Jim Hart’s Reconciliation Pole at the UBC campus. (Archie Stocker Sr./Contributed)

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Need for extra financial support tops the list for the largest barriers faced by Indigenous students as they make their way through post-secondary school in Canada, a nationwide report suggests.

The report, released Thursday by Indspire, a charity that focuses on Indigenous education, surveyed 300 students across the country attending universities, colleges and trades programs, including 35 attending schools in B.C.

It found students were also concerned about a lack of Indigenous student services on campus, Indigenous content in programs such as social work, nursing and law, and more Indigenous professors and mentors. Students said gaps in a support system on campus led to incidents of racism and resentment from peers.

“The least safe place for our students is in the classroom,” said Indspire president Roberta Jamieson. “That’s what they told us.”

The report compared its findings with what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called for in its final report in 2015, which included seven recommendations focused on education for Indigenous children and youth.

Some of those calls to action included developing culturally appropriate curricula, ending the backlog of First Nations students seeking post-secondary education, and funding to close educational achievement gaps within one generation.

Jamieson said the survey results show governments and post-secondary schools “have not fully responded” to the commission’s recommendations.

In B.C., 50 per cent of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 had a certificate, diploma or degree from a trade school, college or university in 2011, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. That’s compared to 66 per cent of their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Indspire’s report made three key recommendations: more funding for staffing for Indigenous student services at colleges and universities, a full evaluation of the commission’s calls to action, and strengthening Indigenous culture and belonging on campus and beyond.

Cultural awareness on campus

Many students felt post-secondary settings have not taken the time to incorporate Indigenous students, their history and their culture, the report said.

Student reported feelings of isolation, loneliness and being overwhelmed. Some said it caused a sense of marginalization on campus.

“There aren’t always safe spaces within the university, other than Indigenous Student Centres, that are welcoming to Indigenous students,” one student said. “Racism and violence still very much exist so it is sometimes hard to move throughout the university and not experience those things, from professors, other students, administration.”

Another student reported their peers resented them for getting special treatment and “as a result, the Indigenous students were not as welcome.”

Others said inaccurate reflections of their culture often forced them to address the misinformation.

“In 2018, we do not need non-Indigenous peoples speaking about us. Make space, move over,” one student response read.

“In my field of study, it was very hard to describe how not only are we still here, but everything we do in our programs is through a Western lens. That there are Indigenous ways of reaching decisions, creation of policy, etc. It never gets recognized in my program.”

In the classroom, students noted “outdated” Western views “dominated” their course content, the report found.

The same was said about professors who lacked a knowledge of history of Indigenous people in Canada.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Elk Valley pride groups celebrate milestone

LGBTQ community marks 50 years since decriminalization

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

VIDEO: Sick eagle released back into wild

Three months after a golden eagle suffering from lead poisoning was found… Continue reading

New program to get Elk Valley youth into workforce

Elk Valley once again facing labour shortage with over 150 job vacancies

CanWel takes Fernie students tree planting

Fernie Secondary class learns about reforestation; CanWel responds to AKBLG resolutions

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Sparwood Save-On-Foods partners with Food Share

A Sparwood supermarket is on its way to becoming waste free after… Continue reading

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Community spirit saves Sparwood’s Coal Miner Days

Volunteers still needed to help run event, which will be held from June 3-9 at various locations

Most Read