Last week, Dignard wrote a piece in the Vancouver Sun on the crisis in education. Here are few statements she said:
“Over 60 percent of First Nations youth living on reserve do not have a high school diploma, according to a 2006 Canada Census. The same census reported that Aboriginal students who attend provincially-run, schools also have a disproportionately high dropout rate of over 40 percent. When it comes to a university degree, only 7 percent of First Nations, 9 percent of Métis and 4 percent of Inuit people have a university degree, compared to 23 percent of non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
These are the hard facts and it is unacceptable that these statistics have gone on like this for years. As a Trustee for Nicola Similkameen SD58 in the Merritt and Princeton area, especially representing the rural constituency of TNRD Areas M & N, I pay special attention to these issues and continue to do so. Not until we have equality, will there be my backing down. I have stuck to my guns and do all that I can to best represent all people in the constituency.
The barriers to education for Aboriginal people have been knocked down by various academics including those in the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development where they cite the two main factors to success in Indian Education, are Indian control of Indian education and Indian control over the content of what is taught. For that matter, it’s imperative to have a voice that speaks to the issue of Aboriginal education and with my legal training, negotiation skills, and years of administrative management, I am best suited for the job and yes, I wear a business suit to my job almost every day where I fight for Aboriginal rights and title. And by all means, Education is a right of all. Equality in Education must be achieved now.
“It is not surprising then that a troubling aspect of this crisis is that it is going largely unnoticed. … Aboriginal Education is a joint campaign of Free The Children and MAEI that shines a light on this very issue. Last year alone, the campaign mobilized nearly 10,000 youth and teachers, hundreds of schools and dozens of school boards to educate themselves and others about the inequalities in Aboriginal education.”
Bravo – Nobody gets left behind or forgotten!
As we enter into the year 2012, we will see a fundamental shift in attitudes towards this. Even now, there are demonstrations on the streets, as because 99% of humanity are victims of greed and capitalism in this world. As this paradigm shift kicks into gear, local Indigenous knowledge of how to survive will have much more currency than now, which means that Indian control over Indian education including content is an imperative.
What it’s really about is respect for all people, respect for Mother Earth, and true equality. The blinders are coming off and we need strong champions to fight for the rights of Indigenous peoples’ human rights, that is where I come in. As an advocate for such issues, I will do my best to bridge the gap and close the divides in order to heal our defunct systemic capitalistic ways of being.
Moreover, I like the information in Dignards article about the seven teachings and the medicine wheel. First of all the seven teachings are:
Secondly, the medicine wheel speaks to the four sacred directions, the four colours of humankind and most of all, that we are all related. This goes back to my motto, where Lilo say’s “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”
If you look closely at my photo on this Blog, you will see I am centered in a medicine wheel surrounded by the sacred seven teachings. All My Relations.
· I tend to use Aboriginal, First Nations, Indigenous and even Indian but the meaning is somewhat the same in these references.
· To learn more about Local Spotlight: Aboriginal Education campaign, visit http://www.freethechildren.com/ aboriginaleducation.
· For more info about Me to We’s Sacred Circle program, visit http://www.metowe.com/leadership/ aboriginal-leadership.
· The full article is available at http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Crisis+Canada+Aboriginal+Education/5523424/story.html