The politics of institutional development : an examination of aboriginal post-secondary institutions in British Columbia and Saskatchewan
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The central objective of this study is to examine the politics and policies regarding the development and operation of Aboriginal controlled post-secondary institutions, especially First Nations initiated post-secondary institutions in Western Canada. Toward that end, this study focuses on the politics and policies regarding the development and operation of two such institutions -- the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in British Columbia and the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Saskatchewan. Among the key research questions addressed by this study are the following: Why have Aboriginal controlled post-secondary institutions been established? What have been the general positions of the Aboriginal, federal and provincial governments on Aboriginal control of post-secondary education in Canada, and what are the key factors that account for their respective positions? What is the value of Aboriginal post-secondary institutions for their respective Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities? What is likely to happen to the existing Aboriginal post-secondary institutions over time and are any others likely to be established in the future? The key findings of this study on each of those questions can be summarized as follows. First, in terms of the factors that contributed to the creation of the Aboriginal post-secondary institutions the thesis reveals that four factors were particularly significant: (a) problems associated with the existing educational systems for Aboriginal students and educators (b) the international Aboriginal rights and self-governance movement; (c) the domestic Aboriginal rights and self-government movement; and (d) the interests of the Aboriginal, federal and provincial governments. Second, in terms of the positions of the various orders of government on the creation of such institutions this study reveals the following: (a) the general position of the Aboriginal governments has been, and continues to be, that they have both inherent and treaty rights to create and operate such institutions; (b) the general position of successive federal governments has changed from one of indifference to one of cautious support; and (c) the general position of provincial governments has varied not only from province to province but to some extent even among governments within the same province, as some provincial governments have been more proactive than others on this matter. Third, in terms of the value of Aboriginal controlled post-secondary institutions, this study reveals that they provide valuable educational opportunities for Aboriginal learners by exposing them to Aboriginal instructors, pedagogy, course content, cases, and support from elders. Fourth, in terms of the future of such institutions, the study suggests that they will continue to exist and new ones are likely to emerge because they provide an important focal point not only for the development of individuals of Aboriginal descent, but also for the development of individuals who can make a contribution to the political, economic and social development of Aboriginal communities.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeSteeves, Jeffrey S.; Michelmann, Hans J.
Aboriginal education -- Canada