Indigenous people have faced many cultural challenges that have had drastic impacts on cultural identities and communities. These conflicts and trials have had a domino effect on many generations.
Previously mentioned were the residential schools and the sixties scoop, which caused a lot of negative affects on indigenous communities. For generations indigenous children were taken from their families, cultures and homes in an attempt to assimilate them into Canadian society.
These attempts at assimilation created a circle of trauma, negative coping mechanisms, and a difficult path of finding a way of life between indigenous and “white” culture. This circle of trauma and its effects have impacted generations and creates challenges for people who are wanting to pursue a higher education.
What are some factors that affect education…
It has become known that indigenous people have higher rates for incarceration, addictions, suicide and low education levels. The following links show articles that discuss these issues amongst the indigenous community in Canada:
Indigenous incarceration rates: Why are Canada’s numbers so high and what can be done about it?
‘Our society is broken’: what can stop Canada’s First Nations suicide epidemic
Life in the Frozen north: Trauma and healing in a remote Canadian town
How can all this affect indigenous students’ educations?
These affects on indigenous communities affect all levels of people. Families can suffer from historical traumas which affects mental health, financial stability, and support for further educations.
Many indigenous communities and reserves do not have colleges or universities….frankly many communities and reserves do not even have high schools. So in order to for indigenous students to gain a post-secondary education they often have to move far from their families, communities and ultimately their cultures.
In the end this puts a lot of stress on students and causes a lot of hardships for them.
TRU Indigenous- Current Students
Sometimes it feels like its just not worth it. I’ve asked myself many times “why am I doing this? What’s the point? I miss my family.” This is not a feeling or situation that is not exclusive to only indigenous students- international and domestic students face this problem as well.
It takes a strong mind set, determination and a lot of blood, sweat and tears to pursue an education that will hopefully lead you to a brighter and successful future. And this is where indigenous and non-indigenous students can relate, connect and hold sympathy for one another.