UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Finding QWAMQWƏMT : re-storying post-secondary education for Aboriginal people Chenoweth, John Alexander


Aboriginal people face numerous challenges in post-secondary education. In this research, I identify the shortcomings evidenced in the educational system in relation to Indigenous identity and epistemology, external Aboriginal policy, Indigenous control of education, and Indigenous community. Additionally, I examine the realities of Aboriginal people who have paused-out and then return to school, and what factors influence their successful educational experiences. I use a syilx Indigenous systems-based pedagogy embedded in a traditional story as my primary theoretical framework. The Four Chiefs story is a syilx Okanagan construct that serves as the model with four oppositional concepts to address community-based questions. This is the basis of enowkinwixw, a syilx-based governance decision-making process. I survey 60 students from across the province who attended the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. Questions relate to a student’s experience in the K-12 system, the transition to post-secondary, and actualities while attending NVIT. Analysis indicates that shortcomings in the educational system relate to a lack of acknowledgement of Indigenous identity. Aboriginal students return to school for economic reasons and concern for future generations. A balance of encouragement and support from outside and within the educational system lead to a fulfilling educational experience. Without the Indigenous Community realizing how important it is to take control and reorganize how it re-imagines the educational experience of its Aboriginal students, nothing will change. This Study demonstrates that the Four Chiefs model is an appropriate and useful tool to re-imagine Aboriginal post-secondary education. It is a holistic approach to illuminate the many educational challenges faced by Indigenous students as part of their Indigenous community.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International