What can the past teach us about First Nations Education?

This was originally posted on Teaching the Past.

Edited digital image from Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-3924 (b&w film copy neg.) Lithograph of Stodart & Currier, N.Y. published by B.O. Tyler, [1834 or 1835]. See Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 1571. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/i?pp/PPALL:@field(NUMBER+@band(cph+3a07365))
Dartmouth College
The Canadian press has recently been replete with stories and op-ed pieces covering the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education, which this month wrapped up a series of roundtable discussions.  The panel, created through a partnership between the Canadian federal government and the Assembly of First Nations, has a mandate to develop options and to suggest legislation for improving on-reserve education across the country.

Inequitable funding for band-operated schools in many First Nations communities has created a crisis.  Despite education being a treaty right for many First Nations, the panel notes that “fewer than half of First Nation youth graduate from high school, compared to close to 80 per cent of other Canadian children, and some 70 per cent do not have a post secondary degree or diploma.”

As an historian of the eighteenth century studying Aboriginal engagement with European forms of higher education, these numbers startled me. In much of my research these figures are reversed.
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