Redefining parental involvement : the experiences of Wahpeton Dakota caregivers
The purpose of this thesis was to explore Dakota Aboriginal caregivers' involvement in their children's education. The needs of Aboriginal parents, who may share different perspectives regarding the purposes of education, have been ignored historically because of North American assimilation policies. Thus, listening respectfully to the voices of the Wahpeton Dakota caregivers and understanding their involvement in their children's education has been the intent of this research. Qualitative research techniques were used to elicit narratives through semi-structured interviews. The participants in this research were able to reflect back to their childhood educational experiences- traditional and formal- and accept the sometimes troubled experiences that their education provided. Resilience prevailed, as the Aboriginal parents and care givers in this study envisioned a positive future for their own children. The participants' narratives reflected similar, yet different expectations for "formal" education. In mainstream research literature, when educators define parent/care giver involvement, the ideal parent has been described as somehow directly involved in the school setting. This thesis challenges that perception and creates a different understanding of education for Wahpeton caregivers and its relevance to their children's lives. The Wahpeton parents and caregivers saw education as much more than academics. This viewpoint has the potential to provide a much more balanced, inclusive education process for our Aboriginal children.
Aboriginal education - Parent participation, Aboriginal educational experiences, Dakota children - Education
Master of Education (M.Ed.)