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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultural awareness on campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Commercial plaza proposed for Rocky Creek and Ludlow intersection

Town Council directed the application proceed for further consideration

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to Saltair

Only 40 tickets available so get them soon if you’re interested

South Wellington Elementary demolition not taking place next school year

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School trustees vote against razing south-end school in 2020/21

One piper piping during the pandemic

Tribute to health care workers reaches the 100th performance

Town of Ladysmith receives $3.3 million grant for Arts & Heritage Hub

The funds will go to creating artist studios around the Machine Shop and maintaining heritage assets

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

Most Read