Aboriginal Education: Fulfilling the Promise

Feb 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 13-3: Sustaining Our Future, Media Reviews

University of British Columbia Press, 2000
edited by Marlene Brant Castellano, Lynn Davis, and Louise Lanche
278 pages

Review by Dr. Larry Gorospe

This book is a very comprehensive compilation of information concerning aboriginal education and culture with a Canadian prospective. It can be considered an educational document with an intellectual slant on the historical background of what aboriginal education has been, where it is, and where it may be going. The many authors present a wide diversity of information and opinion on matters related to the education and culture of indigenous people. It is informative, original, and thought provoking. The title is quite appropriate.

There were 19 contributing authors. About half are Native peoples; all have an interest and active roles in aboriginal education. The tribes represented are the Mi’kmaq nation, Mohawk, M’etis, Sto: lo, Chickasaw Nation, Lac du Flambeau Band of Chippewa, Inuit, and the Lil’wat. Their backgrounds are quite diverse, ranging from teachers and school administrators to researchers and Harvard professors. All possess degrees and would be considered professional educators.

The Canadian educational system is more demanding than our system in the U.S. They appear to have better prepared students and are more selective at the college level than our U.S. college systems. When compared to our tribal college systems, my belief is we take our students where ever they are academically, which in many cases would translate into inadequately prepared students because of poor preparation in the reservation schools and the lower social-economic status of many American Indians. We then help them more than the average college or university would and considerably more than the Canadian systems.

Our goal at the tribal colleges is to equip our students so that at the end of two years they should be able to compete on a level playing field with any other college student and bring their unique values and culture into the mainstream. I believe this book should be included in tribal college libraries.

Larry Gorospe, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, works at Turtle Mountain Community College. He received his doctorate from the Penn State Indian Leadership Program in 1983 and has been active in American Indian affairs and education for 36 years.

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