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A Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada: Economic, Political, Educational Needs and Policies – Part 2
Author: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Date: October, 1967
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- Chapter I Introduction and Recommendation
- Chapter II An Analysis of Competitive Ideologies
- Chapter III The Administrative and Educational Structures of Indian Schools
- Chapter IV Education of the Indian Child
- Chapter V A Philosophy for Indian Education General Guidelines
- Chapter VI The Background of Formal Organization and Decision-Making in Indian Communities
- Chapter VII General Aspects of Band Councils
- Chapter VIII Patterns and Trends in Band Council Elections
- Chapter IX The Decision-Making Process
Editor, H. B. Hawthorn
of Volume I:
of Volume II:
®Crown Copyrights reserved
Available by mail from the Queen's Printer, Ottawa, and at the following Canadian Government bookshops:
1735 Barrington Street
Æterna-Vie Building, 1182 St. Catherine St. West
Daly Building, Corner Mackenzie and Rideau
221 Yonge Street
Mall Center Bldg., 499 Portage Avenue
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or through your bookseller
Price $3.00 Catalogue No. R32-1267/2
Price subject to change without notice
ROGER DUHAMEL, F.R.S.C.
Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery
ADMINISTRATIVE AND RESEARCH STAFF
To The Honourable Arthur Laing, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
400 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa 4, Ontario
In 1964 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration asked The University of British Columbia to undertake, in conjunction with scholars in other universities, a study of the social, educational and economic situation of the Indians of Canada and to offer recommendations where it appeared that benefits could be gained. We have the honour to submit Part II of the findings, concerned primarily with education and the internal organization of the reserves.
Location of Field and Other Research by Staff - Indian Research Project
Reserves: Maria, Restigouche,
La Romaine, Mingan, Natashquan, Seven Is. (old
Bersimis, Pointe Bleue,
Mistassini, Weytonmachie, (Sanmaur), Rupert House, Six
Nations, Fort Alexander, Beardy's.
Agencies: Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon,
Mr. B. Bernier
Mr. L. Laforest
Mr. F. Charest
Comox, Inkameep, West Saanich,
Sooke, Six Nations, Caradoc
(Oneida, Muncey, Chipeweyan),
Oak River, The Pas, Roseau
River, Duck Lake, James Smith,
Sweetgrass, Red Pheasant,
Mosquito Stoney, Poundmaker,
Agencies: Ottawa, Toronto,
London, Winnipeg, Portage La
Prairie, The Pas, Saskatoon,
Duck Lake, N. Battleford,
Edmonton, Vancouver, Nanaimo,
Mr. M. Burbidge
Interviews at Vancouver
Vocational Institute, Burnaby
Technical, U.B.C. and various
high schools in Vancouver and
Mr. M.J. Audain
Mr. R.H. Jackson
Mr. J.E. Nicholls
Ottawa and in various centres.
& Legal Issues
in Ottawa and in various
in Ottawa and provincial
Miss D.M. Coutts
Simpson, Saddle Lake,
Goodfish Lake, Dokis
Blood, The Pas
Work mainly with Tobique
Malecites in New Brunswick
Walpole Is., Georgia Is.,
Scugog, Rama, Curve Lake,
Hiawatha (Rice Lake),
Amalgamated Rainy River,
Couchiching, Lac La Croix, Seine
River, Stangecoming, Golden Lake,
Albany, Attawapiskat, Moose
Factory, Moosonee, Winisk.
#40, Wabigoon, Whitefish Bay,
Manitoulin Is., Sheguiandah,
Sucker Creek, West Bay,
Nipigon, Dokis, Matachewan,
Nipissing, Temagami, Whitefish
Lake, Parry Sound.
Mississauguas of Curve Lake,
Batchewana (Rankin), Garden
River, Serpent River, Spanish
River #1 and #2.
Seul, Osnaburg (New Osnaburg,
Cat Lake), Trout Lake, Six Nations,
St. Regis, Mohawks of the Bay of
Quinte, Walpole Is. Amalgamated.
M. McL. Ames
with D. Korn and
& Child Care
Mr. R. Malpass
Mr. A. McCallum
Dr. C.S. Belshaw
Dr. R.M. Will
Dr. D.V. Smiley
Dr. E.R. Black
Dr. E.S. Rogers
Dr. P. Carstens
Dr. R.W. Dunning
Dr. EW. Ames
Dr. M. McL. Ames
Dr. P. Termansen
Dr. T.F. Storm
Mr. W. Duff
Dr. T.F.S. McFeat
Chapter I Introduction and Recommendations
1. Schooling and Betterment
Chapter I of the first volume of the Report introduces the research undertaking, states what brought it about and what it attempts to do, and is therefore also Introductory to the present volume. Much that is set out in the first volume concerning matters like employment, income, resources, economic outlook and opportunities, the administration of reserves and the political conditions and prospects of Indian life is basic to a full understanding of the chapters that follow although as far as possible they have been written to stand on their own.
This second section of the survey addresses itself to two sets of issues, related to the provision and the adequacy of schooling for the Indian child and adult, and to leadership, organization and the direction of reserves.
The two issues are linked in a number of ways. The prime assumption of the Report has been that it is imperative that Indians be enabled to make meaningful choices between desirable alternatives; that this should not happen at some time in the future as wisdom grows or the situation improves, but operate now and continue with increasing range. But many of the desirable alternatives potentially open to Indians, and even more that will be open in the future, are open only to those educated for them. Consequently Indian children, and those adults who have the drive to attend classes, must find schools and proper programs ready to receive them.
An alternative chosen by some people, who are now a large majority and will certainly be in large number for at least the near future, is to live on the reserve even if they work elsewhere. The reserve is the place of birth, of family, of friendship, of one*s language and of most of the values one shares with others. To the extent that is allowed by its setting within a modern nation, those who own the reserve wish to direct its affairs. Some of this direction now operates through their band council; more use could be made of other administrative devices, some of their features already spelled out in Part I of the Report, others mentioned in the later chapters of this volume.
The background of the stress on schooling and its results is interwoven with needs for better employment, better health and livelihood, more capital for enterprise and a greater share in the governmental and political life of Canada. The fuller achievement of goals in many of these areas is ordinarily and obviously dependent on a certain level of schooling. But schooling that is not accompanied or even preceded by some improvement in adult achievement is likely to be ineffective, as we demonstrate in Chapters IV and V. This is to say that the injunction implied above and so often given to the child as the foundation of schooling: learn now in order to become worthy and receive benefits later, is partly self-defeating, in this instance at least. Indians must receive some wider responsibilities and a fuller place in Canadian life now in order that learning can have enough meaning for their children. The child at school needs to see while he learns that an Indian can do other things besides logging, trapping, fishing or small faming. It is irrelevant that the horse comes before the cart; the cart and the horse must start in motion together.
Part I of the Report offered our analysis of a number of economic, legal, administrative and political issues. In this volume the issues under discussion are schooling and its adequacy, along with the direction and organization of life on reserves. And while we are mindful of the wider setting of culture and community in which these issues find their definition, we shall abstract them from that setting for discussion in the following chapters.
There has been an enlarged effort to supply employment for Indians and opportunity and support for Indian initiative in the economic sphere, particularly over the past decade. At the same time the revisions of the Indian Act and developments in Indian Affairs Branch policy have opened the way for the Indians to play a bigger part in the direction of their own affairs. And the efforts made to get all children in school, keep them there for a longer time and have them share all the educational benefits received by other Canadian children have been vastly increased from the time of the first moves towards school integration some twenty years ago. The advances in professionalization of educational services, in numbers of children in school and in the duration of their stay have indeed brought results. A growing number now stay to complete high school and a significant though still very small increase shows in the numbers of those continuing further. However, the numbers in high school and in post-secondary institutions are not yet near the size that will be needed to reach educational equality with the rest of the nation, and perhaps it could be said that most of the Indian's problems have even moved ahead of their educational solutions in the past few decades. The recipe almost certainly calls for more education, with a question as to whether it should have more of the some ingredients or different ones.
The schooling of Indian children today raises many questions. School for some of them is unpleasant, frightening and painful. For these and for some others it is not so much adaptive as maladaptive. They have little reason to like or to be interested in the school in any way, in or out of the classroom, and it does not provide a path to the jobs some expect from it. Preliminary studies indicate that their motivation to do well in school drops during their stay there. They fail to reach their potential as scholars. They fall behind from the beginning and come to see themselves as failures. Their schooling is not justified by results and moreover they are unhappy in it. A pattern that is followed by a few White children is followed by many, perhaps most, Indian children.
We began our survey of the situation by trying to assess in some detail the place of school in the life of the Indian child, and the provision of the different sorts of schooling under federal, provincial and other auspices.
To recount the experience as the child meets it, entry into school is a drastic break with past experience. Life has not been empty or meaningless for him and he has already learned a great deal before he arrives at the schoolroom door. His character has a certain orientation. It is not the same for all Indian children in all tribal groups and communities but for very many Indian children there are similarities of orientation and knowledge, ones which are different from what the school expects and requires. What the school wants the child to be like above all is the ideal middle- class Canadian child. At this point and in this study we do not propose to weigh the values of Indian childhood and the values of middle-class Canadian childhood and attempt to say which is better.
Each is undoubtedly fitting in different ways and for different situations. But since the Indian child often lacks a spokesman, and since later in the Report we comment unfavourably on aspects of his life which we think are harmful to him, we will note here that the qualities of independence, self-reliance and non-competitiveness which he commonly brings to school are not negligible ones, and in some of the major countries of the world would fit him well for life. But these qualities do not fit as well in a contemporary Canadian school, and the child*s lack of many items of knowledge possessed by the ordinary White child is very unfitting in that context.
The integration of Indian children into provincial schools, once so hopefully regarded, has not settled the issue. While it offers an identical education to the Indian child, some of his needs are different from those of most non-Indian children and are not met by the existing programs. The case set out in the first volume of the Report that the Indians be treated as citizens plus because they needed and were entitled to that status becomes stronger for the child. He needs more than equality or similarity of education at this point. We shall set out that in some ways he needs more and in some ways different schooling. Yet this need not mean schooling apart. It appears possible for his special needs to be supplied within provincial school systems and most desirable that the benefits of attending school with other Canadian children be retained. The goal of making school better for the failing and unhappy Indian child appears to be approachable in a number of ways in which parents, home, teachers, classroom procedures, other pupils and parents, curriculum and administrative arrangements might all figure.
2. Schooling as a New Need
One simple and partial definition of schooling is a community vehicle for socialization. Through it the child is provided with controlled opportunities for learning elements of the roles, including occupational ones, he will fill later on. The definition is too simple to be fruitful for all purposes, because the child in school is also living in his present world, not merely preparing for his future, and he is entitled to a schooling that he likes and finds interesting, but it entails the statement that schooling should be integrated with the values and the totality of a culture. Obviously neither the contemporary provincial school nor the schools that operate specially for Indians are at all closely integrated with the values and the other aspects of the Indian child's culture. The child on entry and the teacher do not implicitly share as many values and expectations as do the teacher and the typical middle-class White child. The Indian child does not know what the teacher expects of him and perhaps the teacher does not discern his ignorance or under-stand the background of it. With the many barriers, of language, age, preoccupation and timidity along with others, the entering child and the busy teacher can embark on no dialogue to explore their differences in outlook. Undoubtedly both suffer, and for the child the outcome is a challenge to his identity. He finds he is not what others expect him to be. What he is never becomes clear but is plainly not what is wanted.
Perhaps the issue would not be so grave were not the reserve and the home undergoing a parallel crisis of identity. Developments have dragged the home and the reserve in their wake. Commerce, government, industry and settlement have affected every reserve without the Indian being able to feel that he has had much part in what was happening. He may have gained in many ways by the changes but that is not the immediate point. People and institutions with roots in a different past have called the tune. Being an Indian has become an uncertain thing. The child entering school finds this out for the first time, and is offered no way to resolve the uncertainty.
In some ways his situation is like that of children from many other minority families except that the other parents are likely to have insisted that their home values have an esteemed historical past, written down and accepted, and their children may soon grow to know that they can cite authority for speaking, acting and looking as their families do. Nevertheless, if home and school speak different languages the barriers to communication are still high. All provincial school systems are aware of such barriers for children from families with different language backgrounds and most of them have special or remedial language programs to meet the need. It would appear possible that an extension or alteration of some of these existing programs could be a first step in easing the difficulties faced by the teacher and the Indian child in communicating with each other.
The barriers to communication have an even wider effect, and they separate the parents from the school, Indian from White parents, and other students from the Indian child. We have paid some attention to the alienation of parents from the school, which renders the institution still more alien to the child, and to the likelihood that this alienation might be partially overcome by more extensive consultation of parents particularly when agreements to have the children attend provincial schools are being considered.
The attitudes of White parents and children affect profoundly, perhaps to an equal degree with those of the teacher, the capacity of the Indian child to learn in school. Where the attitudes of all are all negative, the child is overwhelmed. Such extreme cases appear to be rare but it is common to find that some other children and their parents still reject or dislike an Indian child regardless of his nature and qualities, merely because he is Indian. If total rejection is totally destructive, partial rejection is partially so. Where can a change begin? Some of our observations indicate that school administrators and teachers can play a significant role, and it is obvious that they have a responsibility to try to do so. The thinking of the times is on their side now, and even a solidly hostile White community would have the changed values of contemporary civilization brought before it through radio, television and the printed word.
3. Responsibility for Indian Education
There is general agreement on the problems faced by some Indian children in school. They come to value themselves less and to strive less as they get no benefit; they are confused as to what they should be and do; they do not live in a setting where schools prove themselves either happy or useful; they withdraw when they can, psychologically or bodily.
Various administrations and many teachers have tried to find solutions to these problems, and their efforts are continuing, either as part of deliberate experiments or else arising in response to the special circumstances in a particular school or community. These efforts include attempts to change the attitudes and outlook of Communities and teachers; altering the curriculum; adding to the program of teacher training; altering some aspects of classroom operation; instituting special kindergartens, nursery schools and remedial classes. In following chapters we offer comments on some of these programs.
The thoroughly successful operation of any of the programs designed to increase the benefit to the child requires that the responsible educational authority control suitable staff and adequate finances, and possess a belief that the program is the best one that can be tried. In subsequent chapters we mention briefly the different authorities that have been concerned with the Indian child. Various Christian churches first assumed the responsibility for inaugurating and operating Indian schools, and their concern is recognized in current governmental support for their work. The federal government through the predecessors of the Indian Affairs Branch instituted other schools and operated them directly, and over the past two decades the provinces have made various moves to assume responsibility under certain conditions. The result has been a number of forms of segregated day and boarding schools on and away from reserves, and of arrangements for the integration of Indian pupils into provincial schools.
Each of the authorities has held to its own and distinct philosophy of education, and distinctions in their views as to what is best for the child and how to attain it show also within their ranks, between the provinces, and between the churches that operate Indian schools, Some of the differences are more than mere slight variations; they show major oppositions between the viewpoints. In Chapters II and V we consider some of these and set out a case for some integrating principles to guide the schooling of the Indian child. Some of the principles which were used in fashioning our recommendations are similar to those recently expressed in the Report of the Royal Commission on Education in the Province of Quebec (Le Rapport de la Commission Royale d'Enquête sur l'Enseignement de la Province de Quebec, 1964), and others are given here and there through Chapters III and IV.
4. Leadership, Organization and Decision-Making on Reserves
To what extent can Indian communities stand on their own feet? From the viewpoint of income and employment, and in relation to the sorts of powers and status enjoyed by municipalities, the question was examined in Part I of the Report. The remainder of the question concerns the ways in which the communities organize those activities which transcend the boundaries of simple households and which involve people in their roles as band members and community residents.
Band councils and a number of voluntary associations with defined purposes arrange and direct effort within the reserve, face issues and arrive at decisions, and carry out what action flows from them. These councils and associations, their operations, their recruitment and their formation, were the focus of the research on which Chapters VI to IX are based. There is evidence that voluntary associations are growing in number and significance among Indians and our purpose included examining this trend in community organization and dynamics.
We took into account other groups such as families, lineages and networks of cliques whose activities are not so publicly visible and whose purposes are not so explicit and obvious, only where they appear to relate to the more formally organized structures. There are several reasons for not concentrating on these groups. This is a practical study, one aim of which is to suggest ways of working with Indian groups in order to help Indians improve their conditions of life. To make such cooperation possible it is necessary to be able to forecast how groups will operate. But general rules for families, networks of cliques and the like are almost impossible to formulate, let alone apply, and cooperation with them in the directing of community affairs will need to remain part of the art of government; it cannot yet be brought within its science.
Another reason for paying special attention to formal organization is that social power depends on its presence or absence. Following Robert Bierstedt we say that a group has social power, the ability and opportunity to exercise its voice and get what it wants, if it possesses a certain optimum combination of organization, access to valued resources and numbers. What resources are significant depends on the situation in a particular society. Among them may be money, skill, information, knowledge and property. In no society are all such resources distributed at random; in no society does every person have equal access to all resources. In Canadian society money is the chief resource, because access to so many different and desired things can be bought with it. Except at the local level, Indians are comparatively unorganized and by and large have access to little more than subsistence resources. There is not much they can withhold which would cause the non-Indian group acute discomfort, except their services and cooperation in helping the non-Indians achieve their goals, and those most easily blocked by the Indians are the ones planned to benefit the Indians themselves.
We do not maintain that organization has as its chief or sole aim the channeling or ordering of effort to achieve social power, for much cooperative effort goes into such important human pursuits as recreation and ceremonial. For some Indian groups the last-named would rank first among the goals of cooperative effort. But we emphasize the goal of power because nearly all Indians are concerned about their dependency and powerlessness, and demand an increase in their autonomy and self-reliance.
5. Contributors, Sources and Methods
The writing of Part II of the Report was carried out primarily by Dr. M.-A. Tremblay, Dr. F.G. Vallee and Miss Joan Ryan. Dr. Tremblay is primarily responsible for Chapters II, III and V, Dr. Vallee for Chapters VI, VII, VIII and IX, and Miss Ryan for Chapter IV. All contributed at various times, singly and in joint session, to the recommendations. Chapters II, III and V were originally written in French and the other chapters in English. In translation it is likely that some precision of meaning has been lost and because of the pressure of time, style has become a secondary consideration.
The extensive field reports that were written by Gordon Inglis, Michael Kew, Dietrich Luth, Roger McDonnell, George Parsons and Erik Schwimmer, which provided the contexts for the study of formal organization and decision-making, have been citied frequently in the relevant chapters. Mrs. Sheila Rorke assisted Dr. Vallee in the analysis of statistical materials for the study of trends in band council elections and operations. Dr. T.F.S. McFeat gave supervision for one set of field studies in the summer of 1964, besides providing material from his own studies in the Maritimes.
The study of education began with the advantage of the knowledge possessed by some members of the research team, in particular that of Miss Ryan. It continued with two summers of consultation of Indian Affairs Branch data in Ottawa and in regional offices. Dr. Tremblay and Miss Ryan visited schools and regional offices in all provinces where there was any considerable number of Indian children, while Miss Ryan carried out intensive studies of schooling on three reserves, and was aided by Mrs. June Lythgoe and Mr. M. Burbidge in collecting other data. Bernard Bernier, Lucien Laforest and Paul Charest assisted Dr. Tremblay in the preparation of statistics against which some of the conclusions were examined and in the reading of documents pertinent to educational philosophies and administration.
The selection of communities for the study of formal organizations and decision- making on the basis of questionnaire data was described in some detail in Chapter III of Part I and receives some further comment in Chapter IX of this volume. The locations of the first community studies carried out by Mr In glis, Mr. Kew and others were chosen by them and by the senior staff on the basis of our preliminary knowledge of places which appeared to be worth looking at, where things were either going on or for some reasons which we wanted to know, were not happening. Later locations were selected with the fuller knowledge possessed by the team as information built up.
Use has also been made of the finds of a number of recent anthropological studies which were not connected with the Project, ones mostly of bands in the Northern Woodlands and the Sub-Arctic, types of bands which are under-represented in our fieldwork and questionnaire samples. Our reasons for neglecting this type of band were not simply our desire to avoid duplication of work others had done or the need to make the most use of the time and funds at our disposal by concentrating on the most accessible places. We deliberately sought out a majority of places where we had reason to believe that things were happening as far as formal organization and decision-making were concerned. Thus our samples are biassed in the direction of larger bands located in regions where there is a considerable exposure to non-Indian stimuli and an above-average measure of contact with other Indian Bands. We believe that the direction of our sampling bias is congruent with the direction of trends in Indian bands everywhere and in particular the trends towards increasing contact with non-Indian people and institutions, towards larger and more complex communities that require more coordination than was the case in the past, and towards association with other Indian communities in regional groupings.
Recommendations on Education
- The principle of integrated education for all Canadian children is recommended without basic question. The integration of Indian children into the public school system should proceed with due concern for all involved and after the full cooperation of local Indians and non-Indians has been secured.
- The Indian Affairs Branch should recognize a responsibility to see that integrated schooling, once embarked upon, is as successful as possible. This is an elaboration of the recommendation stressed throughout Volume 1 of the Report that the Branch should develop the function of representing the Indian's case in the many new situations of his life.
- All school authorities should recognize that special and remedial programs are required for the education of Indian children, whether under integrated or other auspices.
- The expectations of teachers and school authorities should be based on the practical rule that the range of potential intellectual capacity of Indian children is the same as that of White children.
- Educational programs should take into account the obvious differences in background of the Indian student and also the often less obvious differences in values and motivations.
- Teachers should be encouraged to learn as much as possible about the background and culture of their Indian students and should take the initiative in getting to know individuals.
Special Educational Services
(7) On entering school many Indian children, like many other children in Canada, speak English or French only as a second language if they speak it at all. To aid these children, the remedial courses in language which are a regular part of Provincial curricula should be offered in a form adapted to their special needs.
(8) Because children from many other backgrounds have parallel difficulties in learning and using English or French in the school, Provincial Departments of Education in conjunction with the Education Division of the Indian Affairs Branch should encourage university Faculties of Education to offer linguistic studies, including contrastive grammar, as a part of teacher training.
(9) It is recommended that the Indian Affairs Branch in conjunction with Extension Departments and Provincial Departments of Education sponsor special courses and institutes in the teaching of English as a second language. These courses would allow established teachers and the staff of faculties of education to become proficient in the newer techniques and familiar with the newer findings.
(10) The Indian Affairs Branch, through its curriculum division and by arrangements with outside specialists, should develop materials on Indian languages which could be used as guides for classroom teachers.
(11) Existing reserve kindergartens should be kept in operation except where children can be admitted into public school kindergartens. Where none of the latter is available, kindergartens should be introduced by the Indian Affairs Branch. A similar recommendation is offered for nursery school programs. Where possible, such programs should be cooperative so that Indian parents may share the responsibility for helping educate their young children. The program should emphasize the language arts and provide exposure to books, stories, records and similar experiences which are unavailable on the reserves.
(12) Few reserves have adequate home facilities for study. Several reserves have turned the Indian Day School or community hall into a study hail in the evenings. It is recommended that the Indian Affairs Branch encourage the establishment of Indian education committees which would arrange for supervised study periods for students. Tutoring should also be provided during study periods. Where they are available, high school volunteers could help younger children and university volunteers could help high school students. Teachers interested in Indian work might also assist, while Indian parents might help, as some now do, with transportation and general supervision.
(13) The standard of health of many Indian children is marginal at best. All these children should receive mandatory medical examinations prior to school entry. These should be provided by Indian Health Services or by contract with whatever source is available. Dental and eye examinations should be required annually. In order to ensure that no child continues to suffer from malnutrition, from marginal sight or hearing or other disorders that would affect school work, the school nurse should check that prescribed treatment and medication are completed following examinations. In brief, a more act i ye public health service should be extended to Indian children and their parents.
(14) School complaints about the standard of personal hygiene of Indian children are numerous. Many Indian homes lack adequate bathroom and laundry facilities. In most schools there are other children whose homes also lack facilities and it is recommended that schools make arrangements so that students may use gymnasium showers and Home Economics laundry equipment. The practice of sending children home because they are dirty cannot remedy their situation and negates their education.
Although the full scope of this recommendation is beyond the responsibility of the Indian Affairs Branch, the Branch should initiate arrangements with schools that receive Indian students under joint agreement. Furthermore, in keeping with a recommendation of Volume 1 of the Report, it is urged that laundromats be considered as an enterprise to be encouraged on reserves.
(15) Some texts continue to include material about Indians which is inaccurate, over- generalized and even insulting. Such texts should be eliminated from the curriculum. Where elimination must proceed gradually, it is recommended that teachers immediately correct the Indian content by reference to books and other sources which should be available in school libraries. To facilitate elimination, the Indian Affairs Branch should compile a list of texts whose references to Indians are incorrect and supply it to the Canadian Book Publishers Council as well as to Provincial Departments of Education.
The diversity of Indian cultures does not make it easy to present a detailed and accurate unit on Indians, although some Provincial and city museums have assumed the responsibility of supplying materials for this. Where the materials are not already available, schools with substantial Indian enrolments might be able to arrange with adult Indians to provide local Indian material for the social studies, art, drama and literature sections of the curriculum. Non-Indian children would benefit by having their horizons extended; Indian children could acquire a sense of worth and status.
Communication and Public Relations
(16) Almost all contacts between teachers and Indian parents are made in the school, are demanded by the teacher, and have the purpose of informing the parent about faults in the child. Teachers should visit the reserve to see parents whenever possible and it is strongly recommended that other occasions be created for contacts between parent and teacher. To facilitate return visits by parents, contracts for school bus services might be extended to include them.
(17) Both teachers and students report a lack of communication between them. Such a lack is not unique to schools with Indian students but the difficulty is compounded by differences in expectations and understanding when Indian students are involved. We have already recommended that teachers endeavour to increase their understanding of the background of the child. Putting this into practice, teachers should cease punishing Indian children for the results of situations they cannot control, such as tardiness, absenteeism and lack of cleanliness.
(18) Communication and relations between children of different backgrounds are sometimes good and sometimes poor. Except in isolated instances, the determining factor seems to be the general atmosphere in the school itself and in particular the limits to acceptable behaviour set by staff. Where verbal or physical attacks on Indian children occur, it is recommended that school personnel should assume full responsibility for stopping them. On the positive side, school administrators and teachers should create an atmosphere which will foster respect and friendship between White and Indian children.
It is recommended that:
(19) Public school facilities be used for the education of Indian children wherever the arrangements appear reasonable and beneficial.
(20) Agreements should not be made where Provincial schools are inferior or where community attitudes are unfavourable for Indian students.
(21) Agreements should not be signed prior to full and, if necessary, lengthy consultation of parents of Indian students and prior to ensuring their full cooperation as well as that of non-Indian parents. Some contact between parents of all school children should occur before final negotiations are undertaken.
(22) Agreements should include formal Indian representation on a Board where Provincial law allows. In other cases a Board should agree to accept informal representation.
(23) In order to ensure that Indian children are not handicapped by their status, provision should be made for group payments by the Indian Affairs Branch to the Board for required fees and expenditures for such items as textbooks, lunches, lockers and sports.
(24) Provincial Departments of Education should recognize that special facilities and personnel will be required for remedial programs; these should be provided under joint auspices and financing.
(25) The continuation of any joint agreement should be conditional on the school's continuing to provide the Indian child with an improved education
(26) Indian day schools should be considered for use as adult and remedial education centres when integration into the public schools is completed. Except in isolated areas there should be no further construction of these schools.
(27) Integration should occur only after the criteria outlined earlier are met.
(28) The conversion of present facilities into auxiliary resources should begin at the bottom and not the top. Thus ordinarily admission should be refused to Grade 8 of a residential school; Grade 11 students should not be compelled to integrate in their final year; children who will terminate school early should be permitted to stay on the reserve but Grade 1 students should be admitted directly into the public system.
Denominational and independent Schools
(29) Capital grants to reserve schools operated under religious auspices should be discontinued.
(30) Where reserve schools staffed by Indians are in existence and continuing to operate successfully (at par with public schools) they should be allowed to proceed as they are until parents propose that they integrate.
(31) Denominational boarding schools should be converted into full-time hostels and cease to operate as schools.
Vocational Training and Placement
(32) It is recommended that the Federal Government (Indian Affairs Branch and the Department of Manpower) continue to pay for upgrading courses for Indians aspiring to return to school, enter vocational training or gain employment.
(33) Information on upgrading and vocational training is not being adequately disseminated among Indians. A wider and more active system of providing information on courses, financing and application procedures should be instituted.
(34) The allocation of funds to this portion of the education program should be such that:
- a continually increasing number of students can avail themselves of the opportunities for training;
- students may live adequately so that they may pursue their work with the greatest effectiveness;
- spouses and families can accompany the trainee to the training centre.
(35) A continually wider range of training programs should be suggested to applicants. Many students have abilities and desires to enter pursuits which they consider not available to them. Personnel should not reinforce the choice of "Indian occupations" and should systematically provide information on alternatives.
(36) We wish to repeat here our recommendation made in Volume 1 that the Indian Affairs Branch widen its assumption of responsibility for job placement of young Indians who have come to the city.
(37) It is recommended that the Indian Affairs Branch provide programs offering extra training through summer school, evening and inservice courses which would enable teachers and other personnel to gain some systematic knowledge about the people with whom they work, and that Boards, Provincial Federations and Departments of Education provide opportunity and incentives for teachers to take such courses.
(38) It is recommended that the Indian Affairs Branch explore such devices as programmed learning for possible use in upgrading children quickly and effectively; also, that a program of research be instituted in which problems related to the teaching of Indian students in public schools are investigated and experimental programs inaugurated for their solution.
(39) It is recommended that the Indian Affairs Branch remove all group psychological tests such as IQ and aptitude tests from its schools and that public schools be urged to do likewise. The Indian Affairs Branch is in the best position to alert all school authorities to the finding that such tests are neither valid nor reliable for Indian students.
(40) A liaison officer be appointed by Provincial Departments of Education with the function of coordinating the activities of various agencies and individuals concerned with Indian educational problems at the local level.
(41) That the role of school committees be enlarged in the interest of enlisting the special knowledge possessed by the adults of the reserve.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON BAND COUNCILS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
(42) In elaboration of recommendations 85 and 86 of Part I, concerning the role of leadership and other adult education programs, research findings concerning their own lives should be presented in digest form to Indian people.
(43) One object in such leadership courses should be to get across the notion of cultural variability and plasticity, to widen the view of alternatives.
(44) In such courses, Indians should be encouraged to explain to non- Indians the underlying principles of achieving unanimity, saving face, avoiding discussion of the obvious, and other human relations matters at which they are said to excel, revealing that "leadership" is much more than a matter of style, of acting "with authority" by giving orders, of being skilled in parliamentary procedure, and so on.
(45) As a way of disseminating by radio information and ideas to Indian people in at least some of their own languages, projects such as that of the Indian Eskimo Association in the Arctic, modelled on the Farm Forum, should be extended into the northern regions of the provinces.
(46) Band councils and other bodies should be encouraged to seek professional advice of a legal, economic, and social character not only from official sources but from other sources as well.
(47) In elaboration of recommendation 50 of Part I, concerning the support of voluntary organizations, existing organizations, such as trappers* councils, conservation clubs, recreational clubs, cooperatives, should be encouraged to develop on a district or. regional basis. Support could be provided for travel and maintenance expenses incurred in the holding of meetings amongst those people living in regions where travel is difficult and expensive.
(48) Where no such structures exist locally, provision should be made in the community development budget and program for the establishing and maintaining of such cross- community ties.
(49) In elaboration of recommendation 89 of Part I, concerning the British Columbia experiment of forming district councils, we make a special point of stressing cross community ties in the more remote regions. In places where population is small, scattered, and where the present band councils are not isomorphic with any meaningful community structure, agency, district, or regional structures should be engendered.
(50) Such structures should have more than an advisory role, which requires that they be endowed with some powers. These units may be called by some such term as Local Improvement District or Resource Development District. The setting up of such districts should receive high priority in the community and economic development programs, and a special point should be made of intensive consultation with the Indians in the setting up of these district or regional units.
(51) It is desirable that people who are not registered Indian but who share the same regional living space and type of socioeconomic problem as registered Indians be included in such district or regional units. In order to achieve this, special arrangements will have to be concluded with provincial and territorial governments. At present there are statutory barriers to such interaction in reserve areas and it is these statutory barriers which have to be dissolved through official action. However, there are other, non-statutory barriers, such as those of social distance, which can only be broken down in programs like those of community development, Friendship Centres and in the cooperative movement.
(52) To facilitate communication among representatives from different language backgrounds in councils that embrace districts and regions and to make it possible for people with little facility in one of the official languages to take part in such councils, the Indian Affairs Branch should provide training and material for simultaneous translation.
(53) In elaboration of recommendation 82 of Part I, concerning the fostering of a band civil service, such civil service employees should be responsible to the band council (or district council) and not to the Indian Affairs Branch. Salaries should be paid out of band funds where these are adequate and where councils control their own revenues, or out of grants to bands. Such band employees should not be eligible for council office in the larger bands.
(54) People for such positions should be recruited by open competition and these positions should not be tied specifically to membership in a given band or even to official Indian status.
(55) In places which are too small to warrant a full-time employee, the administration of local affairs could be performed - as indeed they are now in many cases - by a chief councillor or some other councillor who should be paid according to some formula based, say, on the estimated number of hours required to administer the affairs of the band or district. Alternatively, as proposed in recommendation 82 of Part I, one or more civil servants could be shared by small contiguous bands.
(56) The provision of such services should be undertaken by contract. That is, the incumbent should not be regarded as an employee of the Indian Affairs Branch, although that aspect of their work which has to do with the administration of welfare should be supervised and guided by federal or, where appropriate, provincial welfare officials (see recommendations 60, 61 of Part I).
(57) Where elected persons perform such administrative services under contract, some special machinery should be devised to provide recourse for people who feel that they are receiving unjust treatment.
(58) Even where they do not perform administrative tasks, chiefs and councillors should be granted more than the token remuneration they receive now. Councillors should receive at least $500.00 per year and chief councillors at least $750.00.
(59) Councils should be required to hold a specified number of meetings a year. Council meetings should be public and should be held as closely as possible to centres where the electors live so that maximum participation be ensured. Only people invited by Council should express themselves at Council meetings.
(60) Minutes of council meetings should be kept and should be made available to anyone requesting to see them. That is, they should be regarded as public documents. Resumes of council meetings should be posted.
Chapter II An Analysis of Competitive Ideologies
The French concept of "éducation" and the English concept of "education" are not equivalent. Properly speaking, the English term "education" should be translated by the French term "instruction."
But, In order to avoid ambiguity, the English term "education" will be translated by the French term "éducation" in the following text. In addition, the expression "éducation scolaire" (academic training) will be used in a more restrictive sense.
1. Necessity for the Examination of Competitive Ideologies in the Field of Indian Education
It is felt that such an examination of ideologies on Indian education is necessary In order to understand the concepts of the various organizations involved concerning Indian education, and the resulting administrative policies, and also to gain an idea of the development of these concepts and policies through the years. Any action, any position taken to solve a problem is determined by the attitudes adopted in the face of the problem. Attitudes are the basis of action. By going back to attitudes we can retrace the concepts behind an action in a given situation. But again these attitudes, these concepts must be relatively uniform and recognizable. This analysis will proceed on three levels: the ideology of the federal and provincial governments, the ideology of intermediary groups, including Indian associations, and, finally, the ideology of denominational groups.
There are numerous administrators and other federal and provincial employees involved in Indian education. But as they belong to the same branch in their respective departments, they share to a certain extent the same attitudes - at least officially - or follow the same policy set forth by lawmakers or administrators in higher positions. There is therefore uniformity and continuity in the attitudes and concepts of these officials as regards Indian education. But there is also room for change. These changes may be due to several causes: changes in senior administration; changes due to the overwhelming influence of one or a few senior officials; transformations undergone by society. There is therefore a definite evolution in the attitudes and policies of administrations and, as a result, in ideologies.
As to an analysis of the ideologies of intermediary groups, Indian associations and religious denominations, these we regard as parallel ideologies. They tend to modify the official viewpoints of federal and provincial administrations. They are, moreover, competitive ideologies.
2. The Concept of "ldeology": Theoretic Outlook
Any ideology normally involves the following three elements:
- A definition of the overall social situation or of the particular social position of a given group.
- A line of action in accordance with objectives.
- An explanation or justification of the existence of the group and of its activity.
3. Documentary Sources
Our analysis of ideologies on Indian education has been based on three types of written documents: A. legislative documents; B. administrative documents; and C. conference reports.
The majority of the documents consulted are of recent date, having been published between 1960 and 1965. The major portion of what follows will therefore deal with the most recent expression of various ideologies. At the same time, we shall briefly describe the development of these ideologies where our documentation permits.
The most important documents on which our various reports are based are the following:
A. Legislative Documents
- Indian Act, R.S., 1952, c. 149 as amended 1952-53, c. 41; 1956, c. 40.
- Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, The Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Indian Affairs, No. 16, 1961.
B. Administrative Documents
- Administration of Indian Affairs, prepared for the 1964 Federal-Provincial Conference on Indian Affairs.
- Indian Education, in the series Indian in Transition, published by the Indian Affairs Branch, 1962.
C. Conference Reports
Minutes of the second and third meetings of the Schools in the Forest Conferences, 1964, 1965.
The majority of the administrative documents consulted were prepared by the Indian Affairs Branch. Of 24 documents consulted for the purpose of defining federal government ideology on Indian education, 18 came from the Indian Affairs Branch. Documents used to define the ideologies of the provinces are less numerous and less substantial but at least adequate to give us a brief picture. A few interviews with members of school boards make it possible for us to rapidly outline the attitudes of school boards in respect to Indian education.
4. Chapter Outline
The order and importance of the reports will correspond to the importance of the documentation gathered and to the degree of responsibility of the various organizations in Indian education. We shall analyze successively the ideology of federal government administrators, the ideologies of provincial government administrators, that of members of school boards, of private bodies and of denominational groups.
I. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IDEOLOGY
1. Legal Foundation
Section 91 of the British North America Act gave the Government of Canada legal authority over Indians and matters which concern them. As a result, Indian affairs have always been considered the responsibility of the federal government. However, provincial laws also apply to Indians in areas not affected by a particular federal legislation. This exclusive right of the federal government to legislate in Indian matters creates difficulties when it comes to drawing up joint federal-provincial agreements on education or the economic and social welfare of Indians.
In fact, up till very recently, the federal government had always considered itself as bearing the sole responsibility for Indian affairs. But since the Government of Canada has wished to share this responsibility with the provinces, by virtue of the principle that Indians are also citizens of the provinces, it has been experiencing difficulty in having this change in policy accepted by the provinces. Because, although prepared to share responsibilities, the federal government continues to claim exclusive legal jurisdiction over Indian affairs.
This constitutional position determined that federal authorities have long been the only ones to deal with Indian affairs from both the legislative and executive points of view. It is not surprising, therefore, that the majority of the documents analyzed stem from federal authorities. However, in this Report we did not feel it wise to retain this distinction between lawmakers and administrators, realizing that the second has influenced the first as we noted in the analysis of the three documents of the last Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Indian Affairs. Administrators, in turn, must be directed by the Indian Act and organize their activities in conformity with it.
2. Development of the Ideology of Federal Administrators
The ideology of federal officials in charge of Indian affairs has evolved so much over the years that it is more correct to speak of several ideologies than one and the same ideology. The ideology of present administrators is considerably different from that of early administrators.
A. Paternalistic Ideology (1867 - 1945)
When Confederation was achieved in 1867, the federal government was entrusted with the administration of treaties concluded formerly between the Imperial Government and the Indians and decided to continue the policy of making treaties. By such treaties, the majority of Indians surrendered their exclusive interest in the land to the Crown and, in return, the latter set aside a part of this territory for their use and provided them with "additional benefits such as cash payments, annuities, educational facilities and other considerations."Footnote 1 The government also agreed to protect the territorial reserves and interests of the Indians.
These treaties are the source of the protectionist and paternalistic attitudes which for a long time influenced federal administrators in their dealings with the Indians. A former minister of Citizenship and Immigration described this attitude in the following terms:
The attitudes of many years ago were paternalistic and even restrictive in nature, providing, it is true, for the minimum care and protection of Indians, but encouraging little initiative on their part to improve their own lot.Footnote 2
Another quotation from a senior official supports this statement:
In their eagerness to protect Indians from becoming victims of modern society, early governments in Canada set up protective legislation and administration which has been partly responsible for the fact that Indian communities generally still remain outside of the mainstream of Canadian economic, social and cultural events.Footnote 3
This policy of confining bands to their reserves and as much as possible preventing contact with the outside world largely contributed to the Indians' continued isolation from the Canadian community at large. Hence the ideology at that time was definitely conservative. It was hoped that the Indians would preserve their traditional ways of life. However, officials overlooked the fact that the Indians' hunting grounds were considerably reduced. Once resources became insufficient, the Indians in increasingly greater numbers were forced to abandon their traditional economic activities to become dependents of the State. In addition, no thought was given to the fact that sooner or later contact with the outside Industrial society would be inevitable and the Indian would be totally unprepared.
With the earlier policy, the Indian was expected to be born, live and die on his reserve. There was no question of his leaving. The reserve was his refuge and salvation. Under these circumstances, the little education extended to the Indians was felt to be adequate to assure their economic and social welfare within the limits of the reserve. To be able to read, write and count, to know how to utilize and preserve the environment, to possess some notion of hygiene, this was felt sufficient for life on the reserve. Academic knowledge as such was not considered important.
This isolationist, protectionist and paternalistic ideology was largely nurtured by administrators of Indians Affairs up to the end of the Second World War. The Indian Act, although since amended, still testifies in several of its sections to this same paternalistic spirit through the frequently discretionary powers it granted to the responsible Minister and the Governor-in-Council.
B. Democratic Ideology: The Indian, a Full-Fledged Citizen, 1945-1965
The post-war period witnessed a new trend in federal government policy in Indian Affairs. Initiative on the part of the Indian and the opening of reserves to the outside world were fostered. Indian children began to attend the same schools as Whites. As these first experiments proved successful, efforts were continued in this direction with the particular objective of integrating the Indian into Canadian society. The old paternalistic attitudes slowly faded and finally disappeared, at least officially, on the part of senior officials of the Indian Affairs Branch. There was now a desire to see the Indians integrate completely in the economic and social life of Canada and to live on an equal footing with other citizens of the country.
Attitudes changed so much that the period 1960-1965 witnessed a new ideology in administration of Indians' affairs, particularly in the field of education. This is the ideology we wish to describe in detail in the following pages. The ideology is both a definition of the social position of the Indians and a plan of action based chiefly on education.
A Definition of the Socio-Cultural Context of the Indians
Like any ideology, the ideology of federal officials in Indian affairs in general and on Indian education in particular involves a definition of the soda-cultural world of the Indian. It is important, therefore, to define the social position of the Indians as viewed by administrators, since it directly influences the line of action proposed for education. This definition concerns the Indians, their past and their history, their development, their demography, their economic and social welfare, their future and their relations with the rest of Canadian society.
10/ Origin, History and Demography
What is known of the origin and history of the principal Indian groups in Canada as outlined in the document entitled Administration of Indian Affairs (pp. 1-3) corresponds to the latest anthropological and sociological information on the subject. Emphasis is placed on the probable Asiatic origin of the Indians and the subdivision of Indians in Canada into numerous linguistic groups. There are five different ecological areas which determine cultural traditions which are extremely different from one area to the next. This heterogeneity and the dispersion of the various groups are two main characteristics of Indian society.
In addition to the initial differences on the ecological level, there are various differences on the sociological level. The many groups show various degrees of development. The same is true of Indians taken individually, "from the hunter to the highly skilled labourer or professional." It will be noted also that the Indian population is increasing more rapidly than any other group in Canada. Today, Indians are as numerous as upon the arrival of the first explorers, 200,000 individuals approximately. This population is divided into more than 500 different bands having access to 2,241 reserves. The concepts of "bands" and "reserves" are the key concepts in the federal ideology. According to the Indian Act, a "band" is a body of Indians who possess lands, for whose use moneys are held by the federal government or who have received their legal status from the Governor-in-Council. On the other hand, the term "reserve" designates:
a tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band.Footnote 5
These two definitions explain a great deal about the dependent status of the Indians.
The annual rate of increase of the Indian population of Canada is estimated at 4 per cent despite a high infant mortality rate. Following this pattern, the Indian population should double in less than 25 years.
2*/ Economic and Social Position
It is more or less plainly recognized that the Indians have long been neglected and that their economic and social position is well below that of other Canadian citizens. A Northern Affairs official has summed up the situation in these few words:
During the first 90 years of our existence the Indian people of Canada have not shared in our growth in the way those of us whose parents and grandparents have come to this country have done.Footnote 6
The enormous economic gap between the Indian and non-Indian communities is due to the fact that for a very long time, the Indians were excluded from the economic life of the rest of Canada. Confined to their reserves, the Indians were unable to take positions in industries and receive wages in return for their services. Later, when they began to leave the reserves, their lack of academic preparation prevented them from being able to compete with a more highly skilled, non-Indian labour force. Moreover, jobs within the reserves were always limited and generally unprofitable. Income from fishing, hunting and the trapping of fur-bearing animals does not compare with the wages paid in industry. The paternalistic attitude of government authorities perpetuated their economic inferiority by preferring to hand out subsidies and direct aid to needy Indians rather than reorganizing their economy and preparing them for salaried jobs.
The Indians' economic inferiority is directly reflected in the higher costs of social allowances paid out to Indians in need. Each year approximately 36 per cent of the Indian population must be supported in this way as compared to only 3 ½ per cent of the non-Indian population. On certain reserves, more than half the Indians receive direct aid at one time or another during the year. The per capita cost of social assistance paid to Indians is 22 times greater than the per capita cost for non-Indians. In 1963, the federal treasury spent 72 million dollars for Indians and the budget is increasing each year.
Government efforts to raise the standard of living of the Indians are concerned primarily with social welfare and economic development, in addition to very important efforts in the field of education, of which we shall speak further on.
The purpose of the social welfare program is to "assist Indians and Indian communities to achieve and maintain a standard of living comparable to that of non-Indians in similar socio- economic conditions."Footnote 7 To this end, agreements are negotiated with various provincial welfare agencies who extend their services to the Indians through added financial assistance. The federal welfare program covers public assistance (food, clothing, fuel and household equipment for indigents); protection and maintenance services for children; care of the aged; rehabilitation programs for physically and socially handicapped persons and a variety of programs designed to develop Indian leadership and promote the improvement of Indian communities.Footnote 8 In addition, Indians are entitled to family allowances, old-age assistance and disabled persons' allowances like any other Canadian citizen.
The government operates health services for the Indian although it is recognized that the Indian has no statutory entitlement to such services. In this way, an attempt is made to assure Indians of health and hygiene services comparable to those enjoyed by other Canadians. The activities of these health services are directed principally to the following areas: diffusion of information on hygiene and child care; assistance to women during pregnancy and birth; diagnosis and treatment of endemic diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Despite such efforts, the infant mortality rate is much higher for the Indian population than for the rest of the Canadian population. Infant mortality is three times greater, infant mortality rate in the pre-school age group Is four times higher.Footnote 9
Aware that welfare measures are only palliative measures to assist needy Indians and that they cannot provide the standard of living to which the Indians are entitled as Canadian citizens, government authorities decided to concentrate their efforts on the economic development of the reserves. Their purposes are twofold. The first objective is to "encourage individual Indians and communities to provide for their basic economic needs at a level comparable to that of other Canadians in similar locations and circumstances. The second, and most important since it is directed toward human development, is to encourage individual and group participation in the Canadian social and economic environment by providing assistance in securing employment off reserves and guidance in making the transition to urban living. The basic objective is to help Indians develop and put to the best possible use the resources both on and off reserves which are, or can be, made available to them. Programs are essentially of a self-help nature, with financial assistance on a repayable basis in so far as is possible."Footnote 10 This text tells a lot about the new ideology of federal administrators on Indian affairs and introduces two new ideas which must be explained further: integration of the Indian in Canadian life, and the opening up of the reserves to the outside world.
3*/ The Future of the Indians
aa) The reserve System Versus Administrative AutonomyFootnote 11
It is the present policy of the federal government to favour an increasingly wider share of responsibility on the part of the Indians, Indian bands and band councils in the administration of their own affairs. It is considered that "band councils may exercise most of the authority of local municipal councils."Footnote 12 The Indian Act confers upon the council of a band the authority to make "by-laws for a number of different purposes": for health, regulation of traffic on the reserves, public works, maintenance of law and order, protection of game and other matters concerning the welfare of the bands.Footnote 13 A still wider autonomy is extended, by virtue of Section 82, to bands which are felt to have reached a sufficiently advanced stage of development. The councils of these bands are authorized to raise money in the interests of the band. They may also administer all band funds kept on deposit by the Indian Affairs Branch and deal with "the surrender or lease of reserve lands, land allotment and band membership." "Management of welfare assistance, community planning, economic development and school administration may also be placed in varying degrees within their administrative orbit, depending on their willingness to accept the responsibility."Footnote 14 Up to 1964, 118 bands had passed a total of 338 by-laws since 1951.
Various obstacles of a geographic or sociological nature prevent a greater number of bands from participating in self-government. Distance and isolation, dispersion or a limited number of members, the absence of band funds are serious impediments to achievement by the bands of a degree of autonomy. However, there are over 300 bands "for whom advanced administrative development is clearly practical and an increasing number of these are showing a willingness to assume greater responsibility in the conduct of their affairs."Footnote 15 With this in mind, every possible encouragement is given to the emergence of capable and competent Indian leaders who will assume administration of their communities. Accordingly, leadership courses are given to Indian chiefs in a few universities in the country. There is a desire also to recognize and encourage such leadership:
…we must at all times give due and proper recognition to Indian leaders, particularly those who have been elected by their people…No opportunity must be lost to publicly give recognition to Indian leadership.Footnote 16
Consultation with the Indians on matters of deep concern to them is also regarded as a method of increasing their participation in the management of their affairs. The following passage from a speech by a senior official clearly points to this:
I stress and underline the need for full consultation with the Indians…They, through their own leaders, must be partners with us in charting a new approach and new programs.Footnote 17
However, it is noted that there is not yet an adequate organization for quick consultation with all the Indian communities of Canada. The reasons for this lack are the following:
- the large number and dispersion of bands over a vast territory;
- linguistic differences;
- the fact that the various Indian associations are not fully representative;
- various levels of advancement among bands;
- the reticence of Indians to give a clear expression of opinion;
- tribal jealousies.
To overcome these difficulties, the Indian Affairs Branch considered the setting up of Indian Regional Advisory Committees which would be invited to give their opinion and make recommendations on general policies regarding Indian affairs, such as new legislation, federal- provincial agreements, improvement of already existing programs, and the drawing up of new programs.
These measures designed to promote greater participation of Indians in the administration of their affairs correspond to the recommendations of the last Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Indian Affairs, which submitted its final report in 1962. The Committee recommended that the government grant "greater authority and responsibility to band councils and to individual Indians and, as a result, limiting departmental authority and control" and encourage "Indians to accept and exercise such authority and responsibility."Footnote 18 In order to promote such initiative on the part of the Indians, the Committee proposed several amendments to the Indian Act which, in the judgment of the Report, is of an extremely limiting nature and confers many discretionary powers on the minister and his representatives.Footnote 19 The principal changes proposed by the Committee were to increase Indian participation in the utilization and administration of the resources on the reserves, the election and authority of band councils, the use and handling of band funds. A recommendation was made that land within the reserves be administered by the bands or by capable individuals of the band, that the band council be given more responsibility and authority, that it control band funds and that it be given more scope in matters of credit.
The new ideology is therefore quite different from the former paternalistic ideology which prevented the Indians from doing anything to improve their condition. This new ideology may be summed up in the following terms: "the essential ingredient for the full success of all our operations - full participation by the Indian people under their own leaders."Footnote 20 This formula pertains more to a line of action than to reality because, as we have seen, many bands have not yet been affected by this new policy and contribute very little, if anything at all, to the administration of their own affairs. Moreover, as long as the Indian Act remains unamended, it will constitute an impediment to full autonomy on the part of Indian bands.
The relative autonomy presently enjoyed by certain more advanced bands is far from being complete. The Indian Affairs Branch still possesses final authority over the administration of Indian lands and moneys. True, individuals or bands may request their complete emancipation and obtain It, but in the process they lose their status as Indians and Indian bands and all the privileges implied.
It is the ultimate objective of the federal government to grant complete autonomy to Indian bands and to release them from government patronage. The following quotation supports this:
…until Indians no longer require our services, we cannot claim that we have reached our final objective. …Any assistance we give to Indians must in some means contribute to their preparation for the day of our eventual demise.Footnote 21
However, it is hoped that even after achieving independence, bands will retain the cultural and economic advantages they have inherited. The proposed system is the following: that "bands will become self-governing in the sense that they will operate as municipalities within the framework of the provincial-municipal structure."Footnote 22
What then will become of the reserve system? According to one official, a large number of Indians will not want to abandon their reserve or see the government abandon the reserve system.Footnote 23 These Indians are still fully dependent on the federal government and are not ready to assume their own responsibilities. Moreover, it is not the intention of the government to force Indians off their reserves, but rather to replace the status of the reserve by that of an autonomous community or municipality. In this way, Indians will be able to retain a sense of belonging to a social and cultural community.
Thus although the ideology of the federal government is not very clear as regards the reserve system, It seems apparent that the system is not to be abandoned for the moment.
bb) Integration Versus Assimilation of the Indians
By integration of the Indians, we mean their full participation in the economic and social life of Canada, together with the retention of some of their cultural characteristics such as pride of origin, knowledge of their history, passing on of their traditions and preservation of their language.
In several documents, integration of the Indians in the social and economic life of Canada is defined as one of the long-term objectives of federal government policy in Indian affairs:
the basic objective of the federal government in Indian administration is to assist the Indians to participate fully in the social and economic life of Canada as stated on page 6 of the document on Administration of Indian Affairs.
Related to this basic objective are the alms of the government*s specific programmes in the field of education, economic development, social welfare and community development. All of these programmes foresee the Indian people sharing the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and participating on the basis of equality and opportunity through the full spectrum of Canadian life.Footnote 25
The idea that Indians should become equal with other Canadian citizens occupies an important place in the new ideology. Indians should enjoy the same standard of living and have the same opportunities as non-Indians. We quote the following two passages:
Present policy in which Indians are encouraged to engage fully in economic competition as social equals of other Canadians has been encouraged by public opinionFootnote 26
We must look forward to the day when Indians have as equal a chance as any other group to the very best that the country has to offer…Footnote 27
It was with this in view that the right to vote in federal and provincial elections was extended without restriction to Indians of voting age. Likewise, restrictions regarding consumption of alcoholic beverages by Indians are tending to disappear. Federal authorities are also of the opinion that more federal-provincial agreements in the field of education, welfare and economic development will help place Indians on an equal footing with other citizens of the same provinces.Footnote 28
In the minds of the federal administrators there are numerous obstacles to the programs of cultural change which lead to integration of the Indian. Geographic isolation of a large number of bands and lack of schooling are seen as two major obstacles. Other equally important obstacles are of a psychological and cultural nature: distrust of change from outside, and the reluctance of Indians to take the initiative in such programs. Racial discrimination is not considered an important obstacle. This cultural transition from a state of segregation to a state of complete integration is viewed as a long and difficult process.
In certain texts, the integration process is clearly defined as being different from the assimilation process:
Progress will be in direct ratio to the degree in which the public and governments realize that the participation of Indians in the social and economic life of Canada on a basis of equality of opportunity need not, in fact must not, be contingent on the Indians surrendering their heritage, their culture, their reserves and the special rights that have been conferred upon them as the first citizens of Canada, unless the Indians so desire.Footnote 29
Other texts are more ambiguous. Certain texts emphasize that the Indians must retain their particular cultural values in this transition from a traditional to a modern society, but it is not made clear what these values are. There is no reference to preservation of language which is a primary factor in the preservation of the cultural identity of a community. It is stated, however, that cultural change is inevitableFootnote 30 and that various bands are more or less advanced in the cultural process.Footnote 31 However, there is no complete and detailed conception of the various stages in the process of cultural change which Indian communities must undergo. Federal government ideology, therefore, must be more precise on the subject of integration.
3. Indian Education: Instrument of Integration
Among the various means envisaged by the federal authorities as promoting the integration of Indians into Canadian society, education is given a position of primary importance. The Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Indian Affairs states this clearly in the following words:
Your Committee is of the opinion that the key to the full realization of self- determination and self-government and mutual self-respect for the heritage and culture of Indian and non-Indian, will be found in the field of education… Education is necessary if Indian people are to be able to fit properly and competently Into our economic and social structure and effectively fill the role, which will be demanded of them in years to come, as spokesmen and leaders of their own people.
The Committee's opinion is shared by the Indian Affairs Branch and reflected in concrete measures. For several years, the efforts of the Branch have been concentrated on the extension and improvement of the educational services offered to Indians. A large proportion of the Branch's staff and a considerable portion of its budget are devoted to this educational activity.
Of course, the field of education is normally a provincial responsibility, under the terms of the British North America Act. However, since the legal authority for Indian affairs has been delegated to the federal government under the same Act, Indian education has been considered a federal field.Footnote 33 According to sections 4(13) and 113 to 122 of the Indian Act, all "Indians ordinarily resident on reserves or on Crown Lands" may take advantage of the government's educational services.Footnote 34 These services are free of charge, except for Indians having special revenues. Such Indians are "invited" to bear a share of the costs.
The policy of the federal government with regard to Indian education has evolved considerably since the Second World War. Before this time, education was not considered necessary for Indians in general. Only those living near cities or towns were able to profit from it. It was felt that those living in isolated areas had no need of education to continue their traditional way of life within the reserve system. Reserves, according to the theory of the time, were to be kept free from the Influence of the modern industrial world. As a result, the system of education made available to the Indians left a great deal to be desired. Few schools existed and the level of education which they offered was low. Only a few hundred Indians, a number later Increased to several thousand, attended school with any degree of regularity.
The first schools, moreover, were founded by religious groups before the federal government took over responsibility for all educational activity. Schools were normally segregated and there was no question of allowing Indian students to attend the same schools as Whites. This old system of education has been judged to be completely inadequate:
Conditions with regard to education were extremely unsatisfactory at the end of the Second World War, with general apathy, absenteeism and inadequate teachers and facilities among the disadvantages to be overcome.Footnote 35
Since 1945, the position of the Indian schools has changed considerably as a result of the new orientation of government thinking. Because the influence of the outside world on the Indians* way of life was judged to be Inevitable, it was considered necessary to extend educational services to the greatest possible number of Indians. The educational system improved progressively. New schools were built in many areas, and competent teachers were hired. The school population expanded and educational levels Improved rapidly. The figures are eloquent testimony to the phenomenal expansion. Between 1948 and 1964, the number of Indians attending school rose from 23,285 to 55,475. During this same period, the number of students at the secondary level increased from 700 to approximately 5,000. The budget for education, which was approximately $5,000,000 In 1948, sextupled to $31,500,000 in 1963. This sum represented slightly more than half the total budget of the Indian Affairs Branch.Footnote 36
The new philosophy must also be credited with the implementation of a vast program of school integration of Indian children. increasing numbers of these children are attending the same schools as non-Indian children. Although fewer than 100 Indian children attended Integrated schools In 19145, the number was 22,764 In 19614. This figure represented over 40% of the entire Indian school population. (In 1967, more than 50% of the Indian school population attended integrated schools.) School Integration Is thus the distinctive feature of the new philosophy and is the result of an attitude radically different from the old paternalism of government officials. It is a logical part of the new policy of integrating Indians with Canadian life.
Following this brief description of the evolution of federal policy on Indian education, we must now turn to a more detailed study of the new educational Ideology and its implementation. For the purposes of this study, we shall deal successively with the following points:
- legislation regarding Indian schools;
- aims of Indian education;
- types of schools attended by Indians;
- courses and teaching staff;
- adult education;
- Indian participation in education.
A. Legislation regarding Indian Schools
A brief analysis of sections 113 to 122 of the Indian Act will reveal the legal framework within which federal officials must work in the field of Indian education.
Section 113 states that the government may enter into agreements with provincial governments, school boards and religious organizations, for the education of Indian children. Under the terms of section 115, Indians between the ages of 7 and 17 are required to attend school and the Minister may oblige any Indian to attend school until the age of 18. Moreover, the Minister is also authorized to designate the school which an Indian child will attend, on the condition that he respect the child's religious beliefs and assign him to a school of the proper denomination. For instance, no Protestant child shall be required to attend a Catholic school and vice versa.Footnote 37 The Minister may also appoint truant officers to enforce the attendance at school of school-age Indian children.Footnote 38 Section 120 provides that "where the majority of the members of a band belong to one religious denomination, the school established on the reserve that has been set apart for the use and benefit of that band shall be taught by a teacher of that denomination." However, a religious minority may, with the approval of the Minister, have separate education for its children, on condition that their numbers warrant separate facilities.Footnote 39
The three basic principles of the law as regards Indian schools then are the following:
- the federal government's right to delegate to non-federal bodies the responsibility of educating Indian children or of administering the schools attended by such children;
- the parents' right to have their children educated in the religion of their choice; and
- the requirement that children attend school between the ages of 7 and 16, and the provision of coercive measures to ensure this.
B. Aims of Indian Education
As we have emphasized, the general aim of the federal government's present policy is based on the necessity of integrating Indians into Canadian society. Education is considered the principal means for achieving this aim. The secondary aims are to provide Indians with a degree of economic and social welfare equivalent to that of non-Indians and to provide them with the knowledge which they will need to live adequately within their own environment. These objectives are defined as follows in the document entitled The Administration of Indian Affairs:
The educational system administered by the Indian Affairs Branch attempts to provide a complete educational program for every Indian child according to individual needs, local circumstances and the wishes of the parents. Its objective is to assist the Indian people in bridging the socio-economic gap between the Indian and non-Indian in Canada, and to provide each child with the education and training necessary for economic competence.Footnote 40
Hence, the aim is to raise the educational standards of Indians to a level equivalent to that of the province in which they live and to prepare them for remunerative employment and, eventually, urban life. "To enable Indian school children to attain the grade achievement standards of the Province school population."Footnote 41
School integration of Indians with non-Indians is seen as the primary means of attaining this long-term objective. Several texts are explicit on this point. The following three excerpts are typical.
It is the policy of the Department to educate Indian children wherever possible in association with other children, particularly where accommodation is available and practical in a provincial school system and provided the Indians approve.Footnote 42
Overall planning … is based on the assumption that all Indian children should receive their education in association with other Canadian children.Footnote 43
We believe that by having Indian children and other Canadian children grow up and play together in the same school yard, they will work together better in later life.Footnote 44
The program of Indian school integration constitutes the central point of the federal government's policy in the field of Indian education. We shall deal in greater detail with integrated schools in the following section, which discusses the types of schools attended by Indians.
C. Types of Schools attended by Indians
Education for Indians is offered in three major groups of schools, depending on the conditions of the moment and the environment: (a) denominational schools; (b) federal schools; and (c) integrated schools. Through the evolution of the types of schools attended by Indians, we can readily detect the changes in federal policy on Indian education.
(a) Denominational Schools
The term "denominational schools" is not intended to indicate a distinction from "federal schools", since religious education is offered in federal schools as well, but rather to mean schools founded and operated by religious denominations.
Historically, denominational schools were the first to be made available to the Indians, since the education of children has always been one of the major fields of missionary work by the various churches. After the federal government assumed the responsibility for Indian education, these churches continued to take an interest in Indian education and were offered the responsibility for Indian residential schools. The following four religious denominations continue to exercise this historic right: The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the United Church and the Presbyterian Church. This traditional association between the religious denominations and the education of Indian children has resulted In a situation where education is still denominational through the free choice of the parents, in schools operated by the federal government as well as in residential schools.
Today, only very few residential schools still belong to the Roman Catholic clergy. They are operated by the clergy "on a per capita grant paid to the church authorities on behalf of each Indian child whose enrollment in these schools has been authorized by the Branch." Many other residential schools belonging to the federal government are "operated by religious denominations under basic financing agreements with the Branch," We shall discuss the residential schools further in the following group of schools.
The historical interest of the religious denominations is thus still recognized by the federal government, although the work of these denominations is now limited mainly to the administration of residential schools provided for Indians by the federal government.
(b) Federal Schools
The federal schools attended by Indians fall into three categories: day schools, residential or boarding schools, and hospital schools.
1*/ Day Schools
The day schools are located on the reserves and provide education for Indian children living on these reserves. Thus, only Indian children attend these schools. This type of school is a product of the ideology of the past, according to which Indians were to remain on the reserves and be trained solely for the life of the reserves. There are, however, still many isolated reserves where the establishment of integrated schools remains impossible and where the day school system is the only practical means of providing a basic education to Indians.
Today, the number of day schools and the number of students attending them is generally stationary. This fact is attributable to the new philosophy of education which encourages the attendance of Indian children at the same schools as non-Indian children wherever possible.
2*/ Residential or Boarding Schools
Residential or boarding schools are operated for orphan children, children from broken homes and those who because of isolation or the migratory way of life of their families, are unable to attend day schools.Footnote 47
As we have seen, all these schools are operated by religious authorities, and financed by the federal government.
Over the past few years, there has been an evolution in the concept of residential schools parallel to the evolution in federal thinking on Indian education. Formerly, the residential schools were segregated, providing education for Indians only. Today, most residential schools are developing into school residences where Indian children attending integrated schools away from home may board.
Six such schools are now used exclusively as hostels for students attending non-Indian schools, while twenty have varying numbers of hostel students.Footnote 48
3*/ Hospital Schools
The many Indian children who are in government hospitals and sanatoria for long periods of time can still receive an education, thanks to these hospital schools.
Instruction is not restricted to Indians of school age, and training is given both to pre-school children and to adults.Footnote 49
In 1960-61, 293 Indian students attended schools of this type.
(c) Integrated Joint Schools
The program of Indian school integration pursued by the Indian Affairs Branch is implemented through what are generally known as "joint schools" where Indians and non-Indians receive their education together. In most cases, these schools are part of a provincial school system. Besides encouraging the integration of Indian children in Canadian society, it is felt that school integration has permitted considerable improvement in the level of teaching offered. Secondary and higher education for Indians is generally included in the provincial systems of education. This practice relieves Indian Affairs of a considerable administrative burden. The federal government, however, continues to pay the operating expenses.
Attendance of Indian children at integrated schools is ensured by joint agreements between the Indian Affairs Branch and the school boards concerned. The basic principles governing these agreements are as follows:
aa) The federal government agrees to pay a portion of the school's administrative expenses for each Indian admitted and a portion of the capital invested in each new construction intended for Indian students.
bb) The school board agrees to admit Indian students to its schools and to see that they are treated on an equal basis with the other students.
cc) No joint agreement may be signed without the prior consent of the Indian parents. In 1964, there were more than 200 joint agreements in existence.
Because of the scope of the administrative work involved in all these individual agreements, the federal authorities hope to establish comprehensive agreements with the various provincial governments, under which a per capita grant would be made to the provinces for admission of Indian children to their schools. Such comprehensive agreements already exist between the governments of British Columbia and Manitoba and the federal government.
The Indian Affairs Branch feels that, as a general rule, Indian parents favour the idea of sending their children to integrated schools. Indian children do not appear to have any great difficulties in making friends among their non-Indian school-mates. Moreover, the parents are happy to see their children treated on an equal basis with the other
children and to see them attaining the same degree of success. The feelings of inferiority created by school segregation and the reserve system also tend to disappear gradually.Footnote 50
The Branch has also received from Indians some protests against its school integration program. Some oppose integration for religious reasons, others through fear of losing their ethnic identity. One Indian group claimed that the school integration program was completely unsatisfactory and was simply broadening the gap between Indians and non-Indians. Another Indian group advised the government to move more slowly with its integration policy. Still others see this policy as a manoeuvre on the part of the federal government to abandon its responsibilities to the provinces or to the Indian communities.Footnote 51
Despite these few protests, the Branch considers its program of school integration a success and plans to continue with it as the majority of Indians come to support it. Therefore, it is hoped that the provinces will assume greater responsibilities in the field of Indian education by accepting complete school integration and the conclusion of comprehensive agreements. The ultimate objective then is complete integration in the schools attended by Indians within the provincial school systems.
D. Courses and Teaching Staff
In this section dealing with courses and teaching staff, we shall analyze the policy of the federal government in the following areas:
- language of instruction;
- academic and practical courses;
- trades courses and apprenticeship;
- teaching staff.
(a) Language of Instruction
Language is an integral part of any culture, in the anthropological sense of the word. Moreover, according to linguists, the structure of a language determines the mental categories and thought processes of those who have inherited this language from their parents. No one will dispute the fact that the spoken and written word is an essential instrument in the process of transmitting and absorbing knowledge. In the field of education, there is a direct relationship between mastery of the language and success in learning. For all these reasons, the question of language of instruction in schools attended by Indians is thus of capital importance.
Indian children who are forced to take courses in a language which is not their mother tongue find school more difficult than other children, particularly during the first few years. This problem of the language of instruction has been recognized by a federal official, the Director of Indian Education.
…the Indian children in the schools show a disability, a language disability. They may be able to speak English, but their vocabulary is limited as compared to white children.
…Some particular problems of Indian children in non-Indian schools arise from language and cultural differences. Indian children are not less capable to learn, but have to learn more.Footnote 53
The principle solution to this problem was suggested by this same official:
…the best solution for this problem is the admission at the earliest possible age of Indian children in non-Indian schools.Footnote 54
Two other complementary solutions are the establishment of kindergartens where the Indian child can learn the rudiments of the language of instruction, before embarking upon his formal academic education in English or In French, and the intensification and Improvement of the language courses given during the first years of primary school.
We have found no proposal that education or any part of it be given in an Indian language or that courses in Indian languages be offered, It is true that this would be more difficult to accomplish in the joint schools than in reserve schools, but it is conceivable that, even in the joint schools, Indian children could be given the opportunity to improve their written and spoken knowledge of their own language, even if this required that special courses be offered. The lack of qualified teaching staff for the Indian languages is the principal reason for this serious weakness.
The government's policy on the preservation of the Indian languages is ambiguous. It would appear that there is a general unwillingness to make open statements on this subject. However, the lack of attention shown towards the teaching of the Indian languages in the courses of study would seem to indicate rather clearly that the Indian languages might be allowed to disappear and be replaced by either English or French (In Quebec). The great number of Indian languages and dialects and the need to integrate Indians with Canadian society might justify this measure.
The question then arises as to whether integration does not thus become actual assimilation. The loss of a people's language leads almost inevitably to the loss of their own ethnic identity and cultural traditions.
(b) Academic and Practical Courses
In the past, the system of reserve schools and residential schools offered dual-purpose courses, intended to provide both basic education and some training in the techniques of the traditional occupations -hunting, fishing and trapping. However, this often meant that Indian children who had attended school for several years without completing their studies were ill- prepared either for life off the reserve or for one of the traditional occupations. They were condemned to remain on the reserves, unemployed and dependent on the government.
Today, the new school policy promotes the academic courses in particular.Footnote 55 At the secondary, vocational and university levels, the curricula are exactly the same as those of the provinces, since most of the Indian children who continue their education beyond the primary level attend provincial Institutions. At the primary level, the joint schools use the provincial curriculum. The reserve schools also use this curriculum, but offer supplementary language courses. For example, in English-speaking schools, the teachers are required to give one half hour of oral English instruction daily to students in grades one to six. Courses in home economics for girls and industrial arts for boys are also included in the curriculum wherever possible.
Thus we see that the course of study in schools attended by Indians corresponds with the objective chosen by the federal government.
(c) Trades Courses, Apprenticeship and Employment Programs
The importance of vocational and technical training cannot be too strongly emphasised. It was brought to our attention that the Indians have a great deal of native ability and more advantage should be taken of facilities available for such training.
This is the opinion of the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Indian Affairs, which also recommends greater participation by the Indian Affairs Branch in technical education.Footnote 56 it is felt that Indians have a high degree of aptitude for trades and that training in trades will allow them to draw more advantage from their basic education, which otherwise would not be put to its fullest use. Moreover, Indians are more likely to continue with these courses than with strictly academic courses.
Knowledge of a trade will also allow young Indians to find jobs more readily either on or off the reserves, In the opinion of the federal officials, the present system of education should give the Indians access to remunerative employment. "Preparation for employment is considered a necessary part of education."Footnote 57 In order to assist the Indians in achieving this aim, the Indian Affairs Branch has set up programs offering vocational guidance and placement.
The vocational guidance program is meant to assist young Indians in choosing a career in keeping with their aspirations, abilities and the demands of the labour market. Guidance counsellors and advisors assist the teachers in directing the students' choice.Footnote 58 The employment program introduced in 1957 is intended primarily to find jobs for Indians who have completed their schooling and, in the long run, to integrate Indian workers with the labour force of the entire country.Footnote 59 Special attention is given to young people between the ages of 16 and 25, who adapt more readily to urban life.
These two programs are still in the initial stages and should be expanded in the years to come. Like the other measures, their ultimate aim is the integration of the Indian within Canadian society.
(d) Teaching Staff
In the past or, more precisely, before 1945, the shortage of qualified teaching staff affected considerably the development of an adequate system of Indian education. Today, although the recruiting of staff for Indian schools is still difficult, approximately 90% of the teachers hold a teaching certificate. The policy of the government is to hire only qualified personnel to teach in Indian schools. Approximately two-thirds of this staff are women. As well, in 1960-61, there were 121 Indian teachers employed in Indian schools, or slightly less than 10% of the entire teaching staff.Footnote 60
It has also been recognized that there is a need for special training for teachers working in Indian schools so that they will be better prepared to understand the Indians' cultural background and to meet the problems created by inter-ethnic relations. ("There is a growing need for teachers with special training to staff schools whose children are predominately Indian or Indian and Metis …Language and other cultural differences between these groups and the dominant elements of the Canadian population require a specially prepared teaching staff."Footnote 61) Summer courses in sociology, anthropology, psychology and Indian history have been organized for this reason in various Canadian universities and members of the teaching staff of Indian schools are encouraged by the federal government to take these courses.
Moreover, the Branch encourages the training of competent Indian teachers by offering financial assistance to those wishing to become teachers and thus help their people.Footnote 62 However, teachers trained In this way are not required by the federal government to teach in Indian schools.
The policy of the federal government as regards the teaching staff in Indian schools is thus to encourage the hiring of qualified teachers and the training of teachers of Indian origin.
E. Adult Education
In order to complement the system of education and to regain lost ground, the Indian Affairs Branch has organized an adult education program and an upgrading program.
The adult education program is aimed primarily at ill iterate Indians living in remote areas and at those who have very little schooling. The purpose is to give these adults a basic education by teaching them to read, write and do simple arithmetic, in 1960-61, there were 1,590 adults enrolled in these courses.
The upgrading courses are offered to Indian young people and adults who have left school before completing their studies but who do have several years of schooling. These courses have three objectives:
- to improve the students' academic background so that they may choose careers;
- to train them in trades in keeping with their preferences and aptitudes; and
- to provide them with information on employment opportunities and the advantages
As well, Indian leaders with sufficient academic background may further their education by taking courses in leadership organized by the Indian Affairs Branch and offered in various universities across the country.Footnote 64
These various complementary programs of education are intended to improve the educational standards of Indians who have not been able to attend school or whose training is inadequate, and to facilitate more frequent relations between them and Canadian society.
F. Indian Participation in Education
While, In the past, Indians took no part in the processes of education, today, the federal government's new policy allows them a greater degree of participation. This increased participation is apparent in three fields: the training of a growing number of Indian teachers, the existence of Indian Home and School Associations and that of Indian School Committees.
We have already discussed Indian teachers. Despite their relatively small numbers, they reflect the government's desire to entrust the teaching in Indian schools to Indians wherever possible. As we have seen, the government also finances the training of Indian teachers through the granting of scholarships and bursaries. The opportunities do exist in this field. It Is up to the Indians to take advantage of them.
Various groups of Indian parents across Canada are members of Home and School Associations or similar bodies. They have the opportunity to express their opinions and to make suggestions to the school administration on the education which their children Is receiving. These associations are not overly plentiful as yet, and it is apparently the parents with the most education who display the greatest interest in their children's education. Thus, "the growth of literacy amongst the Indian people is the most important contributing factor to this budding interest in education", states the document on The Administration of Indian Affairs.Footnote 65
The Indian Affairs Branch also hopes to implement one of its basic principles in school administration, that of encouraging the participation of Indians in the administration of local affairs. For this reason, "matters pertaining to the general administration of education on reserves are frequently referred to band councils", and "in turn, councils may petition the Branch on educational matters which, in their view, demand attention".Footnote 66
Moreover, the band councils may set up School Committees and nominate the three members composing them. These Committees are authorized to act on behalf of the Indian communities "under regulations drawn up by the Branch." They administer budgets previously established by the Department with respect to "janitor service, sports equipment and extra- curricular programs". The School Committees are also responsible for the school attendance of Indian children.
School Committees may be regarded as embryonic school boards which will eventually assume the powers of a provincial school board with certain modifications with respect to school finance.Footnote 67
The new federal policy aims then at promoting the participation of Indian parents in the administration of school affairs and in the process of education of their children In general.
4. Outline of the Federal Ideology
The policy of federal officials in the administration of Indian affairs has evolved to a point where It is more accurate to speak of several ideologies than of a single one. The old line of thought, which remained strong until 1945, encouraged paternalism on the part of government officials and developed a feeling of dependence on the part of the Indians, in an attempt to protect them. However, this philosophy did not favour the social and economic development of most Indian groups and hence, no great importance was attached to Indian education. The reserve schools and residential schools, where they existed, perpetuated racial segregation and aimed primarily at preparing Indian children for reservation life. Students were given a basic academic education and practical courses on the techniques associated with traditional occupations. Indians were not prepared for contact with the outside world.
However, such contact became more and more frequent. When it became obvious that the Indians' acculturation by the dominant Canadian society was inevitable, the philosophy of the government changed. After 1945, a new philosophy began to take shape and to develop slowly; it is only recently (1960-1965) that attempts have been made to define it more clearly.
The new ideology favours progressive integration of the Indians within the entire Canadian family from sea to sea. Since the various Indian groups across Canada occupy widely differing economic and social positions, the time required for the process of acculturation and integration will vary considerably from one group to the next. The ultimate aim is as follows: that the Indians be considered on the same footing as the other citizens of the country and that they enjoy the same services and the same standard of living. With this aim in view, the governments will encourage greater participation by the Indians in the management of their own affairs until they are able to assume full responsibility for them. School integration, which allows Indian children to attend the same schools as non-Indians is being encouraged as the principal means of achieving complete social integration. The new policy tends then to encourage as much as possible the attendance at joint schools by Indian children. Curricula are also being planned on an integrationist basis. Finally, there is the attempt to increase the participation of Indian adults in the process of education through the Indian School Committees, which are actually the embryos of future school boards. In the opinion of the federal government, the success of social integration depends to a large extent on the success of the education and school integration programs.
In general, then, the new philosophy favours the improvement of the economic a~d social status of the Indians and the transfer to Indian communities of the responsibilities for their own affairs.
This philosophy, however, displays several flaws or omissions and ambiguities. The government's policy on the preservation of the Indian languages and cultural traditions, for example, is not clear. As a general rule, they are not assigned much importance. This makes it difficult to distinguish between a policy of integration and a policy of assimilation, which allows the loss of the basic cultural values of the integrated ethnic group.
Moreover, the question arises as to whether this new philosophy is being applied in practice. On this point, we must ask ourselves two questions. Is this philosophy, as defined by senior officials, being implemented in its entirety by their subordinates? In many cases, there is some doubt, Is this philosophy in part an official philosophy meant to impress public opinion and is it therefore being implemented only in part?
Only an analysis of the actual social situation in a later chapter will allow us to find the answers to these questions. First, however, we should point out, in all fairness, that the new ideology is still quite recent and that it has not been possible as yet to implement all its long-term aims. Moreover, the present social condition of the Indians is so complex that it is impossible to hope for perfect implementation of the ideology.
II. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IDEOLOGIES
1. Growing Provincial Interest in Indian Education
The interest of the provincial governments in Indian education is only recent. Following the last war, when the Canadian government launched its program of school integration, the provinces were extremely sceptical about the results and maintained the status quo.* When the experiment proved a success, interest of various provinces was aroused and as a result it became possible to admit increasingly larger numbers of Indian students to the provincial schools. The Province of British Columbia has signed a general agreement with the central government for the admission of Indian children to its schools. As well, the Province of Alberta has established a school district almost entirely for the purpose of improving Indian educational conditions: the Northland School Division.
In the attempt to take advantage of this growing interest in Indian education on the part of the provinces and to improve the level of schooling, the federal government has proposed to the provinces a closer degree of collaboration and a sharing of responsibilities.
This proposal did not receive the same welcome in all the provinces. The provinces do not all have the same attitude towards, or the same interest in, the education of the Indians. Some are prepared to assume more responsibilities, whereas others display reticence or indifference. The financial arrangements are the main source of disagreement.
2. British Columbia
In British Columbia, the Royal Commission on Education noted that the school integration program pursued by the Indian Affairs Branch in co-operation with the Provincial Department of Education and various school boards, was on the whole a success and should be pushed ahead. "The Commissioners conclude that the present trend toward integration is desirable and should be encouraged. The Commissioners gained the impression that, on the whole, the program of integration was progressing in an encouraging manner."Footnote 69 British Columbia has declared itself in favour of the integration of the Indians into Canadian society and of the continuation of the school integration program. The authorities in this Province also recognize that the Indians are entitled to the same privileges and the same services as the other citizens of the country. "British Columbia fully agrees in principle that Native Indians be integrated with the general population and receive like services."Footnote 70 The Province is prepared to extend its services to the Indians in the field of education on condition that the federal government pay part of the costs by virtue of the responsibilities conferred on it by the British North America Act.
The Province of Saskatchewan also favours the integration of the Indians into Canadian society so that they can enjoy the same living standard as other Canadians. in this perspective, the extension of provincial services to the benefit of the Indians is considered "desirable". It is also thought that this operation can be carried out without altering the traditional rights and legal status of the Indians, but the consent and co-operation of the Indians are essential conditions for the success of the undertakings.
This Province is in favour of the integration of the reserve schools into the provincial school districts. It is also hoped that, in the near future, the Indian parents can administer the schools attended by their children.
In a report submitted to the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Indian Affairs, it is stated by the Saskatchewan representatives that education is considered the most important service dispensed to the Indians by the Indian Affairs Branch and, consequently, it should be given greater attention, in the same document, the Province shows itself favourable to school integration for the Indians and opposed to the residential school system because it encourages segregation.
As far as the program and teaching staff are concerned, the following measures are proposed:
- the establishment of nursery schools;
- the development of a program of special skills and trade apprenticeship;
- a vocational guidance program;
- an adult education program;
- special courses on the Indian cultures for the teaching staff.
The Province of Saskatchewan is showing great interest in Indian education and on very many points its attitude agrees with that of the federal government.
The representatives of the Province of Alberta are also of the opinion that the long- range policy must be one of integration of the Indians into Canadian society, on condition that they be allowed to maintain their ethnic identity. We shall be able to accomplish this objective only to the extent that the Indians are willing to acquire this social and economic equality. At the present time they enjoy a special legal status which is different from that of other citizens and they are kept segregated by the reserve system. As long as the Indian Act is not changed, the Indians will not be able to live on an equal footing with the other citizens of the Province. Moreover, the Indians must be encouraged to assume the rights and privileges of other Canadian citizens and receive the same Services. Along the same lines, there is a desire to encourage the Indians to participate in the making of decisions on matters which concern them, and in the administration of their affairs. Indians who assume responsibilities fulfil their tasks quite adequately. "Indians of my acquaintance who are given responsibilities without the paternalistic attitudes seem to respond very well." The speed and degree of acculturation of the Indians must be determined not by authorities on the outside but by the Indians themselves.
As regards education, it is the opinion of the responsible authorities in the Alberta government that the Indians must have the same opportunities as the other citizens of the Province. For this reason, the Department of Education has set up the Northland School Division. There is no racial discrimination in this school district and school integration is a fact.Footnote 71 Encouragement is also being given to greater participation by the Indians in educational matters, and it has become possible for Indians to be elected school trustees, even if they do not pay any real estate taxes.
The school program which the Indians follow is that of the Province, except for some recent adjustments permitting the study of the Indian languages and of local history by young Indians. The purpose of these courses is to broaden the knowledge of Indian students of their own cultural traditions and to increase their pride in their origins, as well as their knowledge of their environment.
It is held that young Indians who take specialized courses must receive their training in urban centres so that they may be accustomed to city life and be able to more readily meet competition from non-Indians when they enter the labour market.
In the attitude of the Province of Alberta, the concept of integration is clearly defined: the Indians must themselves determine the degree of their integration, while maintaining a significant part of their cultural traditions and pride in their ethnic identity.
Responsible authorities in Manitoba consider the Indians to be a source of problems for that Province because of their relatively high number (about 5% of the population) and their considerably lower social status compared to that of other citizens. Moreover, it is noted that the educational level of the Indians is much lower than that of the rest of the Province. In order to remedy this situation, the Department of Education of the Province has just worked out a new policy. The most important point in this policy is a Family Development plan under which parents and their children can take the same school programs: fathers and sons study industrial trades, mothers and daughters, household science. The training of competent teachers is also considered very important.
The opinion is also held that young Indians need to have basic academic training before being apprenticed to trades. In the area of specialized courses, there must be close co- operation between industry and the educational authorities so that Indians can learn a trade that is in demand and so obtain gainful employment when they leave school.
The government of Manitoba also favours the integration of the Indians into the social and economic life of the provinces. It sees in the abandonment of the reserves and the re- location of the Indians in more favourable spots as well as in vocational training and the practising of trades by the Indians, so many measures favouring integration.
The government of Ontario deplores the fact that the Indians are considered as persons apart and are not treated on the same footing as the rest of the citizens.
The different Indian bands in Ontario are at different stages of development. The bands in the South enjoy nearly the same privileges as the other citizens of the Province, whereas the bands in the North have changed their way of life very little.
The establishment of a special program of formal education is considered to be the most needed measure for improving the condition of the northern bands. It is hoped that the Indians will take more part in managing their own affairs and reap the same benefits as does the population of Canada as a whole.
The representatives of the Province of Quebec are of the opinion that the Indians must be given the same consideration as the other citizens of the Province and have the benefit of the same standards of services. The question of finances is not held to be an obstacle to the integration of the Indians and the Province says it is prepared to take charge of the extension of all provincial services to the Indians.
Quebec is in favour of the complete integration into the provincial system of the schools attended by the Indians, including school administration and the ownership of buildings and equipment. The incorporation of the reserves into the provincial school districts is also favoured, on condition that the Indians contribute in one way or another to the costs entailed by it. The integration of the Indian schools into the provincial school system would, according to the representatives of Quebec, encourage a rise in the level of schooling of the Indians.
Quebec also believes that the Indians should be consulted on all matters which concern them. It is considered essential that the Indians be able to vote at the election of school trustees for their district and that it even be possible for them to be elected school trustees.
Finally, Quebec is of the opinion that in the introduction of a long-range plan for the improvement of services to the Indians, formal education and community development which encourage initiative on the part of the Indians must have priority over welfare aid which keeps them feeling dependent.
8. The Atlantic Provinces
The Atlantic Provinces show less interest in Indian affairs than the other more heavily populated provinces, mainly because they have a much smaller Indian population. The Maritime Provinces are agreed that the initiative in this matter should be left to the federal government. The Newfoundland government, for its part, itself looks after the Indians within its territory, but would gladly accept financial help from the central government.
The four provinces are in agreement with the principle of integrating the Indians into the life of the provinces.
Prince Edward Island, which has only one Indian reserve, seems to favour moving the community, now on an island, to the mainland, so that the Indian children can receive a better formal education in an integrated school.
9. The Provincial Attitudes
The provinces are in agreement with the federal government's policy of integrating the Indians into Canadian society over a long period. They also see in school integration the principal means of reaching this goal. in addition, they favour much greater participation by the Indians in the management of their affairs, especially in the areas of education and municipal government.
On the whole, the provinces are prepared to assume more responsibilities in matters that concern the education and the social and economic welfare of the Indians, but on condition that the Indian Act is amended and the federal government gives the provinces financial compensation. The provinces are generally agreed that transferring from the federal to the provincial authorities the services already being provided for the Indians would improve the quality of these services and reduce operating costs.
The provinces also favour the conclusion of comprehensive agreements between the provincial governments and the federal government on the formal education of the Indians in provincial schools, paid for with moneys granted on a per capita basis by the federal treasury.
Education is an area in which it is relatively easy for the provinces and the federal government to reach agreement. It is a bridgehead which has led to an important reconciliation and gives indications of an undertaking of greater responsibilities by the provinces.
III. IDEOLOGIES OF THE SCHOOL BOARDS
We wish merely to draw attention to some features which seem most obvious:
- Generally, it is the Indian Affairs Branch which approaches the school boards in order to negotiate joint agreements under which the boards accept Indian children into the schools under their jurisdiction, receiving financial compensation.
- The school boards, for their part, seem mostly interested in the financial terms of such joint agreements.
- According to certain school boards, there is no segregation in the integrated schools and the young Indians mix well with the other children and make friends among their non-Indian schoolmates.
- Certain other school boards will not allow Indian children into their schools, claiming that they are dirty and disruptive, and pose problems for the teachers, in the opinion of these boards, the Indians should be confined to their reserves.
1. Basic attitudes of the Indian associations and the reserve Indians
We wonder to what extent the Indian associations express the views of the individuals on the reserves.
Our experiences when we visited the reserves in Quebec and in the Prairie Provinces hardly leave us with the impression that the Indians can be lined up behind an individual identified as the chief of a reserve. We do have the impression that on most of the reserves rivalries more often than not prevail over collective interests and that, under these circumstances, the effective social organization of the Indians is practically impossible.
However, the claims of the associations sometimes do correspond to the aspirations of the individual Indians they are supposed to represent in dealings with the Indian Affairs Branch. This is less likely to be expressed than to be tacit.
Thus we have the feeling that when an Indian association states:
We do not want education that will turn us into second
class white people; rather we want to become first class
it certainly represents the unanimous point of view of the Indians although the choice between being second class White men and being first class Indians is not the true one. The association is equally representative when it defends the right of Indian parents to live together with their children.
We feel that, because of the distrust felt by the Indians towards the White man, Indian associations have to show a certain aggressiveness, a certain intransigence no matter if they have to partially backtrack a little later on and agree to certain compromises.
There is no doubt that the Indian associations start with some vague and sometimes utopian claims presented to them by the chiefs of the reserves, and then have to thoroughly digest and rework them before transmitting some requests to the Indian Affairs Branch.
Moreover, the fact that several hundreds of the Indian children are not attending the schools available to them cannot be explained simply by over-crowding of the Indian schools. It is more likely that in many cases the Indian parents prefer to lavish on their children an "Indian style" education, out of contempt for the White man's education.
Finally, in the general interest of the Indians, the Indian associations find it advantageous to rationalize certain facts which would otherwise be embarrassing to the defence of the general interests of the Indians.
The Indian's attitude towards education reveals his ambiguous feelings from having the choice of two extremes represented by the Indian style of life as lived on the reserves and life in the "white man's world", which seems to entail a more or less deep alienation from his people. The latter is being accepted more and more frequently as it seems to be the inevitable result of schooling and progress.
2. Attitudes of the parent-teacher associations (as shown in the attitude of the Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation)
A. What the Federation is and what it does
So that we can better understand the attitude of the Federation towards Indian education, we will do well to first consider the Federation's definition.
The welfare of children is the raison d'être of our organization, not only the welfare of the children of our members, but the welfare of all children.Footnote 72
…a big democratic group which has been fighting for better education for the Indian children…Footnote 73
The members of the Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation limit their action especially to making annual submissions to government authorities:
…and (they) have presented resolutions and briefs on this subject annually to theFederal Department of Indian Affairs since 1945.Footnote 74
As the Federation itself explains, it was difficult for its members to do more for the Indian children. In order for the Federation to be able to do something, it had to mobilize the Indians themselves and do it legally.
The Federation cannot effectively concern itself with Indian children unless the members of the Federation are clear in their minds and in their hearts as to the rights of the Indian people.
Right along from the beginning, under the Indian Act, there is no provision for the Indian to have a say in his own affairs. The Act may stipulate in some clauses that an Indian Council may make laws and regulations, but when all is said and done, it is the Governor-in-Council who has the final say.Footnote 76
According to the Federation, the Indians are not in a position to decide their own destiny and therefore cannot play an effective role in their own welfare,
We think the Declaration of Indian Human Rights is the very thing that is needed and should be used as a base for all studies into the problems. The Indian Act is a direct contradiction. It should be scrapped.
This declaration of the civil rights of the Indians was presented to the Honourable J.R. Nicholson on April 28, 1965.
The declaration, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, proclaims the essential rights of the Indians to self-determination.
In short, the Canadian Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation does not hesitate to declare that the Indians must have the same rights as the White people so as to be able to contribute to the welfare of their own children by taking part in the Federation*s activities.
B. Understanding the Condition of the Indians
The C.H.S.P.T.F. makes a quick analysis of the condition of the Indians to prove the need for defining the rights of the Indians as a people.
People think that the Indian has or can develop no way of his own, better suited to his spirit and his traditions.
Consequently, consciously or unconsciously almost all proposals in the past have been aimed at the absorption of the Indian into the white community, with the resultant destruction of the Indian people.
The Indian has lost his lands, he has been deprived of his traditional means of livelihood; his spirit is on the wane; his family is being broken down; he is losing his language and his culture; he is being wiped out by his assimilation.Footnote 75
The foregoing indicates sufficiently to the C.H.S.P.T.F. that no fruitful action can be taken without prior recognition of the rights of the Indians,
C. Democratization of Indian Education
The Federation proposes certain steps that must come before it can even start contributing actively to the democratization of teaching among the Indians.
The Indian Reserve …must be made economically independent with adequate land and capital for the development of an Indian way of life.
The Indian Reserve shall develop a school board system comparable in purpose to non-Indian school boards.
The Indian Education School Boards shall play much the same role as the school boards in the non-Indian community; …for example, the Indian community through its school boards shall select the teachers for its children.Footnote 78
However, the Federation is aware that it takes time to implement these measures, Hence it proposes a temporary solution:
Where Indian children are attending schools under the jurisdiction of a Board of School Trustees, we urge that there should be appropriate Indian parent representation on these boards, and, if necessary, that the Indian Act and Regulations be amended as required to make this not only possible, but mandatory.Footnote 79
The Federation insists that the economic and social structure of the reserves be democratized and autonomous before the Indians are invited to work in a democratic way for the education of their children. For the Federation is of the opinion that democratic participation is a hollow phrase if the social structure does not permit of it.
No one on the outside can do the job for them, but understanding and support from the non-Indian world will make possible the self-fulfilment of the Indian people.Footnote 80
The Federation recognizes however that the Indian reserves are not all the same to start with.
Each reservation or system of reservations is unique and requires its own solutions to its problems. Some reservations are engulfed, surrounded, inundated and absorbed by the non-Indian society to a point of no return.Footnote 81
D. The Federation's General Views on the System of Indian Education
They here examine Indian education from the points of view of educational content, teachers, and types of schools.
The Federation says this about educational content:
Indian parents along with the Indian blood teachers, utilizing such other professional aid as they may require, shall develop a curriculum suitable for the Indian way of life, keeping in mind that some of the young people will elect to leave the reserve for the non-Indian community,Footnote 82
In addition to requesting a curriculum suitable for the Indian way of life, the Federation is disturbed by the gap between the aspirations which education inculcates in the Indian children and the actual lack of opportunities in the reserves.
We are particularly concerned about the disparity between levels of aspiration inculcated to Indian children relative to the opportunities provided to these children later in life to live up to these aspirations.Footnote 83
As far as the teachers are concerned, the Federation obviously favours recourse to Indian teachers.
Our working hypothesis is that the teachers of Indian blood are more likely than the non-Indians to be effective in the education of Indian children.
This relative lack of Indian teachers has been persistent through the years, and has shown little sign of improvement. tie recommend a much more active policy of collaboration. to the end that a much greater number of suitable young Indians would embark upon a career in teaching.Footnote 84
The Federation's recommendations are based on an overall approach to Indian education.
What is taught, the language used and the teachers themselves are foreign both to the Indian children and to their parents: the educational system is out of step with the Indian people.Footnote 85
As for the matter of schools, the Federation takes a rather hard line on integrated schools.
Integrated schools might better be termed 'absorption' or 'assimilation' schools. They are of the white, by the white and for the white, with the Indian boy or girl invited to join the non-Indian life.Footnote 86
However, the Federation tempers its views on integrated schools, taking into account the gradual acculturation of the Indians. And even if school integration is inevitable, the Federation recognizes that it is possible to partly reduce what is considers a danger.
Need for a better understanding of the Indian people and their children by non-Indian blood teachers who are teaching in 'integrated' classrooms.Footnote 87
Residential schools are looked on by the Federation as assimilation centres, since they take the children far away from their parents.
In the 1961-62 school year, 21% of all Indian school children were in residential schools far removed from the bosom of their families. How better to destroy the families as the natural and fundamental unit of a people?Footnote 88
And the Federation is critical of residential schools to the extent that the rights of the parents are trampled on.
The Indian family is the natural and fundamental group unit of his society and is entitled to protection by Canadian society in general and by the State.Footnote 89
The attitude of the Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation towards Indian education is fairly close to that of the Indians. But the reasons underlying the same demands differ to a certain extent.
Since the Federation is democratic in its aims as well as in its definition and ways of doing things, it naturally shares the same desire as the Indians, hoping to see them take their own economic and cultural life in hand. But if, for the Indians, this desire is based on the collective will to just be what they are, for the C.H.S.P.T.F., the realization of this ideal is the condition for Indian participation in the Federation's activities.
The attitude displayed by the Federation on the subject of Indian education is basically the one it takes when presenting its demands to any higher authority.
As we have said before, in the case of the Indians, the Federation holds that the democratization of the social structure is fundamental to the democratization of education. And the task of democratizing education is the fundamental reason for its existence. To best achieve this goal, it has recruited its members from among the parents and teachers.
The Federation's criticism directed at various aspects of Indian education are explained by the fact that the educational means used for educating Indians are sometimes opposed to the process of democratizing education and therefore make it hard for those involved to control the child's development.
The Federation's attitude, without being very explicit on all points concerning Indian education, still represents a coherent explanation of its role and general position.
3. Ideologies of the denominational Groups
The various Churches whose attitudes on Indian education we shall analyze have traditionally been associated with Indian residential schools. Consequently, it is natural that a definition of their attitudes will, to start with, turn on the question of residential schools.
The documents we have drawn on to carry out this analysis tell us that there are four Churches operating residential schools for Indian children with financial support from Indian Affairs, They are the Anglican Church of Canada, the Roman Catholic Church represented by the Oblate Order, the United Church of Canada and the Presbyterian Church. A fifth church, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada, also makes known its point of view in the matter, but does not operate any schools.
We have established that two of the religious groups, that is, the representatives of the Anglican Church and the Oblate Order, are putting up some opposition to the promotion of school integration for the Indians. They are in fact the two most important groups operating residential schools: over two thirds of the 65 Indian residential schools are run by these two groups.
A. Attitude of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church first justifies its role in Indian education.
The interest of the Church in the education of the Indian people began with the Church's first contact with her Indian people. She provided the means of education because no other organized means was available.
…there are still many areas where there is little or no developed community consciousness or sense of responsibility with respect to educational needs. There are hopeful signs, but during the interim period between complete lack of interest and some measure of local responsibility for education, it is our strong belief that the Church has a vital part to play in the educational life and needs of the Indian people. The Church represents in many of these developing areas the appropriate voice of peoples slowly emerging into community consciousness.Footnote 90
This conception of its role at once raises a problem relative to the role of the federal government in defining an educational philosophy for the Indians.
We strongly affirm that any tendency on the part of the Federal Government to be the sole arbiter of the educational policy for the Indian people is regrettable.Footnote 91
And to bolster its position, the Anglican Church postulates that:
There can be no adequate educational program in a country unless such an education has a strong religious basis. We accept the principle therefore that one of the effective roles of the Church, in sharing with Government some measure of responsibility for Indian education, is to carry through some of the practical applications of this belief.Footnote 92
In support of this argument, the Anglican Church lays stress on its resources in teaching staff:
We are aware that the most important element in an educational program is the teacher and his work. Here, we see another supporting role of the Church, in this partnership with Government, to be an agency through which Canadian young people, Indian and non-Indian, are called upon to give themselves in ever increasing numbers in dedicated service to this distinctive sphere of teaching in all types of schools…. Footnote 93
Another contribution which the Anglican Church tends to emphasize takes the form of residential schools which it maintains for Indian children.
Another supporting role of the Church in this partnership with Government is to be the agency whereby the best possible substitute for the child's home can be found when through circumstances beyond the child's control he is forced to leave home for educational purposes.Footnote 94
The points of view so far presented aim at consolidating the prerogatives of the Anglican Church which have prevailed till now.
In addition, the Anglican Church of Canada supports every effort to increase the number of Indian day schools.
We earnestly urge a continuing expansion in these services, believing as we do, that any means which can be provided to keep children within the family unit is essential and desirable. Day schools conserve the values of home life and parental influence but keep education in the normal environment of the child. Educational advances to be permanent depend upon active home and community co-operation.Footnote 95
The Anglican Church is thus in favour of Indian day schools. Their attitude is based on the fact that attendance at these schools strengthens religious unity at the family level.
The Anglican Church of Canada agrees to a change in the functions of the residential schools.
We endorse the policy of Government by which the emphasis in some of our residential institutions is being changed so that they are now becoming places where children live rather than where they both live and receive classroom instructions. However, we can readily see an increase in the use of these institutions for:
- children from normal homes unable to secure education because of isolation; and
- children from broken homes, ill-adjusted children or orphan
But the Anglican Church remains concerned about the present trend.
The flexibility of action of the Church agencies is hampered by the imposition of government-made rules and regulations made to apply to all the institutions generally and overlooking entirely local and
individual circumstances.Footnote 96
The Anglican Church is also disturbed by the stipulation in the Indian Act that:
Every child who is required to attend school shall attend such school as the Minister may designate, but no child whose parent is a Protestant shall be assigned to a school conducted under Roman Catholic auspices and no child whose parent is a Roman Catholic shall be assigned to a school conducted under Protestant auspices, except by written directive of the parent.Footnote 97
The fact that Anglican parents can send their children to a residential school operated by the Oblates seems to have caused the ministers of the creed some worry. it would seem wiser to them to strike out the clause "…except by written directive of the parent."
But further on the Anglican Church suggests that Indian parents assume greater responsibility in the education of their children.
To all appearances, the fact of sending an Indian child to a residential school goes hand in hand with a lack of interest on the part of the parents in the education of their child. The Anglican Church seems to hope that the parents will feel more responsible if they have to pay part of the cost of maintenance.
The question may be raised whether Government or Church is doing a just service in removing from the parents all such responsibility for their child or children.
Should there not be an opportunity for the Indian parent to pay towards the cost of maintaining the pupil in a residence?
We feel …that by paying even a token amount towards the maintenance of his child the parent will feel more responsible for his family, and the child a closer tie with the parent.Footnote 98
In dealing with integrated schools, the Anglican Church shows a certain open- mindedness.
We heartily endorse the movement towards integrating Indian pupils into non-Indian classrooms in all communities. There are great benefits accruing not only to the Indian but to the non-Indian child, not least in the field of scholastic competition and achievements.Footnote 99
However, there is a qualification.
If the desired results of an integrated program of classroom instruction are to be achieved, it is important that the fundamental premises of the program be first explained to the parents and children of both the Indian and non-Indian constituency, and more essentially, to the teaching profession in whose hands success or failure of the program depends .Footnote 100
As for the teachers, the Anglican Church has this to say:
Academic qualification ought not to be the only prerequisite of a teacher in Indian classrooms. Because great responsibility for moulding the character of the pupil rests upon the teacher… Without an elementary understanding, at least, of the background, traditions, hopes and aspirations of the Indian people among whom the teacher is being placed rapport cannot exist between the teacher and pupil.Footnote 101
We find this point of view shared by both the Canadian Home and School and Parent- Teacher Federation and the Indian associations themselves.
The Anglican Church also expresses an ambiguous attitude regarding provincial jurisdiction over Indian education.
Has not the time come, in certain areas, where the details and mechanics of Indian education could be better served if the Provincial Departments of Education had such jurisdiction? The federal government would maintain its obligation to provide Indian education by expenditure of the necessary funds for such a program.
We suggest that the possibility of the Indian Affairs Branch delegating its educational responsibility to the provinces be studied, and that wherever practicable, Indian education, as far as policy and practice are concerned, be a Provincial responsibility with the Federal Government meeting the cost.Footnote 102
This excerpt does not mention an actual transfer of jurisdiction from the federal to the provincial authority. The federal authority would still necessarily retain its jurisdiction through continuing to finance Indian education.
Moreover, the Anglican Church would wish that decisions be made as much as possible at the local level.
Too frequently decisions are made governing the life of Indian peoples by officials without consultation taking place wi th the Indians concerned. In matters of education, this also applies. It is recommended that where circumstances are favourable, Indian trustees be appointed to assist local Indian Affairs Branch officials in establishing school policy and local school practice.Footnote 103
In short, the Anglican Church has a quite open mind towards structural changes in the Indian school system, to the extent that its apostolic activity is not adversely affected, However, we do not note many definite references to school program content or the eventual orientation of Indian cultures.
B. Ideology of the Oblate Fathers
The Oblate fathers define education in the following terms;
In Canada, education is an integrated process with each institution or factor co-operating harmoniously until the objective is reached and the process starts again with the next generation. The home prepares the child for the elementary school which prepares him for the high school, which prepares him for the university or for technical or vocational school, which prepares him to start a home of his own. Each step is interlocked with the next and when one breaks down, remedial measures have to be taken …
When the situation of present day Indian adults under fifty is analysed, it is realized that too many of them are without regular income and unable to raise families the way other Canadians do, precisely because in their formative years, they were not trained to transfer from the economic activities of their forefathers to occupations that would have integrated them securely to the national economy. This is why extensive re-training is essential … . With few exceptions, the Indian home does not prepare the child adequately for the schooling processes designed to meet the needs of non-Indian Canadians. As a result, most Indian boys and girls cannot and do not profit from the preparation for life pattern offered to them. Most of them leave school before they reach even a Grade 8 level.Footnote 104
The other two documents that we are able to make use of in order to examine the position of the Oblate Fathers on the educational system are the message of an Oblate Father to his parishioners and the report of a conference held together with the officials of the Indian Affairs Branch, on January 26 and 27, 1960.
These two documents indicate the opposition of the Oblate Fathers to the movement for the integration of Indian children into provincial schools.
In June, 1965, an Oblate Father said this to his parishioners:
Some 60 years later, Satan and his legion, making a review of their positions came to the conclusion that they were losing ground the world over and the Indian population was not exempt; therefore, they changed their strategy, adopted modern tools and went to the attack seven times stronger. What is this strategy? Or, to put in modern words, what is this policy? To them religion must be done away with in all schools. A formula must be found to lure away the Indians from denominational schools… He hides himself behind the faces and hypocritical views of some white men with influential positions within the educational channels of our society.
This kind of tirade expresses the savage opposition of an Oblate Father to school integration of Indian children, We are forced to conclude that in his opinion the denominational school system is the only acceptable one,
This one document is extremely virulent but although we do not meet the same zeal in all of the testimony of the Oblate Fathers, we can detect the signs of real opposition to the school integration movement. Certain passages of the report mentioned earlier bear eloquent witness to this.
Bishop Routhier stated that at recent meetings held in the West a number of Indians had expressed strong objections to sending their children to non-Indian schools because the children did not feel at ease among non-Indians. The Director remarked that he knew of many Indians who had benefited from non-Indian education and felt that wherever non-Indian high school education can be obtained with the consent of the parents, advantage should be taken of it. Bishop Routhier said that if it were the wish of the Indians he would have no objection to the director's statement.
Bishop Routhier stated that he understands that the Department does not take the stand that all Indians must attend non-Indian schools, nor does the Church take the attitude that they should all attend Indian schools, Col, Jones felt that if there were no religious problems and if there is a local non-Indian high school nearby, the Department should attempt to have the children admitted to that school.Footnote 105
And the confrontation between the representatives of the Branch and the Oblate Fathers continues:
Bishop Routhier felt the Indian children should be told something of their history and stated that there were very few teachers in non- Indian schools who were qualified to instill a feeling of pride in the Indian. Father Forget felt that possibly a teacher in a non-Indian school could be well qualified to teach history, but the weakness lay in the material that was at his disposal. Col. Fortier felt that perhaps the history books were not well prepared in so far as the treatment of the Indian is concerned. He also felt that it could be dangerous for Indians to be kept in an Indian high school where his own history was emphasized, without adequate treatment of other phases of history.Footnote 106
It is obvious that during this meeting the Oblate Fathers brought up a number of arguments designed to question again the principle of school integration of Indian children.
But in view of the practical nature of the conference, we were unable to learn the position of the Oblates on the other aspects of the Indian educational system as developed by the Branch.
All the same we can understand the policy of compromise that the Oblate Fathers are trying to follow in their work of educating the Indian children. Moral and religious education are also plainly conspicuous in the residential schools, perhaps to the detriment of a more technical and, in short, more realistic training. Therefore, it is understandable that school integration should be looked upon as a stop-gap solution which, "morally and spiritually", would hardly be appealing in the eyes of these missionaries.
C. Attitude of the United Church of Canada
In a letter addressed to an official of the Branch, the United Church of Canada makes known its views on its residential and other schools.
The proposal to negotiate with your Branch with a view to turning over the management of our schools and residences to you, is of course somewhat drastic at first glance. it is implied, of course, that we do not contemplate simply moving out of the business, in which case your Branch might conceivably ask another Church to take it on. It is our thought that if and when you were prepared to operate such schools as non-denominational institutions, we are now prepared to consider seriously relinquishing our management of them. Our Church has been saying since 1946 that we believed we should move toward non-sectarian education for Indians. It was the conviction of the Committee, supported by our Board, that it is time we demonstrated that we really mean it.Footnote 107
This excerpt from the letter summarizes clearly the position of the United Church of Canada relative to its role in Indian education, It intends quite simply to withdraw from this field of activity in the name of individual freedom. However, it makes no pretence for all that of ceasing to look after the religious observance of its members.
If such a change were made, we would anticipate close co- operation with other denominations having pupils in the residence (Edmonton), in the provision of Christian Education and workshop experiences, either in the residence or in nearby churches. We feel that this kind of co-operation is long overdue and we have good reason to believe that it could be worked out.Footnote 108
D. The Ideology of the Presbyterian Church of Canada
In the case of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, we have a document from which we can obtain a better idea of its point of view on Indian education.
Our Church is strongly in favor of having Indian pupils attend the ordinary public or community schools of the district. We believe that the experience of growing up in the ordinary day school is an all-important one for all Canadian children, regardless of race or creed.
We know that special schools are needed for special cases … in some places there can be no substitute for the residential school . … it is necessary to have a well-run hostel for Indian pupils of all ages (orphans, illegitimates, abandoned and neglected children). We think it is good, whenever possible, to transform residential schools into hostels from which pupils will attend the local community school.Footnote 109
We observe that the Presbyterian Church of Canada has a very flexible attitude towards innovations in the system of Indian education. However, the Presbyterian Church is opposed to any measure tending to speed up school integration of the Indian children.
We disapprove of the practice of taking young children, and even some inexperienced older children, far away from their home reserve to a central school, even though it be a very fine school. There must be a transition period so that the shock of a complete change and the shock of an overwhelming 'homesickness' will not accrue either to the pupil or to his parents and family. Incompatibility and loneliness… are major problems, often leading to withdrawal from schools.
For those agencies, and particularly for the Church, the removal and transplantation of pupils frequently breaks a continuity of training and guidance.
… Our plea is not to prevent the pupil from experiencing the impact of other faiths, but rather to continue the familiar 'home base' to which the pupil may turn to make balanced judgments and decisions.
As a norm, we think the day school near enough to the reserve of the pupils, which is shared alike by Indian and non-Indian, is the most acceptable.*
The attitude of the Presbyterian Church towards the system of Indian education is conditioned by certain religious considerations. The day schools which are close to home are seen as the institutions which best favour the development of a human, moral and spiritual life. The Church opposes any haste in transferring Indian children to provincial public schools, especially if the schools are far from the family home, because of the disastrously upsetting effect such a change would have on the life and beliefs of the Indian children.
As for teaching content, the Presbyterian Church lays stress on measures which will inspire the Indians to develop their patrimony, to carry out research to enrich it, and to acquire pride in the group just as well as individual pride:
as part of the curriculum of all schools should be included courses of factual history, Indian Treaties, the Indian Act or whatever legislation may from time to time be enacted, Indian lore and Indian culture … With scholarship (…) selected Indians should be encouraged to gather and put into forms which can be preserved, histories of tribes, their customs, their lore, their artistry, their language, and other marks of their culture, all of which would return to the Indian some of the dignity of which he was shorn by these processes of government and relationships with non-Indians …This would not only be a matter of pride with the Indian, but would enrich the general culture of Canada and would be the means of correcting histories written for non-Indian consumption with a very severe bias against the Indian.Footnote 110
As with several other groups whose attitudes we have analyzed, there is a concern for the future of the Indian and for the enrichment of his culture. However, it must be added that the Churches have everything to gain by the emancipation of the Indians and the improvement of their living conditions.
E. Ideology of the National Assembly of Baha' is
This religious sect is apparently very different from the preceding ones and does not operate any schools. The sect takes the following position on the system of Indian education:
In our contacts with Indians in various parts of the country we have heard a number of specific complaints expressed concerning the present educational system. Many of these centre about the denominational schools. Where there is more than one mission on a reserve, the Indians from childhood become divided on religious lines, creating antagonisms and disunity. Some also draw attention to the fact that the Indian Act makes no provision for the religious rights of the parents who are non-Christian, such as those following the so-called 'Longhouse' religion. In denominational schools and particularly in residential schools, we are told, so much time is spent on religious instruction that the children do not receive an adequate secular education.
…Most Indians appear to favour secular or public schools or preferably provision for attendance at non-reservation schools. Footnote 111
It is precisely the religious aspect of certain Indian schools that the Baha'is, in contrast to the other faiths, seem to find fault with. They hold other faiths responsible for the poor education of certain groups of Indian children taught by teachers of one or the other of the Christian faiths.
As opposed to other faiths, this sect is against denominational schools.
Wherever possible, Indian children should attend the same schools as other Canadians. If this is not feasible, non-denominational schools should be provided on the reserves with curricula and teachers' qualifications not less than provincial standards. The religious affiliation of the teachers should not be a primary qualification and the teachers should not be required to give religious instruction in any particular denomination. The history of religion and basic spiritual concepts or ethics common to all faiths should be taught. Provision for denominational religious instruction, when requested by the parents, should be made outside of normal teaching hours or without sacrifice of the public school curriculum.
Children who cannot live at home while attending school should be placed, so far as possible, in foster homes rather than in hostels or other institutions.Footnote 112
The sect is also against the use of residential schools as a stop-gap solution to the problem of the children not being able to live with their families. It recommends the use of foster homes, Until now the Baha'is are the only ones who have demanded complete freedom of religious belief for the Indians. That is why they are of the opinion that the faiths which are putting up a defence of their prerogatives with the government authorities are vainly raising obstacles which can only harm the true interests of the Indians.
A chaotic situation is revealed by this evaluation of the different positions taken by the various Churches who do or do not have certain residential or other Indian schools.
We note that the greater the educational resources possessed by a Church or the greater its investment in Indian education, the greater its anxiety to maintain the status quo. On the contrary, the faiths having the least material interest in Indian education are much more open to innovations.
However, almost all the faiths lay down conditions for their endorsement of the idea of school integration of the Indian children.
The United Church of Canada, and the Presbyterian Church, supported by the Assembly of Baha'is, differ from the Anglican Church and the Oblate Fathers in that they could not wish more than to be rid of their denominational schools as being harmful to the pursuit of the general interest of the Indians.
The implication Is that this multiplicity of denominational schools is a factor in the disastrous division within the reserves and is finally proving to do more harm than good.
Lastly, it is only the Assembly of Baha'is that criticizes the denominational school system for the overzealousness of the agents of the churches in carrying out their roles as teachers or principals.
However, we note that certain faiths like the United Church and the Presbyterian Church realize the disadvantages of denominational schools and aim to discard this system.
An examination of the attitudes of the denominational groups throws a light on the opposition experienced by the Indian Affairs Branch in its search for viable solutions. These attitudes act as a brake on the development of Indian education through the stress they place on their own privileges and on the dangers which school integration presents to faith and morals.
Chapter III The Administrative and Educational Structures of Indian Schools
I. ADMINISTRATIVE AND EDUCATIONAL STRUCTURES
Having examined the objectives of those involved in Indian education, we must now evaluate the structures established to achieve these objectives. An analysis of official ideology on the education of Indians has brought out the main principles underlying the federal government's major educational policies. We must now see how these guiding principles are put into practice by analysing the structures established and the functioning of these structures. Ideology is in the realm of intentions; the structures and their functioning are in the realm of execution.
From this perspective we examine five complementary aspects of the school system planned for the education of young Canadian Indians:
- educational jurisdictions of the federal government, the provinces, and the municipalities;
- educational organization: hierarchy and functioning;
- the network of schools serving the Indian population;
- school committees on reserves;
- special problems: see Part I of this Report, Chapters IV and V.
1. Educational Jurisdictions
A. The provisions of the Indian Act
The Indian Act is the basic legal document determining the respective jurisdictions of federal, provincial and municipal governments in the field of Indian education. This is a very important document, since it enables the federal government to define government responsibilities towards the education of young Indians, on the one hand, and eligibility to benefit from these services, on the other. Considering the federal government's very strong legal position and its custom of interpreting each case which arises in the light of this Act, we feel it is necessary to summarize its essential points.
In 1960, a commentary on the Indian Act was prepared for the use of a Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons. The meaning of sections 113-122 concerning schools, school attendance and religion in schools was interpreted as follows.
- The federal government may establish, operate, and maintain schools for Indian children, or enter into agreements for the education of Indian children with provincial governments, local school boards and various churches (Section 113).
- The federal government may take the initiative in establishing regulations concerning all stages of the educational program; provide for the transportation of children to and from school; enter into agreements with religious institutions for the support and maintenance of children attending these institutions (Section 114).
- Except in cases where school attendance is specifically not required (Section 116), all children between the ages of 7 and 16 are obliged to attend school. The Minister can even lengthen this period of school attendance from 6 to 18 years of age (Section 115).
- Without parental permission, children belonging to a Protestant church cannot attend a school directed by Roman Catholics, and the reverse holds true: Roman Catholic children cannot attend a school which is under the auspices of a Protestant church (Section 117).
- The government may appoint truant officers whose main duty is to compel young Indian children to attend school (Section 118).
- When the majority of the members of a band belong to one religious denomination, teaching in the day school must be carried on by a teacher of the same denomination. When the members belong to several churches, they may decide to hire a teacher belonging to a particular church by a majority vote at a special meeting. Finally, a Protestant or Roman Catholic Indian minority may, with the approval of the Minister, have a separate school or special separate class (Sections 120 and 121).
The Indian Act has defined the essential field of the federal government's responsibilities. We have also noted, in the first volume of the Report, chapters XII, XVII, and XVIII, that the government has taken on more responsibilities in education, for example, by authority of the Appropriations Act. Nursery schools and permanent education have been maintained under the authority conferred by this Act.
The Indian Act also confers authority to encourage provincial governments to take on more educational responsibilities. Today, there is a decided tendency toward a progressive transfer of jurisdiction in Indian education from the federal to the provincial governments.
We are presently at the stage of joint agreements which require the federal government to pay directly to the local school boards or provincial governments the costs of education incurred by the participation of Indian children in the public school system already established for White children. Such a move is facilitated by the fact that a complete network of modern schools is in place. It is thus worthwhile to study these joint agreements to see if they would make possible a better distribution of federal and provincial responsibilities; and if, eventually, they would raise the level of Indian education and make way for a better integration into Canadian life.
B. Joint Agreements: Instrument of Educational Planning
The most recent document at our disposal on school integration across CanadaFootnote 113 clearly indicates that the number of joint agreements is increasing rapidly from year to year. These new agreements result in a parallel increase in the Indian student population educated in provincial schools. There are two basic characteristics of these agreements: they serve as an instrument of educational planning on the national level, and also as an incentive for greater participation by the provinces in the education of Indian populations living on their territory.
These efforts at planning can be examined as regards their administrative success or the effects they may have on the Indians that they are designed to help. From the administrative point of view, one must examine the use of existing institutional resources, the financial cost of agreements, the number of joint agreements, and so on. As far as individuals benefitting from these policies are concerned, can a higher academic level, a more adequate and varied technical training, a more systematic preparation for the life of the White man be observed? The two perspectives are essential to a better understanding of the efficacy of educational planning and the results it yields.
In addition, the provinces have a new awareness of the responsibility they must assume in Indian education. More and more the provinces tend to consider their native population on the same footing as their other populations. They are willing to offer them the same services and advantages available to other groups, or even to offer them additional programs designed for their particular needs.
The main educational objectives of the federal government and the provinces are clear: Indians should benefit from the same educational services as other citizens. As far as the subjective definition of these objectives is concerned, however, some Indians are very doubtful about the government's ambitions. They see them as both beneficial and dangerous: though better education would certainly result, so might conflicts in identification. The danger of a marginal culture and even of assimilation exists.
In this section, our chief concern is to measure the administrative efficacy of joint agreements and to examine the problems which result. We will carry out our analysis in two stages. In the first stage we will analyse the actual terms of the joint agreement in order to determine the concept and the final aim. In the second stage, we will examine the application of agreements in actual school settings to explain some of the problems that arise.
a. The Concept of Joint Agreements
1. The Two Guiding Principles
Until now, at least, the federal government has striven to respect two basic principles in drawing up its program of joint agreements: 1. the local school resources (of the province) must be of a quality as good as or better than the Indian schools, and they must be available; 2. the majority of parents must consent to their children's attending a non-Indian school. These two basic principles have always been considered by the educational administrators of the federal government as essential and as a prerequisite before negotiating with the municipal educational authorities in an endeavour to reach an agreement fully satisfactory to the two parties concerned.
It may be asked to what extent these two principles have delayed the expansion of the various educational integration projects of the federal government. The first principle refers to a policy of social justice: there is no question of retarding or compromising the education of young Indians by compelling them to attend provincial institutions whose academic level is lower than that of federal schools in the area. The value of the integrated schools program is its attempt to raise the
level of education and to offer to young Indians the same academic advantages enjoyed by Canadian students. On this basis, but on this basis only, the program of integrated schools aims at giving full justice to the Indians by making it easier for them to attend better equipped schools which offer educational programs of a better quality. In this way, the young Indian can continue his studies to the level he desires, if he has the aptitude. His local school will not then check his scholastic progress and practically eliminate his chance of going on to higher education.
In theory, these equal opportunities are a positive factor only if the way is open for Indians to proceed further with their education. if the government's only aim were to provide the Indians with more opportunities to enter into direct and continuous contact with the White population, this limiting condition would not hold. In actual fact, school integration has practically reached saturation point in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (and even in Alberta to a certain degree) because the federal government considers that its own schools are of better quality than the provincial schools in the northern parts of these provinces. It is difficult for us to state categorically that these conclusions are entirely justified, since we have not made a systematic examination of each situation. In some cases, the provincial school authorities contest the validity of these conclusions. In other cases, these same authorities are more than willing to have their students transferred to federal schools and are prepared to pay the expenses.
The current availability of provincial school services is not a principle of absolute necessity. In a good many cases, the federal government has approached a local school board even though it did then not have available the required space or personnel to sign a joint agreement. In these cases the discussions necessarily dealt with the steps to be taken to make services available, by putting up new buildings, creating new programs or hiring adequate staff. The final steps were completed only when these demands had been met to the satisfaction of the federal officials. This is the case for the financial participation of the federal government in the construction of provincial schools. Federal participation in construction costs is a powerful bargaining point in the preliminary discussion with municipal educational administrators. Such administrators use this aspect of the agreement to convince the members of their school boards to accept the federal offers. Indeed, many of the problems involved in joint agreements are a result of the provincial authorities' ignorance of the obligations undertaken when the agreement is signed. Such agreements are usually drawn up for an Indefinite period and are continually brought up to date in the light of new school or demographic statistics. For example, when the number of Indian school children exceeds the number set by the original agreement, an amendment or a new agreement is effected to take account of this change.
The second basic principle of these joint agreements is the consent of the majority of the parents. In this way, the federal government wishes to assure its integration program the full support of the Indian parents.
This policy has been the cause of disputes, some on the actual methods used to consult parents and obtain signatures, others on the very principle of an integrated school and its method of operation. As a starting point, we may point out that the Indians have never questioned the principle that the native population must be consulted. On the contrary, it is considered a necessary part of the democratic participation of the parents concerned. Indian criticism is directed rather towards the circumstances and techniques of the consultation. Under certain circumstances, federal directors accelerate their integration projects and request of insufficiently prepared people choices whose implications they do not fully understand. The consensus is seldom unanimous. In addition, the people who see their point of view rejected (those who continually oppose immediate school integration for any reason) object to the methods used to obtain signatures which are interpreted as consent. Indians have claimed that certain Indian families have signed or placed their cross on official documents when they understood little or none of the content. It has even been asserted that in certain cases the federal officials responsible for the popular consensus used discreditable means (intimidation, undue pressure, biased explanations, etc…) to obtain the necessary number of signatures for an agreement. Dissatisfied Indian leaders take advantage of these instances of division to spread doubt of the validity of the government's methods in conducting popular votes.
To conclude, the purity of the government's intentions regarding joint agreements can be praised. However, it is in interpreting actual situations or in using certain techniques and carrying out decisions that imperfections creep in, and these imperfections open the White man to criticism which is more or less well founded.
We have just set out the guiding principles of the government's policies concerning joint agreements. We must now define the various elements of the agreement in order to have a clearer understanding of the distribution of responsibilities.
2. The Main Elements of the Agreement
The first joint agreement was signed in 1950 (South Indian Lake, Le Pas) in Manitoba. On March 31, 1965, 25,207 Indians attended provincial schools. Up till now, the federal-provincial agreements controlling the organization and operating methods of these joint programs have been signed between the federal government and the local school board where the Indian students will be enrolled (an individual agreement). More recently, agreements have been signed between the federal government and some provinces (provincial agreement or Master Plan). In these cases, the federal government signs only a general agreement with the provincial government, which is responsible for its application by the local or regional school boards where young Indians are admitted to provincial schools.
aa. Individual Agreements
It is obvious that joint agreements between the federal government and the various Canadian school boards will not be identical in every way. Each one takes local circumstances into account. However, the following points are included in each agreement.
The school commissions agree to:
- to accept up to a specified number the young Indians who apply;
- to ensure that there is no racial segregation.
The school boards must bind themselves to three kinds of obligations involving the educational rights of Indians, administrative obligations and academic obligations.
- The obligations involving the educational rights of Indians include accessibility of schools (the school boards are required to accept the enrollment of all children of school age); compulsory education (school boards are obliged to offer courses to all children of school age who are duly enrolled); equal eligibility to enjoy all school services available (school boards must consider all Indians on an equal footing and must offer them all the educational services available to other students).
- Administrative obligations. The school boards agree to respect a certain number of administrative and financial obligations. In the first place, they must submit budgetary estimates before December of each year to be ratified by the Minister. They must then administer the annual budgets while respecting the limits established by the accepted estimates. They must pay all the operating expenses of such an undertaking, including the costs of teaching, school administration and the expenses incurred for the maintenance and repair of buildings. Unless they receive express authorization from the Minister, they can in no way levy school taxes on property assessments. In this way, the federal government assures itself that the integration of Indians into provincial schools will not put any financial obligations on the parents. Finally, the school board may rent additional school services if a request is made.
- Academic obligations are completely non-existent in the sense that no standard determines the curriculum, the professional qualifications of teachers or the variety and quality of programs. The agreement merely mentioned the theoretical possibility of optional consultation with the regional superintendent of Indian schools on the problems arising in the education of young Indians.
The federal government agrees to meet the costs of educating Indian children in provincial schools by paying a per capita amount based on the general operating costs when education services already exist. Where new buildings have to be built, the sharing of expenses is based on the relative size of the Indian student population compared with the total student population. Footnote 114 If the proportion is a quarter or a third or a half, the federal government will pay the same proportion of the total construction costs.
We have already seen that no academic standard is specified in the agreement. We are aware of the practical difficulties that too many academic provisions might raise, In addition, we know from experience and from our contacts with the majority of regional superintendents, that the academic side of the question is examined separately in great detail. No formal step is taken unless a favourable judgement on the quality of school and education services has been received. Finally, the directors of studies in the various regions and school districts are responsible for supervising the academic and social careers of Indians in integrated public schools. In spite of these judicious assessments and indirect controls on the academic aspect of the agreement, we feel it is necessary to include some academic provisions in the individual agreements with school boards. The objection may be made that the federal government has no jurisdiction in educational matters, since they are a provincial responsibility. in our opinion, the educational rights of Indians go beyond the strict limits of accessibility to schools and school services available. They also include the right to quality and diversity of essential school services in the educational centres of each province.
The absence of academic standards causes little difficulty when the school boards involved in the joint agreements are aware of the special needs of Indians, while at the same time avoiding all forms of unofficial segregation. For example, in the public schools at Maria and Restigouche, the local school boards have organized nursery schools for Indian children in order to make it easier for them to learn French. Since the language spoken at home is still Micmac, Indians of school age cannot go straight into first grade without risking failure or extremely poor results. Thus, the nursery school will make them better prepared to grasp the program of the first grade when they enter school. However, this understanding of the problem does not exist everywhere.
The joint agreements are equally silent about Indian representation on the school board. The federal authorities are fully aware of this fundamental gap in the program of integrating Indians into the provincial schools. Since they are not represented, the Indians have no say in any concern, and the board's decisions are made unilaterally. The Indians do not have the right to be elected on the school boards because they do not pay school taxes. This arrangement greatly limits the interest and participation of Indian communities in programs of school integration. The Indians feel completely dissociated from decisions taken, and too often consider them harmful to the welfare of their children. The regional superintendent and the district inspectors are of course present to protect the interests of the Indians, but they cannot do it in the same way as the Indians themselves would. Some avant-garde school boards get around this legal difficulty by inviting an Indian delegate to attend the school board's meetings as a consultant. However, these delegates do not have the right to vote. Sometimes, the Indian school committees are consulted on certain matters. But these consultations are too sporadic and ill-defined to constitute a positive element of native participation in the program of school integration. Indians rarely have an opportunity to influence directly the decisions concerning themselves and their children.
Although the joint agreement which we have analysed makes no specific statement on the subject, we may in conclusion sum up one of the principal characteristics of these agreements as follows: the federal government buys a service which is already in existence, and in no way tries to exercise control over the current methods of operation in a given school district. A typical clause explaining the government's position appears in the Deschambault joint agreement. We quote: "Nothing in this agreement shall confer on the Minister any right of supervision over the curriculum, the administration and teaching personnel, the methods or materials of instruction or management generally of the school, provided the Minister or any person authorized by the Minister shall have the right to visit the school from time to time."Footnote 115
bb. Provincial Agreements
The greatest progress in the field of joint agreements is found in the agreements between the government and a province. In such cases, the terms of the agreement are automatically generalized to include all eligible provincial school boards that agree to educate Indian children. These agreements are progressive inasmuch as they offer the Indian population better guarantees of their educational rights. Finally, these agreements establish provincial participation in the education of native populations who are accorded the same rights as those enjoyed by the White population. The responsibilities of educating Indians are shared. The specific obligations of each party concerned are defined and codified in advance. We shall examine the three provincial joint agreements chronologically in order to see how they differ from the individual joint agreements, and in what way each one shows improvements over the previous agreements. These are, in order of appearance, the agreement with the Northland School Division; the agreement with British Columbia; and the agreement with Manitoba.
(1)The agreement with the Northland School Division. The first joint agreement which we will study is not properly speaking a provincial joint agreement. It is an agreement between the Northland school district of the Province of Alberta and the federal government. However, this school divisionFootnote 116 covers an area as large as the rest of the province and takes in a very large number of scattered schools offering a minimum of education services.~ Finally, the innovating character of this agreement holds great symbolic and strategic value for the future, it is unnecessary to go into the history of the establishment of this new regional school board in Alberta. For the purpose of our analysis, it is important to pick out the reasons which make this agreement particularly interesting in the light of the new division of responsibilities presently being established to direct federal-provincial relations in Indian education. We will set down the aspects which seem the most significant.
- The agreement concerns the northern regions of the Province of Alberta where school integration would usually be hard to achieve.
- The provincial policy of school "equalization grants" and also the vigorous leadership of the Department of Education have helped to raise the standard of northern schools.
- The clauses in Alberta's School Act concerning religion in public schools have made it easier to transfer responsibilities from the federal government to the Province of Alberta.
- The excellent personal relationship existing between the officials of the Department of Education and of Indian Affairs were a great help in drawing up the first agreement of this kind.
- While bringing about this agreement, the federal government respected the prerogatives of the province and of this regional school board regarding educational autonomy (clause 6 of the agreement).
The responsibilities of the Minister are as follows:
- to ensure that Indians attend school;
- to make Indians comply with standards of health, cleanliness, and dress comparable to those followed by white students;
- to share in operating costs on a pro rata basis according to the Indian population, and to make payments every three months;
- to notify the school board's trustee on June 1st of the Indian enrollment predicted for the following school year;
- to pay for the Indians all special charges which may be levied on non-Indian parents;
- to surrender all supervision of administrative and academic aspects of Indian education to the school board, though retaining the right to visit the school from time to time.
The responsibilities of the Northland School Board are also specified in the agreement:
- to accept the enrollment of Indians at the beginning of each school year and to supply Indians with the same education services as those available to White students;
- to avoid all forms of segregation in schools;
- to send a statement of account at the end of each year covering the operational costs payable to the school board for the fiscal year ended;
- to calculate Indian enrollment according to a pre-determined formula;Footnote 117
- to assure Indian representation on school boards while taking into consideration the educational laws of the province.
Lastly, certain clauses make provisions for the termination of the agreement or for new agreements:
- when the regional school board operates and supports a federal school, each case will be subject to a separate agreement between the parties concerned;
- any project involving construction of a new school where Indians will be enrolled, will be subject to a special agreement;
- either of the two contracting parties can terminate this agreement provided that they notify the other party in writing. In this case, the agreement will be terminated at the end of the second school year completed after notice is given.
The most spectacular aspect of the agreement concerns the part icipat ion of Indians on the school boards when provincial education laws allow it. It seems appropriate to underline the comment of a federal official. He is not afraid to state that the provincial proposal:
indicates a constructive step toward having the province accept increased responsibility for Indian education and could offer us an opportunity to observe the operation of a limited provincial-federal program functioning on an experimental basis.
Secondly, if this school division is found to operate successfully with no unsurmountable difficulties, then this division would serve as a model for the implementation of similar joint responsibility programmes in other agencies.
Thirdly, the teachers of both Indian and non-Indian children in the schools contained within this division would come under the jurisdiction of the province. This means that they will belong to the Alberta Teachers Association and would accordingly be expected to obtain provincial certification.
Finally, …the status of denominational schools would in no way be endangered since provision for denominational schools is contained within the Alberta School Act.
He defined this agreement as:
a starting point towards our ultimate objective; namely, provincial recognition of the Indian as a citizen with privileges and opportunities equal to those enjoyed by non-Indian members of the community.
On the academic level, this joint agreement made possible a large number of important duties, At least, that is the appraisal in the same memorandum when it defines the duties of the Northland School Division in relation to Indian children:
- management and administration of federal schools within the boundaries of the school board, boarding schools excepted;
- hiring and transferring teaching staff;
- financing the administration of schools. This includes teachers' salaries, materials, text books, supplies and maintenance;
- availability of classes and board for teachers on a basis of shared costs;
- school supervision, curriculum planning and program co-ordination;
- establishment of special services when necessary.
In short, the federal government's agreement with the Province of Alberta makes innovations on more than one point.
(2) The agreement with British Columbia. The agreement between the federal government and British Columbia was signed on November 12, 1963, but was made retroactive to January 1, 1963. It created a precedent in that it was the first joint agreement signed by the federal government and a Canadian province. An official of Indian Affairs expressed his views on this subject very clearly when he wrote:
This agreement is a most significant document in that it establishes a precedent which we hope will be followed by other provinces.
The new aspect of this joint agreement is that it sets a monthly per capita operating cost of $25.00 for each Indian attending a provincial school. According to the terms of the agreement, this per capita rate will be valid for three years. In its request to the Treasury Board dated February 8, 1963, the Indian Affairs Branch pointed out the reasonable level of these educational charges:
The proposed tuition fee is most reasonable as this Department could not provide the same facilities to the Indian pupils at comparable cost … It is our opinion that failure to meet the request of the provincial government would seriously damage the excellent relationship which has existed in connection with the integrated education of pupils inthis province which we have held out as a model of a province assuming its proper role with respect to the education of Indian children.
The progressive aspect of provincial participation in Indian education in British Columbia is also apparent in the wording of the clauses signed by the two parties. The clauses concerning the monthly school attendance of Indians are detailed because they form the legal basis for the total monthly grants the province can claim.
(3) The agreement with Manitoba. The agreement signed between the federal government and the Province of Manitoba closely resembles that of British Columbia, which, in fact, served as the basis on which discussions on this subsequent agreement were started. It establishes the educational rights of Indians in provincial schools (the right to education and all education services available to White students) following an amendment to the Education Act of Manitoba. This amendment to the Education Act is the direct result of negotiations which led to the signing of this agreement by Manitoba. This is a substantial innovation. Whereas, In the cases of Alberta and British Columbia, the agreement was in no way contrary to their educational law and was in fact modelled on it, the agreement between the federal government and Manitoba brought about a reform in the Education Act. From now on, the officials of the provincial Department of Education will recognize even their moral obligations towards the Indian populations.
In the discussion with a senior official of the Province, the principle of some coverage of responsibility by the Province for education of Indians as citizens of the Province was accepted - at least as a moral responsibility. The amount of financial responsibility was not ventured upon in the discussions, but the rates offered are considered by the Province as fair and reasonable …
From moral responsibility to financial responsibility, there is only one stage left to cover, even if this stage represents a challenge of some magnitude. In other words, this new pilot agreement marks an improvement on earlier agreements and opens the way to a further increase in provincial participation. The agreement was signed July 21, 1965. Here are the principal points of the agreement:
1. That the Department of Education and the Indian Affairs Branch sign an agreement to provide for:
- the payment by Indian Affairs to the Province of Manitoba of an agreed per capita amount for the attendance of each Indian child at Manitoba public schools. This per capita amount would be exclusive of capital costs and transportation costs, and would be calculated separately for elementary and secondary pupils. Our calculations show that for 1965, the per capita cost for elementary pupils is approximately $275.00, and per capita costs for secondary students is approximately $400.00 per annum.
- payment by the Province of Manitoba to Indian Affairs for the attendance on the same basis of non-Treaty Indian pupils for whom the Province is responsible at Indian schools.
- if the foregoing arrangement can be made, the Province will pay to each school district and division where Indian pupils are attending, a monthly fee per pupil which would be calculated at the average net per capita cost to the local authorities.
Concerning the agreement a federal official commented:
We have agreed that the foregoing would constitute a fair and equitable arrangement for all parties concerned. Indian pupils would be guaranteed the right of attendance in our public schools; school districts and divisions would receive a fair return for services rendered; and the Province would be
recompensed for grants which it has paid to divisions and districts on behalf of Indian pupils in attendance at public schools.
Thus Manitoba continues to recognize its financial responsibilities towards the Indians who are not registered as such. The province agrees to reimburse the federal government for the education services which it provides them in its schools. The rates will be the same as those which the federal government pays for provincial services for the Indians.Footnote 118
To conclude this sect ion on the concept of joint agreements, we can state that provincial agreements provide a better guarantee of educational and academic rights for Indians than individual joint agreements. They give uniform access to provincial schools and reduce arbitrary decisions as much as possible. They also enable the federal government to reduce the cost of Indian education (per capita cost) and noticeably improve the administrative and financial controls which the federal government must exercise over education operations in general. Finally, these agreements bring about provincial awareness of educational responsibilities toward Indians and make it possible for the provinces to acquire on a large scale actual experience in Indian education on both the academic and administrative levels. Theoretically, at any rate, the three parties concerned, Indians, provinces, and federal government, all benefit from the agreements.
As a general rule, joint agreements have favoured Indian emancipation in a positive manner. For example, they give Indians the same educational opportunitiesFootnote 119 as White students. In White surroundings, they are accorded the same rights that White people enjoy. Education services available to white children have become available to Indians as well. Unfortunately, due to a combination of socio-cultural conditions, Indians do not benefit nearly as much as White people from the services offered them, as is indicated by their greater retardation, higher rate of dropouts, lower level of education, etc … In spite of these handicaps, many particularly talented young Indians have cleared the formerly insurmountable barriers, and have shown beyond doubt the intellectual capacities of our native population. Until recently, it was mainly young Indians' talents in sports and art that were acclaimed. Now their intellectual aptitudes are recognized as comparable to those of the White man. Definite proof of these aptitudes are found in comparable school results when the living conditions (and chiefly the studying conditions) of young Indians are changed or improved. Teachers and educational administrators readily accept this fact.
Most of the joint agreements signed by the federal government and various Canadian school boards work well. By that we mean that the obligations taken on by the signers are respected to the letter, and that the education of Indian children in provincial schools does not raise any particular problem. This is obviously the result of favourable circumstances which vary from one place to another. To illustrate this point, we would like to mention the reasons which have made the joint agreement of Kinistino (James Smith Reserve) in Saskatchewan run so smoothly.Footnote 120
- continued parental co-operation;
- the enlightened and powerful leadership of the chairman of the local school committee;
- joint meetings of parent-teacher associations (made up of Indians and white people);
- close collaboration among the representatives of the federal government, the province and the school board;
- regular meetings of the professional staff on the reserve and continual exchanges of information.
On the other hand, the joint agreements raise problems which are more or less numerous, and more or less serious in various regions of the country. These problems are not found concentrated in one spot. We shall examine these problems one by one, grouping them according to two separate categories:
- legal problems;
- administrative and financial problems.
1. Legal Problems
The question of formal Indian representation (by election) was brought up at Restigouche, in Quebec. Up to now, Indians have been ineligible for membership on school boards because they do not pay school taxes. The regional superintendent has brought to the attention of the provincial Department of Education an argument which seems very strong to us. His reasoning is as follows: though the Indian does not pay school taxes directly, he does pay them indirectly through financial contributions made to the local school board by the federal government. In other words, the money which the federal government pays to the local school board for Indian education is the financial share which the Indians should pay for their education. The federal government pays their school tax ifl their name. The Department's legal advisor thinks that this legal interpretation of federal contributions is valid. We believe that these discussions will lead to the election of Indians to school boards. However, it may be several more years before this result is achieved. In the meantime, discussions will be continued on the legal aspects of this question which is of great importance for the future of the Indians.
In the Northland regional school board, this same question resulted in a review of educational legislation which would allow for Indian representation on the school board.
2. Administrative and Financial Problems
One of the most delicate financial problems in individual joint agreements is that of determining the financial costs (operating costs) of the agreement. A formula must be found to establish the exact number of Indians enrolled at a given moment and the number of items to be included in the operating costs.
aa. How should the total number of Indians enrolled be determined in order to calculate the total amount in subsidies to be received?
The number of Indians enrolled can be calculated in many ways:
- by calculating the number of Indians enrolled at a given moment - at the beginning of the school year, or on a specified date each month;
- by calculating the average school attendance; and
- by calculating total Indian enrollment for the year.
Thus there are several methods of calculation, and when these methods are not clearly specified in the agreement, divergent interpretations may become bones of contention. These problems seem clearly resolved in the provincial agreements where the methods of calculation are clearly indicated or in the case of certain provinces having methods which have already been tested.
…Where the province has an established formula such as that in Ontario, which uses perfect aggregate attendance for secondary schools and actual attendance for elementary schools, this formula is accepted by the Indian Affairs Branch. Where no formula exists, the question is usually a matter for negotiation between the Department and the board. Footnote 121
bb. What items should be included in the operating costs? In order to determine the per capita amount, it is necessary to establish the total operating costs. Once these expenses have been established, it is then easy to define the expenses attributable to the presence of Indian school children (proportional calculation of the expenses) inasmuch as total Indian enrollment can be determined to the satisfaction of the two parties. The central problem here is to fix the expenses which are to be reimbursed by the government. The transportation of Indian pupils is entirely assumed by the government. There is no question of a school board including its transportation costs for White students, and later charging part to the federal government. The latter already pays the transportation expenses of the Indian pupils. In the same way, when the federal government has already made financial contributions for the construction of a school, it will not afterwards agree to pay annually to local school boards the financial charges arising from the loans they made to finance their projects. The federal government has already paid its share and the interest is the responsibility of the school board. This opinion is clearly expressed in the document which we quoted above:
Difficulties in the definition of costs arise because certain of these costs do not pertain to Indian pupils. For example, since the Department supplies all necessary transportation for its pupils, it should not be liable for a share of the board's transportation costs. However, the main item of concern is the inclusion of annual debenture payments. When a board is computing tuition fees for a pupil other than an Indian, it expects to recover part of these expenses through the tuition fees, but when the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has al ready made a contribution to the capital cost of the school, the inclusion of debenture payments in calculating the tuition fees due on behalf of Indian students is inappropriate. For this reason formal agreements are preferred when contributions to capital cost are made.Footnote 122
C. Evaluation of Joint Agreements
In spite of certain gaps which we have pointed out, the balance sheet for joint agreements and the gradual introduction of Indian pupils into provincial schools is distinctly profitable. These agreements grant Indian students an equal footing with White pupils where their educational rights are concerned and make accessible all programs of special i zed and professional studies. This is a policy which the federal government should emphasize, while taking into consideration the preparation of the native population for the transition from reserve schools to public schools. The government must also encourage the provinces to take a greater interest in Indian education. From this point of view, new provincial joint agreements should be drawn up. Finally, a determined effort should be made to assure Indian parents of a greater participation in the education of their children. They would thus be better informed on the true nature of these programs and would have more adequate knowledge for judging them. As for the children, they arc the first ones to benefit: the results can already be seen in the improvement in educational level and a more adequate technical preparation. It is still too soon to know whether they will become citizens who are better integrated into the Canadian way of life.
II. EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION: Hierarchy and Functioning
The Department of Education of the Indian Affairs Branch serves an area divided into seven school regions. These regions are:
- the Maritimes;
- British Columbia.
In turn, these regions arc subdivided into a certain number of agencies. When the number of agencies increases, new districts are created, each one comprising two, three or four agencies. British Columbia, because of its strong Indian contingent, is subdivided into five districts and ten agencies.
In order to exercise control over the education expenses of Indians and the quality of teaching offered them, the Indian Affairs Branch has created a complex bureaucratic structure with numerous officials to whom have been delegated powers of decision and execution in educational matters. We should note, however, that this bureaucratic structure of education officials is itself attached to the general bureaucratic structure established to assure the smooth running of Indian reserves in general.
To study the educational organization created for Indian education, we must examine this bureaucratic structure. In the first place, we will try to: 1) describe it in terms of delegating the power of decision and execution; 2) define the duties or tasks assigned to those holding positions at each level of authority; 3) describe the channels designed for communication and try to find out if they meet the needs of people at the foot of the ladder; and 4) mention briefly the type of educational institution the structure serves.
Secondly, we will state the objectives of the bureaucratic structure. In the third place, we will discuss some of the difficult problems raised by an overly ponderous bureaucratic machine:
- conflicting loyalties;
- bureaucracy versus the democratization of decisions;
- low pay schedules as an obstacle to obtaining fully qualified staff;
- the demographic growth of Indians and the increase in education costs;
- resistance to school integration.
Finally, we will see how planning and integration constitute two instruments which can help to solve these problems.
1. Bureaucratic Structure at the Level of School Regions
A. Levels in the Hierarchy of School Structure
Although it would be more appropriate to speak of a regional structure rather than of a coherent national structure in Indian education, the overall picture presents some degree of uniformity. This permits us to discuss the various "positions" and "duties".
For example, each administrative region is headed by a regional director appointed by the Indian Affairs Branch, who exercises the authority of the Branch at the regional level and co- ordinates the work of subordinates who carry out particular duties in his name. Directly beneath him are the superintendents, including the regional school superintendent. According to the region, various positions follow that of regional school superintendent on the scale: a district school superintendent is found where there is a district office. Where such districts do not exist, the regional superintendent is followed by the agency school superintendent or supervising principal. His work is divided as follows: 40%, administration; 40%, class supervision; 20%, guidance of Indian students attending non-Indian schools. In any case, the district school superintendents always have school superintendents under them to take on some of their responsibilities at the agency level. In turn, the agency school superintendent is followed by the school principal, and the principal has of course jurisdiction over the teachers.
We have briefly run through the main positions found in the direct line of authority provided by the structure of educational organization. However, there are a number of positions kept for specialists in guidance, technical training, language, or other specializations. These positions were in the first place designed to improve the quality of teaching and the efficiency of the school system.
However, owing to the joint agreements, this description alone does not cover all aspects of the structure of the educational organization. In 1963, approximately 40% of the Indian school population was enrolled in provincial schools, and in 1965, approximately 50%. As a result, the various provincial education departments are necessarily taking on large responsibilities in Indian education, and the provincial officials take a close interest in the Indian population. Arrangements are made for provincial inspectors to visit Indian schools in order to compare them with provincial public schools.
To complete our picture of the educational organization for Indians, we must also include the positions of agency superintendent, local school boards, church representatives, as well as parent-teacher associations. The agency superintendent has only a limited responsibility toward Indian schools. In the various regions of the country, it is the regional school superintendent who determines the important educational policies of the region: these are afterwards approved by the regional superintendent and included in the budgetary estimates. Afterwards, the regional school superintendent sees to the implementation of these policies. Numerous administrative problems result from the duality in the lines of authority. It seems indicated that the regional school superintendent should take on more responsibility and should acquire greater freedom of action. An increased effort toward school Integration and a gradual transfer of federal responsibilities to the provinces favour these changes. The Indian school committees are not at all widespread, but they fill an important function which we will examine later. Church representatives have a role to play in education only in so far as they own schools or take on teaching duties. The parent-teacher associations are even fewer in number than the Indian school committees.
We will now look at the duties and responsibilities attached to this series of positions which form the structure of the school system established for Indian education.
B. Duties of Education Officials in the fleld
Although the regional supervisor of Indian agencies has a position In the chain of authority between the national director of education, stationed In Ottawa, and the regional school superintendent, It Is difficult to attribute to this official a special competence in the field of education, A diagramFootnote 123 of the reorganized regional structure of services to Indians shows that the regional supervisor acts only as a link between Ottawa and the heads of services placed under his authority. As well, In chapter two (2) of the Field Manual concerning education, we find no special directive on the duties of the regional supervisor of Indian agencies.
As regards regional school superintendents or district superintendents, the guide for district superintendents makes the following stipulation In its introduction: "The Indian school administrator, whether at the regional or the district level, acts for the chief, Education Division, who, with his staff, coordinates the policy for the Department of Indian Education, Effective administration In the field demands adherence by field officials to that policy." What is this policy in regard to Indian education? It has essentially four points:
- In principle, If the policies of the Indian Affairs Branch In education and procedures prove efficient, it is to be hoped that tangible progress will be made for the next generation thanks to the achievements of the Indians of this generation.
- The Indian Affairs Branch intends to make the best educational services possible available to the Indians In order to fill their needs and meet the demands of their present situation.
- The Indian Affairs Branch Intends to educate the Indian child in the same class-room as the White child. To achieve this end, it will provide whatever is needed for Indian children to attend preferably public schools. However, It will retain different types of schools so that isolated Indian children will also receive an adequate education.
- The regional school superintendent is the chief official in education working in the field. He is responsible to the regional supervisor for the smooth running of the Indian school system and for obtaining classes for the Indian children of the region. In addition, he Is responsible for interpreting the policies of the Department of Education to the other education officials in the field. He may delegate part of his powers and responsibilities to the district school superintendent or to the agency supervising principal. Finally, these officials are asked to co- operate with the agency superintendent who takes on certain specific administrative responsibilities affecting schools.
While the regional school superintendent is responsible for Interpreting the policies of the Indian Affairs Branch concerning Indian education and also for preparing forecasts on the expansion of services and the smooth running of the school system, the district school superintendent has three main duties:
- organizing classes;
- administering schools;
- supervising schools.
Of the 16 duties listed in the guide prepared by the Indian Affairs Branch for district school superintendents in July, 1959, only 4 appear to have an educational character, properly speaking: this explains the predominantly administrative character of the district superintendent's duties.
We can summarize the role of the agency supervising principal by quoting from the guide prepared for his information in May, 1963:
… he is expected to work co-operatively with the Agency Superintendent, assuming much of the administrative work connected with education which passes through Agency office and acting as consultant on all educational matters. Normally he will devote about 40 per cent of his time to administrative duties, 40 per cent to classroom supervision and related activities and 20 per cent to guidance and liaison work amongst pupils attending provincial schools. (p. 1)
We notice that the Indian Affairs Branch allots a considerable portion of professional time for school administration.
The Indian School Regulations describe the duties of the school principal in eleven points which we will list in extenso:
1. In compliance with the directives of his superiors, he must:
- assign the responsibilities necessary for efficient operation of the school;
- use his authority in all matters concerning the output of teachers and students;
2. Establish rules for the efficient operation of the school;
3. Supervise the performance of work by teaching staff or students; give advice when necessary;
4. Make certain that the attendance records and files are kept up to date;
5. Enroll children when the agency superintendent recommends their enrollment;
6. Expel those pupils indicated by the superintendent;
7. Suspend any student guilty of an offence damaging to the school's reputation; advise the superintendent of this action;
8. Make provisions for obtaining furniture, equipment, books or supplies;
9. Supervise the students and the school premises;
10. Inspect the school premises daily; report to the superintendent any condition requiring his attention; and
11. Report any absences or replacements of the teaching staff, and also the need for substitute teachers.
These regulations are based on the necessity of assuring that the subordinates themselves follow the required regulations.
Finally, in addition to teaching, teachers have the following responsibilities:
- to establish a time-table showing the subjects for study, the order of the subjects, and the time allotted for each one;
- to watch over the cleanliness, safety, welfare and comfort of students, and to report to the superintendent any sign of infectious disease;
- to keep the school records up-to-date according to the set procedures, and to make them available to any authorized person;
- to make arrangements to facilitate the verification of any duties assigned by the authorities;
- to attend the teachers' meetings called by the principal or the teacher in charge of the school;
- to arrive at work 15 minutes before classes start in the morning, and 5 minutes, in the afternoon;
- to receive visitors with courtesy and to enter their names in the register; and
- to report to the superintendent any absences among the teaching staff and the need for substitute teachers.
We see that, in addition to teaching, the teachers are subjected to detailed regulations. Their superiors are responsible for implementing the regulations, as can be seen from the regulations concerning the school principal.
C. Official Channels of Communication
In a bureaucratic structure, communications normally take place between superior and immediate subordinates all the way down the chain of authority. As far as the lines of communication for the district school superintendent are concerned, we cite the actual text of his guide:
The district school superintendent may communicate directly on professional matters with the parents of children in the school within the district, the principals and teachers in these schools and the local school boards and church official, Routine matters on maintenance he may deal directly with the agency superintendent.Footnote 124
As regards school supplies and questions concerning the living and working conditions of teachers…
…the district school superintendents may communicate directly with Education Division.
All teachers will be governed by the 'Regulations' (Indian School Regulations) in the operation of their schools. The district school superintendent is not empowered to change or authorize any deviation from these regulations. He may submit to the regional school superintendent for a decision, requests from principals and teachers on matters pertaining to regulations…Footnote 125
Concerning the agency supervising principal…
The normal channel of communication for the supervising principal is through the office of the agency superintendent on matters pertaining to the administration of schools. However, he may seek the advice of the regional school superintendent on purely educational problems by direct communication.
Since his chief duty Is to supervise the work of subordinates, he must accumulate a considerable number of reports:
- the school principal's monthly report;
- the annual report of each school;
- requests for school supplies;
- requests for leave;
- requests for bursaries;
- applications for employment;
- his own monthly report…
Like the district school superintendent, although not through him, he must take his orders from the regional school superintendent in matters concerning the regulations for Indian schools.
The examination of these two positions in relation with the other positions in the structure shows us that the poles of communication are determined by the various responsibilities assumed by different people. However, since the responsibilities are distributed according to a complex pattern and sometimes are duplicated, communications are also carried out according to a complex pattern and may be duplicated.
Thus the district school superintendent may enter into direct contact with Ottawa and thus by-pass the regional school superintendent and the agency regional supervisor. On the other hand, the district school superintendent and the agency supervising principal are both liable to consult the agency superintendent on a similar problem or at least problems of the same nature. The same holds true for their relations with the regional school superintendent. We conclude that there Is a duplication of duties and a duplication of communications. Add the possibility of conflict to this ambiguity and little more is needed to upset the official channels of communications. However, too faithful an adherence to procedures governing the communications between the different levels in the structure could result in the blocking of official channels.
The following statement was made by a liaison officer who was attempting to explain at the second conference of school committees held at Prince Albert In March, 1965, why Indian school committees had not succeeded in functioning smoothly.
… When you have a large number of people who work together … you need administration, You have to have channels of procedure and this sort of thing and this is the best and only way that a large number of people can get together to achieve some common purpose … But there Is another side to it. Administrative machinery Is also the best way that has ever been invented to keep from doing things or do nothing. It is the kind of machinery that works both ways.
… In terms of a couple of comments I heard with reference to the administrative machinery, one in connection with the short circuit, somebody said that they were on a school committee and they asked the superintendent what they should do and the superintendent did not know what they should do, so he said check with Regional Office and the Regional Office said it is a local matter and there you have a short circuit with nobody knowing what should be going on.
Then another thing which can happen in machinery is the problem of overload, and perhaps this explains why sometimes communications slow down if you send in a request or letter for a suggestion and if you do not get a reply back as soon as you might want …
One of the members of our Committee this morning mentioned that he would like to give more attention to some things but they have mountains of paper work back in his office and this is what is known as overload… (p. 24)
This statement was an attempt to explain the isolation in which school committees found themselves. However, it is necessarily based on well known facts which feed to a great extent the criticism of the communications network within a complex administrative structure. There is no doubt, therefore, that communications between the levels of the structure set certain problems.
2. Objectives of the School Structure
It is obvious that any structure is designed to carry out certain proposed objectives, but it would be useful here to distinguish between planned objectives and those which have actually been achieved. To reach the ultimate objective of its Education Department, that is, the development of the Indians' potentials through education, the Indian Affairs Branch sees the school structure as a means … "for the efficient and successful organisation, administration and supervision of the schools … " However, when such an instrument begins to require so much attention from the officials working within the structure that they have little time or energy to wonder whether the system makes it possible to progress toward the ultimate objective, it is to be feared that in time officials will be more concerned with keeping the system going than with progress.
In fact, it is the idea of measuring progress that is made toward the major objective of the Education Department that has produced such a highly developed control involving the preparation of numerous and detailed regulations. However, as we have pointed out before, a worthy principle may lead to unimpressive results.
As the list of duties in the guides shows, administration monopolizes a considerable portion of time in the schedule of various officials and teachers. At every level, administration is extensive. Certain positions, for example, that of agency supervising principal, are defined almost entirely in administrative terms:
The prompt submission to the agency office of all forms accurately and fully completed is one of the primary responsibilities of the supervising principal.
Even teachers, whose principal duty is above all else education, are subjected to regulated duties, and their superiors are required to see that these duties are carried out. We feel that the educational aspects are of the greatest importance in the schooling of Indian children, certainly more important than the non-academic aspects of teaching.
3. Some Problems Involved in the School Structure
In addition to the problems raised by the definition of the educational duties of the various officers, the complexity of communication channels and the very great variety in administrative procedures, we must mention five other types of problems which, to our way of thinking, reduce the efficiency of school organization and delay the improvement in the level of Indian education to a certain extent. These problems are as follows:
- Conflicting loyalties in the middle and lower levels of the structure;
- Latent and open conflicts between preserving the formal bureaucratic structure and the attempts to democratize the traditional structures;
- The professional qualifications of those holding important offices in the system and the problems of low pay schedules;
- The rapid increase in Indian population and in the cost of Indian education; and
- Resistance to school integration on the part of officials already in position and teachers who fear that integration will result in their progressive elimination.
We will examine each of these problems according to this order.
A. Conflicting Loyalties
Through strict observance of the regulations drawn up for each public servant, the Indian Affairs Branch requires that the officials and teachers paid by the federal government be loyal to the official policies on Indian education, in other words, that they be loyal to their employers. We have listed the elements of this policy in the section where we defined the duties. The fact remains that the Indian school organization is formed of at least four types of schools. Some schools belong to the Indian Affairs Branch, and in those cases there are hardly any open conflicts in loyalties. However, in the case of residential schools founded and administered by religious orders, loyalty can easily swing in favour of the church, which does not necessarily share the views of the Indian Affairs Branch on Indian education. In a meeting which we had with Dr. Chalmers, Assistant Regional School Superintendent for Alberta, Dr. Chalmers underlined the conflict in loyalties in the following terms:
There are two kinds of objectives: the church and the state objectives. The church objective is to make good people.
The state objective is to give the Indians knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they can function effectively in a western middle- class North American civilization. The other choice is no longer a functional one since reserves are not viable.Footnote 126
We can also add that it is the religious groups which are the most firmly opposed to the school integration of Indians… A regional superintendent made this statement to us about his relations with the Oblate fathers concerning school integration:
It is regrettable but true: the Oblates in certain places are opposed to progress. They are trying to control the Indians…Footnote 127
During a visit to Lake Saint John in the summer of 1965, we also noted that certain teachers, under the leadership of nuns, were even trying to convince the Indians that integration was harmful.
In the field of teacher participation in provincial teachers' associations, Mr. Art McBetts, Assistant Director of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, expressed his ideas as follows:
One of the factors which limit the educational value of federal teachers is that they are not members of the Provincial Teachers' Association of Saskatchewan. They are federal employees, their loyalty is rather to the association of federal civil servants, which is of no use to them in their advancement as teachers. Footnote 128
The loyalty of the teacher on certain questions concerning Indian children with whom he is in constant contact may incline towards educational principles overlooked in the regulations which are imposed on him from above. This phenomenon is even more liable to occur if the teacher himself is Indian, and as a result considers himself involved in everything which is in the interest of Indians or Indian children. On this point, a religious teacher would tend to raise a barricade between the Indian child and the demands of the Indian Affairs Branch which seemed contrary to his interests, i.e., a refusal to grant a bursary on the pretext that only a limited number of Indian children could benefit from it.
In short, the conflicts in loyalty of the staff within the structure vary according to the duties and the social or religious groups to which the officials belong.
B. Bureaucratization versus Democratization of Structures
The following statement is taken from chapter II, section 11.02 of the Field Manual, 1962:
Leadership in school affairs must eventually come from the community with the advance of education on the Indian reserve. The formation of school committees which enable community leaders to part id-pate in the conduct of school affairs is one of the most productive methods of creating an activeand intelligent interest on the part of Indian parents in the education of their children.
…Training the Indian adult to assume a measure of responsibility in running the affairs of his community is today one of the most important duties of the field staff.
Already by 1962 the Indian Affairs Branch hoped - and quite definitely - for a certain democratization in school organization through the establishment of structures and mechanisms which would make possible greater Indian participation. As a result, the Indians themselves would eventually take over the responsibility of educating their children. As they are today, they constantly follow in the wake of administrative officers whose intentions they barely understand and over whom they have practically no control. For example, when Indians wish to make a complaint, they do not know to whom they should go, how to state their grievances, or when to expect an answer. Moreover, the local and regional officials are themselves incapable of solving most of the problems immediately. They are constantly obliged to refer to their superiors and wait for an answer to come from above. Very often this answer comes too late or is not the most appropriate solution. How often have officials in the field spoken to us about the pyramidal structure of school organization and have complained that decisions are taken by their superiors without prior consultation or without sufficient consultation with everyone involved. One could wish that decisions came from below and were afterwards ratified by the top officials of the organization. Since they are closer to the situations and the problems, the field officers think that they would be able to provide better solutions for the problems which continually arise.Footnote 129
Considering the difficulties which we have underlined, it would seem hazardous to organize school committees within the existing structures. We must not forget that these committees are expected to become actual school boards which will eventually take over many of the responsibilities at present devolved upon the officials of the Indian Affairs Branch,
The regulations for school committees contained in Appendix A of the Field Manual, 1962, are themselves open to criticism, since they give little consideration to the wishes of the population concerned. As well, we should not be surprised by the words of one of the participants at the Second School Committee Conference, held in Prince Albert, March, 1965:
The policy of the Indian Affairs Branch is to develop a sense of responsibility among Indians so that they may eventually manage their own affairs. Let us then give Indians the opportunities to develop this responsibility.
Are we really promoting our policy or merely paying it lip service? Regulations and restrictions safeguards, often choke our and the Indian's genuine desire to make policy a reality. Are we really consulting Indians, their Band Councils, and involving them in programming or are we merely asking them to 'rubber stamp' our own decisions, sometimes hastily made and impractical? Are we in tune with reserve thinking, have we got our finger on its pulse? Do we know the power structure, the contending factions, who the influential people are, what makes the reserve what it is, etc.? Has the Indian Affairs Branch got the Indians with it or have the Indians lost interest and dropped off or even taken up an opposition role on the reserve? … I would like to propose four bases for action, four principles that must govern our approach to working with Indian people:
- we have a duty of helping people make choices between what is false and harmful in their situation and what is true and good,
- we must accept the fact that individuals are entitled to freedom of choice as to the group in which they wish to live, and the group is entitled to freedom in its way of life,
- questions of choice, of action, of ultimate objective, must be answered by the people involved
- and most important of all perhaps, if we are going to continue to talk about acceptance of the Indian people, we must be obedient to its demands. If we are not willing to obey its demands, then in all honesty, we must stop talking about it.
C. Low Pay Schedule versus Professional Qualifications
During the past years, various Indian associations and even those in charge of Indian education have often complained about the poor quality of teaching and the teachers' lack of qualifications. For several years, the Indian Affairs Branch has made an effort to overcome this great weakness in the Indian school organization, However, in spite of everything, it is difficult for the Indian Affairs Branch to find the teachers it needs.
The reasons why it is hard to staff Indian schools in Alberta are the following:
- The Indian Affairs salary schedule is not too attractive by Alberta standards, but it is in comparison with Atlantic provinces. A teacher from Nova Scotia can make $1,000.00 more a year in an Indian Alberta school than in his own province.
- We do not yet have reciprocal pension arrangements. A teacher in the Alberta public school system would have to give up his pension plan in order to teach in an Indian school,
- The poor reputation of Indian education. Five years ago, anyone could teach in an Indian school. No one with training and professional reputation wanted to lose his reputation, It is very hard to change that public image even though there are many improvements.
- Professional isolation of the teachers in the Indian schools. Not so Not so much true now. But it was for quite a while.Footnote 130
The reasons brought out by Dr. Chalmers to explain the difficulty of recruiting teachers for Indian schools are true for other provinces, as many of the Indian Affairs Branch's documents show. And let us remember the statement of the Assistant Director of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, that the loyalty of federal teachers:
… is rather to the association of federal civil servants which is of no use to them in their advancement as teachers… For teaching to make progress, there must be renewal both in curriculum and in teaching techniques.Footnote 131
Dr. Chalmers also said:
About 80% hold teaching certificates from other provinces or the U.S. or Great Britain. . .
This phenomenon does not help to create closer ties between provincial teachers and those employed by the Indian Affairs Branch.
D. Increase in Indian Population, Increase in Education Expenses
According to the calculations of the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the Indian population in Canada is increasing at the rate of 4% per year, which is about 1% higher than that of the Canadian population in general. Thus the Indian Affairs Branch must necessarily foresee a growing increase in the general expenses of administering reserves and automatically an increase in the cost of educating Indian children.
It is because of the financial spectre represented by the administration of reserves that the Indian Affairs Branch is putting all its hope into the integration of Indians with the provincial populations. Many official reports mention this fact, and indeed, school integration has become an imperative issue of the first importance inspiring the work of federal officers of the Indian Affairs Branch.
E. Resistance to School Integration
As many officers of the Indian Affairs Branch have pointed out to us in their conversations, it is religious groups which offer the most resistance to school integration. Their arguments are based on humanitarian motives:
The disappearance of Indian schools from reserves is a policy which lacks vision, since the community is separated from the process of education. The communities no longer have a place to meet. Nothing can be organized anymore. Desolation reigns.Footnote 132
However, one fact is already proved: school integration has been found to benefit the Indian children who have attended provincial schools. Thus the religious orders see their supremacy being challenged. Some reaction and opposition is understandable, since integration means that sooner or later the institutions which they established will be closed. These institutions, financed by the federal government, enabled them to serve the reserves' Indian population on a religious basis. Should they lose their residential schools, the churches would be hard put economically to bear the expenses incurred by the permanent residence of a missionary on the reserve. On the other hand, school integration represents the first step toward the dissolution of most reserves, because education makes it possible for the Indians to adapt themselves to the White Canadian's way of life. Abandoning the reserves would mean the scattering of the members of the religious orders. This perspective makes understandable the resistance of all religious groups whose interests are associated with the continuing existence of the reserves.
4. School Planning: Instrument for Integration
Up till now we have been severe in our analysis of the structure established to administer and control school institutions for the Indians. We have no desire to gild what seems to be a rather negative record.
However, in the perspective of school integration, this structure, which was designed as a system of control, takes a definite direction and is able to play a very useful role if it is used as an instrument of planning and as a machine to accelerate school integration. In spite of its weaknesses, this bureaucratic machine can be used to gather all the information necessary for the future orientation of Indian children toward schools of high academic standards.
It is in fact easy to predict the gradual displacement not only of Indian children, but also of their parents towards centres where the children can have a future and the parents can find suitable work and lodging. In this respect, the Indian school organization can be defined as a transition organization. This organization will make possible a better education for Indians and will eventually help in freeing them from federal guardianship.
III. THE NETWORK OF INDIAN SCHOOLS
Because of the very diverse sociological conditions of the various Indian groups established in the provinces or in other Canadian territories, the Indian Affairs Branch has had to organize a complex network of schools in order to reach the greatest possible number of Indian children.
A. The Types of Schools
In a pamphlet published in 1962 by the Indian Affairs Branch and entitled: The Indian in Transition - The Indian Today, Indian schools are divided into two main categories: schools which we would call permanent and schools which we would call temporary.Footnote 133 Indian day schools and Indian residential schools are permanent schools, while hospital schools are temporary schools. We call the latter temporary because they are not an ideal type of school. They are designed to provide a certain amount of teaching for Indian children hospitalized in sanatoriums. However, it is obvious that this is only a palliative form of teaching, designed to assure some continuity in teaching in spite of sickness. There would be no point in evaluating the role of the hospital school in the school organization established to serve the Indian population in Canada. Their role is marginal and palliative.
For this reason, we will limit our analysis to day schools and residential schools. With a few exceptions, the integrated schools are in no way subject to the school system under discussion, since they are usually provincial schools subject to the provincial systems.
B. Proportion of Indian Students in Each Type of School
Of all types of Indian schools, the day schools (377 in number) received the greatest number of Indian children - 20,572 - in 1962. This figure represents almost half the total number of Indian pupils.
The situation in reference to residential schools is complex, since changing conditions are altering the status of this type of school. Of the 66 boarding schools in existence in 1962, 57 belonged to the Indian Affairs Branch; all were administered by one religious group or another; and three from then on were used only as residences for Indian students attending provincial schools. In all, 8,391 Indian students boarded in these schools, 1,490 of whom received their education in neighbouring provincial schools.
In 1962, a total of 146,596Footnote 134 Indian students attended the various
types of schools mentioned. According to a first calculation made in 1962, 44% of the total attended Indian day schools; 25% residential schools; 40% integrated schools; and 1% other types of schools.
The total number of Indians attending school can be roughly divided between the Indian day schools and the integrated schools. Now the Indian day schools are primarily concerned with elementary education and the integrated schools assume the responsibility for secondary and higher education, However, it is obvious that the latter will assume a growing responsibility even in elementary education, according to the wishes of the Indian Affairs Branch:
The past ten years have seen a spectacular growth in the integration of Indian students into non-Indian schools.Footnote 135
The policy of the Indian Affairs Branch is not to operate secondary schools, although some schools offer courses at the high school level. Most Indian students therefore attend provincial high schools and, if necessary, the government pays board and lodging for those who live away from home.Footnote 136
As a result, the residential schools will be taking on certain specific functions which will eliminate them from the normal procedures in educating young Indians.
C. The Indian Affairs Branch's Policy toward Integration
In the 1962 version of the Indian Affairs Branch's Field ManualFootnote 137 the authorities of the
Indian Affairs Branch state their policy toward school integration in clear terms:
The Indian Affairs Branch is convinced that, where possible, Indian children should be educated in association with children of other racial groups. Where non-Indian day schools are conveniently located, the I.A.B. is prepared to enter into agreements with the authorities operating these schools to make possible the admission of Indian children.
It is thus apparent that the Indian Affairs Branch stresses school integration to bring to an end what is, with just cause, referred to as a condition of segregation with respect to Indians. At the moment, Indian schools certainly make it possible to provide an education for Indian children whose parents are cut off from the stream of Canadian life, nevertheless they isolate Indian children from the other groups who form the Canadian nation and represent modern life in Canada. For this reason, the Indian Affairs Branch is not interested in continuing a school system which up to now, we must admit, has contributed to the cultural if not the economic evolution of Canadian Indians, but does not have the mechanisms for a gradual adaptation of Indians to modern industrial life in Canada.
The fact remains that the Indian Affairs Branch must still keep up an autonomous school system to meet the demanding and precarious conditions in which the majority of Indian families find themselves. We must point out, however, that the continued existence of various Indian schools is conditional, as the Indian Affairs Branch states in its policy:
The Indian Day School is for the children of Indian parents living a more or less settled existence within a reasonable distance of a central location. The Indian residential school is maintained to provide for children from broken homes or whose parents are unable to provide the proper care and direction, for the children of migrant hunters and trappers whose way of life makes day school arrangements impracticable and for high school students unable to attend school as day pupils.
Schools and rehabilitation centres for both children and adults are operated by the Branch at hospitals operated under the Indian and Northern Health Services.
For the children of migrant parents who return to a summer settlement each year, seasonal schools provide an abbreviated school program.Footnote 138
We can state, therefore, that, according to the official policy of the Indian Affairs Branch, the existence of each type of Indian school is connected with particular sociological conditions which will be changing due to the initiatives of the Indian Affairs Branch and call for a review of the raison d'être of these institutions. Moreover, the annual reports of the Indian Affairs Branch indicate a rapid change toward school integration and a relative decrease in the number of Indian schools.
D. Duties assigned to the various schools
Until roughly the end of the Second World War, the Indian Residential School was the mainstay of education for Indian children. There is, therefore, a background of at least fifty years of hard work and dedication which religious groups devoted to this area during which the Indian population was largely ignored by the country as a whole. Following the war and until the late fifties, the concentration was upon the building of Indian Day School facilities on reserves, From the late 1950's until the present all the emphasis has been on Joint Schools. Our present policy is therefore based on a firm belief that as representatives of the Government we have a solemn responsibility to do all we can to make it possible for the Indian people to participate in all the benefits of what is commonly referred to as our 'Affluent Society'Footnote 139
If Indian day schools have enabled a greater number of Indian children to attend primary school, the joint schools, on the other hand, have enabled a greater number to attend secondary school. The residential schools were designed for children from Indian families considered "socio-pathological cases" or for children for whom there was no opening in any other type of educational institution.
As a result, the day schools continue to provide education at the primary level in conjunction with the residential schools and the joint schools. The Indian Affairs Branch intends to use the residential school as an educational institution only as a final resort, and does not consider it an institution to be perpetuated. For this reason, it is assigned welfare functions as well as educational ones:
We believe that the normal and most desirable situation is for children to be able to attend school while living at home with their family. In the case of Indian children, we feel the ideal situation is for the child to live at home and attend a Joint School, together with non-Indian children… the next best alternative for the child is to live at home and attend an Indian Day School. Where, for any reason or reasons the first two alternatives are not possible, we feel he should live in a private Indian or non-Indian home and attend a Joint School. Failing this, we favour a hostel-type of setting for accommodation and enrolment in a Joint School for the academic training. We feel that ideally, Residential Schools should only be provided for students for whom any of the other alternatives are not possible.Footnote 140
This attempt to define the respective and priority functions of each type of school is evidence of the good intentions of the Indian Affairs Branch, However, since the Indian Affairs Branch has called a conference in order to make certain points clear to the principals of the residential schools, we should see this as an indication of the Indian Affairs Branch's desire to remove any confusion over the actual role of residential schools in education. The situation is even more confused for the definition of functions in the case of residential schools, since there is a certain number of private residential schools directed by various religious groups which also run residential schools belonging to the Indian Affairs Branch. There is no problem about the duties assigned to day schools. However, taking into consideration the financial principles according to which the residential schools operate, on the one hand, and the administrative responsibilities of the group in charge, on the other, the material aspect of life in the residential school is of necessity emphasized to the detriment of academic formation, properly speaking.
The Indian day schools are under the immediate authority of the Indian Affairs Branch and their financial and academic administration is carried out by the staff of the Indian Affairs Branch who owe loyalty only to the federal government, in the case of residential schools, as we pointed out in a report on our visit to various reserves on Quebec's North Shore, "the government pays a grant to cover the cost of food and clothing for each student, and in addition a special grant for special activities. In other words, the institution receives a fixed amount proportional to the number of pupils for the administration, maintenance and repair of the building. The principal receives a fixed salary and is the administrator. He accepts the young Indians whom the superintendent assigns to the residential school. The principal is responsible for the physical and psychological welfare of the children… and for discipline." Farther on, we noted:
The school principal gave the impression of concerning himself exclusively with the physical and material aspects of the school; all his remarks were on material improvements, such as buying tiles for dormitory floors, paint for the walls, the purchase of new tables and benches for the dining hell and so on. He talked a great deal about his pupils' success in sports. Among other things, he showed us all the cups which the school's teams had won during the last ten years.
This statement underlines the housing and recreational side of a residential school. On the other hand, the academic side proper offers a less dazzling picture:
In spite of all this material comfort, the students present discipline and motivation problems. These problems are apparently attributable to the people responsible for the academic side of the institution and who are not appreciated by the students.
As a result, at the academic level, the residential school does not fulfil its main function adequately. This corresponds to a second problem which is related to the age of the students and the residential school system. "The residential school is the ideal system for all youngsters. … But as they grow older, they feel less at ease there. They would like more freedom and autonomy.'
Thus the residential school does not seem a system which suits the natural aspirations of adolescents and as a result cannot adequately fulfil its educational functions toward a group of students who aspire to a climate of freedom. These weaknesses of the residential school are not found in day schools since the students are only confined there for a few hours each day and for a purely academic purpose.
Taking a particular case as an example, we have seen that the residential school has to assume the role of a home environment since it replaces the family home and at the same time that of a school whose principal concern is the intellectual training of young students. Since the residential school must perform this double function within the same framework, a certain ambiguity exists even in the minds of its pupils over the principal function of the school. They have been sent to the residential school: perhaps they were not given much choice and they are eager to leave in order to regain part of the freedom which they lost when they left their real home. According to our hypothesis, because of the administrative responsibilities which are incumbent upon the principal of the residential school, it seems difficult for the school to be a centre of teaching and at the same time provide a proper emotional climate, since the main preoccupation of the administration is to organize life in the school so that equipment, first and foremost, be protected. Hence the importance placed on discipline and the cleanliness of the grounds.
What effect does this have on young Indians regarding their preparation to live with the White man?
One indication offers an answer: it appears that where a joint school competes with an Indian residential school, those running the residential school define it in opposition to the White schools. "On this point, he (the principal) assured us that the Indian teams had carried off the cups in each of the four leagues organized in 1964, to the great despair of the White students of …" In this context, there seems to be fairly deep rivalry between the White students and the Indians.
As a result, far from encouraging adaptation to the world of the White man, the residential school in fact perpetuates the Indians' idea that they are different from White people by leaguing them together against the Whites, so that the gulf between the two groups remains deep. As a result, so far as acculturation is concerned, the residential school does not seem to help the process, or at least offers a path which appears easy but is in fact dangerous. In a report well documented by anthropological studies, it appears that the Oblates are anxious to make use of anthropological data to justify the residential school system, or at least to refute the objections of the Indian Affairs Branch concerning these schools.
Acculturation proceeds from exterior ways of behaving in economic pursuits (food producing, clothing, etc.) through social organization (forms of local government, recreation) to patterns of thinking (values, attitudes, sense of belonging). The first cycle is relatively
rapid as imposed by circumstances and easier to reconcile with the old ways of thinking. The second may take more time since harder to learn and to reinterpret, The third stage may never set in as a cultural unit. Unsuspected resistance under the form of nativistic or nationalistic movements appear after decades of apathy and acquiescence to changes in the other two areas (e.g., the present Six Nations' attitude toward Canadian citizenship). Acculturation cannot be accelerated unless all the above facts are taken into constant consideration.Footnote 141
The above passage attempts to prove that the deeper acculturation goes, the more difficult it becomes to accomplish. However, the fact is overlooked that acculturation is a phenomenon which ordinarily stretches from one generation to another, and does not take place within the lifetime of one individual, unless he has been removed from his original cultural environment at a very early age.
When speaking of the conflicting loyalties of members of a religious group, we attempted to explain the resistance of certain Oblates to integration due to their disapproval at seeing a community which they had created according to their religious beliefs disintegrate. We will quote an extract from the same document which justifies such a resistance on their part:
In an autonomous society…, the community controls the school, one way or another, naturally, as one factor in the necessary transmission of its culture to the rising generation. All the activities of the school are based on or inspired by the cultural background of the community in which it operates, and aimed at preparing the pupils for life in this country. Any school which is divorced from the cultural stream of the community into which it operates, or which is not partly an activity controlled by this community, is artificial… Footnote 142
Further on, the author takes a position which diverges radically from the integration policy of the Indian Affairs Branch.
The Canadian problem in Indian education is not primarily one of schooling Indian children the same way other Canadian children are schooled, but of changing the persevering community into a Canadian community. When Indian children will not help but grow up to be culturally Canadian, then the average Canadian school will meet their education needs.Footnote 143
The declaration of this principle presented as the conclusion of a report entitled Education for Acculturation shows that this religious order has no intention of accepting the principle of integration with the school as intermediary. In their opinion, the process of acculturation would be speeded up at the level of the reserve, rather than in the school. In this way, there would be no reason to empty Indian day schools and Indian residential schools to force school integration. As a result, it is normal that this principle should lead the Oblates to use the residential school as a last stand. On the other hand, the Indian Affairs Branch is trying to reduce its role to a minimum, again purely out of concern for economy; otherwise, better adapted and better located institutions would soon be established.
E. Criticism of Indian residential schools
In spite of the cultural advantages which the Oblates see in them, the residential schools have not always taken into consideration the problem of adjustment that graduates will have to face in the event that they decide to continue their studies in a provincial high school. Let us examine the statement of a journalist who made a study of Indian students graduating from residential schools.
She makes the following comment on the discipline of residential schools:
With many, the sudden release from years of regimentation sparked an immediate spirit of rebellion against conformity and a sudden determination to break all the rules in the book. Dazzled by the bright city lights, dizzy with their first taste of freedom, they'd head for the nearest beer parlour and all its ensuing complications.Footnote 144
As a result, the docility demanded from Indian students in residential schools prevented them from learning to make good use of their freedom later on. However, since this discipline was associated with compulsory religious observance at the residential school, it was to be expected that religious observance would suffer the reaction of a total let down:
Very few continued to attend mass and receive the Sacraments though whether this trend was, and still is, part of their rebellion against regimentation, or their lack of personal conviction, or their inexperience in going to church with White people - or a combination of all three - it's hard to say…Footnote 145
In spite of the fact that the principals of residential schools claim their institutions give adequate preparation for an integrated life, Miss Cronin shows the inadequate character of the training given in residential schools:
In the economic sphere I found them equally ill-fitted to face the outside world. They simply had not a clue about how to apply for a job or what was expected of them in an interview. They had absolutely no sense of the value of money, spending it like water when it came to calling cabs, making phone calls, buying clothes, transistor radios or electric guitars. True they had very little money to start with, but inevitably any bus fares or pocket money allotted them each month was gone in the first few days.Footnote 146
I feel that this statement is a sufficient demonstration of the distance between denominational residential schools and even the most elementary realities in the daily life of White people. It is not surprising that the Indian Affairs Branch disapproves of them and is trying to reduce their role in the education of young Indians to a minimum.
From our examination, we have discovered that of all types of Indian schools, the residential school was the most ambiguous form of
school from the point of view of its concepts (academic, social and religious training) and the functions it assumed, l/e could find no comparison between the day school and the residential school from this point of view. The criticisms directed towards the residential school hold true in part for Indian day schools, in that young Indians cannot learn to live like the White man on reserves. Miss Cronin made the following statement on this point:
…they knew next to nothing about White people, other than the Fathers and Sisters and lay staff at the school, or local ranchers or fishermen near their reserves, or Indian department officials - none of whom could really be called representative of the complex society in which they found themselves in Vancouver.Footnote 147
IV. THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIAN SCHOOL COMMITTEES
In our analysis of the regional bureaucratic structure of the Indian Affairs Branch's education department, we saw that the Indian school committees were situated at the very bottom of the ladder, and symbolized a first attempt at democratic administration in local school matters. Moreover, a certain ambiguity in administrative responsibilities necessarily resulted from the coexistence of bureaucratic administrative positions and Indian school committees. How did the Indian Affairs Branch envisage this coexistence? We will try to answer this question shortly. However, we must see to what extent the definition of the school committees' duties is in fact respected, and, on the other hand, how bureaucratic procedures restrict the responsibilities of the school committees' not only at the level of the implementation of decisions, but also in making these decisions. We must also see to what extent the Indian Affairs Branch makes use of the school committees in putting its educational policies into effect. In conclusion, we will discuss the limited risks attached to the formation of school committees, the restricted achievements which characterize their actions and the actual potential of such committees.
1. Objectives in creating Indian school committees
As the Indian Affairs Branch emphasizes in its Field Manual (1962~ the main objective of school committees is to prepare the Indians to take on their own responsibilities in education:
The formation of school committees which enable community leaders to participate in the conduct of school affairs is one of the most productive methods of creating an active and intelligent interest on the part of Indian parents in the education of their children. (Chap. II, sect. 11.02)
In spite of this statement, the Indian Affairs Branch obviously intended at the beginning to limit the responsibilities of these committees and the budget they would use.
The Committee will assume active responsibility in the following areas:
- School attendance and truancy;
- Care of school property and school grounds;
- Attendance of Indian pupils at non-Indian schools;
- Use of school buildings for community activities (where applicable);
- Special disciplinary problems;
- Band fund appropriations for school activities;
- Scholarships from band funds;
- Acquisition of sports and playground equipment;
- Extra-curricular activities such as field days, school fairs and festivals,
These are the areas in which the committees can make decisions. However, the Indian Affairs Branch foresees that it may consult and authorize these committees to act in other areas:
- School accommodation;
- Annual school maintenance and repairs;
- Day-to-day maintenance and care of school. The committee may nominate the janitor. (Not applicable when janitor is a Civil Service Establishment);
- Recommendations regarding educational assistance to students of the reserve;
- Joint agreements with non-Indian schools;
- Lunch supplies for the winter months and supplementary school supplies provided by the band;
- School bus routes;
- Reserve roads in relation to school bus route.
The budget is divided into two types of items: sports equipment and various expenses.
As a standard of reference, the criteria for establishing a budget on an annual basis are as follows: $50 for sports equipment per class-room and $50 per class-room for other expenses for a school of four class-rooms; $40 per class-room for a school of 8 class-rooms; $30 per class-room for a school of 12 class-rooms; $20 per class-room for a school of more than 12 class-rooms.
Supposing that the maximum number of class-rooms in Indian schools is 12, which would correspond to a reserve with a large population, the maximum budget would be $840, while the minimum would be $100. Even the larger budget certainly does not make it possible for the school committee to take on important responsibilities. Of course, the committee is free to raise within the reserve any additional sums needed. However, when the economic level of most reserves is considered, this method could scarcely make available a sum even as large as the revenue assigned by the Indian Affairs Branch.
2. Duties and responsibilities taken on by the school committees
We have examined the reports of the meetings of the Six Nations' school committee for a complete year (September 1, 1964 - September 1, 1965) in order to identify the nature of the responsibilities undertaken. This committee has an annual budget of $6,225.00 at its disposal; this is one of the highest budgets there is. We also examined some of the reports of meetings held by the committees of the Fort Alexander Reserve and the Berens River Reserve, both situated in northern Manitoba. It should be noted that the greatest number of Indian school committees in Canada is found in Manitoba, Since the two committees are under the same agency and undertake similar activities, we will limit our report to the school committee at Fort Alexander, which is the more important of the two. In the case of the Six Nations' school committee, we shall list each type of activity carried on, while in the case of the school committee at Fort Alexander, we shall give a brief account of each of the meetings held. Thus we will give an idea both of the extent of the responsibilities taken on and also of the particular importance of certain duties.
A. Summary of subjects to be discussed
a. The Six Nations' school committee
We have summarized 18 different decisions for the academic year 1964-1965. We will distinguish their characteristics once we have listed them.
- Approval for expenses incurred, including salaries for the members of the committee depending on the number who attend. The main expenses are the salaries for school janitors, the cost of sports equipment and transportation of the pupils to attend school festivals;
- A request made to the Band Council to name new members to the school committee when the term of office is up. Suggestion of candidates;
- Permission granted to Indian pupils to attend School No. 5 until the Band Council accepts them on the reserve.
- Pressure exerted on the roads committee for the repair and maintenance of roads (mainly in winter);
- Request made to the manual training class to build the platform required by the Track and Field Club when sports competitions are held;
- Recommendation that a school-girl receive a bursary for her education;
- Dismissal of a janitor for incompetence and negligence in his duties. Hiring a replacement;
- Request made for better maintenance and repair of the school;
- Permission for school premises to be used out of school hours for gym courses and sports activities under the responsibility of a supervisor specially assigned for this purpose;
- Permission refused for the Track and Field Club to hold a dance in the gym to raise funds for their activities. The reason given: "It is not an appropriate place for a dance."
- Appointment of an executive for the school committee, including a treasurer. Authorization for the treasurer to sign cheques;
12. Pressure exerted for the upkeep of the school yard (spraying to control weeds);
13. Three members asked the Band Council to have them replaced. They wanted to give others a chance to gain experience on the school committee;
14. Drawing up rules and regulations for the use of school premises, including the gym. The Band Council refused to approve them;
15. Purchase of paper cups for the children;
16. Distribution of pamphlets on fire prevention to the schools;
17. Permission given to park cars in the three school yards during the exhibition. The profits will be used to buy shrubs for the school; and
18. Payment of the transportation expenses incurred for industrial, cultural and sports trips.
The activities of the school committee indicate a very great desire to participate in the task of educating the children, even if these activities are almost exclusively limited to their material welfare. From this point of view, the members of the school committee respect to the letter the duties which were assigned to them. In the pursuit of its objectives, the committee contends constantly with problems of a financial nature. Funds are constantly being sought to administer worthwhile projects. On certain occasions underlying conflicts can be noted between the Band Council and the school committee, even if its members are named by the Council. It would be preferable for the members of these committees to be elected, in order to give an even more accurate representation of the various tendencies on the reserve. It would also be desirable for these committees' mandates to be enlarged to include educational questions, so that the school committees, like independent school boards, could participate more directly in the education of Indians and could advise the Indian Affairs Branch on important education policies. On reading the minutes, one cannot help but realize that this school committee provides real training toward democratic procedures of decision-making. If the Indians are to assume increasing responsibility in the control of their own affairs, it is certain that this type of institution should play a fundamental role on the reserves.
b. The Fort Alexander School Committee
The report of the meeting on June 20, 1962, mentioned the necessity of having the bridge inspected which crosses the Saskatchewan River and joins the north and south sections of Fort Alexander. Other suggestions were the organization of a track and field day and the construction of a back-stop. The budget available was $86.99.
The report of September 11, 1962, had as topic the consolidation of certain classes and the setting up of a class in space available in one school. Officers were appointed to supervise the cleaning arrangements in the schools and the question of setting up a skating rink for the winter was discussed.
Another report (probably October, 1962) reported $11.76 in the bank.
At this time, an Oblate father on the reserve opposed the idea of consolidation, but his cause seemed to have hardly any supporters. On the contrary, consolidation was decided upon in the case of one school and it was proposed that the name of the school be replaced by an Indian name.
We do not have reports for 1963 and 1964.
On February 18, 1965, the school committee had $215.64 on hand.
The subject of the petition signed at Fort Alexander for the consolidation of certain schools was brought up. It was suggested that money be collected for sports equipment and for serving hot chocolate to the students.
On the following March 9, $32.80 only were reported on hand, and a discussion was held on methods for increasing the committee*s funds. The organization of an educational trip for the children and the means of transport used were mentioned.
A request was made for a sign showing the way to schools built near the river. And finally, a bingo game was organized to send a delegate to Prince Albert. On April 13, 1965, following the annual subsidy from the Indian Affairs Branch, the committee's budget was $532.80.
A report of the convention held at Prince Albert was presented. The question of the sign to be put up on the north shore was brought up again. The organization of an annual track and field day was considered. A place was chosen and preparations were decided upon. The school principal of the agency took the floor to speak of the school committee's relations with the band chief and his council. He stated the situation of denominational schools and notified them of the impossibility of building a new school on the south shore before 1967. He informed the members of the committee that the Canadian Polish Athletic Association had donated uniforms for the base-ball team.
On April 14, 1965, the school committee had no funds left. It was suggested that the students from two schools join for an educational trip. The school principal of the agency suggested visiting Winnipeg rather than the place suggested earlier, The details of the trip were finalized.
The track and field day was brought up again; the chairman suggested the beginning of June. The principal acted as spokesman for the north shore concerning the choice of the south shore as the preferable site for this meet. On the suggestion of the principal, the participants were chosen. The principal suggested that the best athletes be sent to train at Peace Gardens, so that they could take care of the organization of games later on. It was then suggested that prizes be awarded to students with good academic records. Proposals were made.
The question of funds was discussed. The chief and his council decided to grant a subsidy of $500 to the committee, but the principal reminded them that they could not count on receiving funds from the Band Council all the time. It was the parents who should try to obtain the funds needed. At this point, the suggestion was made that a special day be organized for raising funds. The principal took the floor again to congratulate the delegates who had attended the Prince Albert conference. Reference was made to the male delegates' courtesy to a female delegate from a neighbouring reserve,
Next, the program of adult education was brought up; the advantages of taking a course at their expense was underlined. The question of consolidation was reopened. One woman called for consolidation of classes within a Catholic school on the south shore. Another asked that the status quo for denominational schools be maintained.
The principal recalled the policy of the Indian Affairs Branch on the matter of schools, but emphasized that if the citizens of the reserve wished consolidated schools, the Indian Affairs Branch was prepared to consider the question. At this point, an Oblate father again voiced his opposition to school consolidation in general, but if the families on the reserve so desired, the church could study the request. In any case, the church should be given time.
The principal reminded them that they would have to come to a decision on this question among themselves, On April 20, 1965, a special meeting was called on the question of denominational schools and family grievances. The meeting was apparently very lively. The principal requested the members to keep to the business on the agenda.
The conditions for consolidated teaching and the measures to be taken to respect the principle of denominational schools were drawn up. The school principal played an important part in the meeting. On May 18, 1965, the north shore committee acknowledged receipt of a budget of $497.30. It was suggested that $290 of this amount be used for the track and field day. Conditions were set for organization and the participation of students in the preparation of a CBC program on the occupations of Indian children during the summer holidays. The supervision of evening courses for students was discussed. The meeting ended with an exchange of mutual congratulations as the winners of the last drawing were announced.
The south shore committee held a meeting on June 14. Their funds amounted to $200.23. The principal discussed the criteria for selecting the site for the new school. He deplored the length of time the federal engineers were taking to come to make borings.
The senior teacher presented a report on the last sports day. The report was similar to those of preceding years. The plans were made for an educational trip to Winnipeg. It was noted the residential school's cafeteria staff was insufficient.
The principal took the floor to congratulate the students, the teachers, the members of the school committee and said that he was delighted to see teachers attending the committee's meetings. Finally, he announced changes in the teaching staff, which took up the rest of the meeting.
If it is permissible for us to make some remarks on these few reports which present jointly the activities of two interdependent school committees, we would say this:
We can find no attempt on the part of the members of these committees to exceed the field of responsibility granted them. However, the activities of these committees already show certain capacities to undertake larger responsibilities according to the wishes of the Indian Affairs Branch, These committees seem to have achieved some worthwhile projects in spite of a budget which is continually exhausted. Indeed, the obligation which these committees had to face to find funds so that they could continue their activities, seemed abnormal to us. We noted that at almost every meeting, the question of finding ways to raise money was brought up. Since the families on the reserve are generally far from being well off, the collections were very small. The organization of parties and bingo games used up a lot of energy and only contributed slightly to the progress of the students. In addition to this criticism, it seemed to us that the school principal of the agency controlled the proceedings of these meetings and monopolized a large part of the time for himself, which tends to destroy the democratic character of these committees. We have noted that these meetings tended to become an occasion for exchanging numerous congratulations, apparently to create the impression that the members were carrying out their responsibilities perfectly. We have noticed that an increasing number of Indian Affairs Branch officials are using these meetings to enter into communication with the Indians, thus incurring the risk of pushing aside the subjects which are supposed to be dealt with and the risk that the committees will increase their activities beyond the capacities of their budget and lean on the Band Councils.
It is evident that by keeping the committees on such a limited budget, the Indian Affairs Branch runs hardly any risk of seeing them take more initiative than at present.
B. Attendance at meetings
In order, Indian attendance varied in chronological order as follows: 17 (north) - 39 (north) - 46 (north) - 16 (south) - 11 (south) - 14 (north) - 19 (south) - 15 (south) - 9 (south). On the other hand, the attendance of Indian Affairs Branch officers varied in the following manner at the same meetings.
- 14 teachers (north)
2 members of the clergy (north)
- 3 teachers (south)
- 2 officers
- 1 officer (south)
1 officer (south)
- 1 teacher
- 1 officer (south)
46 (north) 1962
16 (south) 1965
11 (south) 1965
14 (north) 1965
19 (south) 1965
15 (south) 1965
9 (south) 1965
9 (south) 1965
According to the attendance figures of the school committees' meetings, the following phenomena appear to be taking place:
- the enthusiasm which seized the north shore committee in 1962 was followed by a period of stagnation in 1965;
- the same phenomenon can be observed in the case of the south shore committee;
- the varying times at which the different meetings take place explains the fluctuation in the attendance of teachers, clergy or officials;
- in general, White participation at the meetings tends to become too strong and to dissuade the Indians from participating. Without doubt the White officers of the Indian Affairs Branch should limit their intervention, otherwise exchanges in the committee run the risk of turning into monologues.
3. Indian Affairs Branch control over school committees
From correspondence exchanged between the officers of the Indian Affairs Branch about the Fort Alexander school committees, we see that the Indian Affairs Branch closely supervises the school committees and holds them to the definition of the responsibilities first assigned to them.
I refer to the motion in the April 10 minutes of the above committee…
The committee should be informed that they have no power to change school hours, but that they may make a recommendation to you for consideration…Footnote 148
If, instead of allowing the democratic process to follow its own course, the Indian Affairs Branch continues to subordinate the views of the school committees to the decisions of its officials, how can these school committees gain a thorough training in democracy? Might this not be one of the reasons which limit Indian interest in the school committees? We find in fact that the officials of the Indian Affairs Branch wish to avoid entrusting too much responsibility to the school committees.
While the janitor positions for the schools are not covered by Civil Service appointments, and could come under the school committee, it is thought that these should be retained under Agency Office control until the committee has gained further experience in managing and budgeting their own affairs .
Moreover, the school committees may occasionally anticipate the policy of the Indian Affairs Branch and on such occasions, the Indian Affairs Branch tries to protect itself against possible opposition to certain positions taken by the school committees. Here is an example:
I read with interest your letter of September 13th in which you inform me that the school committee has initiated a proposal to effect grade consolidation across religious lines in the four schools along the north side road.
Although I have no doubt this proposal has much to merit it, I wish to emphasize that Departmental officials should be extremely careful to avoid giving the impression that this move is sponsored in any way by the Department.
The Department is, of course, anxious to meet the wishes of the people, but it has a responsibility to ensure that minority rights are protected.Footnote 149
It must be recognized that the officers situated midways between the upper echelons of the Indian Affairs Branch and the school committees tend to find themselves in a dilemma on occasion. Here is a rather symptomatic answer in this connection:
My education staff have made every effort to be tactful in this matter and I feel that if there is any difficulty with the church authorities, it will be a difference between the Indian people and their churches. In order to protect the Department from possible criticism, I now attach a petition for consolidation. This petition was initiated and completed by the school committee.Footnote 150
In spite of the limited responsibilities granted to the school committees and budgets almost insignificant in respect to the needs that are felt, the record of the school committees in general seems definitely favourable. Besides the real encouragement which Indians receive to take over a sector of genuine responsibility involved in the education of their children, the most important gain is the training for life in a democratic society. We have seen that the Indians use a relatively large amount of energy to accomplish concrete tasks which, in spite of the motivation which justifies them, still require a considerable amount of devotion and altruism.
This mobilization of energy on the reserve is a new phenomenon for the Indians and one which is a great benefit to them. It is to be hoped that the Indian Affairs Branch will relieve some of its officials of certain responsibilities which will, as a result, devolve upon these committees and contribute to their development. Perhaps the Indian Affairs Branch fears to lose control of the future orientation of the reserves by letting democratic procedures develop to the full. The national and regional directors of the Indian Affairs Branch should definitely forget, for a moment, the legal texts on which they base their incessant intervention and seriously ask themselves this question. Are they unconsciously afraid to break up even partially the bureaucratic structure which the Indian Affairs Branch has built for itself?
Chapter IV Education of the Indian Child Introduction
In recent years, educational specialists have become increasingly aware of the problems inherent In educating children of minority groups in institutions designed to meet the needs and standards of the majority. The failure of the schools to meet the varying needs of children from different socio-economic and ethnic groups can be reckoned in terms of the large number of under-educated and unemployable individuals. The schools have been unable to resocialize such groups of children so that they become functioning adults in the social milieu of the majority.
Educators are seeking ways to meet some of the demands of all segments of society by attempting to eliminate early school leaving and lessen the resulting unemployment and rising social welfare costs. Some communities have instituted experimental programs which include schoolwork programs, pre-school education, remedial programs, increased guidance, smaller classes, community development and adult education. The long-run results of such programs are still unclear, but preliminary reports indicate that where such programs have been inaugurated, involvement and interest of participating individuals have increased and attitudes toward education have become more positive.
The Indian population of Canada is a minority group in the double sense that many Indians are culturally distinctive and often represent an economically deprived minority as well. Until recently, Indian students presented little problem to the public school system because they were educated on the reserve under the educational auspices of the federal government. In the past ten years, however, there has been a steadily increasing enrolment of Indian students in public schools and this enrolment can be expected to increase dramatically in the next ten years. In many areas, public schools have accommodated small numbers of Indian students without any problem. Where the number of students is substantial, however, both the schools and the Indians are becoming more aware of differences in educational achievement that are in part ascribable to differences in culture.
Under the terms of the Indian Act, the Indian Affairs Branch of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development assumes responsibility for the education of Indian children. Through federal-provincial joint agreements, however, such services are increasingly being offered to Indians through the provincial facilities which accommodate the non-Indian population. The momentum for such joint agreements arises from the desire of Indian people for equal facilities as well as from the generally-accepted premise that segregated services diminish rather than enhance the opportunity for Indians to take part in national life. The one real basis for argument against integrating
schools is in the case where provincial ones appear to be inferior to those of the federal government. There is also the question, in the case of integration of schools, of whether the experience the Indian child will have in a public school will be more detrimental to him than would be the effects of segregated education. In some cases it appears that joint agreements have been made without full examination of the type of experience and quality of schooling to which the child will be exposed. In other instances, if joint agreements had been approached with fuller consultation with the Indians concerned, better information might have been forthcoming and could have served as a guide for a decision that might have been different.
Since the Indian Affairs Branch plans to increase its joint agreements with local school boards, and since, in principle, integrated education appears the most feasible of educational alternatives for Indian students, this section of the survey looked at the type of experiences Indian students are having in public schools, how they perceive their situation, what success they meet with and what types of problems they are encountering in adjusting to public schooling.
The initial research on the issues considered in this section of the Project was carried out in the summer of 1964 in three Indian communities in British Columbia. These communities represented different socio-economic levels, had reached varying levels of acculturation, the children had been integrated in the public school system over a number of years ranging from four to fifty, and the communities represented diverse patterns of organization, factionalism, employment and geographic proximity to the non-Indian communities.
During the summer of 1965, the research continued with the addition of two staff members who interviewed Indian students from several British Columbia reserves who were in attendance at high schools and technical schools in Vancouver. Indian students attending the University of British Columbia were also interviewed. One of the investigators travelled west from Ottawa, stopping in each province to visit three or four reserves and interviewing those students and parents who were available.
In addition to students and parents, we interviewed teachers, administrators, service personnel and other Indians and non-Indians who could provide information about educational programs and the schooling of Indian students. Approximately 100 non-Indian adults were interviewed. Sixty-five adult Indians were interviewed and 125 Indian adolescents. Interview topics for each of the categories of the 300 people seen can be found in the Appendix. It should be noted that often there were two or more adults at an interview but in many instances it was impossible to record information for more than one informant at a time. As a result, the number of recorded interviews is lower than the actual number of people involved throughout the study. Some people were seen more than once but have been counted as a single informant. In some instances, the informant was the spokesman for a number of individuals.
Interviews were conducted as casually as possible and with full assurance of confidentiality. For the latter reason, the data are presented in general form and without identification. The investigators were general ly well received and informants were eager to express their opinions on the variety of topics under discussion. While some of the material presented in this Report is based on observation and interpretation of certain events, the major part of it is a generalized statement of the information gleaned from the people interviewed across the country. Many of the conclusions come from the suggestions of the Indian students and parents and the teaching and administrative staff. The investigators are grateful to the many people who gave them the information they sought. They hope that the data are as accurate a representation of what they said and felt as is possible and that this Report will serve them well.
Through the winters of 1965 and 1966, the data were analyzed, tabulated and collated with other information and research to give perspective and context. The findings are not startling but are much as were anticipated from the results of other research which has been carried out in other parts of Canada and the United States by independent investigators. The comparability of our findings to other studies lends authority to our endeavours and it seems worthwhile to emphasize that a variety of programs is underway in several countries which lend themselves equally well to the Canadian scene and which give us the benefit of evaluating their pitfalls and successes.
2. Definition of Key Terms
Some terms are used somewhat differently in this section of the Report so the following definitions are provided.
Indian: In this section we are departing from the legal definition and talking of any person of Indian ancestry who lives within the social, cultural and economic referents of a given Indian group. The rationale for this usage of the term is that a child who looks Indian, lives on or near a reserve, is considered to be an Indian by the non-Indians who have daily contact with him. He is treated like an Indian whether he is legally Indian, enfranchised or Metis. Where no differentiation Is made between these various groups of people, their school experiences have more in common than not.
Attitude: the evaluative and expressed opinion of individuals about specific topics or events. Attitudes of informants in this study were based on their perception and interpretation of given events and their generalizations from specific experiences. Attitudes determine motivation, affect the range of alternatives through elimination or extension, and colour the general perspectives of individuals. Attitudes are acquired by the child through day-to-day experiences, observations and contact with significant adults.
Culture: is the totality of behaviour, values, attitudes and other characteristics of a given group. A subculture is a distinguishable set within the larger one. Indian cultures can be regarded in two ways: (a) as cultural entities in themselves and (b) as a subculture of the larger Canadian complex.
Cultural Dissonance: Sometimes when there is change in parts of the system equilibrium cannot be restored through the available adjustive and innovative processes. Dysfunctional adjustments are then attempted and a state of social disorganization becomes dominant. The concept of cultural dissonance or disorganization is important to this Chapter. Dissonance is observable between Indian and non-Indian groups (or within the larger society) and within Indian groups as subcultures. It is sometimes possible for a subculture to restore and maintain its organization but often at the cost of a higher degree of dissonance with the larger cultural group. For example, mass alcoholism among some Indian groups is an adjustive mechanism within the social organization of the particular Indian group. However, such an adjustive process is dysfunctional and creates more dissonance between the subculture and the larger social group. In turn, this ultimately creates a greater degree of dissonance within the subculture.
3. Some Basic Assumptions
Certain initial assumptions were made which determined the focus of this section of the study. The following are the assumptions which proved relevant. It was assumed that:
- Schooling of any type would represent a discontinuity of experience for the Indian child and the discontinuity would impede his early scholastic achievement.
- The degree of discontinuity would be affected by such factors as the level of education of his parents, his economic background, the degree of acculturation of his community. Where such factors were low, cultural dissonance and personal anomie were expected to be high.
- Where these factors were high and achievement was low, it was assumed that Indian patterns of life would be dominant and highly valued and that conversely, formal non- Indian education would be greatly devalued.
- Where non-Indian attitudes towards Indians were negative and discriminatory, it was assumed that Indian levels of aspiration would be low and self-images would be primarily negative.
- The higher the degree of disorganization in the Indian community, the greater would be the degree of ethnic ambivalence and lack of ethnic identity among Indian youth.
- The lack of educated models in Indian communities would tend to hold down the level of aspiration of Indian youth toward occupations beyond the experience of members of the community.
Were the Assumptions Reasonable ?
The data we have gathered indicate that all the above assumptions were useful in explaining the lack of achievement, the low levels of aspiration and the negative self-images of Indian youth.
- There is no question that schooling presents a clear discontinuity of experience for the Indian child; such discontinuity contributes to the retardation of 80 per cent of the Indian children in first grade and to the average age-grade retardation of a minimum 2.5 years for all individuals.
- Discontinuity of experience is directly attributable to the difference in educational backgrounds of Indian parents from non-Indian ones and in different expectations and socialization processes of the child. Low economic background usually revealed itself in lack of space in the home, poor health and nutrition and inadequate clothing and lunches. It also is reflected in the lack of experience with such things as books and records.
- Where Indian cultures were relatively stable and Indian pursuits highly valued, schooling was devalued. Status and success are defined in Indian terms and an adequate economic level is achievable through occupations which Indians already pursue and which do not require a high level of formal education.
- Levels of aspiration, achievement, self-images and personal identity varied directly with attitudes of non-Indians toward Indians in the same community.
- Where social disorganization among the Indian group was high, Indian youth expressed a great deal of ambivalence about being Indian and a great deal of anxiety about the future. Personal anomie appeared to be high.
- Unless Indian communities had semi-professional or professional models, Indian youth tended to aspire to vocations such as logging, fishing and unskilled occupations in which adults around them were employed.
4. Related Research
There has been much research done on Indian education and related areas such as the education of culturally deprived children. No attempt is made here to summarize the literature but a few salient points are worth noting.
The error of referring to the Indians as a homogeneous group throughout the nation is underlined by the diversity of material presented in the research literature. When the term "the Indian" is used, this is for convenience at the cost of some accuracy. All Athapaskans may share common characteristics but each small group of Athapaskans scattered throughout the country has features unique to itself. The situation
is similar with each given group and locality. While data are generalized In this Report, there is no suggestion that the findings are applicable to all Indians across Canada nor that the recommendations will be useful in all cases. Clearly local differences are pertinent and problems and solutions must be re-defined locally.
It would be equally erroneous to equate Indian cultures with urban poverty cultures merely because members of the Indian groups exhibit similar characteristics to those of slum and marginal groups. The symptoms and syndromes appear to be identical but the routes to the given similarities vary significantly for Indians and non-Indians especially in the range of available alternatives and viable choices.
Indian children and non-Indian slum children exhibit similar behaviour in the classroom: both are unfamiliar with the school structure, with expectations held by teachers and with classroom procedures; both diverge from the normative group values attached to cleanliness, attendance and punctuality; both often have poor health, are listless and under-nourished; both show evidence of cognitive variance from their middle-class peers; both have difficulty verbalizing and tend to have depressed scores on I.Q. tests and low achievement levels. The similarities are striking but the causes differ significantly in many cases. For example, many Indian cultures are not deprived in the sense of the new urban slum. Children on reserves may have had rich experiences in the culture and language of their group. However, this early experience, rich as it may be, has not prepared the child for school routines and activities.
I. SOCIALIZATION: PROCESSES AND PROBLEMS
1. Early Socialization of the Indian Child
To understand how the Indian child enters the school system at a disadvantage, it is necessary to examine how the early socialization he has received differs from that of his non- Indian peers. In order to make the comparison as meaningful as possible, the Indian child presented here as the type is an English-speaking child from a reserve milieu with, say, water and electricity, low income, overcrowded homes, a large number of siblings in the family and some persisting Indian culture. It is likely that the men have seasonal employment of some sort and that occupations are unskilled. The level of education of adults is low, about fourth grade with a few exceptions. Life is contained within the reserve although shopping is done in the nearby non-Indian community and the children have made trips to town and other reserves.
The non-Indian child taken for comparison is from a middle-class home since the school is geared to his needs, values and development, and his early socialization is such that adaptation to school is relatively uneventful. Such a child comes from a home where over- crowding is not a problem, where there may be from two to four siblings, where father works regularly, and where parental education is high school or higher and where values are oriented to upward mobility through education and professional status.
Socialization takes place primarily in the family situation but it has broader societal referents. The values which parents pass on to their children reflect the values acceptable to the social group of which the family is one unit. The children learn to meet the expectations of the group and to act in terms of their shared values.
Each major social group has a set of basic and consistent patterns of life which are related to various cultural values. Differences in these patterns account for some of the conflicts which arise when members of different subcultures come into contact for the first time. The child who comes from a social milieu which does not value time or cleanliness encounters major difficulties upon coming into contact with people who value time and cleanliness highly. Unless the difficulties can be resolved, or one group substitutes the values of the other for his own, communication and understanding are low and conflict is created. Since basic values seldom alter simply through contact, and in some cases are clung to more rigidly because of threat, conflict remains persistently high.
Socialization is primarily the process of learning a role which will equip the individual to live comfortably in his own society and which will enable him to pass on the essentials of that society to others. In this way the social order is maintained. Of necessity, basic roles are ascribed by adults and acquired by children. In addition to basic roles, the individual may aspire to a variety of other roles and may also invent and elaborate additional ones for himself. For all children, the basic roles are acquired within the family group and then within the extended social group. As the child grows and develops he assumes additional roles as he encounters new situations. For most children, the new situations are not discontinuous with old ones and it is a process of role-extension rather than the acquisition of an entirely new role. For example, the child entering school has in a sense already been a student even though the formally-structured academic situation is new in many ways and requires adaptation of behaviour. It has continuity with old patterns. For the Indian child, the school is an entirely new phenomenon with new cultural items and some of his previous patterns of learning are not of value in the school situation. The Indian child is faced with the problems of overcoming disparate patterns of learning and of acquiring a new role in an unfamiliar setting.
2. Environmental Factors in Socialization
The interaction of social and developmental factors and their impact on intellectual performance and school achievement is complex. The high rates of failure, drop-out and unemployment, as well as obvious difficulties in personal adjustment attest to the low effectiveness of the school in preparing students for life in the larger society. There is ample evidence that children from the reserves and those from middle-class homes differ considerably in their patterns of language and thought. While the differences are not fully understood or accounted for, there is little doubt that the child from the reserve suffers as a result of being required to fit into the patterns of the majority and of being measured by its standards. It is worthwhile to attempt to delineate what factors contribute to such differences and how basic they are while recognizing that such understanding is of necessity speculative at the present state of our knowledge.
While the middle-class milieu does not consistently or completely furnish the conditions for maximum development, it seems to offer more generally nurturant conditions for growth and development than does the self-contained reserve milieu. The essential differences in available stimuli in the environment of the reserve and that of the middle-class child in conjunction with specific goals and means of socialization account for the differences in expectations, in set, in patterns of learning and in achievement in school. Some of the essential differences are:
dirty house; often un-attractive, unpainted and uncared for.
Housing: It is difficult to assess how a minimum standard of housing affects growth and development. The lack of privacy, for example, no doubt has compensations in warmth and closeness to kin and in inhibiting feelings of isolation which often come when a child is retired to his own room and cut off from the warmth and interest of the adults who constitute his immediate world. Such lack of privacy also permits participation in all phases and nuances of human experience including involvements in drunken brawls and similar incidents, and also means the lack of a place to study, nowhere to keep personal effects such as books and clothes, and lack of sufficient sleep for school children.
Food: Lack of adequate nutrition for the child from any home implies potential lethargy and minimal operation of abilities which affect performance and achievement in school. Lack of scheduled meals in the Indian home often means that the child arrives at school not having eaten breakfast and for the few who lack school lunches in addition, the school day becomes intolerably long and tiring; learning capacity is greatly minimized.
Clothing: The matter of clothing is not directly relevant to achievement but does affect attendance, social status and psychological outlook to a considerable degree which then in turn can be related to achievement. Excuses for absence of Indian children are often based on the fact that there were not enough clothes to go around or that there were no clean clothes, or that no one was up to find clothes for the first grader. None of these factors applies to the non-Indian middle-class child who does not have to worry about the adequacy or condition of his clothes which are provided and cared for by his parents. Indian children are often laughed at because of their bizarre appearance in bargain and rummage goods. In the upper grades, the girls particularly find the comparison between their clothing and that of their non-Indian peers so extreme that their sense of embarrassment forces them into choosing to stay home rather than attend school. Such factors become even more vital in the upper-elementary and junior high school years when appearance is so important to social acceptance.
Objects: Development is stimulated by the availability of items and experiences in manipulation, exploration and creative play. Accuracy of conceptualization is refined by exposition to an array of objects and through experiences in which adults provide corrective feedback. The lack of objects in a child's world often means a paucity of stimulation and diminished opportunity for learning what things are, how they are used and how they are differentiated one from the other. The lack of experience with scissors and crayons, for example, means that the Indian child arriving at school has to learn what they are, the small muscle skills for using them, the various ways in which they are used, and the names for the colours. The non-Indian child who has developed these skills is ready to begin to learn to write and also to read. The Indian child has to "catch up." Individual potential is of little consequence if the child is not provided with the means for developing his skills and abilities.
Any child who is deprived of stimulation is likely to be deficient in development of various abilities. Indian children do receive stimulation but the variety is limited to a narrow spectrum in comparison with that available to most non-Indian children. Such deprivation has an effect on perception, attention span, patterns of learning and relationships with adults who normally provide corrective feedback, set up expectations for task completion, rewards and punishment and who provide reinforcement in a variety of ways. The language-symbolic system is also dependent on relationships with adults. Attitudes and set toward learning are established through interaction with adults from infancy on. Indian and non-Indian children have different psychological environments in the following ways:
Environmental deprivation may have a levelling effect on the individual's achievement of certain skills and abilities. This is as applicable to the middle-class child who is restricted by routines and over-scheduling as it is to the Indian child whose experiential deprivation Is due to different causes. Such deprivation does not imply that children who are deficient will not be able to learn skills after bypassing them but it does mean if they have not learned them during the optimum period for development they will take longer to do so when given the opportunity.
Parental Interest in Learning: The orientation of non-Indian parents to learning processes and their familiarity with the requirements of the formal educational system augurs well for their children's establishment of patterns of learning which will be adaptable to the school situation. The lack of similar orientation among Indian parents and the lack of time for individual attention for each child lessens the possibility of establishing patterns of learning which will be consistent with those in school. The lack of corrective feedback and the paucity of objects provides the Indian child with few opportunities to discriminate perceptually and conceptually and limits his experience with items that are familiar to most children. For example, the non-Indian child who has blocks to play with learns to discriminate spatially, and to distinguish colours and sizes. He is helped in this by parents who correct him when he mistakes one colour for another and when he attempts to build a structure for which the blocks are not designed. Tactile sensory discrimination is also learned through familiarity with a number of toys and the direct teaching of the parents' "yes, that's rubber; no, that's wood." Such skills help immeasurably when the child learns to read and write. And such skills are assumed by the school as being possessed by all children on entry.
Verbal Practice and Development: Verbal skills are mandatory for learning in school. The child who has familiarity with books, who has been engaging in conversations with adults, who has an extensive vocabulary and who knows how to use words is at a distinct advantage when compared with the child who has had little verbal interaction, no exposure to books and who has learned English from adults who use it as a second language.
The child in the latter situation has not developed the auditory discrimination which is necessary for learning to read because he has not had the necessary corrective feedback. Because conversation has seldom been directed at him, his general level of responsiveness and attentiveness to incoming stimuli may be lower than that of the child described in the middle- class situation. This again lessens his facility in learning to read. Low responsiveness also has implications for reception of reinforcement, correction and attention span, the relationships of which to the formal educational process are obvious.
Sanctions for Learning are related to the development of a set toward learning including meeting the expectations of the teacher and being able to understand and decipher the cues given in the learning situation. The non-Indian pre-school child who is rewarded for "trying," who is encouraged to complete the task, who is given a time limit for performing the task has no difficulty assessing the expectations of the teacher and in meeting them in the majority of cases. The Indian child by contrast has had none of this pre-school conditioning and does not share the expectations of his peers with regard to the demands and behaviour of the teacher and his expectations. He therefore has to learn to do a task whether or not he is interested, to complete it, to do it within a given time limit and to accept punishment for not meeting these expectations. All of these factors interfere with the actual performance of the assigned task. They also reduce motivation. When the child has experienced negative sanctions for not meeting expectations and when his hope of achieving competence is constantly negated, he simply stops trying.
Discipline: The middle-class child is well prepared through the controls and routines Imposed on him at home for conformity to similar impositions at school. The Indian child is used to routines that are more free and to more independent behaviour. He encounters difficulty in school almost immediately and he must learn to conform to scheduled activity, to inactivity, to respond to the demands of the teacher and remain with a task until he completes it. He may also encounter punishment for the first time in his life and with little understanding of what he has done that is wrong. Again, he must learn the expectations for behaviour before he can learn anything else.
General Patterns and Routines: The middle-class child's routines are geared to his well-being and to ensuring that he gets enough food, sleep and activity in a regulated way. All of these arrangements contribute to his school achievement. The Indian child by comparison is often hungry and lacks sufficient sleep. His involvement in economic pursuits of the family may cause him to be frequently absent and tardy. In addition, the frequent absence of a father model who serves to reinforce an occupational image and the notion of success may also hamper the child's performance and motivation in school.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the Indian child may have much difficulty in understanding and becoming re-oriented to the world of school as do the school personnel in understanding why this child is different and what his problems are. The Indian child from the first day of school experiences few successes and many frustrations and lacks the ability to articulate his confusion and misunderstandings and so reduces his opportunities for resolving them. Negative self-images begin to emerge, reinforced unwittingly by teachers and peers. The alienation process becomes firmly entrenched reaching its peak in negativism and despair about fifth or sixth grade. Parents may aspire for success for their children but they lack the knowledge of how to operationalize their aspirations. The cumulative educational deficit increases with age.
It is important to note that while the descriptive comparison between the Indian and middle-class situations appears to be invidious, that there are many and strong positives to be found in the Indian milieu. Unfortunately, these positives tend not to be congruent with the demands of the school and so count for little when considered in the light of preparation for formal education. For example, the strong sense of autonomy and independence and the considerable strengths developed by young Indian children in their own milieu appear not to provide them with any confidence in themselves when they are overwhelmed with the demands of the rigid school system. The little that transfers Is quickly eliminated in the demand for behavioural conformity. This is all the more unfortunate since the child enters school with essentially positive or at worst neutral attitudes toward school and soon learns negative ones. The school is the only agency which can alter the situation and that it has not done so is not entirely the responsibility of the school. The larger society makes it difficult for schools to experiment, offers little encouragement for special training of teachers and provides little research to pinpoint the specific types of problems presented by children of myriad backgrounds who arrive in good faith to become educated and who leave a few years later uneducated and without hope.
3. The Process of Alienation
One of the outstanding themes of Indian youth is the sense of alienation they feel with regard to their own culture and also to non-Indian culture. If one accepts many of their expressions at face value, one is forced to conclude that the majority of them live in a no-man's- land from which they have no escape.
Most adults and also many of the youth expressed a sense of powerlessness. Adults said, "we told those people what we wanted but it didn't make any difference," and, "government officials do what they want," and, "there is nothing we can do about it." Such expressions when heard in context indicated that the Indians in a variety of circumstances were quite clear in their own minds as to what they felt should be done about specific matters but they did not feel that any expression of opinion on their part would alter in any way what actually would be done. Youngsters in grade school expressed opinions that implied, "Indians never do well so what can I do?" and had long since stopped trying. The sense of powerlessness results in failure to achieve, lack of motivation, low levels of aspiration and inability to assess one's own potential. The lack of effort anticipates the lack of achievement and confirms the sense of powerlessness. The end result is stasis and a strong sense of alienation from people and events.
It is difficult to see how this vicious circle could be broken. The Indians have become accustomed to having decisions made for them and are loathe to reclaim their decision-making prerogatives. More commonly, parents silently accept a decision to integrate a school and then sabotage the decision by keeping the children home on a variety of excuses. In reality a basic explanation of non-attendance is the fact that they did not wish their children to integrate at that particular time, or in that way, or at that age.
An Indian's expectation that he can control the events of his life is low and based on persuasive experiences. If this is to change, then children must begin at an early age to accept responsibility for their own lives and affairs. A change in administrative controls-even those affecting children at the elementary school level-can help them accomplish this.
At the secondary level, the Indian student has little confidence in his own ability to make decisions affecting his future. He has had little experience in decision-making. He has little familiarity with the range of alternatives and tends to limit his decisions to acceptance or rejection of suggestions made by teachers or superintendents. Most of the interviewees in up- grading and vocational courses stated that they had come to Vancouver for the program because "the agent said I should" or "the agent suggested it would be a good idea." In most cases, the students had not thought about the prospects themselves, had no idea of what they would be doing and as a result many have failed or dropped out for lack of interest and commitment. Another person had made the decision and the student himself had invested little in it.
For those Indians whose own society is changing relatively rapidly and who perceive no substitute for old and valued ways, there is a strong sense of drifting and isolation. Youth internalize some of the goals of the non-Indian society while lacking the means of attaining them. High values are assigned to unattainable goals and low values are assigned to attainable goals within Indian culture. When young people become conscious of the discrepancy (often about fifth grade), motivation tends to drop off, ambivalence increases and the process of alienation from the non-Indian society begins in earnest. From this point on, achievement is lower, drop-out rates rise and personal anomie increases.
The process of self-estrangement seems to start early for the Indian child and culminates in the period around fifth grade under the circumstances described above. After a generally nurturant infancy and a relatively secure and emotionally warm early childhood, the Indian child starts school. Here he learns that he is "different" and that
this difference accounts for the negative reactions of others toward him. His characteristic behaviour does not meet school expectations. He is punished or ridiculed for his failure to behave as others expect him to behave. Because he is dependent upon others for his rewards, he begins to build a concept of the ideal student which he cannot possibly meet but which he perceives other children meeting. He ultimately learns that he cannot attain the ideal status for reasons he does not comprehend. He begins to doubt the value of being an Indian and clings to the ideal image of the non-Indian student. The gap between the ideal self and the real self leaves the individual with a sense of self-alienation as well as a strong feeling of alienation from the larger society. There is little of himself or his culture that is valued within the classroom situation and the rewards he so earnestly seeks are seldom achieved. Failure follows upon failure until motivation, self-image, aspirations and achievement alter accordingly.
Aspirations and Alienation
The aspirations of young Indians were usually simply stated. They wished to become educated so they could obtain employment. Few knew what type of employment they sought and fewer knew what alternatives were available to them or what the educational requirements for specific occupations were. The dichotomy of ideal versus real appeared in response to questions such as "what would you like to do when or if you finish school?" Responses included such replies as "be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer" in contrast to replies to the question "what will you do when you complete school?' which drew such answers as "fish, log, be a mechanic, hairdresser, nurse's-aide" and other occupations considered "typically Indian" or at least within their experiential frame of reference.
In almost every case, informants stated their aspirations by prefacing them with comments such as "if I could make it" or "if I finish school." While most youth indicated that they would like to complete high school, few planned to continue beyond grade ten. Very few informants mentioned university.
In general, informants knew no Indians who filled the ideal roles to which they aspired and in reality they expected to do what Indians did, that is, fish, go logging or do nothing. The expectation of actually obtaining employment in a non-Indian world was not high nor was it general. The lack of expectation made their educational goals hollow and deflected from the meaningfulness of life. Young Indians perceived the non-Indian world as unpredictable and their chances for employment low. Their aspirations tended to reflect the realities of their milieu in which virtually no one is employed at an ideal occupation or needs education to be employed in his particular occupation.
The sense of alienation among Indian youth seems to be traceable through the generations. The very elderly people have perceived the changes in reserve life but they are not personally involved in them. They eke out their days secure in their traditional status and untouched by the changes. The parental generation is not as secure. They have status neither in Indian society nor have they succeeded in non-Indian society. They express bitter feelings about the lack of educational opportunity and decry the lack of employment at the same time as they cling tenaciously to the belief that education will mean employment and a better way of life for their children. At the same time for some, a school generation has already gone and with it has come the realization that schooling did not guarantee employment and that life is not better. Today's youth are the product of both their parents' hopes and their own realizations. They grow up in a psychological environment which reflects a strong sense of defeat and hostility towards non-Indians. At the same time they hear the hopes that education will mean employment and a better life. These two points of view when combined with their own sense of alienation in school leave them little hope that they can achieve such goals. The combination of identification with parents, of alienation and normlessness, and of lack of belief in their ability to break through the barriers results in confirmation of expected failure. Ability and motivation may not be lacking at the start but they are soon stifled and defeat becomes inevitable. The syndrome is instituted early in life and comes into full operation in the first year of school and has run its course between fifth and eighth grade. The barriers to successful achievement of goals must be removed before the child becomes conscious of the gap between the goals and the means of attaining them. This means that the school experience for the Indian child must be different from the present one starting in the first grade if he is to have any hope of succeeding at all.
4. Values and Education: Functions of Ignorance
The system of values in some Indian communities tends to devalue formal education. It becomes important to understand the origins and development of such devaluation, and discover whether it implies a social function of ignorance or what substitutes the system offers in lieu of formal knowledge.
In the few remaining hunting and trapping societies, the time spent at school is a hindrance to becoming a good hunter and trapper. In communities where commercial fishing may provide a livelihood, the same concept of schooling is applicable. Time spent in school may be considered as time lost from important and vital life-processes and in such communities, adults were free in pointing out that the child in school was not learning anything of value to him. It was not surprising to find that children in such communities wished to leave school early. One variant was the community where the Indians are commercial fishermen with a high level of living, with good housing, new clothes, cars, refrigerators, deepfreezes and television sets. Here people indicated that the youth should finish at least high school but imposed no negative sanctions on drop-outs. Adolescents were frequently removed from school to help prepare for the fishing season. The alternate work available in this community was logging. The youth were all of the opinion that people should complete high school but each of them planned to drop out as soon as possible so he could get a job logging or fishing.
In the hunting and trapping economies, the adults expressed anxiety about the possibility that their children could maintain themselves through indigenous pursuits. However, they perceived little hope that the children could obtain employment in the Indian milieu since none of them knew anyone who had.
People readily assert that education is important and useful and that if one wants employment it is essential. In reality, behaviour and day-to-day conversations indicate clearly that education has little meaning to the Indians as a group. Few Indians know other Indians who are employed because they are educated. Few really hope to gain employment in a non-Indian milieu and youth from such communities share the same reflections as their parents. They aspire verbally to complete high school but they also quite openly admit that they will actually drop out of school at the first opportunity and at least by grade ten.
There is also a social function of ignorance. In some communities there is tremendous pressure on people to conform to norms and not to differentiate themselves. When individuals begin to pass the level deemed acceptable one of two things happens: the individual is persuaded to revert to the normative level or he leaves the group. This levelling influence affects education. In one instance, students stated that they would not want to go further than eighth grade; the only person who had progressed beyond that level in their area was beaten up regularly "because he thinks he's so smart and begins to act like he's White or something." In other instances, residential school informants indicated that they were sneered at by the "kids who don't go to school any more and it makes us feel awful." Other students who have moved away from the reserve said that they did not feel welcome at home now because their schooling had made them "different." These are high prices to pay for a year in school. When youngsters are faced with the problems of going on in school plus such pressures, it is understandable that they choose to drop out of school about the same time as their peers and others on the reserve.
The concept that youth will become educated is a difficult one for some elders to adjust to, also. Reserve leadership is tending to shift into the hands of the younger and partially educated men. Many councils have a secretary who has eighth grade and maybe some secretarial or commercial training. To the adult generation who are partially educated and whose only opportunity for status remains in their own community, better education of the young is a threat. There is some pressure exerted on adolescents to attend school for so many years but no more. The process reveals a social utility of ignorance whereby the current generation maintains its power by keeping the knowledge and educational levels of the youth at par with or not much beyond their own. This process does not work effectively in all areas and there are several reserves where social control is poor and where youth have little or no respect for Indian authorities and where chaos reigns. In such areas, adults tend to blame too much schooling for the lack of respect.
There is no doubt that the education of youth creates strains within the majority of Indian communities. The gap in understanding becomes wider between generations for each is moving at different paces and often in different directions. The demands of school children for better clothing, lunches, material items in the home increase with the child's exposure to different ways of life and his experiences in school. For example, residential school students complain that they dislike sharing beds and clothing and that they don't like the food when they return to the reserves for the summer. Parents are hurt and feel that their children neither love nor respect them any longer. Parents attribute the cause of this conflict to education. Education has evolved new needs which parents on the reserve cannot meet and has created conflict where earlier there was none. Where educational facilities are minimal and where educational attainment is low, such conflicts tend not to appear and the community is less disrupted. The social function of ignorance in such cases is a positive one from the point of view of the Indian in his community.
5. The Schools and the Minorities
Traditionally the public schools have tended to emphasize and propagate those cultural values which are primarily evolved by the middle class majority. The upper class has not been threatened by such emphases and in fact share most of the dominant values of the middle class. The lower classes and the non-Caucasian minorities have had a difficult time adjusting to and finding a place for themselves in the public schools. The degree of success of the children of minority groups in meshing into the cultural stream of the school has depended in part on the degree of deviance of their own culture from the majority culture. The process of acculturation has been singularly a one-way process with the accommodations being made by the students of the minority group and almost never by the schools or by the majority.
The school as a subculture in itself is rigid in its commitments to administrative procedures, schedules, curricula and methods of teaching. Personnel who might be flexible and knowledgeable enough to integrate material from the various cultures of the children into daily classwork seldom have the opportunity to do so when faced with the rigid requirements of completing the given curricula in the given way. Similarly, administrators who might be willing to overlook tardiness on the part of some minority children are unable to do so when forced to maintain a regulative system applicable to all. The contact of individuals from different backgrounds might be able to enrich and extend the perspectives of each. Such contacts can also lead to more differentiation and stronger conflicts which are intensified by obvious racial membership. The outcome depends in part on the school. The contact situation may produce a continuous frustrating experience generated by cultural marginality and in which there appears to be no resolution for the minority member.
The data from this study indicate that most of school life produces frustration and conflict for the Indian child rather than a situation in which ethnic differences are accepted and used for everyone*s enrichment. The Indian child becomes aware of his ethnic difference for the first time. A great deal of anxiety is created by the fact that he is in a wholly unfamiliar environment; there is nothing in the school or in his classroom which is familiar to him nor is there any set of values or procedures which he can relate to his own world. In the unfamiliar environment the young child loses his identity not only because there is nothing familiar but because everything he is and does is wrong in the eyes of the teacher and his non-Indian peers. While he senses his failure to meet the expectations of significant individuals in the school setting, the Indian child cannot understand why he is told he is wrong and is unable to evaluate the situation for lack of experience and knowledge. The situation becomes an excruciating one for him as the years progress because he becomes more consciously aware of being undermined. Home and school underline world views different in detail and in orientation.
It is in the school situation that the failure of the Indian home to provide sufficient security within individuals to withstand attack and threat becomes obvious. Children are completely defeated by the time they reach the upper grades; their poor self-images and expressed lack of confidence and ability to succeed at nothing attest the fact. This would seem to indicate that while many Indians will state their sense of worth as Indians, they have passed the point of believing it and their children have sensed their doubts and reflect the same ambivalence. They are left with few resources to withstand the constant attack upon them as individuals with a distinct way of life.
Schools try to reach and alter parents through the children, thus often creating intolerable conflict. Such statements as "tell your mother not to send you to school unless she washes your clothes" have all sorts of ramifications and most often result not in cleanliness but in absenteeism.
Caught between the Indian and non-Indian worlds as well as between generations, the Indian child is faced with an overwhelming task: to assemble for himself an identity in situations of the utmost confusion. He must also develop a sufficient sense of self-worth to enable him to progress from childhood to adulthood with some conception of his role, his abilities, his limitations and some hope of success. The prerequisites for such a task include the development of skills to cope with his environment and the support of adults who will believe in him and guide him along his way. The child cannot resolve this dilemma while he is still dependent upon his family for primary needs and subject to the adult authority of the school which has found no meeting place with the home.
The Teacher's Dilemma
The dilemma of the teacher is no less than that of the Indian child, for the teacher must provide not only the material to be learned, but also the skills necessary for subsequent learning. In order to accomplish this, the teacher must make the material meaningful and find means of relating it to the things the child already knows and to his life in general.
In the average school, the majority of the students come from a background similar to that of the teacher. The teacher is thus in a position to relate, interpret and project ideas for the students. He is also able to interpret the behaviour of the children, both to himself and to other children, since they share a common social orientation. Problems arise when the teacher is faced with the necessity of helping a child who does not share this common orientation to become a productive and accepted member of the class.
Initially, teachers tend to evaluate children from minority groups ethnocentrically. This is usually not done in a deliberate attempt to castigate such children for their behaviour, but for lack of an alternative. That is, few teachers are sufficiently aware of the differing cultures from which their students come to be able to understand their behaviour. When faced with different norms, teachers fall back on their own patterns of thought and action and attempt to make the minority student fit those which are the most familiar and comfortable. This is doomed to failure: the teacher is faced with misunderstood and deviant behaviour on the part of minority students, and also with a growing sense within himself that he is not helping the child to learn.
The teacher is also placed in a difficult position by school procedures and regulations. Some teachers are quite knowledgeable about their minority students and the types of environment from which they come. They would be pleased to find a way to accommodate minority group Children, but they are prevented from experimentation by the pressure to maintain the regular operation of the school. Certain curricula must be covered in a set time and often in a given way. The teacher has little time to add material or to substitute material more relevant to the lives of students. Social studies provide a prime example of this kind of thing: Indian children with the illustrious background of the Six Nations sit through lessons In history in which the missionaries are martyred by the vicious Iroquois and in which the voyageurs obtain the credit for navigating the waterways. No text mentions the positive contributions of the Indians in the opening of the eastern provinces nor the help they provided to the initial explorers as guides along the many rivers and watersheds. For a teacher to overcome such misrepresentation would demand research on his part to accumulate factual material and the elimination of certain material from the accepted course of studies.
The day-to-day incidents in the classroom do not make the teacher*s position enviable. The minority group child arrives for school late more often than on time. Even a teacher who understands the reason for tardiness has still to maintain a principle. The desirability of promptness must be reinforced for the class in general and the teacher is not in a position to overlook the tardiness of the child who arrives late every day. On the other hand, the hurt and withdrawal on the part of the late child is also understandable when one finds out that he missed the bus because no one woke him and that he walked the three miles to school without breakfast to be greeted with a rebuke.
Similar situations arise all throughout the day, taxing the ingenuity of the teacher and the sensitivity of the child. The teacher may become defeated and take recourse to ministering the needs of the majority and "doing what I can" for the minority. In this he is supported by the administrative organization of the school and by the mandate given all teachers to socialize children in a manner acceptable to the larger society and in a way which will enable the children to take their place in that society. Society and the school accept little responsibility for those who cannot conform and the teacher is not In the position to fight an educational system and a society on behalf of a few children out of the many.
While many teachers could do more in their own classrooms by being more understanding and in reinforcing the sense of worth of minority group children in many small ways, the mandate for change to accommodate them rests with the school administration. This can be done without disrupting the total process of education. That it must somehow be done is clear from the data which indicate that pressures on the Indian student to conform are useless and that Indian children are neither conforming nor becoming educated. Meanwhile, teachers continue to take refuge in the "rightness" of their ways and will struggle onward in the task of "helping the children overcome their Indianness."
Acculturation and the Problem of Identity
There can be no doubt that both teacher and Indian student are unwilling participants in a cultural conflict which is more than the summation of their individual encounters. A closer look at the process of acculturation as it proceeds in and through the school may provide insights into the dilemma.
By seeking to make the child less "Indian" and, by implication, more "middle-class White," the school is asking him to become a different person. Can this acculturation take place without changing the basic personality of the child - evolved through membership in his specific group through the early years of life? If the answer is no, to demand acculturation is to demand a great deal, in pain and effort, and raises the fundamental question of whether it is necessary.
Industrialization of all parts of Canada renders untenable a program of isolation for any small group. Indians are seeking to join the mainstream of national life and share in its benefits of employment, education, health and welfare and better standards of living. The process is not smooth, because it occurs on many levels of contact and often is neither planned nor sequential. Cores of resistance develop such as that in education. One of the major barriers to the adaptive process is the one of ethnic identity with all its implications for perception, behaviour and achievement in school and employment.
The Problem of Identity
The process of socialization bears down heavily and continuously upon the developing human being. In the early years learning is intensive and basic; for this reason early learning is considered most fundamental and affects the individual*s adult patterns of thought and behaviour. Likewise, early learning is difficult to alter because of its intensity and its basic characteristics. In this lies the explanation of the difficulties encountered in attempting to change the patterns of thinking, acting and learning of the Indian child when he arrives at school. Only in those areas in which he does not have to unlearn things can one hope for ready success in teaching him new ways of thinking and doing.
The early learning hypothesis does not rest independent of other factors such as affect, types of pressure for change and the general circumstances in which the pressures are exerted, the availability of other alternatives and a multiplicity of related factors involved in the contact situation. It is generally accepted that core culture, values, basic cultural orientations and personality are most resistant to change. At the same time, change in any segment of the culture is not likely to occur unless there is a substantial reason for it.
Acquisition of new material or traits does not necessarily imply internal change. However, pressure to change patterns which are already learned requires internal change and meets with resistance depending on the factors cited above and the interdependency of the particular trait with others.
The young Indian child arrives at school with a cultural orientation, a set of values, and a structured personality. He has an identity as an individual and as a member of a specific cultural group. His cultural orientation and values will have prepared him to value certain things and not others, to perceive things in certain ways and to internalize goals for specific reasons shared with his community. To the extent that the school population holds different cultural orientations and values, his expectations and perceptions will differ from those of the others and a situation of conflict will be created. To the extent that the child learns that his way is not only different but is wrong, his identity and his security are attacked and he is confronted with a crucial problem.
Every child has a set of tasks in each developmental period which he must learn and complete in order to achieve maturity. For the child for whom the prevailing social trends are the normative orientation, the tasks remain substantial. For the child who must, in addition to resolving age-graded tasks, also evolve an identity in a society in conflict with his own, the task becomes overwhelming. For the non-Indian child, the school represents an on-going process of socialization within the school. For the Indian child, the process of socialization within the school represents a clear discontinuity. The most powerful reinforcements for learning are those of social and emotional reward. Such reinforcement is systematically denied the minority group child in school and negative sanctions are applied to him for possessing characteristics of which his parents approve. The only available source of reward for the minority child is found within his primary group which strengthens those very characteristics which the schools seek to alter. If viable alternatives were available to youth and if the schools rewarded for some of the behaviour of the culturally-different child, there would be a possibility of change. As long as all rewards must emanate from the primary group of the child, there is much less hope of the schools succeeding in re-socializing children from various minority groups.
In order to maintain a sense of personal worth and identity, the child must have some successful experiences in his attempts to learn and some hope of achieving success in future endeavours. Without some sense of worth and identity, the child cannot mature or become or remain a functioning human being.
Models and Identification
The availability of models with whom youth may identify in their discovery of themselves is an important factor in socialization. The Indian student has both Indian and non- Indian models to choose among. The process of identification can be a unitary one, that is, the individual can choose one model whom he seeks to emulate. Or the process can be extended to an array of models each of whom has certain characteristics which the individual seeks to develop in himself. Generally, individuals choose their model from among the group of adults close to them. Ultimately they branch out to identify with several models as the need for diversity in roles becomes stronger. Finally, the individual acquires his own identity, similar but separate from that of his models.
Indian children model themselves after other Indians in the initial phase of the process of identification. The characteristics which Indian models provide do not permit the acquisition of behaviour patterns which the child needs for fulfilling roles in school and in the larger society. Seldom do Indian communities have adult models who have achieved high status in that community through education. In school the Indian child has non-Indian models provided which he might use in his attempts to become like his non-Indian peers. However, if he chooses a non- Indian model, the child has no means of internalizing non-Indian characteristics; he does not have sufficient knowledge of them to be able to behave as a non-Indian in the absence of the model. The persistent conflict of cultures is highlighted again by the fact that when the goals which youth are internalizing derive from their own culture, the goals of education are extraneous; when the goals and behaviour are derived from the school, they find no reflection in the behaviour of adult models within the Indian community.
Identity and Aspirations
The process of identification and the choice of vocational aspirations are closely interwoven. It becomes necessary to distinguish clearly between ideal and real aspirations when discussing the matter with Indian students. Students often indicate that they aspire to be professional people, that is, doctors, lawyers, nurses and members of other related disciplines. Aspirations can only be considered real ones if the individual can project himself into the situation through the vicarious experiences of a model with whom he has identified, and if he is aware of the processes involved in attaining such a status.
Most Indian students who cited "doctor" as a vocational aspiration could name no doctor (Indian or non-Indian) that they knew personally and had little concept of what was involved in becoming a doctor. When the question was changed from, "What would you like to do?" to, "What will you do?" usually more realistic assertions were made which reflected the range of available vocations for which Indian youth had models within the community. When the gap in responses was brought to the attention of the respondent, the explanation was given that it was nice to think about various occupations but that it was unlikely they could achieve professional status because "Indians aren't doctors."
Discussion then led to, "What are Indians if they are not doctors or lawyers?" Seemingly, Indian models are primarily skilled and semi-skilled or unskilled labourers, fishermen, loggers, mechanics, truck drivers or "nothing" by occupation. For females, models are wives, mothers, practical nurses, cannery workers, cooks, charwomen, hairdressers and other similar occupations. Strongly prevalent is the concept that such occupations are Indian occupations because Indians have gained employment in these occupations and have succeeded in them.
In analyzing the choices that young Indians make there are several factors to be considered. First, they are Indians identifying with Indian models and by definition, Indian occupations. Second, students are aware that Indian occupations demand a lower level of education than would other choices. Third, since most Indians in school are on general or occupational programs and over-age as well, school and Indian Affairs Branch personnel tend to encourage these students to enter training programs leading to trade occupations, "because they are good ones for Indians." This further reinforces the idea that such occupations are for Indians and that others are not. Finally, school and Indian Affairs Branch personnel tend not to disseminate general vocational information and tend not to encourage Indian children to think about semi-professional and professional occupations because, "this is not realistic for Indians at this time." Little or no vocational information is given to Indian students so that many are unaware of the alternatives and are reduced to a choice within the narrow spectrum of their own community.
For the generation currently in school, the choices are now being slightly broadened. For males, there is support from school and home to pursue training courses leading to qualification as electrician, carpenter, and operator and mechanic for heavy duty equipment. For females, there is encouragement to think in terms of doing clerical work, or be receptionists in medical and dental offices and store clerks. Such alternatives remain close to the older definition of "Indian occupations" and require little further educational background than the ones already cited.
There remains the question as to why Indians do not identify with non-Indian models whom they meet daily in school and whose goals they have internalized at least partially. Some students did indicate that they might like to be teachers but hastened to add that they could never achieve such a goal because they would probably not complete high school and would never get to university. Some girls also aspired to be "real nurses" but were satisfied with contemplating practical nursing because they were not on the required academic program. When males were questioned about such occupations as police or game wardens, some categories of which do not require more education than the general high school program, youth responded that they would not be able to be law enforcement agents in their own communities nor would they "like to tell people what to do all the time." Similar statements were made by some respondents with reference to becoming teachers. Seemingly, youth tend to veer away from vocational pursuits which might place them in a position of authority in their own communities.
What factors might permit Indian youth to identify with models outside their own communities and to extend their horizons? One major factor is the degree of understanding and acceptance which exists between Indian and non-Indian groups. Where non-Indian attitudes are supportive, the chances for Indian youth identifying with non-Indians and their occupations are higher than in situations where there is little understanding and acceptance between the two groups. In communities where Indians are accepted for what they are and their Indianness is not decried, two main factors appear to be operative. The Indians have no ambivalent feelings about being Indian and have a relatively strong sense of worth. At the same time they perceive themselves as becoming more like the non-Indians in their desires for material goods and types of employment. Because they are accepted by the non-Indians, they perceive few barriers to their aspirations for jobs of status higher than the typical "Indian occupations." They also have more information about such occupations and aspire to higher levels of educational achievement. The Indians are encouraged by the non-Indians to think in terms of moving away from the reserve, living in an integrated community and supporting themselves through occupations available in the community. Offers of employment available after graduation serve as incentives to youth to complete school and as reassurance of acceptance within the non-Indian community. Where such incentives are also supported within the Indian community, the hope for achieving them becomes realistic. In concrete terms, Indians could identify with White models under the optimum conditions of (a) acceptance as an Indian by the non-Indians (b) encouragement of non-Indians through general support and job offers (c) reinforcement of such aspirations by the Indian community (d) educational success in an integrated school. If any of these factors is lacking, the possibility of Indians identifying with non-Indian models is diminished if not removed.
Other Types of Identification
Many youth identify quite successfully with models within their own community. This is particularly true of situations where the level of living of the community is adequate by Indian definition, that is, where people in the community have relatively good housing, appliances, cars, buy new clothes and have some cash for leisure. In general these were logging and fishing communities where income was derived from seasonal employment, unemployment insurance, social assistance and pensions. Status in such communities was derived from being a good fisherman with more money and more possessions. The better fishermen were more likely to hold positions on council and to consider themselves as hereditary leaders as well as elected ones. Youth in these communities were not as likely to look outside the reserve for the things they desired as were Indians from more depressed circumstances. They enjoyed the material levels they considered comfortable and they saw no need to venture into the non-Indian world in search of other things. They identified with the more successful members of the community, expressed little ambivalence about being Indian and had a disregard for formal education. They aspired to leave school as soon as they could in order to go on the boats or to the lumber camps. Youth indicated that "education is a waste of time" and while adults said "fishing is over; the kids should finish school and get jobs" they readily took the older children out of school early to help prepare for the fishing season. No one watching the total involvement and excitement of the community in getting the boats ready for another season, or listening to the stories of successes and speculations about the coming season could seriously believe the statement that "fishing is over; you should complete school and get another job."
Many situations were found where Indian youth observed and examined the process of identification realistically and pessimistically. This occurred where non-Indian attitudes were non-supportive (neutral or hostile) and where Indian models were either not available or weak. The social situation comprised disorganization, factional ism, alcohol ism and general mass unemployment. Youth from such reserves tended to be depressed, pessimistic about the future, have low levels of aspiration and poor self-images. They perceived the future holding not much more than the past. They were often surprised by the question of what they might do and be in the future since few of them visualized any possibilities of doing or being anything other than they were now. Indian youth in these communities aspired to be employed but were realistic in their appraisals that employment was unlikely because they were so far behind in school and also because employment was not generally available to other members of their community. Such communities were filled with people who had tried obtaining work to no avail or who had held jobs for short periods and then been fired or quit for a variety of reasons. Youth expressed fear about what happens to the Indian who leaves the reserve to obtain work and the difficulties he encounters in adjusting to the demands of city life and work. Recounting such stories, young people stated unequivocally that they were afraid to venture into similar experiences. At the same time they also expressed the strong desire to have more money and food and clothes and nicer houses which they perceived as being obtainable through employment. But they felt such employment was beyond the realm of the Indian.
The lack of successful Indian models on or off the reserve and the partial internalization of seemingly unachievable goals on the part of partially-educated Indian youth on such reserves result in an irresolvable conflict for individuals and groups of individuals. The lack of successful Indian models by any definition results in a lack of direction, diffusion of identity, ethnic ambivalence and a good deal of fear, all of which become self-perpetuating in inhibiting any move toward economic and social integration. At the same time, the internalization of at least the economic goals of the non-Indian society creates a feeling of frustration which makes life virtually intolerable on the reserve. Filled with the dissatisfaction of their present circumstances and convinced that there are no other alternatives open, Indian youth become greatly disenchanted and bitter about all aspects of life and seek to ease the constant dilemma by whatever means they can - legal or illegal.
In each of the situations cited above, the closed nature of the society adjacent to the reserve clearly prevents the movement of the Indian into and through the social system of the majority group. Where the non-Indian society is closed to the Indian, frustration and depression do not occur if the Indian society itself has the means of maintaining a satisfactory standard of living through indigenous activities. Indian models are available to youth and identity is achieved within the Indian group.
In cases where the non-Indian society is closed and the Indian society is disorganized and depressed, there are few ways of maintaining a sufficient and satisfying life. Youth in these communities exhibit identity diffusion and appear to be immobilized between conflicting goals of the Indian and non-Indian ways of life. They are permanently lost unless the closed non-Indian society can become more open through procedures which will enable youth who aspire to non- Indian goals to have the possibility of achieving them.
The young Indian child is subjected to an informal educational system within his own society which enables him to become an Indian; formal education in the public schools seldom overlaps the Indian educational process but it does make certain inroads. At adolescence, about fifth to eighth grade, the antithetical position of the two cultures becomes crucial because it faces the Indian youth with a dilemma he cannot resolve. In essence, it forces him to choose between being an Indian or an Indian "White." This is clearly a choice which he cannot make simply because whatever else he may be, he is an Indian and others regard him as such. Despite the fact that the Indian*s early socialization had equipped him to be an Indian, his school experience has been at least partially successful in enabling him to internalize goals which he has no means of achieving within his own society. At the same time, the non-Indian society is usually more closed than open, thus further inhibiting him from achieving within it should he be capable of doing so. This produces an ambivalence within the majority of Indian youth which makes life miserable and which virtually negates all hope of achieving some degree of satisfaction and success.
Faced with continual criticism for being what he is, the Indian child struggles through a long series of failures still hopeful that he may succeed in time. By fifth grade, he begins to realize the chasm which separates him from others and to realize the futility of his efforts to achieve socially and academically. He then begins to withdraw from any participation in the learning process until he is legally of age when he is able to withdraw completely. Achievement, attendance, self-image and level of aspiration drop markedly.
II. THE INDIAN AND FORMAL EDUCATION
Fact and opinion were gathered from many people who were assured that they would not be identified and no specific references either to people or to communities will be made.
The sample is not a large one, but its consistency gives confidence that we can use it to come to conclusions about the larger population. Every effort has been made to provide corroboration from other sources--Indian Affairs Branch records and reports, school records and independent research projects. Nevertheless the data do not represent all reserves or schools and local variations make each situation unique in some respects at least.
It might be well to restate some of the principal findings. The early training of Indian children cannot be parallelled or equated with the process of training which non-Indian children are undergoing at the same time. General orientations, values, routines and relationships vary among social systems and the child from each develops a completely different world view. As a result, when Indian and non-Indian children appear at school initially their expectations are different, they perceive things differently, their familiarity with the material phenomena of the school is different and their behaviour is governed by differing sets of rules. There is no basis, theoretical or real, in these cultural differences on which to assume any lesser degree of potential ability or motivation on the part of either child.
The differences in general orientation ultimately prove to be crucial for the Indian child. School expectations, rewards and punishment, classroom procedures and related factors tend to enhance and complement the early learning of the non-Indian child. However, the school process interrupts or conflicts with the learning process of the Indian child forcing him to unlearn, relearn and acquire new learning in areas which he should have at his disposal at school entry if he is to progress at the same rate and in similar ways as his non- Indian classmates.
The Indian child falls behind immediately because he has to acquire many of the skills the non-Indian children already possess upon school entry. He also has to become reoriented so that he can communicate with the teacher and meet the expectations of the school. Some factors are beyond his control, such as punctuality, and so he fails to meet expectations. As negative sanctions are applied throughout the early school years for behaviour which he cannot control or adjust and as he trails along behind his non-Indian peers, the pursuit of success becomes obviously futile and motivation decreases. Failure increases. The image of the Indian student as a dull, retarded student without ambition becomes the school stereotype, and the child is constrained to fill the role.
Major areas of conflict experienced in the contact between Indian pupil and White teacher concern autonomy, discipline, competition, time and language. These are conflicts of their respective cultures. Many Indian groups consider the child autonomous between two and three years of age. From this time on he is not considered a child but a person. He is left free to create his own routines, make many decisions, play at and learn things which interest him and in general to develop independent of stringent parental guidance and control. The child becomes self-sufficient in many ways. His days and hours are relatively unstructured. Upon entering school, he has to learn to conform, to adapt to a schedule of activities, to learn to participate in things whether or not they interest him and to become subservient to the constant demands of another individual.
Closely connected with the concept of autonomy is the practice of discipline. Discipline in an Indian community is seldom harsh and rarely physical. (Discipline should be discriminated from the physical abuse of children by adults who are quarrelling and drinking.) Adults do not establish rigid sets of rules to control the child. Often he is not punished even when he commits an offence against a known rule; adults reason that he will learn that others will be ashamed of him, or will mock him or reject him if he persists in such behaviour. These are strong and compelling forces of social control but they do not constitute as narrow a disciplinary margin as do tight and rigid systems of rules with set punishments for infractions. There is much leeway on an age-graded basis in determining acceptable behaviour in an Indian community.
The child at home feels his way along the path to learning what constitutes acceptable behaviour. In school, no child is free to learn through trial and error; the rules are established and the punishments for infractions are defined. One difficulty the Indian child encounters is in learning what the rules are since many of them are implicitly shared and understood by members of the majority group and do not get discussion until after an infraction has occurred. The Indian child has little opportunity to learn the rules directly, since all are expected to know them. He begins to feel hurt and confused as well as unjustly treated when he realizes that he is being punished for things he does not know and understand and over which he often has no control.
Competition is a cultural phenomenon which may or may not be a part of the Indian child*s background. In many Indian cultures, competition is a strong element and Indian students from such groups should have no major difficulties in engaging in competitive processes in the classroom provided they have the background of information necessary to compete. For other Indian groups, however, cooperation rather than competition is valued. Children from these groups are perplexed when scolded for providing the answer for another child or doing his work with him. Since many of the rewards of the school system are based on competitive methods of teaching ("see who can finish the problems on page ten first") the Indian child from a non- competitive orientation tends to gain much less recognition and reward than his more competitive peers. Given twelve problems and the motivation to "see who can finish first," the non-Indian child may race through and have five errors but complete the work; the Indian child may have completed seven sums correctly with the others untouched. The non-Indian child is commended for completing his work and told to correct his errors. The Indian child is reprimanded for being slow and not completing his paper. The psychological atmosphere for each is considerably different.
Time and schedules are major points of conflict between school and Indian students. The routines of an Indian home and the general orientation of the community to time and schedules are ones of general flexibility. The school does not run on flexible schedules nor could it; it expects the students to meet schedules with little allowance for deviance. The Indian student who walks to school is more often late than punctual; bus students are either punctual or absent. The Indian child also has to learn to conform to scheduled activities during the school day. Many non-Indian children also have to learn this but are helped by relatively consistent scheduling of meals and bedtimes and hours of awakening which not only routinize their lives but help them learn the concept of time. The Indian child often eats when hungry and sleeps when tired. In over-crowded houses, children follow adult schedules which means that they retire late and have insufficient sleep if they get up in the morning to get to school. They often are late in arising because adults are not up to awaken them.
Time subjects the Indian student to reprimands and to having to learn to value something which is contradictory to his past experience. The young child seldom manages to resolve this problem.
Language is a complex issue with many variants from locality to locality. For the child who comes from a non-English speaking home, as is the case in many northern areas, the problem is to learn a new language. This is perhaps the least complex of all the variables because in such instances the child can learn English from an English-speaking teacher and peers. Such a necessity retards the educational progress of the child initially but may give him good grounding for later years.
The child who comes from the home where English is spoken by parents as a second language probably speaks "Indian-English." This is a variant in which English structure and words are used but in which forms and meanings often vary from the standard ones of the school; and although the child who speaks Indian-English is viewed as an English speaker by the school, in most cases he is as much in need of instruction in language as the non-English speaking child.
Indian children also report they are confused by the constant stream of talk that goes on in the classroom. Some Indian children are used to relative quiet in the home with conversation limited in frequency and quantity. These children complain that the classroom is noisy and that they have difficulty keeping their attention focussed on the conversation of the teacher. This difficulty is compounded by the language difference cited above. The children tend to get discouraged at their failure to communicate with the teacher and vice-versa and withdraw into the silence by "tuning out." This is not unique to the Indian child, but the non-Indian child has the advantage of at least understanding what is being said when he tunes in again.
Indian children expressed hurt at being "yelled at" by the teacher. In our observation, in most instances teachers thought to be yelling were using normal teaching voices and were not angry or unpleasant. In many Indian homes a quiet tone of voice is usual, but raucous and strident tones are also common. The explanation may be that the Indian child is overwhelmed by the diversity of elements of language he has not mastered and that they produce a combination whose incomprehensibility he expresses in his complaint that teachers are offensively noisy.
The question of motivation of the Indian student is a complex one which is not easily unravelled. No studies have found that the Indian child is less motivated to succeed than the non-Indian. Pilot studies undertaken during the course of this project appear to indicate that the motivation of Indian students is as high as that of non-Indians and higher in some instances. Nevertheless, the study also indicates a sharp drop in motivation for achievement after a few years in school. Comparatively, White Canadian children tend to increase motivation for achievement in school with each year in school. The diversity can perhaps be explained by differences of experience in success and in support from significant adults.
The non-Indian child gains momentum for achievement both through success in school and through parental pressure and support to succeed. As the child grows older his success becomes more important and the pressure and support from home is increased on the premise that he must succeed in school if he is to succeed in life.
The Indian child*s experience is considerably different. He loses momentum through the early school years because he experiences more failure than success. The goals toward which he is striving become less realistic as he matures. Economic and social mobility do not correlate as closely with educational progress for the Indian student as they do for the non-Indian child who knows people who work and who have certain jobs because they have specific training or education. The Indian community and the child*s parents in particular often do not see school achievement as essential to future success.
Consequently, home rewards for good school achievement are virtually unknown and punishments for failure hardly exist. Indian pressures for achievement are directed toward things which are more significant to the community than achievement in school. Similarly, until the child*s school experience alters and the system of rewards becomes germane to him and he has some opportunity to succeed it is likely that motivation will continue to decrease with each year in school.
In sum, the atmosphere of the school, the routines, the rewards, and the expectations provide a critically different experience for the Indian child than for the non-Indian. Discontinuity of socialization, repeated failure, discrimination and lack of significance of the educational process in the life of the Indian child result in diminishing motivation, increasing negativism, poor self- images and low levels of aspiration. Until some compromises can be made by the school and the Indian and non-Indian communities, the impasse will remain and the sense of worth of the Indian student will remain low, inhibiting adequate academic achievement. The schools serving the majority cannot readily accommodate the children of minority groups but some provisions can be made through special classes, skilled teaching, and sensitive teachers which should enable every child to experience some success and maintain his sense of worth.
2. Dropping Out and Staying In
Statistics for 1963-61 are used since when data were collected the 1964-65 figures were not complete, but a review of the 1964-65 figures indicates that the trends are similar. In 1963 there were 45,309 students attending day schools, boarding schools, provincial schools, vocational schools and special schools. Of this figure, 57 students were registered in universities and the remainder were predominantly in the elementary schools with a small proportion attending secondary schools and vocational institutes.
Analysis of Table I shows that the rates of repetition of grades and of drop-out are extremely high. Retention in grade one and the loss of students in any twelve-year period are alarming.
|Grade||Year||Enrolment||Loss (no.)||Loss (%)|
In a period of twelve years, 8441 Indian students out of 8782 did not complete high school. Figures are not available which would specify the separate rates of retention and attrition. We are forced to use the gross figures which indicate there is a 94 per cent loss of school population between grades one and twelve. The national rate of drop-out for non-Indian students is approximately 12 per cent. The two figures of attrition are not fully comparable since late entry, language difficulty and the other factors already cited for Indian students make such a comparison unreasonable. Nevertheless, the difference is a rough measure of the position of Indian students in relation to non-Indians and a reminder that although more Indians are entering school each year and staying in school longer, doubly intensified efforts will have to be made to equalize educational opportunity for Indians. Non-Indian students are also staying in school longer and achieving higher educational levels. No measures are available which would enable us to compute the rate of increase for each group but it is certain that unless the Indian curve advances at a much faster rate than at present the gaps will remain significant.
Samples taken throughout the provinces show that approximately 80 per cent of Indian children repeat grade one. Many Indian children repeat grade one three times. Others are promoted after failing grade one; they usually manage to complete grades two and three but fail grade four. The failure pattern then remains consistent through to grade eight. In grade eight, a large number of Indian students leave school. The remainder continue through to grade ten, usually repeating the one or two years, at which point most leave school entirely and approximately 20 per cent go into vocational institutes. Those few students who continue through grade ten usually do adequately in grades eleven and twelve and complete high school.
The Indian Act states that a child may enter school at age six but must enter by age seven; he may leave school at age fifteen or at the completion of grade eight whichever comes first. Public School Acts require children to enter school at age six and permit them to terminate at age sixteen or grade eight. An Indian child who enters school at age seven, fails grade one and grade four is of legal age to leave school at grade six. Most continue on to grade eight but then do not want to continue because they are discouraged, feel "silly with all those younger kids" and don*t anticipate that they will feel comfortable socially in the high school environment.
Administrative divisions of schools offer students a natural drop-out point when they are due to move to another school. Where schools include grades one through eight, students tend to leave at the end of grade eight. Where intermediate schools begin at grade six, those who are of age often decide to drop out of the elementary school rather than shift. A number of students leave the intermediate school at either grade nine or ten depending where the break occurs. This issue is further complicated where Indian students are integrated into public schools at grades six and eight.
Another factor abetting drop-out in some areas is integration into religious schools from the reserve system. One example will suffice: Children from reserve X attend an Indian Day (Roman Catholic) School on their reserve until grade six; they are then transported 20 miles past several public schools to attend a city academy for grade seven. Students are then admitted to other Roman Catholic schools spread out through the city for grade eight. They have to transfer again if they wish to attend high school. The transportation of students to this variety of schools is based on Indian Affairs Branch policy on religious education, on school administrative decisions that the Indians not exceed a certain quota of a school*s enrolment and on the insistence of some parents and church officials that children attend Roman Catholic and not public schools.
It is not surprising to find that the students from this reserve drop out at grades six, seven and eight and that virtually none of them go into high school. Were the religious factor not present, the students could transfer from grade six to a local public intermediate school which would serve them through grade ten. This would eliminate the experience of trying to integrate into the terminal year of a school where the non-Indian students have been together for seven years. It would also eliminate the necessity of entering three schools in three years, a procedure which few non-Indian parents would tolerate and which can only be educationally adverse.
While the above instance underlines the complexities of providing educational services of the parental faith, the situation is not unique and also occurs in other areas where the issue is not religious. In several areas, children transfer from reserve day schools at grade four or grade six or grade eight. In almost all cases this creates difficulties of integrating over-age and educationally retarded children into a system which may not be prepared to offer them the special help they need in order to adjust both personally and academically. Numerous reports of students who have gone through such transitions reflect the difficulties of getting to know new people in an uncomfortable environment and define particular problems regarding lunches, clothes and marks. Lunches and type of clothing are not a problem in the reserve school because children wear similar types of clothes and go home for lunch. In the integrated situation, many Indian children are chagrined by the obvious differences in appearance between themselves and their peers.
Children who have been obtaining adequate marks on the reserve find themselves failing in the public schools. Discouragement and negativism are created and students who have integrated in upper elementary years have said they would prefer to stay in the reserve school. The other alternative is earlier integration.
Indian parents and some school officials assess the education of Indian children somewhat unrealistically. Parents feel that because their children have four to six more years of education than they themselves obtained that their children are "educated" and should be able to achieve more, obtain employment and have a better life than the parent generation. Similarly, school and government personnel point with gratification to the fact that more Indians are getting more education. Parents and personnel are justified in feeling that their efforts are due merit and recognition. However, the results of education are not in proportion to the increased enrolments and levels of achievement. Parents particularly have difficulty recognizing that the buying power of grade eight education is nil and that in most areas even high school is not sufficient education for employment even for skilled labouring jobs.
It is necessary to evaluate what is happening in the extended years of education. For the child who repeats a grade for the third time, nothing much is happening that is of positive or educative value. He is merely putting in time. Unless remedial measures are taken in such cases and unless the process of education is constantly evaluated, children can sit through ten years of school and gain the background of a grade four student. Personnel on vocational and upgrading programs voice the complaint that "They come in here with grade eight officially but most of them can*t read or do math much beyond the grade four or five level." To these instructors falls the task of upgrading students to grade ten in a period of six months.
3. The Age-Grade Picture
Figures for any twelve-year cycle of schooling reflect the same trends. The majority of Indian students enter school late, that is, at seven rather than at six years of age. Approximately 80 per cent of the Indian students are retained in grade one; some are held there for three years. From grade six on, it is more common to find students who have repeated every grade than it is to find students who have been able to complete the work in one year. Only 12 per cent of the Indian students are in their proper age-grade. (Calculations are done on the base of age six- grade one; age seven-grade two and so on.) The average Indian student is 2.5 years behind the average non-Indian student by the end of eighth grade.
Only intensive research in specific areas would provide definitive explanations for the above patterns. The general survey and the results of independent studies yield some insights, however. The reasons for failure in grade one have already been commented on. The progress of the child through grades two and three without undue difficulty may be explained in two ways. Many schools have promotion policies which prohibit holding a child back for more than one year in three. The child who is failed in grade one must then be passed through grade two and three without retention. At the end of grade three he may be placed in a slow learners class until he is judged competent to continue the regular program or he enters grade four which he subsequently fails because he has been accumulating an educational deficit in the previous two years.
The second explanation of the failure in grade four may be that grade two and three work are greatly repetitive and the child has time to assimilate the material especially if he has spent two years in grade one and has completed the process of adjusting to routines. In grade four, many new concepts are introduced as are a few new subject areas. Reading and language become less of a subject and more of a skill. For the child who has not learned to read adequately, grade four work becomes extremely difficult because he needs reading skill in order to cope with all his other subjects. Again, grade five is not so different from grade four and is handled relatively comfortably by the grade four repeater. From grade six on, not only is the material complex but the social situation also becomes a pertinent factor. A change of school about this time may also evoke retarding factors.
If pre-school education were made available to Indian students and if ungraded primary classes were the rule rather than the exception, it is conceivable that the Indian child might be able to overcome his initial retardation on school entry and avoid accumulating a deficit. If schools could offer remedial training to all children from grade one on, it is also possible that Indian children would benefit greatly and that age-grade retardation could be much reduced.
One of the major problems Indian students encounter is the transfer from an all-Indian school to the public school. Students who attend residential school or reserve day schools report that the transition is a difficult one emotionally and academically. No general systematic study was undertaken but several informants indicated that they had been doing well at an all- Indian school and were shocked to find themselves failing in the public school upon transfer. Several who stated that they would have finished school satisfactorily in the Indian school dropped out of the public high school because, "I couldn't get anywhere; I was failing everything." There is no doubt that personal adjustments are harder to make at high school age than in grade one; the impact of a complete change of orientation and routine from the reserve or segregated system to the integrated one requires considerable personal flexibility and courage. According to the students who transfer and the school personnel who receive them, the academic background of students coming from segregated schools is not comparable to that of other children in the system including other Indian students. If the discrepancies were between a D standing in the Indian system and an F standing in the public system, the problem would be understandable. However, many informants reported discrepancies between A and B standing in the Indian system and complete failure upon transfer. Such experiences perplex and shock the students and raise many questions about the type of education the students are receiving in reserve schools. Where students transfer from small village areas to massive high schools, the problem s understandable. But where transfer occurs between relatively large reserve elementary schools and local public schools, the academic discrepancy should be virtually nil. If the student had the security of being able to compete academically, the adjustments required by the transfer would be less overwhelming. When the child cannot compete on any level, it is not surprising that he chooses to withdraw completely.
The importance of early integration and of ensuring adequate academic competence if integration must be delayed is underlined by parents and students and school personnel alike and by the negative results which follow the present circumstances.
Attendance of Indian children in public schools is sporadic and low. The attendance problem was one defined by all adult informants.
Educators blamed the parents, the Indian Affairs Branch, and the RCMP for their laxness in enforcing compulsory attendance laws. Parents shifted the responsibility to the Indian Affairs Branch. Officials of the Indian Affairs Branch felt the parents had the ultimate responsibility. None of the official organizations (school, Indian Affairs Branch, RCMP, councils) wanted to claim responsibility for attendance or for evaluating a problem which they perceived to be so complex that it seemed impossible to solve.
Children are required to attend school between the ages of six to sixteen. Some systems have probation officers whose job it is to enforce the law. Principals have the right to advise the Family Allowance Branch to discontinue payments unless absent children return to school or attend more regularly. Parents may be prosecuted for not sending their children to school. Children could be placed in foster homes because of their non-attendance at school. Yet, none of these measures provides an effective solution for the large-scale absenteeism of Indian children although individual instances may have been solved by recourse to them.
The suspension of Family Allowances simply increases hardship for the family and may not significantly change attendance patterns. Where children lack sufficient clothes and food to attend school, the withdrawal of funds increases and compounds the problem. The prosecution of parents for failure to send their child to school requires that somebody lay a charge. School personnel are loathe to do so feeling it would alienate the parents even more and that it would add to rather than solve the problem. The RCMP will act only upon direct request of the school or the Indian Affairs Branch. The Indian Affairs Branch hesitates to invoke legal measures for a variety of reasons. The removal of any children from their parents is a drastic and final step. There is a dearth of social welfare workers to deal with individual cases and a lack of suitable foster homes for large numbers of children.
In a few instances, superintendents are attempting to get band councils to take legal action or remedial action of some other sort. The principle of involving the people most concerned is a valid one but this is a problem which experienced educators and administrators have not been able to solve. No band council could withstand the hostility and disruption which would arise if it took the drastic action that others cannot take.
However, reluctance to use the law is not entirely predicated upon an unwillingness to accept responsibility on the part of official agencies involved. There is a strong feeling that the answer is to be found in remedial measures rather than in punitive ones. The reasons for non- attendance vary but they almost always reflect both the student*s growing disenchantment with school and the economic problems of the reserve. Significantly, absentee rates for Indians increase with each year in school. The range of absenteeism found is from 10 to 100 days of the 180 day school year. The average Indian child misses 40 days of school. The average white child misses 5-10 days of school. (Rates for all children are higher in primary grades due to infectious children*s diseases which keep the average child out of school for 10 days; from third grade on absentee rates decrease steadily for the non-Indian child).
Reasons for Absenteeism
A differentiation must be made between absence for reasons beyond the control of the child and absence because of deliberate choice. The first type of absenteeism includes values held with reference to responsibility of kin. The second type stems from experience in school. In the first instance solutions must evolve from an understanding of the culture of the particular Indian community; in the second case, one must evaluate and perhaps alter school practices.
Many Indian groups have retained some system of kin obligation and reciprocity which affects the lives of all members of the group. If parents want to leave the house for the day or several days, they consider it reasonable to demand that one of the older children assume responsibility for the care of the younger ones. Priority is given to the needs of the parents and less consideration to the child's need to attend school. Most Indian parents agreed school attendance was essential but they also felt that older children had a primary responsibility to family. Values were expressed in statements of the following type: "It's too bad that X has to miss so much school because she gets behind but she has to babysit a lot." No Indian parent questioned the primacy of demands placed upon the child. It was apparent that if the child was wanted at home then nothing else was as important.
Girls were most often kept home to help with younger children, to babysit when parents wanted to be absent, to help with laundry and to help in cases of illness. In several families the older girls rotated these responsibilities so that they all missed a certain number of days per month. In a few cases, older girls who did not like school released younger girls from rotation by volunteering to stay home thus virtually eliminating themselves from attending school.
Boys stayed home to help haul water for laundry, to cut wood and sometimes to care for younger siblings if there were no older girls. They also stayed home when boats or cars needed repairs, to help fish or hunt or trap.
Some of the above absences are precipitated by administrative procedures relating to welfare. For example, in one community Indians requesting supplementary assistance or additional clothing for children must travel to the agency office forty miles away to obtain funds. There they obtain a chit for purchases which is honoured by a store in their own community. Parents in this community often leave an older child in charge of the younger ones while they travel to the agency office. Some of the younger children may resist going to school and the older one may permit them to stay home, perhaps for company. Sometimes children are left without sufficient food and they want to stay close to home, hopeful that their parents will return with groceries as well as other things.
Other absences are also accounted for by the family's moves to seasonal employment. In areas where crop picking jobs are available, children are regularly taken out of school to help pick, since payment is usually made for bulk and even young children can help. Similarly, boys and girls are taken on fishboats early and kept out late in the season to help in various ways. In trapping areas, older children may also be involved in the collecting and preparing of skins.
Other family-related causes for absence have been mentioned earlier, patterns of living which entail late bedtimes and late hours of awakening. Many children do not get to school simply because no one in the house is awake to get them up and off to the bus.
It is difficult to imagine how school attendance can be immediately and greatly improved in the light of demands for children's services, unless these can be replaced where they are needed. Possibly, if the school experience were such that the child himself demanded the right to attend, absenteeism would be much diminished and that much more quickly. As education shows more positive results in the lives of Indians, then home demands for services of children will be lowered also. When education is followed by employment with money circulating back into the home and community pressures will be exerted on children to attend school. At the moment, many children do serve more useful purposes by staying home than by attending school.
Absenteeism due to lack of clothes and lack of food for school lunches could be readily eliminated under existing budgets and policies. The Indian Affairs Branch finances lunches for children attending schools where lunch is available. In schools where no such programs exist a lunch allowance might be given to the students involved. At the moment, the children are penalized in areas where lunch is not paid for. Similarly, it is policy that no child should miss school for lack of adequate clothing. Under local interpretations of the policy, the obtaining of sufficient clothes is dependent upon the attitude and interest of the local administrator and the machinery for processing requests. Barriers such as those cited in the case of the 80 mile trip for a chit for shoes influence attendance and morale in several ways.
Reasons for Absence: School-Related
Many children have personal reasons for not wishing to attend school regularly. Students stated that they stayed home from school because they were afraid of the teacher, they didn't want to be ridiculed, they failed all the time and they just didn't like school.
Young children expressed more fear of the teacher than did older ones. When asked to explain what they feared, students responded that they feared being punished or being brought to the attention of the class, or yelled at. Older children feared ridicule from the teacher and from peers and also feared academic failure. Parents tended to support children who chose to remain home, especially when the children suffered punishment or ridicule in school which was not understood by either parents or the child. Parents discussed the "hard time that kid has in school; other kids are always being mean to him." Sometimes the fear of school was general rather than specific. This seemed the case in areas where the Indian students were overtly discriminated against in the school and where fights and ridicule were not uncommon.
Concern about absenteeism is based on the belief that school is the place the child should be. The question of what is happening to the child at school. is relevant here. If the child is suffering in school, as some of these children are, school is not the place he should be. Children who are frightened or hungry or ridiculed are not free to learn. They are too busy attempting to defend themselves.
The school contributes, unintentionally but nonetheless certainly, to the fear and discomfort of Indian children. Reports from the children include few statements that teachers assist to integrate them into the classroom. When other children ridicule Indian classmates, few teachers use this opportunity to help students evaluate their attitudes. Non-Indian peers contribute to the unwillingness of Indian children to attend school by ridiculing them and by socially isolating them. The Indian child makes comparisons between his behaviour and dress and that of his classmates and feels awkward and uncomfortable. It is simpler and less disturbing to stay home than to attend school. The devaluation of the Indian child and his persistent failure does not help. Teachers who hold children responsible for situations they do not control ("don't come to school until your mother washes your clothes; this is the fifth time you've been late - why doesn't your mother get you up") add to, rather than diminish, absenteeism.
The school community makes many financial and social demands upon its members. Indian children tend not to join school organizations or to fraternize with non-Indian classmates because of the lack of appropriate clothing for given occasions and the funds involved to enjoy them. Seldom do Indian students have allowances or any spare money which might enable them to attend various school events or to socialize with non-Indian friends. Usually the Indian child is isolated further because he is academically retarded and his classmates are younger than himself.
The individual classroom could provide the opportunity for some success, for revision of the attitudes of white children, for elimination of much of the ridicule and for the minimization of many of the little things which contribute to the diminishing self-confidence of the Indian student. If school were a more comfortable place to be and if the Indian student could be a fuller member of the school community many of the fears which keep him away from school would become non-operative. If school buses were rescheduled so that participation in after-school activities were possible or some studying could be done at school before the bus left, the Indian student might find that he could succeed both socially and academically. Use of school showers might eliminate some complaints about personal hygiene; a home economics room might be used by those Indian (and other) students who wished to wash and iron clothes with less difficulty than at home. Teachers might visit reserves to see the conditions from which their students come and get to know parents. This might at least eliminate futile directives such as "don't come to school unless your mother washes your clothes."
5. Indian Attitudes Toward Education
In general Indian adults expressed the attitude "education is good." When reasons were asked for, the most commonly given were: "Education makes life easier;" "Education helps you get along with Whites better;" and "Education helps you get jobs." However, they could not give examples from their own experiences which supported the generalizations.
On the contrary, adult informants could give examples of how education had done none of these things and further how education had proven a humiliating and unsuccessful experience leading to neither better relations with Whites, nor to employment. The goals they first stated could be achieved through education were demonstrably not being achieved, and the reasons for the dropout and absenteeism of their children appeared reasonable in this light.
As a corollary to this, adults give little support to the child as a student. They all claimed that a child's services at home were more important than school. They emphasized their inability to adjust the living pattern of the family to accommodate his schoolwork and need for sleep. Indian adults also recognized that they could give no help to their children in their schoolwork or in their conflicts about school because they did not have the ability and knowledge to do so.
The systems of support for various types of behaviour are subtle ones requiring considerable interpolation by the Indian children. While verbal support for education is given by parents the child also hears many negative stories of his parents' school experiences. Furthermore, there is a gap between what is said and what is done. Indian parents say that their children should attend school but they permit them to stay home for spurious reasons and they also demand that they stay home when their services are needed. Such lack of real support when combined with the lack of educated models within the community and the persuasive quality of the child's own negative experiences in school undermine the positive attractions of becoming educated. The value of having an education has yet to be demonstrated in most Indian communities.
In analyzing the responses, three trends appeared. At best, education is considered in a neutral way. Informants felt that "education is okay" and were not bitter about the failure of education to meet their general expectations. Such parents tended to be helpful in getting the children off to school and in providing them with adequate clothing and lunches. However, If the children disliked school or wanted to drop out, they were neither upset nor opposed to it. The second trend which appeared was where parents openly opposed the education of their children in public schools and were vehement in their denunciation of the experiences which the children were having. These parents questioned the value of being educated at all. Such attitudes represent a very small minority of the sample but they did appear in every area. The third and major trend consisted of the conflicting verbal support of the need for education and behaviour that denied it.
Reasons for devaluation or neutrality are obvious. Few parents are involved in the current system of education. They have virtually no contact with the school. The majority of Indian parents have never been in the school nor had any personal contact with the school staff. They have only their own experiences to remember and the few reports they receive from their children upon which to base their concept of education. Education is the great unknown so Indian parents find themselves in an awkward position when asked what they think. They have no way of evaluating an unknown and no way of measuring the gap between their own experiences and current public education. They base their opposition on their feelings about their own education, the recognition that it did not make life easier or better for them, the perception of the discomfort of their children and the need to maintain a known quantity: their own way of life. Since the educative process impinges in such a minimal way in their daily lives, they tend to remain relatively neutral about it and to expend their energy and commitments on the things that are significant to them.
In general, parents felt that public schooling was preferable to segregated schooling. This conclusion was based on their negative feelings about their own residential schooling and reserve schooling. It was also based on the idea that segregated education had not helped them to achieve their goals of employment and "a better life" and that white people seemed to achieve such things. They felt the discrepancy might be eliminated by having their children obtain the same type of education as white children. The idea that public schooling helps Indian children "learn about Whites" was quite general. Parents feel such learning will help their children interact more than they can with non-Indians on an equal basis.
Some parents felt that segregated schools are preferable to public schools for their children. This opinion was expressed most frequently on reserves where social disorganization was high, where there was mass alcoholism and where income was severely restricted. Where such living conditions prevailed, parents felt that children would be safer and better off in residential schools. Parents also felt that children who attended residential schools seemed to complete more years of education than those who went to local schools. Other parents wanted reserve schools retained and re-opened where public schooling was proving difficult for children.
On the whole, Indian adults were more in favor of public education than of reserve education or residential schooling. However, the majority of parents were opposed to having the very young children off the reserve. They felt that an ideal schooling plan would include kindergarten and primary school on the reserve and all other education in public schools. At the same time, parents recognized that it is harder for the older children to transfer into the public schools than it is for the beginning students to start in the public system. Part of the concern about attendance of the primary children at public schools was that the distance from the reserve to town was often a long one and the children could not come home for lunch and parents could not check on their welfare. The anxiety of mothers about young children is understandable when one remembers that they do not know what the child is going into, how he will be treated and what will happen to him among non-Indians. Older children who have had negative experiences contribute to this anxiety.
In summary, a good many parents are neutral and would welcome encouragement and some proof of the value of education. The failure of educational systems to resocialize children so that they can function adequately outside the reserve system and its success in partially socializing children so they seek goals they cannot obtain leaves many parents in the difficult position of dealing with unhappy and restless youth. Until the schools resolve their own dilemmas in dealing with minority groups and until Indian parents can reformulate their ideas about education through more direct experience with current school systems, the attitudes and motivation for education are likely to remain primarily neutral ov negative.
6. Attitudes of Indian Students Toward Education
Indian students expressed no neutral attitudes toward education in general or toward specific types of education. Negative attitudes were prevalent among older children but many positive ones were found, also. Students, more than their parents, were able to evaluate their school experiences differentially and had definite ideas on various topics relating to education.
Students who had attended reserve or residential schools and then transferred to public school reported liking public schools better because of the diversity of experiences they offered. Most of the exceptions to this occurred in areas where reserve life was so unpleasant and difficult that children preferred to live in residential schools. The same preference was held in areas where discrimination in the public schools and in the White community was high. In general, Indian students claimed they disliked residential schools because of the restrictive regulations. Hostel students who attended local high schools were unanimous in their preference for such arrangements. Younger students who had only attended public school assumed that they would prefer it to reserve schooling were they given a choice. Older children who had integrated in upper elementary years reported too many difficulties in transferring and stated they would have preferred to continue in their reserve schools. Residential school transferees stated that they preferred being home and liked attending public school but also reported difficulty in the transfer. Many of this group dropped out in the year of transfer.
Students, like their parents, will state that education is the means to employment. In fact, however, they drop out before completion of high school and many after giving this first response were quite free in admitting that their expectations and plans were directed toward early school leaving rather than toward completion.
Judging from the consistent vagueness of their responses to queries on the value of education and the potential problems of early school leaving, it is reasonable to conclude that students are not strongly and personally involved in the educational process. The school and the Indian students seem to have no more significant communication than do the school and Indian parents. The student has little conception of what he is gaining by attending school; he recognizes that he is failing academically and that he is socially isolated. He cannot relate school activity with the future because of his lack of experience with the demands of life in an urban setting. His evaluations are made in the light of his immediate life to which education seemingly has little relevance. He cannot relate the education he is receiving to his life and the lives of his friends and relatives. He does not see models who would extend his horizons and make the concept of gains through education more real.
How do Indian youth view school? In general, Indian students see school as a place in which they spend a given number of hours each day during which they learn few things of relevance, and in which they are faced with academic and social difficulties. The degree of disenchantment varies from place to place and also varies directly with the degree of discrimination toward Indians. The prime compensation of school attendance mentioned by most students was that they had good friends or that they participated in some sport which they enjoyed. The school system is perceived as unchangeable and students conclude that if they cannot meet the requirements of the school, they are automatically unable to succeed at anything in the non-Indian world.
7. Problems of Indian Students Perceived by Parents and Students
Parents and youth perceive the problems of youth in school with considerable consistency. Both cited lack of adequate clothing and lunches as major problems. The problem of discrimination was raised in several instances and students mentioned "feeling stupid all the time" and "not belonging" as other major sources of discomfort. In addition, specific items of concern were mentioned such as unjust discipline, lack of achievement and problems related to absenteeism.
The problem of lunches and clothes need not be dealt with in any further detail. The matter of discrimination was defined in several ways. Some students and parents felt generally discriminated against "just because we're Indians". In most cases, the mention of discrimination was specific and was related to a particular school or teacher or administrator. In some instances discrimination was defined as "being picked on by the teacher" and when explored further turned out to be more a question of misunderstanding about expected behaviour than a matter of discriminatory practice. Parents complained, for example, that "those teachers are always picking on him because he's late". Parents failed to understand that the school demands certain behaviour from all children and that such demands are not necessarily discriminatory. Parents sometimes cited the fact that more Indian children failed certain grades than did non- Indians and they perceived this as discriminatory practice against Indians. In many of these cases, the students themselves were aware that they were not being discriminated against and most students felt that with the exception of a few specific teachers, they were only "picked on when they (other Indians) ask for it".
Such misunderstandings clearly evolve from different cultural orientations. Indian parents expect the schools to accept their children as they are and not to make demands of them that they themselves would not make. This particularly becomes an issue with reference to disciplinary matters. Parents fail to understand why their children "are always in trouble" at school. In actuality, Indian children seldom are considered disciplinary problems as defined by school authorities. However, they are reprimanded for tardiness, uncleanliness and a host of other things; these reprimands are interpreted by parents and some of the students as "always being in trouble" or "picked on."
The same kind of sensitive perception shows in the definition of failure which is seen as the result of the personal relationship between student and teacher, without any reference to the type of work done by the child and with no understanding of the academic requirements demanded of all students. In such cases, parents talked about their children "being hurt" by the teacher which when reinterpreted meant he had failed his year. Some students stated that they did not return to school "because I felt too hurt when I failed again last year". The high sensitivity with regard to these kinds of situations needs to be more clearly understood and defined before any solutions can be suggested.
Such misunderstandings would be reduced if parents and students gained a broader and more accurate idea of the demands the school must make on all children. Whether understanding would eliminate the feelings of personal hurt and affront and permit perceptions to be redefined cannot be assessed. The lack of significant communication between home and school certainly contributes to the misinterpretation of events and permits the building up of personally hurtful feelings that make the situation more complex than it need be. While it does not lessen the problematic nature of the situation, it was rewarding to discover that the incidence of actual discriminatory practice in the schools is low and that students themselves are aware of this.
8. Attitudes of Indian Students and Parents Toward Early School Leaving
All Indian parents indicated that they felt early school leaving was wrong, but no parents were prepared to take action to try to keep their children in school. The decision of the student was considered the final one and no parents had considered discussing the matter with school personnel or anyone else. In most instances, students and parents had not discussed the student*s dropout and parents had simply accepted the decision of the student. Students indicated they had not discussed their decision to drop out of school with any adult at home or at school. Some dropouts had discussed their feelings with their friends. In some communities Indian adults expressed the view that students should not leave school but they also indicated that this was a decision only the student could make. In no Indian communities were there any negative sanctions applied to youth who had left school early. No informants expressed any sense of shame or guilt with reference to early school leaving.
The reasons given by youth for early school leaving were universal ones: boredom, lack of money, desire for a job, needed at home. Pregnancy was given as a reason in a few cases only. Some students had been in juvenile detention and had not returned to school after their release. Several students said they left school because they "felt stupid in classes with all those little kids".
Dropouts expressed a wish that they had completed school because they are not able to obtain work and because they are ineligible for vocational training courses. Others expressed no regret for their early school leaving and stated they would make the same decision again if faced with the same circumstances. Some dropouts said that they wished they could return to school now and felt that if they could they would ultimately be able to obtain employment. Many dropouts indicated that they did not feel that anything could be done to reverse the effects of their decision but that they were urging their younger siblings to complete high school "so things would be better for them."
Dropouts indicated that they might have stayed in school if someone had discussed their decision with them and encouraged them to keep trying. The importance of support was confirmed by students who are still in school despite the fact that they are over age and that their friends have dropped out. Such students said that their reasons for staying in school depended basically on the interest of an individual teacher or adult who was encouraging them to complete school.
In summary, the question of early school leaving is not a significant one to the Indians themselves because so few have completed school in various communities that they are the exceptions rather than the rule. No sanctions are applied within these communities against early school leavers because there are no strongly held convictions about the value of completing high school. Until some concrete results are seen by individuals and communities which stem directly from education, it is unlikely that any strong pressures will be exerted for youth to complete school.
9. Aspirations, Self-Image and Vocational Goals of Indian Youth
It is possible to separate the variables of self-image, aspirations and vocational choice for the purposes of discussion. In reality, they constitute an interdependent cluster which effectively determines the direction of an individual*s life. When aspirations cannot be attained and no substitution of goals is made, the self-image is reduced. A low self-image can also lower an individual*s level of aspiration and thus effectively reduce his range of vocational alternatives.
In general, aspirations of Indian youth lower significantly when they become consciously aware that the opportunities for attaining their aspirations are limited. Self-images of Indian youth become increasingly negative with age. Vocational goals are restricted to those occupations which Indian youth (and others) identify as being "typically Indian"...and by low confidence in their own ability.
It is difficult to imagine how an Indian child attending an ordinary public school could develop anything but a negative self- image. First, there is nothing from his culture represented in the school or valued by it. Second, the Indian child often gains the impression that nothing he or other Indians do is right when compared to what non-Indian children are doing. Third, in both segregated and integrated schools, one of the main aims of teachers expressed with reference to Indians is "to help them improve their standard of living, or their general lot, or themselves" which is another way of saying that what they are and have now is not good enough; they must do and be other things. In addition to these attitudes are the already cited problems of Indian children attending school.
One Indian informant, an attractive and charming 19 year old girl, had accurately assessed the atmosphere in her school and was determined to succeed in spite of it. She said, "I have to complete school because I am an Indian. Indians have to try harder to be better than everyone else because they are Indians. If more Indians could succeed then maybe the idea that Indians can never do anything would be done away with and we wouldn't have to prove ourselves all the time."
Most human beings have a need to achieve. This is usually directed toward a defined goal. lf the individual does not perceive that he has some possibility of achieving his goal, he substitutes a more accessible goal or he stops trying to reach the goal at all. Studies done in the course of the project indicated that there is little reliability to be placed in the common belief that Indians have less motivation than non-Indians. It is not true that Indian children, as a group, lack motivation in the elementary years to do well. However, it has already been established that young Indian children fail from the onset of their educational experiences. With each failure, motivation, self-image and level of aspiration drop.
It has already been stated that in general Indian people in reserves tend to have little faith in their own abilities to control their environment and lives. The Indian student comes to have these characteristics. He comes to accept his failures and to believe that there is nothing he can do to alter his status and proceeds to complete the self-fulfilling prophecy of the "inadequate and unmotivated Ind Ian."
If the Indian student is faced with the decision of trying to complete school in lieu of obtaining low-level employment immediately, he chooses the employment. Not only does it mean immediate income, it also fits his concept of "what Indians do" and is a more realistic choice when one considers his low expectations for academic success. The Indian*s low level of aspiration agrees with his low self-image and his genuine belief that he cannot go beyond the limited range of goals established by the Indians he knows and by the additional restrictions imposed by non-Indians.
Apart from the beliefs of the Indian himself in relation to self-image, aspirations and vocational choices, the dearth of information available to him about alternatives seriously limits his choices. In only a few communities were Indians aware of the availability of funds and training programs through the Indian Affairs Branch and almost no Indians had any information about provincial facilities and opportunities. High school informants stated that the counsellor or principal had information available and gave it to those who asked. Most of them were too shy to go to the office of either principal or the counsellor. Upper-elementary students had access to no information through the schools.
When questioned, Indian Affairs Branch personnel indicated that they send information to all superintendents; superintendents stated that they passed it on to the Indian councils and that it was up to the councils to tell the students. Considering the little amount of time superintendents spend on each reserve owing to their heavy assignments, it seems unlikely that much discussion of vocational opportunities could take place. In addition, it would be unusual for members of councils to disseminate such information, even if they had it, to all adolescents on the reserve. The procedure is now highly ineffective. Students know nothing about various programs and available funds except in a few cases where some individuals have left the reserve for training under Indian Affairs Branch or provincial auspices. Some Indian Affairs Branch personnel indicated that they made no effort to disseminate information because in their opinion "the Indians aren't ready for it yet; there*s no one in this agency who could make it through any of the courses." Such procedures do not provide opportunities for those who might be capable nor do they extend the very narrow horizons of many adolescents who might attempt some training if they knew about it.
Even were the information easily available, the negative self-images and low levels of aspiration of adolescents would tend to make them incapable of exploiting the various opportunities. The self-images of youth are pervasively negative and low. Their stated verbal aspirations reflect internalized middle-class goals but immediate and more realistic choices are made on the basis of personal experience and perceived opportunity. The array of occupational roles within the Indian community is limited and the perception of possibilities for success in the White community is low. Therefore, occupational choices remain restricted to non-skilled and semi-skilled categories of work. Where vocational guidance in the form of information or counselling is available it reinforces the tendency to choose those occupations which both Indians and non-Indians identify as ones "in which Indians can succeed."
10. Attitudes of Non-Indians Toward Indians
It has been posited several times that the attitudes of non-Indians toward Indians determines in a crucial way the attitudes of Indians toward themselves, their perception of possibilities for success off the reserve and their general status within the wider community. It seems appropriate to examine the data more closely to evaluate what types of attitudes the Indian encounters in daily interaction with Whites. The discussion will be limited to those encounters which Indians have with Whites who play a decisive role in the regulation of their lives. There was no way of obtaining data on Indian-White encounters which are purely casual.
Public school personnel encounter Indians primarily in the classroom. They have many ideas about what Indians are and should be, what some of the problems facing Indians are and what some of the solutions might be. Attitudes toward Indians were characterized by a genuine concern and a high level of inaccurate knowledge. Because most school officials have not been on reserves and have had virtually no contact with Indian parents, their beliefs about Indians and Indian life are predicated upon stereotyped information, misinterpretation of Indian behaviour in the classroom and a questionable use of standardized group intelligence tests.
In general, school authorities are convinced that Indian parents do not care about their children. This belief is based on the fact that Indian parents do not appear at the school when summoned for a conference, do not attend PTA, do not get their children to school clean and on time, send them without lunches, allow absenteeism and do not enforce study hours and regular bedtime hours. The above list is factual but it is being interpreted by members of one culture without reference to or understanding of the cultural context of Indian behaviour. Many teachers quite genuinely believe that Indians do not care for their children because they do not keep them clean and send them to school on time. Such teachers have not considered that Indian parents can exhibit their care in other ways than cleanliness and punctuality. Teachers also believe that adequate evidence of the retardation of Indian students is that they always scored low on intelligence tests and were at the bottom of the class. Some teachers recognized the lack of validity of the tests for Indian students and some understood that Indian students are not necessarily lacking in intelligence although their test and school performance indicated that they are. In general, teachers did not expect Indian students to perform well in school at any level.
Administrators stated that they did not believe in any innate differences in ability between Indian and White students but that Indian students were under-achievers because of the reserve milieu. Several administrators believed that "nothing can be done until reserves are abolished". They believed the reserve milieu reinforced negative attitudes toward school, work and the attainment of decent standards of living. The administrators perceived the problem of educating Indian children as a problem emanating from the reserve system and few felt that the school could or might provide opportunities for success for the Indian student because "we cannot fight the reserve system and all its implications."
The matter of intelligence tests is a serious one. The tests are known to be invalid for all populations except the one for which they were standardized, that is, English-speaking White middle-classes of an urban group. Non-Indian children from any other than the urban middle- class tend to score low on the tests; many minority group children are low-scorers when measured by such tests. Even children from the middle-class can score low on group tests on any given day for a variety of reasons. The Indian child has little likelihood of scoring adequately on the tests because of the time they are given, because they bear little relationship to the things he knows, and because he has low reading ability and perhaps also because his patterns of perception and abstraction may vary from those of his middle-class White peers.
The tests are given to all children at the beginning of grade one and at the end of grade one as well as in other grades throughout the school life of the child. Results are entered on the student's permanent Record Card and follow him from class to class and from school to school. Even if a teacher is aware that test results may not be accurate, it would be difficult for Whim to look at a series of below-normal scores on a child*s PRC and not conclude that the child has low ability. If school systems had adequate facilities for slow learners, almost every Indian child in the country would be in one on the basis of his intelligence and achievement test results.
One example of the misuse of tests may suffice to make the point that the tests are not useful with minority group children and that a great deal of harm is done by using and recording them. In community X, 1400 students were given two tests: the Otis Quick Scoring and the California Test of Mental Maturity. Both are paper and pencil tests and both purport to measure achievement and intelligence. The tests were administered by the staff of a regional mental health clinic who had never been to community X before; their testing trip took three days which they spent in the school. Of the 1400 students, 189 were Indians from the local reserve. When the tests were completed, 200 children were classified as "ineducable" which means that they should have special education not normally provided in the average school. Of the 200 considered "ineducable", 164 were Indian. Of a total Indian student enrolment of 189, 164 were considered "ineducable."
The Indians came from a hunting-trapping reserve where there is also some seasonal employment on roadwork and the railways. Many of the people speak only Cree; most of the first grade children speak only Cree. With the exception of the superintendent for Indian schools for the area, no one questioned the test results. They were duly recorded on the children*s PRC*s and the discussion of what to do about this problem began. The action taken was to establish several remedial classes. But, like many remedial classes without specially-trained personnel and facilities, the program became not a dynamic and directed process but one of repetition of standard work at a slower and watered down pace. No course for teaching English as a second language was instituted; few new teaching techniques or materials were employed and little enthusiasm about educating these children was generated because they were accepted unquestionably as "ineducable".
While the situation described above has its own special features, it is not at all unique. Throughout the country, group IQ tests are being used as evidence of the unteachability of certain children and few questions are being asked by school personnel with reference to reliability and validity of the tests. School boards are expending considerable sums of money on the tests and results are being recorded. Children with a teacher who genuinely believes that they are "ineducable" or "slow learners" are more likely to perform at that level.
School personnel expressed a genuine concern about the types of home the Indian student came from, which they referred to in such terms as "poor homes" and "drunken homes". Few positives were perceived. Some school personnel stated that Indian children were "dirty, apathetic and like their parents". School personnel perceived their role with regard to Indians as being one of "helping the Indians make something of themselves." Such devaluation of all things Indian leaves little opportunity for the Indian student to flourish and grow with any self-confidence when he meets such attitudes daily, however sincere and kind the individual teacher may be in endeavouring to help the Indian. One teacher who had been teaching Indians for several years explained that "if you treat them like people, they ultimately begin to act like them.*
In general, superintendents felt that integrated education was a good practice. They found that public schooling for Indians created new problems of transportation, absenteeism, money, books and forms which they had not had to deal with when the reserve schools were in operation. The additional workload may have tended to make some individuals feel that integrated education had come too soon for many Indians and that it simply created more problems for administrators. Several superintendents questioned whether or not Indian students were capable of succeeding in integrated schools and cited the standards of living and attitudes of the Indian community as factors inhibiting possible success. Many felt that public schooling would not be effective until "something happens on the reserve" and were in favour of removing children from the influence of adult Indians through foster home and hostel programs so "that they will know what a decent life is."
Superintendents reflected some ambivalence about procedures which might help Indians achieve a different standard of living, a job and a higher level of education. They stated that the standard of reserve living must change before children will feel comfortable In school and before true socializing between Indians and non-Indians can take place. However, they are also aware that handing the key of a new house to an Indian does not raise his standard of living nor guarantee that things will be better.
The uncertainty of the superintendents toward integrated education is the counterpart of the Indian*s uncertainty. The superintendents have been committed to programs which have brought partial results but which also are constantly changing and under criticism. The problems of reserve administration are so diffuse that solutions are difficult to perceive. Superintendents view public schooling as a step forward but they are cautious in inferring that it might be the means through which things could change. They have tried many things that might have brought change but did not.
Their ambivalence about the efficacy of public schooling for Indians hinders their ability to encourage parents to keep children in school or to discuss the issue when a joint agreement is proposed. Indian adults indicated that the superintendent did mention joint schooling to them but that there was little time spent on discussion. Such lack of time for discussion accounts for a good deal of the misunderstanding of parents. Parents complain that the superintendent did not tell them that the "kids would all have to go to the White school - even the little ones." Parents also state that they were not alerted that they could decide whether the children could stay on the reserve or attend the local public school. If integrated education is to succeed, the issue of joint schooling must be presented to Indian parents with all the pros and cons outlined fully and well in advance of the time at which a decision must be made.
Public Health personnel encounter Indians both on the reserve and in the public health clinics. School nurses also deal with Indian students. The attitude of public health personnel toward Indian people is primarily positive and they expend a great deal of time on educational health programs, childcare programs and general matters of health. Of all the officials they are the people who spend the most time in direct contact with Indian families, and Indian attitudes toward health personnel are primarily positive and cooperative.
Health personnel commented on the lack of adequate sleep and proper diet which affected the performance of school children. Cleanliness also was mentioned as a problem because nurses must deal with the students who have lice, scabies and who are just generally dirty. Such cases arise owing to the lack of sanitation facilities on the reserve and in some cases because of the lack of time, effort and understanding of parents whose children suffer from filth diseases, chronic infections and malnutrition. The control and treatment of chronic cases of this type require adequate sanitation facilities, time and effort. The incidence of malnutrition is not reported to be high. However, chronic low-grade infections due to inadequate diet and decaying teeth are reported to be high. Such low-grade infections reduce the physical vitality of the child, often leaving him tired and listless.
Indian children do not have regular medical care in most instances. Their parents take them to the clinic or doctor when there is an acute illness. Unfortunately, many Indian parents do not recognize certain illnesses at their inception and children are often not treated for illnesses which produce secondary infections and chronic conditions. As a result many Indian children have marginal sight and hearing as well as chronic upper-respiratory infections. Since Indian children tend to be quiet and their quietness is accepted by teachers as characteristic, it might prove valuable to initiate medical examinations for Indian children upon school entry. In this way, chronic infections and marginal problems could be diagnosed before the child is so behind in work that he cannot catch up. It is not uncommon for young children to compensate for marginal sight and hearing in the early grades through a variety of ways. The repetitive nature of the teaching material permits many children to fill in the words they have missed hearing by the third or fourth repetition. However, such conditions do not permit maximum learning and could easily be remedied in most instances.
Health personnel were more concerned about the mental health than the physical health of many Indian children who came from homes which were seriously deprived and disorganized. Several informants indicated that a group of disturbed individuals is being created on those reserves characterized by severe poverty, alcoholism and family disorganization. Cases were cited of homes where parents habitually abused the children, where parents were too depressed to maintain family stability and where parents abandoned their children for days at a time. Many examples of such conditions can be found. Non-Indian children coming from similar homes would predictably exhibit pathological symptoms which would be recognized by school officials. Paradoxically, it is difficult to find many Indian children whose behaviour indicates true pathological disturbance as classically defined. However, symptoms may be culturally masked. Children who appear quiet may in actuality be depressed or withdrawn and it is difficult to assess which child is disturbed and which is not. Children who appear retarded may be disturbed but diagnosis is seldom made since such children do not disrupt classroom order and since Indians are stereotyped as "quiet and passive".
The question which arises is whether the pathology of disturbance of Indian individuals is exhibited in ways which non-Indians have not yet learned to recognize. Alternately, there may be adequate compensations within the Indian milieu which override the anticipated pathology. Little research has been done on mental health of Indian populations. It is possible, for example, that the Indian child*s perception of stress varies considerably from that of the non-Indian in such matters as abandonment. Indian children left alone for several days may not feel rejected or abandoned. They may feel this is a normal pattern of life and may also feel a sense of security from knowing that they may call on any band member for assistance if they require it. The sense of anxiety which non-Indian children would feel in this situation may be absent from the Indian child*s purview. Some behaviour which is considered deviant in non-Indian culture is accommodated easily on the reserve. This provides many more outlets for stress and tension and also provides a generally less restrictive environment than does White middle-class society. Such provisions may account for the lack of overt acute disturbance evidenced by Indian populations in general.
While Indian society may be providing adequate security and outlets for individuals which offset the disruptive effects of severe deprivation, White society may be introducing new stresses which the Indian society may not be able to accommodate. The stresses of school attendance have been outlined already. The conflict which faces Indian youth with an impossible choice between drastically different ways of life may be contributing to the creation of a large group of individuals who have little adaptability to existing conditions, who withdraw daily from contacts with the larger society and whose resiliency may prove low if they are forced to leave the supportive milieu of the reserve.
To summarize: attitudes of non-Indian personnel working with Indians determine the attitudes of Indians toward themselves and toward non-Indians generally. The range of attitudes of superintendents, health personnel, school personnel and others varies from very negative to slightly positive. Many officials are genuinely interested in working with Indians but many have become discouraged by their lack of progress and by their perceptions of the immensity of the job they have to do. Indians are sensitive to the discouragement of officials and they tend to react by withdrawing and by exhibiting their desperation or hostility. Indians faced with the attitude of "what can be done about the Indians" feel that there is not much to be done.
Children exhibit the same one-to-one type of response to non-Indian attitudes. When teachers expect Indian children to work well and succeed, and give them some additional help in the classroom, Indian children tend to perform adequately. When teachers class Indians as slow learners and non-achievers, the children do not try to succeed because they are convinced that they cannot. The penchant of some Indian groups for accepting the attitude of officials with regard to their capabilities results in their showing these capabilities. As long as Indians accept the limitations imposed upon them by White attitudes and as long as teachers and officials feel equally overwhelmed by the low expectancy for success of their programs, there is not likely to be any break-through. If each group could evaluate their own limitations and assets more objectively and if programs could be run cooperatively between agencies then hopes for success would be higher and quite realistic, In the final analysis, however, the one-to-one relationship between an Indian and a White appears to be the major determinant in the establishment of an atmosphere which allows each individual to use his potentialities to the maximum degree in seeking a comfortable and successful route to achievement.
Ill. RESTATEMENT AND COMMENT
The following Section outlines major areas of concern about the present status of education of Indians in the public schools and attempts to provide some guidelines for change where it seems possible and vital. We are aware that our suggestions do not fit all situations nor reflect the needs of all Indian students. However, in the majority of instances where they are required changes can be made with comparative ease within the existing administrative structure.
1. Orientation and Success
The average Indian child enters the public school system with an orientation considerably different to that of the non-Indian child. The difference in orientation creates a discontinuity of experience which places him in a disadvantageous position relative to his classmates. Specific problems which confront the child at the beginning are his lack of familiarity with the books, scissors, crayons, routines, expectations and schedules of the school. The Indian child is not ready to use the tools of the school until he familiarizes himself with them, and while he is engaged in this task, his White peers are learning skills such as reading and writing. The Indian child begins to drop behind the pace of the majority of children in this class. Some children in some schools overcome this initial lag. The more common case is for the Indian child to build a cumulative deficit which hampers his ability to perform successfully in the upper grades. By the fifth grade the child has experienced so much failure and is so demoralized that he withdraws from the learning process as much as he can and aspires to leave school at the first opportunity.
It seems crucial that the Indian child should have some opportunity to succeed in his first year in school. If he could succeed initially the child might continue to strive to overcome some of his academic deficiencies in the subsequent years. Nursery schools and kindergartens could prepare the child to participate more fully in the first grade programs. Several public school systems have kindergarten programs and some Indian children are enrolled in them. First grade teachers report that Indian children coming into grade one from kindergartens are more advanced than Indian children who have not attended the classes. However, these children do not seem to become adequately prepared for grade one in one year of kindergarten and many of them still repeat grade one.
The type of program which would seem best suited to the needs of the Indian child would be a nursery school and kindergarten program on the reserve. A reserve nursery school and public school kindergarten might be equally effective. A reserve nursery school and kindergarten program would accomplish several things. It would allow a specially trained teacher to teach the children the things they need to know by school entry. It would expand the horizons of the child through direct experiences with a variety of play media, books, records, and short trips in the locality. If such nursery schools could be established on a cooperative basis, parents could be involved in programming and in the educational process. This involvement might lead to continued interest in the child*s public school experience which would increase understanding and communication between the home and the school to everyone's benefit. Such programs might also stimulate adults to improve their own educational level both in order to be able to help their children and for their own general benefit.
The nursery and kindergarten teachers can use material and ideas from the background of the child with more freedom than the average public school teacher. This would enable the child to have an initial educational experience which does not circumscribe his sense of worth or completely devalue his world. At the same time, the child could become familiar with the demands of the larger world with regard to routines and procedures within a classroom in the minimal way that they are followed in such classes.
It has become Indian Affairs Branch policy to establish kindergartens in areas where public schools have no such programs.
We heartily endorse this policy. In addition, consideration should be given to the establishment of cooperative nursery schools on all reserves. The value of keeping existing kindergartens open even where public schools are instituting such programs should not be underestimated. On larger and more urban reserves, children may have sufficient experience to attend public school at age five but in the majority of cases it would appear beneficial to retain the child in a program specially designed to overcome the deficiencies which create problems for him on school entry. Given adequate preparation in such a program, there appears to be no reason why Indian children should not succeed in grade one.
The success and failure of any child in the school system is dependent upon his own ability, the teaching ability of the staff and the ability of each to communicate in a variety of ways. Most schools endorse a middle-class orientation and are structured to perpetuate it and most teachers are members of that class, as is the average school child. This ensures that the average child and the teacher have a number of shared values. Their expectations with regard to each other are understood and are supported by administrative edict and parental consent. The teacher and the child are in a position to interpret each other*s behaviour, to seek similar goals and to communicate verbally and non-verbally.
Minority group children and majority group teachers have a reduced number of shared orientations and correspondingly communication is reduced. This creates difficulties in the learning situation which are often manifested through misinterpretation of behaviour or failure to meet expectations. This sometimes results in punishments meted out by the teacher and the consistent failure of the child to gain rewards for what he does. When the child comes from a different culture and a different language background, the problems of communication are compounded for both the teacher and the child.
Communication is a vital element in teaching as in all human relationships. The young child in the classroom is in no position to break down the barriers to easy communication. He completely lacks the knowledge and the skills to do so, particularly in the overwhelmingly alien environment in which he finds himself.
The teacher is in a significantly better position. He controls the situation; he has more knowledge and experience in human affairs and he can acquire the necessary specific knowledge and skills which would improve the situation. Some teachers already have some formal training in psychology, sociology and anthropology, which could give sufficient insight to make them aware that the behaviour of the child from a minority group is not necessarily deviant but is simply different. Such disciplines should also have prepared the teacher to help the child maintain his sense of worth while also learning behaviour appropriate to the circumstances and the social situation which surrounds him. The importance of formal background and training for people who will be teaching children from minority groups cannot be over-emphasized.
In-service training might also prove helpful in overcoming the lack of a teacher*s understanding of such children. Some school boards have allowed early dismissal of classes to enable teachers to hold conferences on particular groups of children in their schools who present difficulties to personnel unfamiliar with their backgrounds. Such conferences call in a wide variety of people for consultation and have been enthusiastically received by teachers. In areas where joint agreements are being negotiated, it might prove worthwhile to have a cooperative in-service program arranged under the auspices of the Indian Affairs Branch and the local board so that the full resources of each could be utilized.
Teachers do not have an overabundance of time free from their many duties. This creates the need for parents to visit the school for conferences with the teacher. The Indian parent feels uncomfortable about going to the school. However, contact between the school and the parents must be established if understanding is to evolve and if the two are not to be kept at cross-purposes. The teacher receiving a dirty unkempt child into the classroom has a good basis for personal objection. However, if he were to see the circumstances from which the child came the teacher might instead feel amazement at the state of cleanliness of the child. Whatever he feels, seeing the situation first-hand might help the teacher understand that condemning the child solves no problems and creates several. Home and school must have contact for many reasons, not the least important of which is to save the child from being pushed into a role of middleman which is intolerable and confusing to him. Teachers and parents in direct communication with each other might come to a better understanding of the difficulties involved for each group in carrying out its responsibilities and might identify the areas of conflict between the goals each perceives for children in school. Such understanding could lead to an acceptance of the differences and limitations inherent in the viewpoints of teachers and parents. Acceptance would possibly pave the way for more direct involvement of parents in the educational process and the subsequent interest and support they would provide for their children.
Understanding the problems and differences in the background of the Indian child would also enable the teacher to help other children understand and accept behaviour and conditions which create tensions within the classroom. The less isolated the Indian child, the more hope for his success in school and his personal growth and development.
The child can also learn things about non-Indian society which will broaden his understanding and comprehension of the necessity for rules and regulations, for certain types of behaviour and for the expectations with which he is confronted. He can only learn these things if the teacher realizes he does not already know them (as do the other children) and will take the time to explain and teach as such things arise throughout the year.
3. Joint Agreements
The matter of joint agreements has been dealt with in other sections of this Report. It needs discussion here only in reference to the need for communication between parents and the Indian Affairs Branch prior to such negotiations and the subsequent ramifications for communication between the Indian parents and the schools. The policy of the Indian Affairs Branch has been to consult with parents prior to negotiating a joint agreement with various boards. The purpose of such consultations is to gain the consent and support of the Indians for public school education for their children. In general, such consent has not been difficult to obtain. However, parents are not in a position to evaluate their decision and to give or withhold consent in any meaningful way unless they have some concept of what the issue is. Most parents have never been inside a public school, do not know how they differ from reserve schools or what kind of experiences the child will have there. They assume that the experience for their children in the public schools will be essentially the same as it was in the reserve schools. When they discover that this is not the case and that most children experience both personal and academic difficulties, parents feel that they have been misled into consenting. Their feeling is understandable even though there has been no intent to mislead.
Part of the difficulty arises from the lack of time available to the administrator who must obtain the consent of the parents. Were he able to spend more time discussing the matter, and to arrange for parents and children to visit the local school and have an opportunity to discuss things with the staff, the problem might not arise. Such procedures would also give the local board time to consider their decision. Then if a joint agreement were decided upon, both parents and school personnel would have clearer concepts of the problems inherent in the move as well as its many advantages.
Officials involved in such procedures would have the opportunity for direct observation of attitudes of Indians and Whites toward each other and might be able to assess whether such an agreement would be to the personal advantage of the children concerned. In cases where the parties appear very dubious, it might be worthwhile not to pursue formal agreements until further groundwork can be done. Then the damaging effects of a broken agreement can be avoided.
4. Levels of Living
The low levels of living of the various Indian groups contribute to the physical and emotional undermining of the child and affect his school performance. The majority of Indian children do not receive regular medical attention. Few receive medical examination prior to school entry. Many children suffer from marginal eyesight and hearing defects and have chronic low-grade infections which contribute to their apathy. Some children do not receive sufficient food and sleep to support their activity through the school day.
Housing and sanitation conditions on many reserves contribute to illness, fatigue and marginal health of school children. The lack of privacy in overcrowded houses disrupts sleep and any attempts to study. The economic situation of various families often requires the services of children either as workers or as babysitters in order that parents may be released to work or travel. The economic status of the family also determines the quantity and type of food the child receives and whether there are sufficient clothes for the child to attend school in all types of weather. The availability of proper clothing also affects the attendance of older children in public schools who feel uncomfortable in the clothes they have obtained through bargain and rummage sales.
In general it would seem that the more economically depressed the reserve and the more depressed the people, the higher the rate of conflict and disruption and the more likely the existence of heavy and frequent drinking. Such factors affect the attitudes of children toward life in general, toward school and the future in particular. In general children from disorganized and alcoholic families miss school more often and suffer from a variety of negative factors. Their chances for completing school and succeeding appear to be much lower than those of Indian students from less depressed and disrupted areas.
Other recommendations set out earlier in the Report were that some arrangement be made so that Indian children can obtain lunches through the school; that Indian children entering first grade receive medical examination prior to admission; that schools could overcome some of the defects of housing and sanitation by allowing children to use the school showers and by providing time for study periods at school; that further attempts be made towards providing extra clothing for children who need it. Perhaps the best approach would be to include help to parents to budget their income, family allowance and welfare money so as to cover all expenses.
We recommend further that the Indian Affairs Branch, perhaps in cooperation with local boards, provide incentives to teachers to acquire extra training through summer school, evening and in-service courses which would enable them to gain some systematic knowledge about the people with whom they work.
The Indian Affairs Branch is to be commended for its efforts toward resolving the many reserve problems associated with non-viable economies and different values. It is hoped that these efforts will continue and will include the flexibility to take additional independent action and make cooperative arrangements with local boards to ameliorate the position of the Indian child in the public school.
5. School Problems
Many school personnel expressed the wish for the establishment of a position of liaison officer between the schools and the Indian Affairs Branch. The intent was that such a person could deal with problems arising from the dependency of Indians on the Indian Affairs Branch for such items as funds for school equipment, lunches, clothes and activities. It also arose with reference to absenteeism. Some problems tend to become more complicated when they are not dealt with directly, and absenteeism of children must be dealt with on the day they are absent, not at the time of the superintendent*s next visit. Similarly, schools requiring information or action on a health or financial problem need it within a short period of time and cannot tolerate the long delay in correspondence which is sometimes involved.
The appointment of a liaison officer would serve several purposes. It would increase communication between the schools and government agencies. It would permit the utilization of all available resources in a given problem which the liaison officer could be expected to be familiar with but which school personnel often are not. It would assure the Indian parents and the school personnel that immediate action and consultation would be instigated to resolve a problem. It would decimate the absenteeism of students who now take advantage of the administrative delays and uncertainty. It would remove the necessity for the parents, the school and the Indian Affairs Branch to deal with a large number of individuals, perhaps the nurse, welfare officer, probation officer, and special counsellor, in the resolving of a single problem.
6. Retardation and Failure
It has been established that the rate of failure for Indians children far exceeds that of White Canadian children and that the primary reasons are cultural and social rather than intellectual. The many contributing factors have been outlined and their further repetition is not needed. Remedial measures must be taken to reduce the high failure rates.
It has already been suggested that lack of readiness for school with its inevitable result of failure in grade one be eliminated at least partially through the establishment of preparatory programs such as nursery schools and kindergartens. Additionally, it has been suggested that children be in good physical health and that remedial steps be taken to overcome any marginal defects and illnesses. Finally, it was suggested that teachers be professionally and adequately prepared to teach children of minority groups through a variety of methods, In addition, it might be wise for the Indian Affairs Branch to examine public school policies with regard to retention and promotion. It is conceivable that the Indian Affairs Branch could negotiate with the provinces or the school boards to institute cooperative programs for remedial and special classes with boards which do not have such facilities because of financial inability.
The policy which some schools have of not permitting a child to repeat more than one grade in every three seems reasonable. However, if the child repeats one grade and still is not competent in the academic material for his grade, then it serves little purpose to promote him without the skills and knowledge he requires for the next grade. Remedial teaching is indicated for such children and should be directed toward enabling him to overcome his deficiencies so that he can carry on at his proper age-grade level, without the need for him to lose a school year. Clearly, this is not possible for all children who need additional work but it might be possible for many.
The growing trend toward upgraded primary classes is heartily endorsed as one means of permitting children to learn at their own rate over a three year period. This enables many children who are not ready for school and who are immature to overcome their lack without the negative experience of being categorized as a failure in the initial year of school.
Persistent failure and increasing retardation discourage both teachers and students. They contribute to negative attitudes toward self and toward school and are crucial in deciding whether a child will stay in school or drop out. Failure also contributes to absenteeism. Remedial and special education might prevent some of the retardation and dropout. Special classes already exist in many systems but more are needed. Their absence is usually explained by lack of funds. If the Indian Affairs Branch or the provinces through agreement with the federal government were to provide an incentive for boards to establish such programs through a system of special grants, all children in that school district could benefit. Selection of schools to receive grants could be based on the proportion of Indian children in the school, the willingness of the board to hire specially- trained personnel and to institute special programs to accommodate the children concerned. Cooperation between governments and local boards could provide superior remedial services to all children in the form of special classes and such programs as half-work, half-school arrangements. Such contributions would be laudable and would certainly reduce the large number of failures and the high rate of dropout among other children as well as Indian students.
7. Integrated Education
There are many matters in connection with integrated education that could not be systematically evaluated for inclusion in this Report. However, in discussions with individuals many important items were mentioned and deserve mention here. The matter of procedure in the initial phases of establishing joint agreements has already been touched on. The decision to seek a joint agreement is undoubtedly based on a great deal of thought and an evaluation of the situation. We urge that the criteria for choosing areas of joint agreement and the consideration of the myriad factors continue to receive close perusal. The principle of integrated education is not questioned but the choice of school districts for integration and the system of procedure should be constantly under review.
There appear to be many concomitants of joint agreements which might be re- evaluated. The matter of quotas is one. In some areas, children are being transported to different schools because the most convenient school has established that only a certain percentage of the enrolment may be Indian children. When the quota is reached, other children from the same reserve must be transported to other schools. Apart from the additional time and cost involved, there is a more important issue. Indian parents who have to conform to such arrangements are not happy; they perceive it as an unwillingness on the part of Whites to accept the Indian child in the school and legitimately object to the personal inconvenience it causes them to have children of one family attending different schools. In some cases such quotas result in the exclusion of some children from a desired program, perhaps of kindergarten or high school. We recommend that joint agreements not be considered where they are conditioned by quotas which indicate an uneasy acceptance of Indian children in the school.
The aspects of the religious issue are germane here. In some areas, children are transported past public schools to attend private schools. In many cases, the parents would be content to have their children attend the local public school; in some cases, they would prefer it. The alternative of having children attend a local public school is seldom presented to parents of Roman Catholic children. They assume that such an arrangement is not a possibility. This matter should be clarified for them. Some of the duplication of facilities along religious grounds should be questioned. Two multi-grade one-room schools on one reserve both financed by federal funds provide poor educational experiences for children who need especially good teaching. A teacher who handles four grades cannot possibly be as adequate as a teacher who handles two. The logical division of such a school population if only two teachers are justified is in two classes of two grades each. We recognize that these situations are fewer in number than they were ten years ago but we can see insufficient justification for their existence at all.
Parents, students and school personnel all commented on the problems involved for upper elementary and high school students transferring from reserve and residential schools into public schools. The main criticism was that the transfer was complicated by the fact that the students were in a stated grade but did not have skills and information similar to those of their White peers in the same grade. It is not intended to imply that reserve or residential schools are inadequate. Many appear to be superior to local schools. However, It is recommended that Indian Affairs Branch officials constantly evaluate reserve and residential schools in order to ensure that Indian students transferring from them may take their place at par in the public school system.
The phasing out of Indian Affairs Branch schools and the locating of all Indian students in public schools is heartily endorsed. The actual process, however, should ensure that integration occurs at a time which is beneficial to the students involved and in a way which guarantees their excellence of education and personal growth and development. In areas where federal facilities and staff are clearly superior to rural local public systems, arrangements might be made to have the students move into the reserve school rather than transferring Indian students into inferior schools. This type of arrangement might be made under an agreement for a timetable setting a date on which the province and local board would take over the federal school and staff. The reserve status obviously inhibits such arrangements but where bands are making other links with provincial administration such an agreement would not be untenable.
We endorse the principle of integrating at school entry. The problems of transferring at upper levels are manifold and there seems to be greater educational gain in refusing admission in the lower grades than in closing down Indian Affairs Branch schools from the top. We recommend that students now in Indian Affairs Branch high schools be permitted to choose to continue their high school education in those schools but that no admissions be made from grade nine on. Similarly, high school students in hostels and residences should be permitted to complete their high school from the hostels and should not be forced out by the admission of larger numbers of upper-elementary students.
Reserves should not be split by an educational program. The experimental filtering of students into public schools is feasible for a short time. However, it has all possibilities of classifying children erroneously and being extremely harmful. Children being retained on the reserve because they are unlikely to succeed in the public system are receiving no remedial or special education. Should they later have to enter the public system they will be so far behind that the transfer will result in a series of problems and ultimate dropout.
No systematic study was made of provincial curricula used in the public schools but several points warrant some consideration. In most systems there is no material related to Indian cultures. We strongly suggested that provincial curricula allow some flexibility in various subjects to permit inclusion of ethnic material from all groups in multi-racial schools. Social Studies, Art and Literature classes would lend themselves easily to such inclusions. The benefits of using local material would be sound paedagogically since it would focus interest and involve students from the various ethnic groups. It would also give them some sense of worth and of pride at being included.
Some attempts have been made to include references to Canadian Indians in Social Studies texts in a few provinces. Such material is usually poorly presented and highly stereotyped. The Indian is always portrayed as a Plains Indian with the ubiquitous feather band. Much of the material is as unrealistic to the Indian child in school as it s to the non-Indian. In one province, texts include biased and falsified accounts of encounters between Indians and Whites. Such texts should be removed from classrooms.
9. Experimental Research and Methodology
It would be worthwhile using programmed learning more fully in any school system. In schools where there are large Indian enrolments, such facilities might show some interesting results when used for remedial work or for language and arithmetic teaching. We recommend that specialists within the Indian Affairs Branch explore such devices for possible use in up- grading children quickly and effectively. We also recommend that a constant program of research exist in which problems related to the teaching of Indian students in public schools continue to be investigated and experimental programs inaugurated for their solution. Such programs as the English program developed in the Indian Affairs Branch by Rose Calliou are of great value and could well be used by the public school systems. The Indian Affairs Branch need not always assume the responsibility of the actual research or experimental teaching programs since several school systems have such programs underway. Nevertheless they usually suffer from lack of funds. Possibly, the Indian Affairs Branch could contribute to such programs or provide an incentive for their inception through special grants.
10. Testing Programs
The Branch and all public school systems have a testing program usually based on group pencil-and-paper tests. Some systems are beginning to dispense with such programs, It is common knowledge that such tests are not applicable to children from all backgrounds and it has been indicated that they cause a great deal of personal harm to the child and serve little positive purpose. We recommend that the Branch itself remove all tests from its schools and that public schools do likewise. The Indian Affairs Branch is in the best position to alert all school authorities to the finding that such tests are neither valid nor reliable for Indian students.
11. Additional Comment
We recognize that our findings will not provide information that some Indian Affairs Branch officials have not already noted themselves. However, in our analysis we have endeavoured to show the inter-relatedness of the many elements of the education of the Indian child and to bring into relief the more crucial factors. The artificial separation of educational problems from the general context of life must be constantly kept in mind since so many of the contextual factors determine what happens to the child in school. Most of the suggest ions presented here have been made by other people at other times. The majority will be accepted in principle now as they have been in the past. The challenge rests in changing "in principle acceptance" to action programs in the immediate future. For example, kindergartens have been accepted as necessary and several have been established on reserves. However, many more are urgently needed and they need special teachers and special programs. "In principle acceptance" will not help Indian children who enter first grade this year or next. Hopefully, their children will be in a better position when they enter school. For many, this ie only a short fifteen years in the future.
We are cognizant of the vast amount of time and effort and money which has been put into Indian Affairs Branch educational programs in past years. Recommendations contained here suggest new expenditures in some instances but in general call for the realignment of existing funds and programs to create more effective results. As Indian Affairs Branch schools close down and fewer teaching personnel are employed the freed moneys could be expended on some of these special educational facilities and research.
The following checklist was used as a guide to interviews for Chapter IV:
- Indian Adults:
- feelings re attendance of children at public school; advantages and disadvantages
- aspirations for children re level of education, employment, etc.
- evaluation of what immediate future may hold for Indian youth
- availability of local employment for Indians
- feelings re discrimination in general; in school; in employment
- concept of specific band problems; solutions
- attitudes toward dropouts; desired level of education for children
- ideas for improving school situation if needed
- degree and type of contacts with school personnel; nature of contact
- type and nature of contacts with Whites in general
- attitudes toward alcohol problems, truancy and other problems cited and their solutions
- types of programs visualized as of help in meeting variety of problems
- Indian Students:
- present grade and concept of academic standing
- things liked and disliked about school
- characteristics of teachers liked and disliked
- plans re staying in school or dropping out
- reasons for above plans
- plans for future employment, if any
- attitude toward students who did drop out
- source of information upon which attitudes re leaving or staying in school are based
- hopes and plans for the future
- plans re staying on or moving off the reserve
- degree of personal involvement in reserve affairs
- identification of major problems of youth in area
- suggested solutions to above
- use of leisure time; participation in school activities
- degree of social exchange with Whites in out-of-school hours
- concept of attitudes toward Indians in public school
- choice individual would make if he were free to attend any school (public, residential, Indian Day)
- reasons for above choice
- problems encountered in school because of being an Indian
- concept of parents' attitudes re completing school; parents' aspirations for them
- identification of types of jobs Indians have held in their area
- School Personnel:
- significant identifiable differences between Indian and non-Indian students
- identification of major academic problems of students
- any provisions the school makes specifically for Indians
- attitudes toward Indians being in the school
- opinion re public versus reserve schooling for Indians
- circumstances under which the school integrated; any special procedures; suggestions for administrators about to admit Indian students for the first time
- evaluation of relationship between school and the Indian Affairs Branch; between school and Indian parents
- degree of participation by Indian parents in school matters; reasons for non-participation
- degree of participation of Indian students in school activities
- identification of major school problems and whether applicable to Indians
- general policies re promotion, repeated failures, truancy
- availability of counselling services for all students; use made of services by Indians
- general level of education of parents in larger community
- general rate of dropout
- occupation of grads and dropouts in local community
- general community attitudes toward minority groups; degree of social exchange - discrimination
- suggested solutions to any problems identified above
- Service Personnel:
- Public Health
- estimation of general state of health of reserve people; health problems specific to the reserve
- general community health problems
- degree and type of health education program carried out; success or failure; why
- main Indian health problem
- suggestions for improving general and Indian public health problems
- Probation Officer or RCMP
- general rate of delinquency for area
- types of youthful offences
- significant differences between rate and types of offences in which Indians and Whites are involved
- special difficulties encountered in dealing with Indian offenders
- differences in attitudes between Indians and Whites toward incarceration
- type and degree of preventive work possible, counselling and follow-up
- definition of major social problems in area; major Indian problems
- solutions proposed for above
- Social Worker
- identification of major Indian and White social problems
- evaluation and description of Indian families on relief; contrasted to Whites
- variances in attitudes toward relief between Indians and Whites
- suggestions for solutions to cited problems
- Indian Superintendent
- comparison of x band with others in agency; unique assets and liabilities of band x
- major problems in band x
- proposed programs and long term plans for development of band x
- attitude toward attendance of Indian students in public schools; evaluation of what would comprise the best type of education for Indians
- type of dissemination of information re funds available, employment opportunities, vocational training
- ideas and evaluation of current leadership and future leadership of band x
- attitudes toward identified problems of band x; suggestions for solution
- Public Health
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