Sticks and stones may break our bones, and names can also hurt us
Alumni of the Plains Indians Cultural Survival School (PICSS) reflect on their experiences of interpersonal racism in mainstream schooling and how a cultural survival school helped them eventually find “success”
Keywords:Indigenous student experience, racism, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, culturally responsive schooling and education
The education system in Canada has represented institutional injustice and oppression for Indigenous people since the government set up the Residential School System in the 1880’s. In the wake of the report released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015, the concept of cultural safety has become a major component of the institutional justice and oppression conversation when considering K to 12 education in Canadian provinces and territories. While not a new approach to education, Culturally Responsive Schooling and Education (CRS/E) is one approach that has been employed over the years to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous youth in Canada, the US, and Australia by creating culturally safe spaces. This project offered an opportunity to explore the experiences of Indigenous alumni who attended a CRS during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The participants reflected on both their negative experiences and memories of attending mainstream schools, and the positive impact the CRS/E had on them 30 to 40 years after they graduated. The study findings support the results from research conducted around the world on the impact of racism, and CRS/E systems on Indigenous learners.
Copyright (c) 2023 Cynthia Justine Gallop, David Turner, Jerry Arshinoff, Marlena Bullee, Reanne Arcand
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