scope of the Native Students everyday problems
than they previously had.
Mr. Wiebe has since contacted my and he informs that he
has had good feed back from George and Alvin's presentation.
The suggestion of Family, School and Community Orientation
for the Indian Student who arrives in Chilliwack from a Total Indian
Community is one that deserves follow-up from all Teachers, Social
Workers, and Community Service Workers in the Chilliwack Community.
I have discussed this with Public Health Nurses and the Family Life
Division of Community Services Center and they all agree that this
would be a good move to take action on.  Such workshops would enable
the student to meet the Resource and Service Counsellors that are
available to them in the Community that is Alien to them when they
first arrive.
Alvin's presentation was from his report in the January
Indian Education Newsletter, which covered most contents of Indian
George gave the group an insight into background on some
of our Indians who are living on isolated areas where day to day
activity consists of survival duties and chores ie., greater distances of travel to get the mail and to stores for necessities. A
great deal of time in these areas is used in travelling and as a
result a less hurried and conjested daily routine. A student who
is faced with a much more conjested routine when he or she arrives
here no doubt will be a little confused.
As a result of this workshop I feel that many more of the
white population are a little more aware of the problems facing our
Indian students. But we also feel there are fare too many who are
not concerned about our children and their education.
We have seen our Indian parents becoming more concerned
about the education of our children.  It seems there is much to be
done and much to be desired from the non-Indian faction before there
is a significant change.
*****         *****
* *****
***** *
*********** - 5 -
On February 9th the Spahomin Band Hall was opened at 7:00
p.m., for the first of a series of weekly gatherings that would go
on until Easter.  Forty-two teachers came out and about ninety
Indians sat down together and something new began.  Our Indian Culture
Workshop was underway and the attendance that night would set the
pace which virtually kept up throughout the workshop.
Months before, a small group of Indians began talking about
this project and how we could put one together. David and June Wyatt
were around and we asked them to help us.  Shortly afterward we
approached the Nicola Valley Teachers' Association and we were supremely
gratified to learn that the teachers were very anxious to meet our
people.  Caution was exercised as we dared not place our old people
as "objects for display" or our Indian ways to be exploited. We called
it an "Indian Culture Workshop" and we would talk about the Indians
of the Nicola Valley.
Using local Indian Resource speakers, films, slides, tapes
and anthropologists (the Wyatts and Morley Eldridge) mixed in with
Indian artifacts, arts and crafts, we went weekly from Reserve to
Reserve going back 100 years and gradually worked our way to today's
contemporary Indian even into the future. Much credit is due to
all our people who with deep breaths swallowed their shyness, spoke,
and were heard.  Teachers were taken into a world of Tribalism; of
dancing and songs, legends and lore; arts and crafts and the sadness
of today's Indian in a alien world.  Economic Development, Education,
Culture, the Indian Act and Indian Organizations were looked at and
everyone learned something new.
The Indian Culture Workshop was designed to accomplish
three things: -
1) for teachers to gain an understanding of the ways
of our people so that this knowledge would help
in teaching our children.
2) for teachers to find local resource material and
speakers to take back to the classroom to enrich
their curriculum.
3) most important of all for both Indian people and
teachers to develop friendships and their own two-
way communications for the benefit of all concerned. - 6 -
Much credit must go to the teachers who braved the terrible
weather, roads and their patience in learning about "Indian time".
The ladies groups on each reserve were wonderful with refreshments,
cakes, bannocks, Indian Ice Cream, or some other delights available
every night.
Our final session for what I consider to be a successful
project is set for late May or early June when an outdoor social
gathering will take place at a suitable mountain lake or meadow
where our people will gather wild potatoes, wild onions, etc., to
go with the barbecued salmon and hopefully some smoked deer meat.
* * *
* *  * *
****  ****
*****  *****
At a meeting of the Nicola Valley Indian Education Committee, held after the eighth session of the workshop, members of
the committee expressed an interest in finding out what the teachers
thought of the program.  I have spoken with approximately half of
the teachers who were involved and found the following responses:
1) The sessions were a tremendous social success.
It provided teachers with an opportunity to meet
Indian people in the community, something they
had found difficulty doing by themselves.  This
success was attributed to the informality of the
gatherings.  There was usually a display or
activity to been seen. This enabled people to
walk around, have coffee and "have something to
talk to each other about." Many teachers
found the sessions challenging because they had
to depend on themselves and their own willingness to talk to people, in order to learn.  Some
identified their own shyness as a block to this
learning and valued the realization that only
personal effort could overcome it.  Some expected
the workshop to be a lecture series, when this
did not materialize they felt somewhat disoriented
- of these individuals a number re-ori'.pf.fd
themselves and found at the end of the eight weeks
that not only had they learned new information but
had had an insight into a new way of learning. - 7 -
(cont.)...l) Others felt that because the sessions were so
well attended and because only two sessions
were held at each reserve - often hindering
the establishment of personal contacts - it
would have been helpful to formalize the presentation of information, or to cut down on
the number of participants.
2) Another predominant set of reactions were
phrased in the form of a question: What
could be done next? Was this workshop an
end in itself or was it the first step in a
new process? The prime concern was to devise
ways to continue and to deepen the personal
contacts which had just been initiated. Some
of those who asked these questions offered
the following suggestions:
a) to have another series of sessions where
teachers would have a chance to present
their views of the schools to the Indian
community. Many of the teachers who
participated in the program are themselves
dissatisfied with the schools.  They see
them as unsatisfactory in their responses
to the needs of the majority of students,
not only Indian students.  They are anxious
to clear-up some stereotypes: they realize
they are often seen as representatives of
a system with which they are not always
sympathetic.  They are anxious to deepen
their relationships with Indian people and
felt that discussion of problem issues
(not "problem" students) could serve as a
way of doing this and perhaps point the way
to some solutions.
b) courses ought to be offered which focussed
on the contemporary Indian social, economic,
political situation and that such courses
(particularly in the high school) would give
Indian students a chance to discuss with
each other where they stand with relation to
the Indian and white communities. Those who
made this suggestion felt it was mandatory
that such courses be taught by Indians. It
has also become clear to many concerned that
such courses, as well as ones on the history
of Indian people in the area, be made available on a long term basis. - 8 -
c)  a series of activity groups focussing on
crafts and outdoor activities, be
initiated by teachers and Indian people both.
Anyone with a skill could serve as instructor:
both teachers and Indian people could fill
the roles of instructor and student depending
on their interests and abilities. These groups
were seen as a way to learn and get together
at the same time; that by doing things together
individuals would get to know each other.
Many individuals have offered to volunteer
time and equipment to start working on these
groups during the summer months and have expressed the hope that their Indian students
will want to join them.
The above is a sample of suggestions that were made. The
overall impression I received from talking with the teachers was that
a nucleus of people interested and excited about Indian Education is
beginning to identify itself and make plans for future projects.
* * *
* * * * * *
**** ****
******* *******
******* *******
The Home-School Co-ordinators course will begin in July 10,
1972 and will carry on for twenty sessions ending August 4, 1972. The
classes will be after noon sessions 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. daily, Monday
through Friday.
Tuition fees for the course can be paid by Indian Affairs
for status Indian students, for whom living expenses are also available and must be arranged by the individual and Vocational Counsellor.
Attached is a suggested outline of the coverage of the
four week course. Alterations and refinements to the schedule can
be made at the first session. Attached also is a list of other topics
suggested by Home-School Co-ordinators and we hope to cover these
topics under their most convenient category. - 9 -
Many of the students enrolled in this course are already
Home - School Co-ordinators who wish to exchange ideas with others
and gain more knowledge. Others will be entering this field for the
first time and will be anxious to absorb as much as possible during
the course.  The course has tentatively been set-up so that experienced
Home - School Co-ordinators can begin classes on "Day 11" to cover
Special Counselling techniques and other topics especially requested
by them, but we hope that all will enroll for "Day 1."
Special Resource people who are experts in their field will
be speakers at classes.
Any enquiries can be directed to the Indian Education
Resources Center at U. B. C. or to myself.
July 10/Monday Day 1
July 11/Tuesday Day 2
July 12/Wednesday Day 3
July 13/Thursday Day 4
July 14/Friday Day 5
July 17/Monday Day 6
July 18/Tuesday Day 7
July 19/Wednesday Day 8
July 20/Thursday Day 9
Discussion of Timetable, Introduction
Home-School Co-ordinator & Duties
Home-School Co-ordinator Priorities
Special Problems - Discussion.
Role of Teachers, Parents & Students.
Working with Professional Resource
Adult Education - (Alvin ?)
Social - (?).
Court Work (Marg Cantryn ?).
Indian Education Committees & Their
Welfare & Its Role
Drugs/Alcohol, Resources Available
for Help.
Problems Experienced by Ii dian Affairs
Counsellor. July 21/Friday
July 24/Monday
July 25/Tuesday
July 26/Wednesday
July 27/Thursday
July 28/Friday
July 31/Monday
August 1/Tuesday
August 2/Wednesday
August 3/Thursday
August 4/Friday
- 10 -
Day 10   Half-time Break.
Day 11   Comparison - Indian - Non-Indian
Social Scale.  (Deanna Sterling)
Day 12   Indian Affairs Responsibilities Toward
Indian Education.
Day 13   Special Counselling Techniques -
Meliva Nastiche.
Day 14   Special Counselling Techniques -
Meliva Nastiche.
Day 15   Special Counselling Techniques -
Meliva Nastiche.
Special Counselling Techniques -
Meliva Nastiche.
Special Counselling Techniques -
Meliva Nastiche.
Structure of Provincial School System.
Open Discussion on Today's Indian
Attitude Toward Education in General.
Special Projects - Discussion.
Social - (?).
Evaluation of Home-School Co-ordinator
* * *
* * * *
****  ****
*****  *****
******  ******
*******  *******
********** - 11
Inner Look is an Opportunity for Youth Project designed
to work with the problems faced by the native youth in the city.
We are planning a drop-in center located at, 1855 Vine
Street, in the Vancouver Indian Center building.  It will serve as an
information and referral source on such issues as: counselling on
drug and alcohol problems, free medical care, accommodation, educational
and employment counselling, information on native culture and lastly,
current events concerning native people across Canada.
We plan organized recreation, informal get-togethers,
seminars and group discussions.  In this aspect, we are very fortunate
as the recreational and art program of the Indian Center, itself is
freely available to all.
Our staff consists of only three members and we welcome
volunteers who like to work work with people.  We are planning to get
people involved through the Volunteer Opportunity Program.  In essence,
we are striving for a sense of community and involvement among native
Anyone interested in the project can come and see us at,
1855 Vine Street or phone, 736-7481.
* * *
**** ****
***** *****
Special ColJe ,  ((  - ' • *_•,...
Library r^ Division
ULdry, Campus, U.B.C.


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