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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Renewing aboriginal education through relationship and community Firman, Brenda


The brokenness of Aboriginal communities, families, and individuals in Canada is well documented in reports and statistics and publicized in sensationalized news reports. The more nurturing aspects of Aboriginal life are shared with and often appropriated by the dominant culture. It seems that the damaging effects of colonization are the responsibility of today's Aboriginal people while the settler society is free to profit emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally and financially from the cultural practices and Indigenous knowledge that have survived colonization. The Canadian government's investigation into relationship between the settler society and Aboriginal peoples in Canada - the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples - clearly identified the responsibility of non-Aboriginal Canadians in the history, current conditions, and future possibilities for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Unfortunately, this responsibility is not well known, understood, accepted, or acted upon within the policies and practices of education for Aboriginal peoples. This narrative documents the journey of one non- Aboriginal educator in relationship with Aboriginal peoples and with her dominant culture. Believing both that trust is required for systemic and lasting change and that trust requires intimacy (Roybal Rose, 1995), the author presents a very personal and intimate understanding of the historical and ongoing relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada as a means of encouraging the active and informed involvement of each reader in transformative efforts in the renewing of Aboriginal education.

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