MÉTIS CONTROL OF MÉTIS ÉDUCATION POLICY PAPER

MÉTIS CONTROL OF MÉTIS ÉDUCATION POLICY PAPER

Messagepar admin » Dim 24 Juil 2016 21:51

This document written by Claude Aubin was once put together as a draft Policy Paper to be presented by la Nation Métis Québec to the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan. Recognising the Métis of Saskatchewan do not use the Métis language in their daily operation the document was therefore written in english rather than in french mishif.

MÉTIS CONTROL OF MÉTIS EDUCATION
POLICY PAPER
To be presented jointly to the
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Canada
by the
Métis Nation in Saskatchewan
and la
Nation Métis au Québec
Written by CLaude Aubin

PREFACE

This statement on Education has been prepared jointly by the Métis Nation in Québec and the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan to be used as a basis for future common action in the area of Métis control of Métis education.

This issues which have been considered were designated by few concerned individuals who are seeing the decline and the twist of Métis cultural an social identity to a legal and political definition that use the word Métis as a generic term to include all people of mixed ancestry other than the one connected to the French and Aboriginal ancestry and are the only one who can claim to be spiritually , socially , culturally, historically and linguistically Métis even if the descendant of some Métis who now reside in Western Canada suffered assimilation to the English language from a process of colonization .

It must be identified that It is a statement of the exclusive Métis philosophy, goals, principles, and directions which must form the foundation of any school program for Métis children in Canada in partnership with the French or First Nations school system using French or Aboriginal languages as their mean of teachings in their schools.

In A general meeting of leaders of the MNQ and MNS , they accepted to explore and develop this position policy papers in principle, subject to certain additions. The final draft will need to be approve by the Métis to receive official recognition to MÉTIS CONTROL OF MÉTIS EDUCATION to approve this proposal and committing the MNS and MNQ to implementing them.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This paper is based on the many statements prepared on behalf of the Métis people located in Saskatchewan and Québec . Acknowledgement is made of the important contribution which their Education Directors and Wise man and Woman with the supports of their respective Senators have made to this joint policy statement.

No committee was strike to write this paper as none of the organization have the funding available to do this task . This paper was develop by Métis people devoted to the promotion of the cultural identity of the Métis people across Canada and do not include any other Métis from any other province in Canada or the United states. These devoted Métis people worked to develop a paper to find the Métis common denominators in both province. Members of this devoted groups were Claude Aubin current Senator of the MNQ and other from the Métis Nations Saskatachewan.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE................................................................... iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS............................................ iv

MÉTIS PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION.................. 1

STATEMENT OF VALUES......................................... 2

ROLE OF PARENTS................................................. 3

RESPONSIBILITY.............................................. 5

FEDERAL JURISDICTION......................................... 5

LOCAL CONTROL.................................................. 6

MÉTIS REPRESENTATION ON PROVINCIAL
SCHOOL BOARDS.................................................. 7

PROGRAMS....................................................... 9

CURRICULUM AND MÉTIS VALUES........................ 9

Nursery Schools and Kindergarten.......................... 11

Junior and Senior High Schools.............................. 11

Vocational Training........................................... 12

Adult Education................................................ 12

Post-Secondary Education.................................... 13

Alcohol and Drug Education................................. 14

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION.................................. 14
CULTURAL EDUCATION CENTRES............................ 16


TEACHERS......................................................... 18

TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR TEACHERS
AND COUNSELLORS............................................... 18

MÉTIS Teachers and Counsellors............................ 18

Non- Métis Teachers and Counsellors...................... 19

MÉTIS PARA-PROFESSIONALS............................... 20

FACILITIES AND SERVICES................................. 21

SUB-STANDARD EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES.............. 21

NEW EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES.............................. 21

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS................................. 21

Residences....................................................... 21

Day Schools...................................................... 22

Group Homes – Hostels....................................... 23

Denominational Schools...................................... 23

STAFF.................................................................. 24

RESEARCH............................................................ 24

PROBLEMS OF INTEGRATION............................. 25

SUMMARY OF MÉTIS POSITION
ON EDUCATION.................................................. 27

CONCLUDING STATEMENT................................. 32


STATEMENT OF THE MÉTIS PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

In Métis tradition each adult is personally responsible for each child, to see that he learns all he needs to know in order to live a good life. As our Métis fathers had a clear idea of what made a good man and a good life in their society, so we modern Métis , want our children to learn that happiness and satisfaction come from:
— pride in one's self,
— understanding one's fellowmen, and,
— living in harmony with the Nations of our French and First Nation ancestors .

These are lessons which are necessary for Métis survival in this twentieth century.

— Pride encourages us to recognize and use our talents, as well as to master the skills needed to make a living.
— Understanding our fellowmen will enable us to meet other Canadians on an equal footing, respecting cultural differences while pooling resources for the common good.
— Living in harmony with French and First Nations people will insure preservation of the balance of our own Métis as well as for fostering the climate in which Métis Wisdom has always flourished.

We want Métis education to give our children the knowledge to understand and be proud of themselves and the knowledge to understand the world around them.

STATEMENT OF VALUES

We want education to provide the setting in which our children can develop the fundamental attitudes and values which have an honoured place in Métis tradition and culture. The values which we want to pass on to our children, values which make our people a great new race as foreseen by our eastern Métis ancestor from eastern and western Canada who were found in written history books and through our oral history tradition and in the the cultures of our forefathers. We believe that if an Métis child is fully aware of the important Métis values he will have reason to be proud of ourNation Métis and of himself as a Métis in North America .

We want the behaviour of our Métis children to be shaped by those values which are most esteemed in our Métis culture and in our Métis language. When our children come to school they have already developed certain attitudes and habits which are based on experiences in the family. School programs which are influenced by these values respect cultural priority and are an extension of the education which parents give children from their first years.

All of these values have a special place in the Méti way of life. While these values can be understood and interpreted in different ways by different cultures, it is very important that Métis children have a chance to develop a value system which is compatible with Métis culture.

The national, cultural and linguistic gap between Métis people and the halfbreed country born who are not of Métis ancestry but have chosen to define themselves politically as as Métis as they are not recognized as a distinct Nation in the Canadian constitution , must respect and recognize the vast difference of our 2 Nations when it comes to mutual understanding and appreciation of our cultural political social historical and linguistic differences. To overcome this, it is essential that Métis and halfbreed country born children origin have the opportunity during their school days to learn in their onw respective languages about the history, customs and culture of their distinctions of their two respective Aboriginal Nations and their respective connection to First Nations , French and English ancestry .

THE ROLE OF PARENTS IN SETTING GOALS

If we are to avoid the conflict of values which in the past has led to withdrawal and failure, Métis parents must have control of education with the responsibility of setting goals. What we want for our children can be summarized very briefly:
- to reinforce their Métis identity,
- to provide the training necessary for making a good living in modern society.

We are the best judges of the kind of school programs which can contribute to these goals without causing damage to the child.

We must, therefore, reclaim our right to direct the education of our children. Based on two education principles recognized in Canadian society: Parental Responsibility and Local Control of Education, Métis parents seek participation and partnership with the Federal Government, whose legal responsibility for Métis education is set by some treaties and current provincial legislation. While we assert that only Métis people can develop a suitable philosophy of education based on Métis values adapted to modern living, we also strongly maintain that it is the financial responsibility of the Federal Government to provide education of all types and all levels to all Métis people, whether living in rural or urban settings . It will be essential to the realization of this objective that representatives of the Métis people, in close cooperation with officials of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, establish the needs and priorities of local communities or Métis Nations in relation to the funds which may be available through government sources.

The time has come for a radical change in Métis education. Our aim is to make education relevant to the philosophy and needs of the Métis people. We want education to give our children a strong sense of identity, with confidence in their personal worth and ability.
We believe in education:
- as a preparation for total living,
- as a means of free choice of where to live and work,
- as a means of enabling us to participate fully in our own social, economic, political and educational advancement.

We do not regard the educational process as an "either-or" operation. We must have the freedom to choose among many options and alternatives. Decisions on specific issues can be made only in the context of Métis community and Métis family clans control of education. We uphold the right of the Communities and Metis family clans to make these specific decisions and to exercise their full responsibility in providing the best possible education for our children.

Our concern for education is directed to four areas which require attention and improvement: i.e., responsibility, programs, teachers and facilities. The following pages will offer in an objective way, the general principles and guidelines which can be applied to specific problems in these areas.

RESPONSIBILITY

JURISDICTIONAL QUESTION OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR
MÉTIS EDUCATION

The Federal Government has legal responsibility for Métis education as defined by some treaties and provincial legislations . Any transfer of jurisdiction for Métis education can only be from the Federal Government to Métis communities and family clans . Whatever responsibility that must belongs to the Provinces is derived from the contracts for educational services negotiated between Métis Nations, provincial school jurisdictions, and the Federal Government.

Parties in future joint agreements will be:
(1) Métis communities and Métis family clans ,
(2)Provincial school jurisdictions,
(3)the Federal Government.
These contracts must recognize the right of Métis to a free education, funded by the Government of Canada.
The Métis people concerned, together with officials of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, must review all existing agreements for the purpose of making specific recommendations for their revision, termination or continuance.

In addition to the usual school services provided under joint agreements, attention must be given to local needs for teacher orientation, day nurseries, remedial courses, tutoring, Métis guidance counsellors, etc.
Where Communities and family clans want to form a school district under the Federal
system, necessary provision should be made in order that it has the recognition of provincial/territorial education authorities.

Master agreements between federal and provincial governments violate the principle of Local Control and Parental Responsibility if these agreements are made without consulting and involving the Métis parents whose children are affected. Since these
children are often from many widely separated communities and Métis family clans, it may be necessary to provide for Métis participation through the provincial Métis Nation. In every case, however, parental responsibility must be respected and the Métis community or Métis family clans will maintain the right to review and approve the conditions of the agreement.

METIS NATION AND FAMILY CLAN CONTROL

The past practice of using the school committee as an advisory body with limited influence, in restricted areas of the school program, must give way to an education authority with the control of funds and consequent authority which are necessary for an effective decision-making body. The Federal Government must take the required steps to transfer to Métis community the authority and the funds which are allotted for Métis education.

The Metis community with the Métis family clans will determine the relationship which should exist between the Métis Community and the School Committee: or more
properly, the Métis Education Authority. The respective roles of the Métis community and the Métis Education Authority will have to be clearly defined by the Métis community , with terms of reference to ensure the closest co-operation so that local control will become a reality.

The Métis local Education Authority would be responsible for:
- budgeting, spending and establishing priorities
- determining the types of school facilities required to meet local needs: e.g. day school, residence, group home, nursery, kindergarten, high school;
- directing staff hiring and curriculum development with special concern for Métis languages and culture;
- administering the physical plant;
- developing adult education and upgrading courses;
- negotiating agreements with provincial/territorial or separate school jurisdictions for the kind of services necessary for local requirements;
- co-operation and evaluation of education programs both in rural and uban area ;
- providing counselling services.
Training must be made available to those reserves desiring local control of education. This training must include every aspect of educational administration. It is important that Metis communities moving towards local control have the opportunity to prepare themselves for the move. Once the parents have control of a local school, continuing guidance during the operational phase is equally important and necessary.

MÉTIS REPRESENTATION ON PROVINCIAL SCHOOL BOARDS
There must be adequate Métis representation on school boards which have Indian pupils attending schools in their district or division. If integration for Métis is to have any positive meaning, it must be related to the opportunity for parental participation in the educational decision-making process.

Recalling that over 100% of Métis children are enrolled in provincial schools, there is urgent need to provide for proper representation on all school boards. Since this issue must be resolved by legislation, all Provinces should pass effective laws which will insure Métis representation on all school boards in proportion to the number of Métis children attending provincial schools, with provision for at least one Métis
representative in places where the enrollment is minimal. Laws already on the books are not always effective and should be re- examined. Neither is permissive legislation enough, nor legislation which has conditions attached.

A Métis Community Education Authority which is recognized as the responsible
bargaining agent with financial control of education funds, will be in a strong position to negotiate for proper representation on a school board which is providing educational services to the Métis community.

There is an urgent need for laws which will make possible RESPONSIBLE REPRESENTATION AND FULL PARTICIPATION by all parents of children attending provincial schools.

Métis Nations and the Federal Government should do whatever is necessary to conduct an effective public relations program for the purpose of explaining their role and that of the local Education Authorities to Ministers of Education, to Department of Education officials and to school board members.

PROGRAMS

CURRICULUM AND MÉTIS VALUES

Unless a child learns about the forces which shape him: the history of his people, their values and customs, their language, he will never really know himself or his potential as a human being. Métis culture and values have a unique place in the history of mankind. The Métis child who learns about his heritage will be proud of it. The lessons
he learns in school, his whole school experience, should reinforce and contribute to the image he has of himself as a Métis.

The present school system is culturally alien to Métis students. Where the Métis contribution is not entirely ignored, it is often cast in an unfavorable light. School curricula in federal and provincial schools should recognize Métis culture, values,
customs, languages and the Métis contribution to Canadian development. Courses in Métis history and culture should promote pride in the Métis child, and respect in the non-Métis student.

A curriculum is not an archaic, inert vehicle for transmitting knowledge. It is a precise instrument which can and should be shaped to exact specifications for a particular purpose. It can be changed and it can be improved. Using curriculum as a means to
achieve their educational goals, Indian parents want to develop a program which will maintain balance and relevancy between academic/skill subjects and Indian cultural subjects.

To develop an Métis oriented curriculum for schools which enroll Métis children, there must be full scale co-operation between federal, provincial and Métis education people:

(1)In the provincial Métis school system, funds must be made available for Métis people to work with professional curriculum planners. Together they will work out and test ideas for a relevant curriculum, utilizing the best from both cultures.
(2)In the provincial school system, this same kind of curriculum development must be pursued by the Department of Education with the involvement of the Métis people and the support of federal and provincial/ territorial funding.

Some other measures for improving the quality of instruction for all students, both Indian and non-Indian, are recommended to provincial and private school systems:
(a) appointment of Métis people to the curriculum staff for the purpose of supervising the production and distribution of Métis oriented curriculum materials for provincial schools, complete with the man-power and other resources to accomplish this
task;

(b) removal of textbooks or other teaching materials which are negative, biased or inaccurate in what concerns Métis history and culture;

(c) augmenting Métis content in curriculum to include Métis contributions to Canadian life through supplementary courses in: economics, science, medicine, agriculture, geography, etc., as well as special courses in Métis culture, music, art, dance, handicraft,
language;

(d) co-operating with Métis people in developing Métis studies programs at all levels;

(e) eliminating the use of I.Q. and standardized tests for Métis children. It has been shown that these tests do not truly reflect the intelligence of children belonging to minority, ethnic or other cultural backgrounds. Textbooks are needed which emphasize the importance of the Métis role in Canadian history. Material for reading classes must
be developed: material which is relevant to the experience of the Métis child living in isolated or northern areas of the provinces. Federal and provincial governments must be ready to respond to the Métis people and support their legitimate wishes for improved texts. Métis people should be commissioned to work with historians and
educators for the development of proper textbook material.

All Métis people, young and old alike, must be given a wide variety of educational opportunities. Specific problems in many Métis communities must be met by improved education. Much needed programs include: nursery and kindergarten education, junior and senior high school opportunity, vocational training, adult education,
post-secondary education, and alcohol and drug abuse education.

Nursery Schools and Kindergartens

Financial support for nursery schools and kindergartens should be the special concern of governments. These programs should be designated as priority programs in every respect. Many communities will view this pre-school experience as an opportunity for the children to learn the second language in which school subjects will be taught. Other communities will emphasize cultural content, for the purpose of reinforcing the child's image of himself as a Métis. This is the decision of the Family clans parents and they alone are responsible for decisions on location, operation, curriculum and teacher hiring.

Junior and Senior High Schools

In places where junior and senior high school classes once operated, the children have been transferred to provincial schools. Alarmed by the increasing number of teenagers who are dropping out of school, Métis parents are looking for alternatives to the high school education which their children are now receiving in provincial schools. If Métis parents had control of high school education, they could combat conditions which cause failures by:
- adopting clearly defined educational objectives compatible with Métis values;
- providing a relevant educational program;
- making education a total experience: recognizing Métis language, life and customs, inviting the participation of Métis parents in shaping the program;
- providing more counselling by Indians for Indians.

The needs of children and the desire of parents would indicate that in some areas high schools and/or vocational schools should be established on certain reserves to serve students of surrounding communities. These schools would be operated and maintained by a representative Education Authority.

Serious planning must be directed to developing flexible, realistic and relevant high school programs to meet the specific needs of Métis students who have dropped out and desire to resume their high school studies.

Vocational Training

A new approach to qualifications for many jobs is needed, as well as a change in academic/vocational courses to meet new requirements. In many cases where these jobs are within the Métis community, job specifications should be set by the Métis people, and the training itself should be supervised by the local Education Authority, which is established and/or recognized by the Métis communities involved.

Some of these positions might include teachers, counselors, social workers, probation officers, parole officers, community development workers. On a wider scale, responsible efforts must be made to encourage business and industry to open up jobs for Métis people. Job training should correspond to job opportunity and the economic
reality.

The Métis Education Authority should be in a position to deal directly with Canada Manpower and other training institutions.
When necessary, several Education Authorities might join together to plan programs for a particular region.

Adult Education
Adult education programs, properly conducted can be a means for
many Métis s to find economic security and self-fulfillment.

If the Métis language is spoken in the community, then native
instructors should be trained and employed to teach these adult
courses. Grade advancement classes should be offered on and off the
reserves, as well as basic literacy courses for those desiring to speak,
read and write English. Basic oral English programs are also needed.
Other adult programs which should be provided as the need
demands, might include: business management, consumer-

education, leadership training, administration, human relations,
family education, health, budgeting, cooking, sewing, crafts, Métis
art and culture, etc.
These programs should be carried out under the control and
direction of the Mtis Education Authority, on a short term or
continuing basis, according to the local needs.
Post-Secondary Education
Considering the great need there is for professional people in Métis
communities, every effort should be made to encourage and assist
Métis students to succeed in post-secondary studies.

Encouragement should take the form of recruiting programs directed
to providing information to students desiring to enter professions
such as: nursing, teaching, counseling, law, medicine, engineering,
etc. Entrance requirements, pre-university programs, counselling and
tutoring services, course requirements, are some factors which
influence how far a student can progress. He would be further
encouraged if the Métis language is recognized for the second
language requirement and a native studies program has a respected
place in the curriculum.

Considering the tremendous educational disadvantages of Métis
people, present rigid entrance requirements to universities, colleges,
etc., must be adjusted to allow for entrance on the basis of ability,
aptitude, intelligence, diligence and maturity.

Assistance should take the form of generous federal financial
support eliminating the difficulty and uncertainty which now
accompanies a student's decision to continue on for higher
education. Métis students should be able to attend any recognized
educational institution of their choice. Those who have the
motivation and talent to do post-graduate studies, should receive
total financial assistance. Since it will be many years before the
number of candidates for professional training exceeds the demand
for trained professionals, each request for financial assistance to do
post-secondary or post-graduate studies should be judged on its own
merits, and not by general administrative directives.
Métis people should seek representation on the governing bodies of
institutions of higher learning. This includes university senates and
boards of governors, as well as the governing councils of colleges,
community colleges and technical schools.
Alcohol and Drug Education

There is immediate need for educational programs of a preventative
and rehabilitative nature, designed and operated by Métis to meet
the threat of alcohol and drug addiction which plagues both young
and old alike. Whatever funds and means are necessary to operate
these programs should be made available at the earliest possible
date.
Some recommendations proposed by Métis for implementing these programs are:
a) Training native people as social animators to initiate programs
of group dynamics at the community level. In this way there would
be community participation in decision-making which affects the
community. Through the acquisition of knowledge about problems
and services, combined with reality-oriented group discussions
leading to community action, the solution of the socio-medical ills
can be placed in the context of the community.
b) Governments, federal and provincial/territorial, should
encourage special seminars and study groups for teachers, parents
and students, as well as make available the best audio-visual aids, in
order to bring those concerned up to date on all that can be done to
combat addiction.
c) These programs should be directed not only to the victims of
addiction but also to the communities, professions and institutions
that necessarily become involved in the circle of human
relationships which are affected by addiction.

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

Language is the outward expression of an accumulation of learning
and experience shared by a group of people over centuries of
development. It is not simply a vocal symbol; it is a dynamic force
which shapes the way a man looks at the world, his thinking about
the world and his philosophy of life. Knowing his maternal language
helps a man to know himself; being proud of his language helps a
man to be proud of himself.

TheMétis people are expressing growing concern that the Métis
language is being lost; that the younger generations can no longer
speak or understand their mother tongue. If the Métis identity is to
be preserved, steps must be taken to reverse this trend.

While much can be done by parents in the home and by the
community on the reserve to foster facility in speaking and
understanding, there is a great need for formal instruction in the
language. There are two aspects to this language instruction:

(1) teaching in the Métis language, and
(2) teaching the Métis language.

It is generally accepted that pre-school and primary school classes
should be taught in the language of the community. Transition to
English as a second language should be introduced only
after the child has a strong grasp of his own language. The time
schedule for this language program has been determined to be from
four to five years duration. Following this time span, adjustment and
adaptation to other languages and unfamiliar cultural milieu are
greatly enhanced.

The need for teachers who are fluent in the local language is
dramatically underlined by this concern for the preservation of
Indian identity through language instruction. Realization of this goal
can be achieved in several ways:

- have teacher-aides specialize in Indian languages,
- have local language-resource aides to assist professional
teachers,
- waive rigid teaching requirements to enable Indian people who
are fluent in Indian languages, to become full-fledged teachers.

Funds and personnel are needed to develop language programs
which will identify the structures of the language: i.e., syntax,
grammar, morphology, vocabulary. This is essential, not only to
preserve the language, but to encourage its use in literary expression.

Serious studies are needed to adapt traditional oral languages to
written forms for instructional and literary purposes.

In places where it is not feasible to have full instruction in the native
language, school authorities should provide that Métis children and
others wishing it, will have formal instruction in the local native
language as part of the curriculum and with full academic credit.

While governments are reluctant to invest in any but the two official
languages, funds given for studies in native languages and for the
development of teaching tools and instructional materials will have
both short and long term benefits.

CULTURAL EDUCATION CENTRES

The purpose of a Cultural Education Center is to provide for the
personal development necessary for social and economic
achievement in today's society. This personal development is
achieved when an individual knows himself fully: his personal
identity, dignity and potential. The Cultural Education Center will
promote this through studies of Indian history, culture, language and
values.

By learning ways to apply traditional beliefs, values and skills to
survival .in modern society, and by learning modern skills and
behaviors needed to participate in the benefits of economic and
social development, the Métis will gain self-confidence and
independence. The Cultural Education Center will be designed to
meet these needs and to make up for deficiencies in other
educational programs.

Considering the vital role that these Centres could play in cultural,
social and economic development, it is imperative that all decisions
concerning their evolution (goals, structure, location, operation, etc.)
be the sole prerogative of the Métis people.

Funds for these Centres should be available with a minimum of
regulations. These latter should be the result of discussion and
agreement between the Government and the Métis people.

The Métis people will welcome the participation of other
Departments of Government, of provincial/territorial or local
governments, of business or industry, of churches or foundations in
securing sufficient and continuing funds for the Cultural Education
Centers.
These Centres must be Métis controlled and operated, in view of the
fact that they are established for Métis purposes and use.

TEACHERS
TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR TEACHERS AND
COUNSELLORS
If progress is going to be made in improving educational opportunity
for native children, it is basic that teacher and counsellor training
programs be redesigned to meet the needs. The need for Métis
teachers and counsellors is critical and urgent; the need for specially
trained non-Indian teachers and counsellors is also very great.

Métis Teachers and Counsellors

It is evident that the Federal Government must take the initiative in
providing opportunities for Indian people to train as teachers and
counsellors. Efforts in this direction require experimental
approaches and flexible structures to accommodate the Métis person
who has talent and interest, but lacks minimum academic
qualifications. Provincial/territorial involvement is also needed in
this venture to introduce special teacher and counselor training
programs which will allow native people to advance their academic
standing at the same time as they are receiving professional training.
Because of the importance to the Métis community, these training
programs must be developed in collaboration with the Métis people
and their representatives in the national and provincial/territorial
organizations. The organizations have a major role to play in
evolving and implementing the training programs and in
encouraging native young people to enter the education field.
Native teachers and counsellors who have an intimate understanding
of Métis traditions, psychology, way of life and language, are best
able to create the learning environment suited to the habits and
interests of the Métis child.
There is urgent need for more Indian counselors to work with
students both on and off the reserves. If the need is to be met, many
more training centers must be opened immediately. The few which
are now operating can never supply enough trained counsellors for
the job that has to be done.

Non-Métis Teachers and Counsellors
The training of non-Métis teachers for teaching Métis hildren,
either in federal or provincial/territorial schools, is a matter of grave
concern to the Métis people. The role which teachers play in
determining the success or failure of many young Métis is a force
to be reckoned with. In most cases, the teacher is simply not
prepared to understand or cope with cultural differences. Both the
child and the teacher are forced into intolerable positions.

The training of non-Métis counsellors who work with Indian
children in either the federal or provincial/territorial systems, is also
of grave concern to Indian parents. Counsellors must have a thorough
understanding of the values and cultural relevancies which shape the
young Métis self-identity. In order to cope with another cultural
group the self-image of the child must be enhanced and not allowed
to disintegrate. It is generally agreed that present counselling services
are not only ineffective for students living away from home, but
often are a contributing factor to their failure in school. It is the
opinion of parents that counselling services should be the
responsibility of the Métis Education Authority.

Federal and provincial/territorial authorities are urged to use the
strongest measures necessary to improve the qualifications of
teachers and counsellors of Métis children. During initial training
programs there should be compulsory courses in inter-cultural
education, native languages (oral facility and comparative analysis),
and teaching English as a second language. Orientation courses and
in-service training are needed in all regions. Assistance should be
available for teachers in adapting curriculum and teaching
techniques to the needs of local children. Teachers and counsellors
should be given the opportunity to improve themselves through
specialized summer courses in acculturation problems,
anthropology, Métis history, language and culture.

Primary teachers in federal or provincial/territorial schools should
have some knowledge of the maternal language of the children they
teach.

Until such time as Métis assume total responsibility for schools,
there must be full consultation with the Métis Education Authority
regarding the appointment of teachers and counsellors. As part of its
involvement, the community should also take the initiative in
helping the teachers and counsellors to learn the Métis culture, language
and history of the local community.

MÉTIS PARA-PROFESSIONALS
More Métis teacher-aides and more Métis aides-aides are urgently
needed throughout the school systems where Métis children are
taught. These para-professionals can play an important role in
helping the young child or the adolescent to adjust to unfamiliar and
often overwhelming situations during their school experience.

Job requirements and the personal qualities needed by para-
professionals working with Métis children will be set by the
Education Authority of thecommunity. Instead of operating on the fringe
at some clerical or irrelevant task,Métis para-professionals will be
delegated by the parents to work with the children at the level of
greatest need. The importance of this work warrants that the para-
professional receive proper training and be given responsibilities in
line with the position. These positions should serve as a training
ground for professional advancement.

Performance and effectiveness rather than degrees and certificates
should be the criteria used in hiring and in establishing salaries and
benefits. For the protection of those who are qualified by experience
rather than by academic standing, it is essential that the status of
para-professionals be determined by their responsibility and
function. On this basis they will be assured of parity in salaries and
benefits with professionals doing the same job.

It should be the aim of the para-professional program to encourage
young people to continue their commitment to Métis education.

To operate a good school, many types of jobs must be filled. There
should be adequate funding to insure that Métis schools are
adequately staffed, not only with professionals, but with well-trained
para-professionals, including recreation assistants and specialist-
aides.

FACILITIES AND SERVICES
SUB-STANDARD EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES

All unsafe or obsolete school buildings, equipment and teacherages
should be replaced with modern, functional units. Where
Métis educational authorities wish to maintain educational services on their
communities, the school facilities must be brought up to the same
standards as those in the outside communities. To provide for all the
improvements necessary, Métis Nation must make long-term plans
for building construction. If the Department of Indian Affairs cannot
handle the financing under its usual annual budgeting scheme, other
alternatives must be considered.

NEW EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES

It shall be within the power of the Métis Education Authority to plan
for and provide the school facilities needed for community
educational programs: e.g., education of children, parental
involvement in education, adult education, cultural activities,
training sessions, etc.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

There is no single type of educational institution which will meet all
of the needs of Indian children. Facilities and services must be many
and varied to suit particular kinds of circumstances.

No general statement can be made on residences because of varying
needs across the country. In many places the need still exists for this
type of accommodation. However, many parents object to sending
their children long distances and want accommodations provided at
the village level. In all cases, the Federal Government is advised to
consult all parents with children in residences, in order to determine
their wishes on keeping or closing residences, and to examine
alternative accommodations.

Admission criteria for student residences will be formulated by the
people concerned: parents, Métis Nation and administrators. The
latter will reflect fiscal considerations.

Métis communities wishing to take over administrative responsibility and
financial control of student residences should be given full
assistance to do so. This will require changes in present Department
procedures for the operation of residences, as well as training Métis
candidates for administrative positions.

Where a residence is in operation, there should be an active parents'
council, representative of the student enrolment. This council will
act with the responsible residence authority on matters of policy and
program.

Programs must be implemented for bettering the qualifications of
present staff members and assisting unqualified persons to meet job
requirements. Residences should be staffed as far as possible by
Métis personnel.

The need for good day schools in Métis communities is becoming more
urgent. These schools should have two goals: (a) providing adequate
and appropriate educational opportunity, where skills to cope
effectively with the challenge of modern life can be acquired, and
(b) creating the environment where Métis identity and culture will
flourish.

In working toward these goals, the reserve school would be a major
factor in eliminating the conditions which lead to dropouts: negative
parental attitudes and student alienation.

To provide these facilities an increased financial and human
investment must be made in the Métis community. Complete
modern buildings, classrooms, equipment, gymnasiums and staff
quarters are needed.

These schools will be the vehicle by which Métis parents
gain knowledge, experience and confidence in fulfilling their
obligation and responsibility in the education of their children. All
school facilities should be available to the community for adult
education, cultural activities and training sessions.

To facilitate the transition of students from Métis schools to others,
it is essential that Ministries of Education recognize Métis day
schools as accredited educational centres. This presupposes that
academic quality will improve, that Métis schools will
become “models of excellence", recognized and imitated by
provincial/territorial schools. If an Métis oriented curriculum differs
from that of the provincial/territorial system, steps should be taken
by the proper authorities to develop appropriate criteria for grading
and accrediting purposes.

Group Homes — Hostels

There is a need among Métis students living away from home for familiar,
homelike accommodations. These could be provided in the small
hostel or group home setting. When administered and staffed by
Métis people, these homes could give the young person the security
and comfort of an Métis family while he or she is adjusting to a new
way of life.

In northern communities there is a great need for this kind of home
to replace the very large and often far distant residence. Located
centrally in every village and operated by an Métis couple, the
group home would provide long and short term care, i.e., food,
shelter, recreation and companionship for all in the village who need
it. This would include children whose parents were absent for
hunting and trapping, and old people who might be left alone for the
same reasons. The concept of this kind of home is derived directly
from Métis culture, and if allowed to take form would contribute to
a healthy Indian community.

Denominational Schools

As in all other areas of education, the parents have the right to
determine the religious status of the local school. In as far as
possible, there should be an attempt to satisfy the preference of
everyone.

STAFF

Where there are Métis people in attendance at a school, the number
of Métis staff hired, including professional, para-professional,
clerical and janitorial, should be based on a minimum ratio of one
Métis staff person to every 20 Métis students. This procedure
should be observed in residences, reserve day schools and integrated
schools.

Professionals, para-professionals and community resource people
are all needed to operate a good Métis school. In addition to
teachers and teacher-aides, Métis schools must have good
counsellors and counsellor-aides. Consultants with knowledge of
curriculum development and curriculum adaptation are necessary. A
recreation director has a special role to play. Where it is not
economically possible to have a recreation director on the school
staff, the community recreational program must be designed to
include the requirements of the school curriculum.

Whenever possible these positions should be filled by native people.
Consultants and specialists in Métis language, history, crafts,
customs, dances, legends will be drawn from the local community.

RESEARCH

There is increasing need for factual and scientific information on
which to base planning and decisions. The Métis people advocate
that research be under the direction and control of Métis people.
Monies labeled for research shall be channeled to research programs
identified by Métis Nations in relation to
their priorities and programs. Academics who are engaged to
conduct research projects will be responsible to the Métis
community, local or regional.

It is equally important that the Métis people have the direction and
control of experimental programs conducted in their name by
universities, academic centres or research bodies.

PROBLEMS OF INTEGRATION

Integration in the past twenty years has simply meant the closing
down of Métis schools and transferring Métis students to schools
away from their communities, often against the wishes of the Métis
parents. The acceleration with which this program has developed has
not taken into account the fact that neither Métis parents and
children, nor the white community: parents, children and schools,
were prepared for integration, or able to cope with the many
problems which were created.

Integration is a broad concept of human development which
provides for growth through mingling the best elements of a wide
range of human differences. Integrated educational programs must
respect the reality of racial and cultural differences by providing a
curriculum which blends the best from the Métis and the non-Métis
traditions.

Integration viewed as a one-way process is not integration, and will
fail. In the past, it has been the Métis student who was asked to
integrate: to give up his identity, to adopt new values and a new way
of life. This restricted interpretation of integration must be radically
altered if future education programs are to benefit Métis children.

The success of integration hinges on these factors: parents, teachers,
pupils (both Métis and white) and curriculum.

On the side of the Métis people, much more preparation and
orientation is needed to enable parents to make informed decisions
and to assist their children to adjust and to succeed. Métis parents
must have the opportunity through full representation to participate
responsibly in the education of their children.

The Métis child also needs preparation and orientation before being
thrust into a new and strange environment. In handling the conflict
of values, he will need the continuing support of his parents and
Métis counsellors. Inferiority, alienation, rejection, hostility,
depression, frustration, are some of the personal adjustment
problems which characterize the Métis child's experience with
integration. These are also factors in the academic failure of Métis
children in integrated schools.

Métis children will continue to be strangers in Canadian classrooms
until the curriculum recognizes I Métis customs and values, Métis
languages, and the contributions which the Métis people have made
to Canadian history. Steps can be taken to remedy this situation by
providing in provincial/territorial schools special auxiliary services
in cultural development, curriculum development, vocational
guidance, counselling, in-service training of teachers, tutoring and
recreation. Evidently many of these services can be provided under
the regular school program. However, if services are introduced
especially for the Métis children, the school board should have
financial support from the Federal Government.

The success of integration is not the responsibility of Métis alone.
Non- Métis must be ready to recognize the value of another way of
life; to learn about Métis history, customs and language; and to
modify, if necessary, some of their own ideas and practices.

SUMMARY OF THE MÉTIS POSITION ON EDUCATION

Métis parents must have FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND
CONTROL OF EDUCATION. The Federal Government must
adjust its policy and practices to make possible the full participation
and partnership of Métis people in all decisions and activities
connected with the education of Métis children. This requires
determined and enlightened action on the part of the Federal
Government and immediate reform, especially in the following areas
of concern: responsibility, programs, teachers, facilities.

RESPONSIBILITY

Local Control.

Until now, decisions on the education of Métis children have been
made by anyone and everyone, except Métis parents. This must
stop. Métis Nations should be given total or partial authority for
education , depending on local circumstances, and
always with provisions for eventual complete autonomy, analogous
to that of a provincial school board vis-à-vis a provincial
Department of Education.

School Board Representation.

It is imperative that Métis children have representation on
provincial/territorial school boards. Métis Nations and the
Federal Government must pressure the Provinces/Territories to make
laws which will effectively provide that Métis people have
responsible representation and full participation on school boards.

Transfer of Jurisdiction.

Transfer of educational jurisdiction from the Federal Government to
provincial or territorial governments, without consultation and
approval by Métis people is unacceptable. There must be an end to
these two party agreements between the federal and provincial/
territorial governments. Future negotiations with Education
Departments for educational services must include representatives of
the Métis people acting as the first party. The Federal Government
has the responsibility of funding education of all types and at all
levels for all Métis people.

Métis Control.

Those educators who have had authority in all that pertained to
Métis education have, over the years, tried various ways of
providing education for Indian people. The answer to providing a
successful educational experience has not been found. There is one
alternative which has not been tried before: in the future, let Métis
people control Métis education.

PROGRAMS

Kinds.
A wide range of programs is needed in the Métis community. The
local Education Authority must take the initiative in identifying the
needs for adult education, vocational training, remedial classes,
kindergarten, alcohol and drug education, etc., etc. The local
Education Authority must also have the authority to implement these
programs, either on a temporary or long-term basis.

Language and Culture.
Métis children must have the opportunity to learn their Métis language,
history and culture in the classroom. Curricula will have to be
revised in federal and provincial/territorial schools to recognize the
contributions which the Métis people have made to Canadian
history and life.

Cultural Education Centres.
Cultural Education Centres are desperately needed. Considering the
vital role that these Centres play in cultural, social, and economic
development, it is imperative that all decisions concerning their
evolution, i.e., goals, structure, location, operation, etc., be the sole
prerogative of the Métis people The Minister is urged to recognize
the rights of the Métis people in this matter.

He must insure:
a) that the Métis people will have representatives on any
committees which will decide policy and control funds for the
Cultural Education Centers;
b) that enough funds are made available for capital expenditure and
program operation.

TEACHERS

Métis Teachers and Counsellors.

The Federal Government must take the initiative in providing
opportunities in every part of the country for Métis people to train
as teachers. The need for Métis teachers is critical. Métis parents
are equally concerned about the training of counsellors who work so
closely with the young people.

Non- Métis Teachers and Counsellors.

Federal and provincial/territorial authorities are urged to use the
strongest measures necessary to improve the qualifications of
teachers and counsellors of Métis children. This will include
required courses in Métis history and culture.

Language.

As far as possible, primary teachers in federal or provincial/
territorial schools should have some knowledge of the Métis language of the children they teach.

Qualification.

It should be the accepted practice that only the best qualified
teachers are hired for Métis schools, and always in consultation
with the local Education Authority.

Para-Professionals.
More Métis teacher-aides and more Métis counsellor-aides are
urgently needed throughout the school systems where Métis
children are taught. The importance of this work requires that the
candidates receive proper training and be allowed to operate at their
fullest potential.

FACILITIES

Kinds.

Education facilities must be provided which adequately meet the
needs of the local population. These will vary from place to place.
For this reason, there cannot be an “either-or” policy, which would
limit the choices which Métis parents are able to make. In certain
localities, several types of educational facilities may be needed: e.g.,
residence, day school, integrated school. These must be made
available according to the wishes of the parents.

Substandard.

Substandard school facilities must be replaced and new buildings
and equipment provided in order to bring Métis schools up to
standard. Financing of such building and development programs
must be dealt with realistically by the Federal Government.

INTEGRATION

Responsibility for integration belongs to the people involved. It
cannot be legislated or promoted without the full consent and
participation of the Métis and non-Métis concerned.

CONCLUSION

There is difficulty and danger in taking a position on Métis
education because of the great diversity of problems encountered
across the country. The Métis Nations involved are confident
that it expresses the will of the people it represents when it adopts a
policy based on two fundamental principles of Métis education in a
democratic country, i.e.:

— parental responsibility, and
— local control.

If this policy is recognized and implemented by officials responsible
for Métis education, then eventually the Métis people themselves
will work out the existing problems and develop an appropriate
education program for their children.

CONCLUDING STATEMENT

This policy paper is subject to periodic review by the Executive
Council of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan and Québeci. Additions or
amendments may be initiated by a provincial/territorial Métis
Nations as the need arises.


Claude Aubin
Métis et administrateur de ce site.

info@claudeaubinmetis.com
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