Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whoa...what gives?

I clearly wanted to remove myself from this issue, but I find it impossible to ignore.
 On August 3,2013 Winnipeg Free Press reporter, Carol Saunders  wrote an article bringing to the forefront the plight of “Aboriginal” demographic explosion, and that of the rise in high school rate drop-outs.
Here we go again, if the majority of you feel like tuning out already, I do not blame you.
There comes a time where enough is enough and there needs to be a period of introspection instead of the increased pressures from needless conjectures, which does not bring any benefit. 
Saunders brings to light the rapid growth rate of First Nations, and therefore the increased numbers of children on schools nominal roles.
It is suggested that the rate of aboriginals is rising and therefore increase the overall numbers of aboriginal students not completing a high school diploma.
“Manitoba’s aboriginal population is booming, and unless there is major change, so will the number of school dropouts who are more likely to be jobless, poor, have kids in care and abuse substances, experts say,” commented Saunders.
All right, another allusion to “Indians” being at risk of becoming  dumb, stupid, drunks and drug addicted people copulating like rabbits.
Saunders explains that the ideology of Wayne Helgason (who testified on behalf of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg (ACW) has merit. Helgason is also the former head of the ACW.
“The problem is, despite best efforts and more spending, the education system still isn’t working for aboriginal people,” said Helgason, a long-time advocate for an aboriginal school division.”
Saunders does bring to attention that First Nations receive less funding per student on reserve-as compared to what the provincial government spends in matters of education of on reserve aboriginal students.
It may be common knowledge in some circles, but I doubt anyone believes that this is the core distinction of deficits as to why indigenous students fail to obtain a high school diploma.
Saunders illustrates many findings stemming from the Sinclair Inquiry; she also emphasizes Helgason’s credentials as an authoritative “expert” capable of speaking on behalf of all First Nations in regards to education and indigenous people.
“…Métis man, who was one of Winnipeg’s first aboriginal in school child-welfare workers 30 years ago, has run aboriginal agencies and headed the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.”
Very good for Helgason, and Winnipeg but I fail to see how the correlation between Helgason and his crusade of having an aboriginal school division will bring about the necessary measures to reverse the tide of chronic fiduciary deficiencies of the federal government.
In addition to constant jurisdictional bickering as to who is responsible foot the bill and how in the world would such a division would take shape outside of Winnipeg.
I am sure the Sinclair inquiry has good recommendations as how best to mitigate the lack of accountability in regards to children like Sinclair who has fallen through the cracks.
Recommending that education be the keystone in reversing trends in cases such as Sinclair’s is apparent; what is less demonstrative are the what, who, when and where such a division advocated so strongly by Helgason could achieve any real prognosis in terms of increasing the success rate of indigenous students.
Saunders herself does not offer any information on the matter. Instead, she argues programs such as the Community School Investigators (CSI) to be far more effective.
“That’s why the retired educator (Strini Reddy) and a colleague founded the hugely successful CSI program to help kids in poverty-most of whom are aboriginal-have better chances of staying in school and having happy, productive lives.”
CSI may create opportunities for First Nations students living in Winnipeg. Saunders does not in fact attribute actual numbers of indigenous students enrolled in the CSI program; but the benefits to northern or even rural First Nation reserve communities are minimal-negligent even.
Helgason is convinced that establishing an aboriginal school division similar to what the Division Société Franco-Manitobaine (DSFM) currently administers to a population of 5000 students throughout the province; to be the Holy Grail for First Nations.
“It’s almost like a school division should be a slam dunk-the francophone school division is quite successful and a whole department in the government supports system. Anyone who wants to deny the aboriginal community the dame thing, in my view, is hedging on racism.”
Helgason, in my opinion is bordering on the idiotic. He is forgetting that the mandate of the DSFM is upholding the rights of francophone families to have their children taught in their first language; which is protected under the Manitoba provincial legislation.
He also seems to be ignorant of the fact that establishing such a division contradicts the mantra of individualism, which exists in First Nation communities.
As clearly, stated by Saunders and Helgason in matters of funding, who then would be willing to subsidize such a division?
There seems to be more question than answers. At face value, indigenous people living off reserve in Winnipeg theoretically would or could envision such a structure.
“We were very shocked, actually, at the very low functioning level of those who come from northern communities.” –Helgason.
Helgason’s vision is short sighted. It also does articulate a plan, which encompasses all First Nation educational needs in the province.
In fact, bringing attention to the lack of instruction from Indigenous youths migrating from the north to Winnipeg should illustrate the need to acclimatise, buffer, and properly ground our youth into larger centres.
Furthermore, it does not coincide with the efforts of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) in maintaining a uniform political, and services issues designed to strengthen First Nations on and off reserves.
“Key issues and challenges in FN education continue to be adequate, predictable, and sustainable resourcing for all aspects of education,” asserted Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.
“Manitoba First Nation students continue to stress that there is insufficient resourcing to cover the increased demand for student support, rising tuition and living expenses.”
A piece of advice for the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, if you are intent on publishing such an article, make sure you have the proper representational ethnic persons who are referred to in the article. Having Reddy surrounded by Caucasian children is not what I deem a source appropriate picture.

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