This week started and ended with events that reinforced the importance of one of our many unique programs at St. Clement’s.
On Monday, I was fortunate to be invited to speak with Matt Galloway, the host of CBC’s Metro Morning, about St. Clement’s School’s Aboriginal Education programs: http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2013/10/28/aboriginal-education/
While I prepared for this show I reflected on just how proud I was of our program, the staff involved and the authenticity with which our students and First Nations people have built relationships. These relationships, both local and national, have fostered a greater understanding of the realities that our Aboriginal populations face and have fuelled a passion amongst our students to contribute to a better future for them.
At the end of this week, our students’ passion was evidenced as those who had gone to Moose Factory this August relayed their experiences in assembly. While the presentation included the trip itinerary, it was the information our students included about the inequities experienced by our Aboriginal people that made me so thankful for our program. Some of the information imparted by our girls is below:
- a large difference between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals is the amount of government funding each group receives. One of the most prominent examples of this is in education
- education for non-Aboriginals is funded by the provincial government while Aboriginal peoples’ education is a federal government responsibility, and inexplicably results in Aboriginals receiving significantly less funding
- the high school in Moose Factory experiences a drop-out rate of between 25-40 % each semester.
- Aboriginal peoples in Canada are currently significantly disadvantaged for various reasons, including a lack of government funding, a high cost of living, lack of nutrition, loss of culture, and historical trauma.
I had started the week feeling very proud of our Aboriginal Educational programs by reflecting on all of the work that had been done to ensure a contemporary focus in its content. I finished the week with an assembly that demonstrated this and feeling very thankful for the students, staff and Moose Cree community members who have contributed to our deep and committed relationship over the past four years.