The meaning of education for Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada, R Salokangas

Tags: Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvialuit, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, formal education, University of Alberta, residential school, student engagement, meaning of education, Aurora Research Institute, social networks, University of Western Ontario, T. Wotherspoon, Inuvialuit Social Development Program., Practiceto Advance Indian Education, residential schools, University of Calgary, NWT Bureau of Statistics, University of Ottawa Press, National Inuit Education Strategy, Department of Education, Statistics Canada, Dalhousie University, Yellowknife, Secondary data, Canada, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, case study research, Empirical data, NWT, Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority, Oxford University Press, education system, Mangilaluk School, the research process, Statistical Profile
Content: University of Alberta The Meaning of Education for Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada by Raila Maarit Salokangas A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Rural Sociology Department of Rural Economy ©Raila Maarit Salokangas Autumn 2009 Edmonton, Alberta Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Examining Committee Brenda Parlee, Rural Economy Christopher Fletcher, Anthropology Makere Stewart-Harawira, Educational Policy Studies
Abstract This study investigates how the meaning of education has changed for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada, over a century. This is done by situating Inuvialuit educational experiences in the context of government policies, socioeconomic and cultural changes, and Inuvialuit self-determination. The study found that the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit has been and continues to be: acquiring the means to support a family. A change has occurred from learning "the Inuvialuk way" in the 1930s to "striving for the best of both worlds" in the 1970s to the dream of "becoming whatever I want" in the 2000s. Unfortunately, the dreams that youth have are often cut short. Among other things, the level of engagement in formal education by youth and their families is influenced by the family's past experiences and perceptions of the education system. The study identifies family, community, school, and policy factors that increased student engagement.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank the community of Tuktoyaktuk for welcoming the research. A special thank you to: Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation; Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk; Tuktoyaktuk Elders Committee; Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority; the Mangilaluk School; and Aurora Research Institute ­ Aurora College, for partnering in the research. I have enjoyed working with you and I hope to continue our collaboration one day. Many Tuktoyaktuk community members helped the research process, including: Maureen and James Pokiak; Audrey Walker; Helen Gruben; and Robert Gruben, thank you. Research assistants, Rita Green and Charles Lucas, thank you for your help. Aurora Research Institute staff has been most helpful in their practical advice and supportive attitude, thank you: Andrew Applejohn; Pippa Seccombe-Hett; Sharon Kaz; Paulo Flieg; Valerie Tomlinson, Alana Mero, William Hurst, and others. I would like to thank the University of Alberta staff for helping me with the research process. I have enjoyed working with my supervisor, Brenda Parlee, who has a wonderfully positive approach towards the work she does and guides. Thank you Chris Fletcher for the discussions we have shared. Thank you Makere Stewart-Harawira for letting me learn from you and your students, and for making me think critically. I would also like to thank my fellow students at the department of Rural Economy for making studying so much fun! Thank you mom, dad and family for all your support.
Table of Contents Chapter One: Introduction _______________________________________________ 1 Research Purpose and Objectives______________________________________________ 3 Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk and School __________________________________________ 5 Literature Review __________________________________________________________ 7 Theorizing the Meaning of Education through Modernity, Globalization, and Individualization ____ 7 Theorizing Aboriginal People's School Attainment _____________________________________ 10 Summary of Literature Review _____________________________________________________ 16 Significance and Contributions of the Research _________________________________ 18 Methodology and Methods __________________________________________________ 19 Planning and Pondering About Research______________________________________________ 21 Secondary Data _________________________________________________________________ 24 Participating ____________________________________________________________________ 25 Interviews______________________________________________________________________ 25 Criteria for the Family Participants _____________________________________________ 27 Recruitment _______________________________________________________________ 30 Youth Focus Group ______________________________________________________________ 31 Anonymity of Participants _________________________________________________________ 31 Analysis _______________________________________________________________________ 32 Reflections on the Role of the Research in the Research: Reflexivity in Interviewing Three Generations ____________________________________________________________________ 33 Tuktoyaktuk and I _______________________________________________________________ 34 Limitations of the Research__________________________________________________ 36 References ________________________________________________________________ 38 Chapter Two: Paper # 1 _________________________________________________ 48 "The Meaning of Education for Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk" ___________________ 48 Introduction ______________________________________________________________ 50 Background_______________________________________________________________ 51 Theorizing the Changes in the Meaning of Education through Identity and Individuality _________________________________________________________________________ 53 Methods__________________________________________________________________ 58 Results ___________________________________________________________________ 62 1890s to 1930s - Learning the Inuvialuk Way of Life ____________________________________ 62 1940s to 1960s ­ Obeying Other's Wishes; Humbling under Disease and Distance; and the Balancing Act between Both Worlds _________________________________________________ 65 1970s and 1980s ­ Family Influences on Living in Both Worlds ____________________________ 73 1990s to 2000s ­ The Dream of Becoming Whatever I Want_______________________________ 81 Discussion ________________________________________________________________ 95 Conclusion________________________________________________________________ 98 References ________________________________________________________________ 99
Chapter Three: Paper # 2 ______________________________________________ 108 "Factors Influencing Student Engagement in an Inuvialuit Community" _______ 108 Introduction _____________________________________________________________ 110 Theoretical Foundation ____________________________________________________ 111 Student Engagement ______________________________________________________ 112 Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk and School ________________________________________ 117 Methods_________________________________________________________________ 118 Findings_________________________________________________________________ 122 The Student and Microsystems_____________________________________________________ 122 Family __________________________________________________________________ 122 Peers ___________________________________________________________________ 127 School___________________________________________________________________ 128 Exosystems ____________________________________________________________________ 131 Curriculum and Policy_____________________________________________________ 131 Macrosystems__________________________________________________________________ 134 Attendance and Time Management __________________________________________ 134 Cronosystem___________________________________________________________________ 136 Deaths in the Community __________________________________________________ 136 Interactions between Systems______________________________________________________ 136 Discussion _______________________________________________________________ 141 Conclusion_______________________________________________________________ 143 References _______________________________________________________________ 145 Chapter Four: Conclusion _____________________________________________ 152 Summary of Findings______________________________________________________ 153 Future Areas of Research __________________________________________________ 155 Next Steps _______________________________________________________________ 156 Concluding Remarks ______________________________________________________ 157 References _______________________________________________________________ 158 Appendix A __________________________________________________________ 159 Appendix B __________________________________________________________ 160 Appendix C __________________________________________________________ 163 Appendix D__________________________________________________________ 167 Appendix E __________________________________________________________ 173 Appendix F __________________________________________________________ 177 Appendix G__________________________________________________________ 180 Appendix H__________________________________________________________ 182
List of Tables Table 2-1 Interview participants ___________________________________________ 61 Table 3-1 Interview participants __________________________________________ 120
List of Figures Figure 3-1 Ecological approach. ..................................................................................... 112
Chapter One: Introduction This thesis is a historical examination of Inuvialuit engagement with the formal education system. Starting from the late 19th century the thesis paints a picture of the opportunities and the struggles Inuvialuit from Tuktoyaktuk have undergone and how grandparents and parents educational experiences are echoed in the experiences of today's youth. It is a generally accepted that a well-educated labour force is a key factor to a region's economic growth (Mathur, 1999; Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003; Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, 1989). Rural areas around the world struggle to provide their people a high standard of education. Concerning the level of education in the workforce, Canada has among the highest rural-urban gaps in education levels among the OECD countries (OECD, 1999). In Canada, the gap in the level of unemployment between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people has decreased, but for the Inuit it has stayed the same (Gionet, 2008). This is partly due to geographical isolation (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003), but the level of education especially among the Inuit in the north falls below those of non-Inuit (Richards, 2008; ITK and SRAD, 2006). This is also the case between the Inuvialuit ­ Inuit of the Western Arctic Canada ­ and non-Aboriginal Canadians. Several theories have been used to explain the education gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The theories evolve around cultural, structural and resistance theories. Cultural discontinuity theory is the most common cultural theory used. It is founded on the notion that minorities do not do as well in a school system that has been molded towards the majority culture (Ogbu, 1982; Wilson, 1992; Deyhle, 1992; Hornett, 1990; Williamson, 1987). Cultural discontinuity theory focuses on the different communication and Learning styles of minority students compared to mainstream students. Structural theories highlight the socio-political and economic contexts that persuade students' educational paths. Internal colonialism is one of most commonly used structural theories to explain the educational gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students (Kelly and Altbach, 1978; Perley, 1993; Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). 1
Today, internal colonialism is mostly discussed in the terms of appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy used by the Euro-Canadian teachers. The curriculum used in the Arctic was developed for southern Canada, thus scholars and Inuit organizations argue that it lacks cultural relevance for the Inuit students, therefore resulting to Inuit students lower achievement level (IDEA, 2005; Duffy, 1988; ITK and SRAD, 2006; ITK, 2005; Dorais, 1997; Roy-Nicklen, 1986). Resistance theories claim that minority students' attendance, performance and engagement in formal education is lower due to their ongoing resistance to mainstream domination, which includes the school setting (Ryan, 1998; Wagner, 2002; Heimbecker, 1994; Corbett, 2001). These theories are useful in explaining Inuit student lower level of school engagement, but as Berger (2008) points out, no one theory in itself is able to explain the complexities of schools continuing to fail far too many Inuit students. A combination of theories, as well as local and regional opportunities and barriers to education and employment influence student engagement. This thesis hypothesizes that the level of engagement in formal education by youth and their families is influenced by the family's past experiences and perceptions of the education system. This research starts by exploring the question "What is the meaning of education for Inuvialuit youth and their families in Tuktoyaktuk and how has it changed over three generations?" This research question was inspired by work done on the meaning of education in Finland (Antikainen et al., 1995; 1996) and Antikainen (1998)1. The study also examines the educational histories of the family members and how those experiences might influence youth's perception of education. This is an important link that is often missed in educational research with Aboriginal peoples, but might be able to give light to some of the choices that community members make. In particular, such histories can inform understanding about student interests in educational attainment and future life and employment options. As educational and employment choices are tied into regional, national and global policies, as well as market and cultural trends, the thesis also attempts to make links between the pathways that have been or are available for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk. I will approach the topic by using empirical data from a case 1 In Appendix B, which presents the research process, I discuss in more detail how the work of Antikainen et al. (1995, 1996) and Antikainen (1998) informed the research. 2
study and place that data in an explanatory context that includes governments' policies and social changes that have taken place in Tuktoyaktuk and in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The work also concentrates on current student engagement in Tuktoyaktuk by identifying family, community, school and policy factors that increased student engagement. Research Purpose and Objectives Educational rituals, codes, and meanings, or the process of people's making sense of their own life in terms of common sense б la Gramsci, cannot be dissociated from power and the permanent search for identity. Carlos Alberto Torres and Ari Antikainen (2003) Few historical enquiries have been made to understand how history impacts Inuit perception of the meaning of education and how such histories and perceptions influence student participation in formal education or student engagement. This study aims to link Inuvialuit experiences to historical and concurring socio-political changes and policies, especially in the field of education. Schissel and Wotherspoon (2003:29) have asserted that to develop a sufficient understanding of Aboriginal education there is a need to approach the subject from a broad "framework that examines the points where people's lives, identities, options, and choices intersect with social, economic, political, and historical forces". This study aims to follow Schissel's and Wotherspoon's framework on the interplay between individual educational experiences and larger sociological structures. By doing so, chapter two aims for a better understanding of the connections between government education policies and socioeconomic and cultural changes in the north. Furthermore, chapter two will explore how those connections have contributed to the Inuvialuit perception of the meaning of education. In chapter three the study will continue an investigation of the ways the history of education continues to impact student 3
engagement in Tuktoyaktuk. This is important as there continues to be debate on how best to increase student engagement in the north. The main objectives of this study were to explore: 1) how the meaning of education has changed for Inuvialuit youth and their families; 2) how government policies, socioeconomic and cultural changes, and strive for self-determination have contributed to education in the community of Tuktoyaktuk; and 3) what are the ways that families, the community, the school, and policy help youth with school engagement. The thesis is divided in four chapters. Chapter one: Introduction lays out the study purpose and objectives; a background on Tuktoyaktuk and schooling in the region; a literature review of the meaning of education and Aboriginal people's school attainment; the significance and contributions of the research; methodology and methods used; and limitations of research. Chapter two: Paper #1: The Meaning of Education for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk explores the century long historical journey that Inuvialuit living in Tuktoyaktuk have experienced in the formal school system. The paper will present how the meaning of education has changed in four time periods: 1890s to1930s; 1940s to 1960s; 1970s to 1980s; and 1990s to 2000s2. The results illustrate how modernity and globalization in the form of government policies, socioeconomic and cultural changes, and Inuvialuit strive for self-determination has resonated with these experiences. Further, the results demonstrate how the formal education experiences of the grandparents and parents are still echoed in the experiences of the youth in the 2000s. 2 The divisions in the time periods were chosen, because they represent significant socio-political changes that formed educational policy in the Inuvialuit region. These time periods also bring to light the dialectical relationship between the empirical data and historical happenings. From the time of the first school in the Inuvialuit region in 1890s to 1930s, the federal government did not concern itself too much with Inuit education. The matter of formal education of the Inuit was left mainly to the churches that were operating in the area. This changed after WWII, when the federal government made an effort to provide the Inuvialuit with same services as other Canadians, including education. By the 1970s and 1980s Inuit and Inuvialuit self-determination efforts in the way of land-claims and self-government negotiations brought some changes also to the ways in which education was seen and delivered in the NWT. The current era of 1990s to 2000s is founded on a territorial policy of culture-based education. 4
Chapter three: Paper #2: Factors Influencing Student Engagement in an Inuvialuit Community set out to learn more about the home, school and community factors as well as interactions that enforce or erode student engagement. Using an ecological approach the paper creates hypotheses about factors that enforce and erode student engagement in the Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk. Further, the paper will explore community members opinions on how educational policy impacts students engagement. Chapter four: Conclusion presents a summary of the findings; suggestions for father areas of research; and next steps for continuing this research. Appendices present a map of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region; further insight to some of the methodological and ethical considerations; information sheet and interview guide; an example of a summary of an interview; and a table of research results from Chapter two. As this is a paper based thesis, chapters one and two are stand alone pieces. This might result to some repetition in the thesis, especially in the methods section. Chapter one: Introduction presents a thorough overview of the methodology and methods. Methods in chapter two and three are summarised versions of the methods presented in chapter one. Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk and School More than three-quarters of 3,115 Inuit living in the Northwest Territories (NWT) live in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (see a map of the region in appendix A) (Statistics Canada, 2008). The Inuvialuit are Inuit, biologically, culturally and linguistically related to other Inuit that live across the North American continent from the Bering Strait to east Greenland. Tuktoyaktuk is one of the coastal communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region with a population of 956, of which 97 percent are Aboriginal (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Prior to 1934, only a few families lived permanently in the Tuktoyaktuk area. The departure of whaling fleets from Herschel Island resulted in a request for a new harbour for the Hudson's Bay Company to supply the costal communities, and Tuktoyaktuk was chosen as the location (Makale et al., 1967). This 5
harbour became the only deepwater port in the region which made it a focus of oil and gas exploration activity in the 1970s, when exploration expanded into the offshore areas of the Canadian Beaufort Sea (Ayles and Snow, 2002). In the community of Tuktoyaktuk the employment rate is 39 percent, about thirty percent lower than in the NWT (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Unemployment is especially high among those with lower levels of education. People who do not have a regular fulltime job often work seasonally. Community life in Tuktoyaktuk is influenced by the seasonal changes and migration of animals caught for food and hide. In Tuktoyaktuk, 57 percent of the people hunt and fish (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Country foods persist to be an important source of meat as half of the households continue to rely mostly or fully on county foods for meat (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Many families spend time on the land, especially during springtime when families go geese hunting and fishing to camps that are between 20 to 200 hundred kilometres from Tuktoyaktuk. Caribou hunts are done in the autumn and spring, and beluga whale hunts are in July. The children and youth are taught how to survive on the land, and how to find and prepare the food and hides. The first school in the region was opened by Anglican Church at Herschel Island in the 1890s. By 1926, a Catholic residential school and an Anglican residential school were operating in the area (Macpherson, 1991; Alunik et al., 2003). About 30 percent of Inuvialuit adults have attended a residential school (Statistics Canada, 2006). In Tuktoyaktuk, the Federal Day School opened in 1947 (Abrahamson, 1963) and it was later named the Mangilaluk School after former Chief William Mangilaluk. The Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority oversees the delivery of education at the local level. It is made up of elected community members, who meet periodically with the principal. The Mangilaluk School is administrated through the Beaufort-Delta Education Council of the Northwest Territories Department of Education and governed under the Northwest Territories Education Act. The school system in the NWT follows the Alberta curriculum, but adjustments have been made to curriculum to make it more relevant to northern students. In Tuktoyaktuk the teachers are encouraged to integrate Dene Kede 6
(curriculum from the Dene perspective) and Inuuqatigiit (curriculum from the Inuit perspective). Grade 12 students are required to pass Alberta Departmental Exams in order to graduate from high school. Schools in the NWT implement the Inclusive Schooling Directive (Education, Culture and Employment, 2006). The directive sets out to ensure equal access for all students to educational programs and students are placed into grades according to age rather than educational abilities. The education attainment in Tuktoyaktuk has not increased significantly since the land claim was settled in 1984. Only 34 percent of residents aged 15 years and older were high school graduates and/or had post-secondary education in 2006 (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Literature Review This literature review has two parts. First, it will introduce a sociological discussion of modernity, globalization, and individuality, and how previous research explains the ways in which those forces impact the lives of Inuit in Canada's Arctic. This is done in order to situate the Inuvialuit experiences to historical and concurring socio-political changes and policies. Second, the literature review will move to explaining the current understanding of why too often the students' educational dreams and efforts are cut short. The theories that are used to explain this evolve around cultural, structural and resistance theories. This part of the literature review is limited to North American samples, with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Inuit literature. Theorizing the Meaning of Education through Modernity, Globalization, and Individualization Modernity and globalization have and continues to impact Inuit lives in diverse ways. I use modernity as the umbrella definition of processes that have paved the way for the Inuvialuit to join mainstream Canadian society. Transition to modernity can be seen through the interaction between economic, political, social and cultural processes (Hall, 7
1995). Hall (1995) identifies four key features that have contributed to this phenomenon: 1) modern nation-states that dominate with secular forms of power; 2) capitalist economy founded on large-scale production and consumption; 3) decline of predetermined social hierarchies and formation of social and gendered division of labor; and 4) decline of spiritual or religious world view and rise of capitalist consumer culture demonstrating individualistic and rational impulses. At different times all these processes have come to play in Tuktoyaktuk. Also, at different times and contexts the Inuvialuit have acquired diverse tactics to adapt to the changes brought by modernity. Stern (2001), who has worked with the Inuit in Uluhaktok, sees modernity as "an organic process" (Stern, 2001:224) which has engaged the Inuit in a web of interactions with the nation-state, the school system and other institutions. Occasionally, modern institutions have left the Inuit with little power to impact change, other times, the Inuit have acted with vast amount of agency and determination. Globalization is an inherent part of modernity. It can be defined as "the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa" (Giddens, 1990:64). As a part of globalization, some processes bring cultures together (e.g. the use of high technology and consumerism) others strengthen local autonomy and cultural identities (Giddens, 1990). For the Inuvialuit the latter has happened through the Inuvialuit land claim and negotiations for self-government. At the same time, the Inuvialuit continue to establish partnerships to promote issues that are important to them. As an example, in 2009 the National Inuit Education Accord was signed by the Inuit of Canada, the two territorial governments, and the Nunatsiavut government to establish a National Committee on Inuit Education. The mandate of the accord is to develop a strategy to enhance the educational outcomes of Inuit students. Dorais (1997, 2001) has found that for the community of Quaqtaq, Nunavik, the meaning of education is twofold: 1) to teach of the modern world to young people and to acquire the required skills to earn a living; and 2) to transmit traditional Inuit customs and values. For Quaqtamiut (the Inuit of Quaqtaq) magainniq activities (hunting, fishing, trapping 8
and camping) continue to be important, though wage employment has replaced these activities as the main source of income. Dorais views modern Inuit to be tied to the global and national rules of what makes an individual a qualified employee and knowledgeable of kiinaujaliurutiit ­ means of making money. School is seen as the place where the main function is to transmit knowledge of money making, thus it is the main vehicle to modernity. Quaqtamiut perceive themselves to be caught between magainniq and kiinaujaliurutiit, but are making an effort to live a modern Inuit life which combines the two. Modernity and globalization have diversified the educational and work options in northern Canada, but the options are still scarcer than in southern Canada. Some contemporary social theorists have assessed that traditions, collectivism and social structures will diminish as individualization, as a part of modernity, takes over (Beck, 1992; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2002: Giddens 1991; Bauman 2001, 2007). In a premodern world a person's place in society came as a given without little agency and choices (Bauman, 2001; Beck, 2001). As choices have increased human identity has transformed from a `given' into a `task' (Bauman, 2001:144). There is a continual expectation to engage in the construction, juggling and advancing of our identities and biographies (Beck, 2001; Giddens, 1991). Giddens (1991) and Bauman (2001) see personal identity as a reflexive project where the individual has to adapt to continual societal change and limitless choices. These changes and choices shift and develop so fast that it is hard for the individual to keep up with the strategizing of one's life. In both good and bad ­ blame and glory ­ a modern individual is the master of their own destiny and the responsibility of making the right choices weighs heavily on the individuals shoulders (Beck, 2001; Bauman, 2001; Hargreaves, 1980). The difficulty of modern life is, though, that everything is changing in such a fast pace that it becomes impossible for the individual to keep up with the moving targets and this further increases anxiety (Bauman, 2001). Condon's (1987) work in Uluhaktok has similarities to the assessments of Bauman, Beck and Giddens. He concurs that before the impacts of Euro-Canadian culture, youth in Ulukhaktok did not have the same choices as modern youth do. A young male was 9
expected to become a hunter and provide for his family; as other options were not available, aspirations did not go further. In early 1980s the youth have more choices regarding their futures, for example, whether to stay in their home community or look for educational or occupational outside their community. Rapid social change in Uluhaktok is well represented in the students' occupational aspirations. Gender differences in occupational choices were clear as more males were interested in higher skilled occupations such as: welder, electrician, and mechanic. Female students, on the other hand, would choose work at the local stores. The few female students who had preferences that require higher skills chose occupations, such as: nurse, hairdresser, and stewardess. Mills (2007) and Jenkins (2008) remind us that institutions and structures continue to direct individuals' choices and lives. As what becomes apparent from the youth aspirations in Ulukhaktok, the most preferred occupations echo the job and training opportunities of the NWT. Individuals, at least in small and remote northern communities, are heavily bound by the context they live in. At the same time, this does not prevent some youth in Ulukhaktok dreaming global dreams of becoming a hockey player, stewardess, or songwriter. Theorizing Aboriginal People's School Attainment The theories that are used to explain Aboriginal People's lower level of school attainment compared to the mainstream society evolve around cultural, structural and resistance theories. Cultural discontinuity theory is the most common cultural theory used in explaining the education gap between minority and majority students. The cultural discontinuity theory stems from the notion that minorities do not do as well in a school system that has been molded towards the majority or dominant culture, often reflecting a eurocentric worldview (Ogbu, 1982; Wilson, 1992; Deyhle, 1992; Hornett, 1990; Williamson, 1987). Wilson (1992) for example, observed Aboriginal students doing well in a reservation school setting, but poorly in a setting where most students are from the dominant Canadian culture. According to Wilson, the reason for the difference in the performance level is due to cultural discontinuity that the Aboriginal students experience 10
in dominant school settings and this might lead some students to eventually dropout. This is something that is often referred to as "living in two worlds". As noted in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples "Aboriginal adolescents straddle two worlds one where Aboriginal values and beliefs prevail, and another where television, popular culture and peer pressure offer competing values and priorities" (Canada, 1996). This balancing act between the two cultures can become overwhelming (Kawagley, 1999). Interestingly, some studies have asserted that Native students with high cultural identity achieve better in school than students who report lower cultural identity (Oetting and Beauvais, 1991; Keith et al., 1995). In the long run, dichotomizing cultures might not be helpful in resolving the educational gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Thus, in Alaska a group of Yup'ik teachers have stepped away from emphasizing the differences between traditional and western way of life and school and have taken an approach of "both/and" (Lipka, 1998b:179). This is seen as a way to move away from highlighting differences and placing value judgments on knowledge and culture. Instead, emphasis is given on the benefits of learning form both cultures/ways. Cultural discontinuity theory also highlights curriculum, pedagogy and language (Williamson, 1987). It criticizes curriculum lacking resemblance to Inuit cultures. In the NWT the language used at school is most often English, not one of the Aboriginal languages (e.g. Inuvialuktun in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region). As teachers are mainly from southern Canada, the pedagogy used may conflict with Inuit world view and values (Duffy, 1988; Condon, 1987; Battiste, 1998; Yamauchi and Tharp, 1995; Eriks-Brophy and Crago, 2003; Crago, 1990). In a study that combined microanalytic and ethnographic methods Eriks-Brophy and Crago (2003) examined the discourse features of Inuit and non-lnuit teachers of Inuit children in northern Quebec. They found that the Inuit and non-Inuit teachers differed in discourse and interaction patterns, therefore adjusting students to conflicting cultural communication values. The Inuit teachers' used instructional interactions by emphasizing group responsibility, cooperation, and collectivity, whereas non-Inuit teachers highlighted individualism and competition. Though Inuit children learn to interact and perform in classrooms with non-Inuit teachers the concern that Eriks-Brophy and Crago (2003) have is that children's self-esteem and 11
cultural identity might suffer in the process. Brady (1996) has pointed out that the cultural discontinuity theory does not give insight to; (a) differences in dropout among Canadian Native youth depending upon the socioeconomic status of their families; (b) the vast differences in dropout rates between Aboriginal communities, and (c) similarities in school experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal dropouts. In a comprehensive historical analysis Miller (1996) describes the residential schools in Canada by giving voice to the government officials, missionaries, and the students who attended residential schools. For Miller it is apparent that the combination of pedagogy and discipline tactics that differed from what Aboriginal students were accustomed to made it more difficult for the students to adjust to residential schools. He asserts that differences in e.g. disciplining and "going by the clock" resulted in misunderstandings and behavior that was perceived by school staff as normal, but forceful by students (Miller, 1996:426). In doing so, he is in the lines of the cultural discontinuity theory. He also acknowledges the extreme suffering that some students endured including physical and sexual abuse. Structural theories focus on the social, economic and political contexts that influence or constrain students' educational paths. Policies, labour markets and structures of inequality that influence educational attainment and outcomes are an important part of the investigation as education continues to strengthen societal inequities (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). In regards to structures of inequality in education, Kelly and Altbach (1978) differentiate between classical colonialism (nation-to-nation domination), internal colonialism (dominant group ruling a marginalized group, nation, within a nation state) and neocolonialism (some European states domination over independent nation states). Though there are differences between the three, the underlying similarity is that the colonizer holds the power as education is planned and controlled by the colonizer. Internal colonialism is one of most common structural theories used to explain the educational gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). In the school system, assimilation processes3 have been at the 3 According to Kelly and Altbach (1978) assimilation process differentiates internal colonialism from classical colonialism. In classical colonialism the interest of the colonizer was not to give rights or power 12
center of internal colonialism of Aboriginal peoples. During the residential school era this was done most efficiently by removing children from their families and cultures (Bear Nicholas, 2001). In the pedagogical sense, Miller (1996) views residential schools to represent an evident structural failure due to improper curriculum, insufficient learning materials; and under qualified teachers. But internal colonialism is not seen as a problem of the past, instead as an ongoing process where the ways of the dominant majority are being transferred to the minorities (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). The process of internal colonialism takes place when a politically and economically dominant group makes decisions for the colonized, e.g. by deciding who goes to school; how long schooling takes place; curriculum taught; and language used (Perley, 1993). Nowadays internal colonialism is mostly discussed in the terms of appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy used by the Euro-Canadian teachers. Curriculum used has received a lot of attention as student achievement is dependent on it. The curriculum used in the Arctic was developed for southern Canada, thus scholars and Inuit organizations argue that it lacks cultural relevance for the Inuit students, therefore resulting in lower achievement levels (IDEA, 2005; Duffy, 1988; ITK and SRAD, 2006; ITK, 2005; Dorais, 1997; Roy-Nicklen, 1986). Although attempts have been made towards increasing cultural content within the school systems, finding the right fit is challenging. Some scholars assert that the curriculum used in Aboriginal education continues to have an assimilationist bent (Castellano et al., 2000; Aylward, 2007; Burnaby, 2008; Dion, 2005). For Lipka (1989), who works with the Yup'ik in Alaska, the question of culturally relevant curriculum is tied to a bigger question of how the school is seen in the community. According to Lipka, it is not enough to simply use a relevant curriculum, the school needs to be recognized and function as a resource for the community and not the other way around. Also, as communities differ in ethnicity, history, livelihoods, etc. it is crucial that each community negotiates the curriculum for to the colonized, e.g. through voting rights. Internal colonialism, on the other hand, erodes the nationhood of the colonized by efforts of assimilation. Thus, Kelly and Altbach (1978) state that e.g. Indigenous peoples are named minorities, ethnic minorities, or lower classes, instead of nations or cultures with specific names like Inuvialuit or Gwich'in. In other words, nations are clumped together as category without distinctive traits and cultures. Kelly and Altbach (1978) note that assimilations schooling might not lead to more integration than colonial schooling. The inequities that people face once categorized as lower classes are hard to break away from and integration becomes scarce. 13
their own purposes. This is what some scholars (Stairs, 1994; Lipka, 1998a) refer to as culturally negotiated schooling. Common (1991) and Brady (1992) have studied Aboriginal People's representation on school boards in Ontario. The authors have noted on the ongoing underrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples on provincial school boards and link this development to other structural inequities. They believe that in order for Aboriginal peoples to be meaningful partners in the schooling of their children the boards should have sufficient representation from Aboriginal peoples. In addition, Kleinfeld et al. (1985) have noted that small rural northern communities offer little variety in courses, few advanced courses, and limited number of extracurricular activities. These schools often struggle with few teachers, many of which teach subjects outside their specialization. Resistance theories claim that minority students' attendance, performance and engagement in formal education is lower due to their ongoing resistance to mainstream domination, which includes the school setting (Ryan, 1998; Wagner, 2002; Heimbecker, 1994; Corbett, 2001). Giroux (2001) raises several themes inherent to resistance theory, from his work I concentrate on five: 1) dialectical relationship between the dominant and the oppressed (where central categories of intentionality, consciousness, common sense, and non-discursive behavior emerge); 2) power is multidimensional (building on Foucault's (1977) work on power, where power is exercised as a mode of domination, act of resistance, and expression of cultural and social production); 3) emancipation ("that contains a critique of domination and provides theoretical opportunities for selfemancipation and social emancipation"), 4) importance of hope and action; and 5) ability to stimulate collective political uproar around the issues of power and social determination (Giroux , 2001: 108-111). Ryan (1998) links Innu resistance of education in Labrador to the overarching domination of non-Innu over natural resources and decision making. According to Ryan, Innu resistance toward education is a combination of irrelevant curriculum and pedagogy used at school and the only way to break away from this is to regain decision making over education. Miller (1996) explores resistance to formal education from both Aboriginal parents and students. This resistance was 14
expressed in parents complaining about school, refusing to cooperate or send their children to school, and even in outbursts of violent revenge. Students used similar approaches by complaining to parents about school, resisting cooperation in school, disturbing the order at school or running away. Kendall (2001) lays out the broad picture of Aboriginal disadvantages in Canada. She explains how the lower socioeconomic status of Aboriginal peoples of Canada contributes to a broad array of disadvantages, (e.g. poverty, unemployment, and lower educational attainment), which are often connected. Northern communities in Canada also struggle with various health issues (from malnutrition to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and social issues (e.g. violence and poverty) which impact students' educational attainment. Often health issues go unnoticed and students do not receive the necessary help they need to continue with their education (IDEA, 2005; ITK, 2005). Furthermore, Aboriginal students who dropout of high school are more likely to be involved in drug use, commit violent crimes, and are victimized by violence (Beauvais et al., 1996). Some studies have found parental support to be lacking due to the social problems in communities (Mackay and Myles, 1995). Parents may have little experience with formal education and the way formal education is delivered to their children (Condon, 1987; Fulford, 2007; Schlag and Fast, 2005). Schlag and Fast (2005) found that Inuvialuit youth who attend school get little support or encouragement from the parents to continue their schooling. This might be due to the parents own negative experiences with school, feeling inadequate to help their children with school, or not noticing positive impacts of schooling in their children's lives (Schlag and Fast, 2005; Condon, 1987; Fulford, 2007; Pauktuutit, 2006; Bachmayer et al., 1978). Some parents feel that the decision to stay in school is up to the child and they do not want to influence the child's decision (Mackay and Myles, 1995; Condon, 1987). But some other scholars, like Stern (2001) have noticed an increase in parents encouraging their children to attend school. By combining, developing and adding on to cultural, structural and resistance theories Ogbu (1987) has developed a theoretical framework that strives to explain the educational gap between minority and majority students. He argues that "the main factor 15
differentiating the more successful minorities appears to be the nature of the history, subordination, and exploitation of the minorities, and the nature of minorities' own instrumental and expressive responses to their treatment, which enter into the process of their schooling" (Ogbu, 1987:317). In other words, the relationship and interaction between the dominant and minority group influences the degree of resistance the minority group will have against assimilative schooling. Also, the "perceptions of limited social and economic benefits of schooling and the available alternatives" contribute to minority school attainment (Ogbu, 1982:298). Heimbecker (1994), who has worked with the Innu in Labrador, explains that Aboriginal peoples engage in analysis of the cultural conflict by the following rationale: academic success which results to losses (in self-identity) is not worth the gains (of vague employment skills that may or may not lead to wage employment). As Aboriginal education in Canada continues to be founded on pedagogy that assimilates the Aboriginal students to Euro-Canadian culture, schooling is seen to diminish Aboriginal self-identity. The problem is made worse by Aboriginal communities having "lower quality of schooling" and needing to upgrade after getting a high school diploma in order to get into college or university. Also, education does not guarantee a job in small remote Aboriginal communities where unemployment is at a constant high. Summary of Literature Review In summary, the literature that guides this historical research in the Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk is embedded in the broad framework of modernity and globalization. Modernity and globalization were chosen as frameworks for the historical and concurring socio-political changes and policies that affect Tuktoyaktuk as they are tied to nationalistic and global agendas. Dorais' (1997; 2001) work in Quaqtaq demonstrates that the school acts as the main vehicle to modernity, as its core function is to help the youth with getting a job and making money. The preferred ways of making money for the Inuit youth in Uluhaktok are tied to local options and realities, but also to global 16
dreams (Condon, 1987). From this standpoint, the current research set out to find out more about the interplay between local, national and global trends impacting the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit. The literature review moved from the framework of modernity and globalization to theories that are used to explain the education gap between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal students. Previous research based on cultural, structural and resistance theories has been useful in describing Aboriginal and northern peoples education attainment in terms of dynamics of drop-outs of the formal school system. Cultural discontinuity theory contests the notion of a one education system ­ often based on eurocentric worldviews ­ working equally well for students from diverse cultural backgrounds. At the core of the theory lies the perception that minorities do not do as well in a school system that has been molded towards the majority culture (Ogbu, 1982; Wilson, 1992; Deyhle, 1992; Hornett, 1990; Williamson, 1987). Cultural discontinuity theory highlights various communications and learning styles embedded in minority students' cultures compared to the mainstream students cultures. Structural theories concentrate on the socio-political and economic contexts that influence students' educational attainment. One of most commonly used structural theories is internal colonialism (Kelly and Altbach, 1978; Perley, 1993; Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003:25) which is often framed in the terms of appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy. The curriculum used in the Arctic lacks cultural relevance because it was developed for southern Canada, therefore resulting to Inuit students' lower engagement and achievement level (IDEA, 2005; Duffy, 1988; ITK and SRAD, 2006; ITK, 2005; Dorais, 1997; Roy-Nicklen, 1986). Further, though many Aboriginal nations have worked towards molding the southern curriculum to better meet their needs, there is a concern among some scholars that curriculum used in Aboriginal education continue to have an assimilationist bent (Castellano et al., 2000; Aylward, 2007; Burnaby, 2008; Dion, 2005) At the core of resistance theories is the notion that minority students' performance and engagement in formal education is lower due to their deliberate and ongoing resistance to mainstream domination, which includes the school setting (Ryan, 1998; Wagner, 2002). These theories are useful in explaining Inuit student lower level of school engagement, 17
but as Berger (2008) points out, no one theory in itself is able to explain the complexities of Inuit students not succeeding as well as they wish in the education system. This research set out to learn more about the ways Inuvialuit perceive their educational pasts and futures and what kinds of issues impact students' engagement. Significance and Contributions of the Research The research contributions are expected to be: 1) to provide the community of Tuktoyaktuk the research findings in a beneficial way; and 2) to contribute to literature on educational history in rural Canada and the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The purpose of research with Aboriginal peoples is to "benefit the community and the people of the community" (Weber-Pillwax, 2004:80). I will return to Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik in October 2009 to present the findings of the study and distribute the documents that came out of the study (thesis, plain language report, and poster). In Tuktoyaktuk, the thesis will be given to the Mangilaluk School, Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority, Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation and Tuktoyaktuk Elders Committee. Also, a presentation of the study results will be arranged for the community and community agencies that are interested. The presentation of the results and documents are hoped to be helpful for the community as a whole in highlighting the history and current issues relating to education in the region. Canadian history, including educational history, are often presented with an urban bias or overgeneralizations about rural education (Sandwell, 1994; Corbett, 2001). Corbett (2001) suggests that historical research should be done by highlighting: place, economies, and social patterns in places where historical research has been undermined. This research aims to contribute to existing literature on educational history in rural Canada and specifically in the community of Tuktoyaktuk. 18
The education attainment in Tuktoyaktuk has increased only two percent in two decades; 34 percent of residents aged 15 years and older were high school and/or post-secondary graduates in 2006 (compared to 67 percent in the NWT and 69 percent in Inuvik) (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a)4. This is 50 percent less than non-Aboriginal students in rural Canada (Richards, 2008). Graduation figures from high school give only a glimpse of information on the education attainment of a community: it does not reveal whether local people consider graduating from high school or higher education to be essential for their lives. Some studies have looked at educational attainment and experiences of Inuit in the Eastern Arctic (Schofield, 1998; Berger, 2008; Vick-Westgate, 2002; Miller, 1996) and historical educational structural changes and policies in the NWT and Eastern Arctic (King, 1998; King, 1999; Vick-Westgate, 2002; Milloy, 1999; Miller, 1996; McGregor, 2008), but there continues to be a lack of knowledge of educational experiences of Inuvialuit in the Western Arctic. Lipka (1998a:30) emphasizes the diversity between and within Aboriginal communities and notes that educational theory has to stem from "the experience of real people in real places". This study aims to contribute to educational research in Canada's Western Arctic. Specifically, the study explores how government policies on education and socioeconomic and cultural changes in the north have contributed to the Inuvialuit perception of the meaning of education. It is hoped that the study will increase the understanding of historical and current school experiences of the Inuvialuit living in Tuktoyaktuk. Further, the study aims to link Inuvialuit experiences to historical and concurring socio-political changes and policies, especially in the field of education. By doing so the study advances discussion of student engagement in the contemporary school setting in Tuktoyaktuk. Methodology and Methods The study was guided by indigenous methodology; where research methodologies and theorizing center around indigenous peoples' interests, experiences and knowledge 4 Compared to the other communities in the ISR (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007b,c,d,e), with the exception of Inuvik (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007f), the educational attainment in Tuktoyaktuk is about average. 19
(Rigney, 1999; Smith, 1999). The main aim of indigenous methodologies is to ensure that from indigenous people's view the research is done in a more respectful, ethical, compassionate and beneficial fashion. From a researchers point of view, this draws the researcher to think critically about their research processes and outcomes (Rigney, 1999). The case study used qualitative methods with the central rationale of gathering contrasting and complementary data on the same themes and issues (Rapley, 2004). The methods include: secondary data, participation in community life, individual thematic semi-directed interviews, and a youth focus group. A case study was chosen first, to have time to form meaningful partnerships with community organizations and people. Second, to be able to get a deeper and more thorough understanding of school community dynamics. Third, to "expand and generalize theories" (Yin, 2008:15) of the meaning of education and student engagement; instead of getting statistical representation of reasons why students get educated. Billson and Mancini (2008) point out that case studies have a series of advantages and difficulties. One advantage of focusing only on one community is that it allows one to see connections between specific and unique historical and current events. Another advantage being that it allows the participants to reflect not only on their personal lives, but also on life in the community without feeling the need to reveall personal accounts that might be sensitive to discuss. The community of Tuktoyaktuk was chosen as the case study community for several reasons: 1) I had worked with the community before, and felt the community might benefit and be interested in the research; 2) the community has a unique history of having the first federal day school in the Canadian Arctic; 3) it has a history of boom and bust cycles related to military and the oil and gas industry; 4) future oil and gas development is planned for the region; and 5) most of the people are still engaged in harvesting activities. The first reasoning gave me confidence that the people of Tuktoyaktuk would be interested in partnering and accomodating the research. The four later characteristics form an interesting dynamic to explore how modernity, globalization, and individualization have contributed to the educational and occupational identities of 20
Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk. Further, it was hypothisized that the characteristics might influence student engagement in the community. Planning and Pondering About Research In my earlier discussions with Aurora Research Institute (ARI) ­ Aurora College (one of the partners in the study), the lack of social and educational research in the Northwest Territories had come up. ARI recognized educational research to be beneficial for the region and the Government of the Northwest Territories. In spring 2007, my supervisor, Dr. Brenda Parlee returned from Inuvik where she had taken part in Joint Review Panel hearings for the Mackenzie Gas Project. She noticed how local concerns related to education and natural resources development came up time and time again. I also remembered vividly the concerns the Inuvialuit had shared with me in regards to education when I had worked in the region. Since I had worked with the community of Tuktoyaktuk before, I had had a feeling that people in Tuktoyaktuk might be interested in working with me again and collaborating on the research. I phoned a few people in Tuktoyaktuk that I knew and the feedback on the research was positive. But already at this stage one of the community members reminded me of the great amount of research that has been happening in Tuktoyaktuk and that I "better think carefully of the research, because people get sick of answering the same questions." (Appendix B shows a diagram of the research process and explains some of the research stages in more detail.) I spent the summer of 2007 planning the research from Edmonton; I worked on a research proposal and contacted local agencies in Tuktoyaktuk. The agencies I got in touch with were the ones that I hoped I could collaborate with, including: Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation (TCC), Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority (TDEA), and Tuktoyaktuk Elders Committee. In addition, I was in contact with the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik, one of the partners and main funder of the study. 21
Smith (1999:10) guides scholars who conduct research on, with or about Aboriginal peoples to pose and answer the following questions: Whose research is this? Who owns it? Whose interests does it serve? Who will benefit from it? Who has designed its questions and framed its scope? Who will carry it out? Who will write it up? How will the results be disseminated? My answers to the questions are presented in full in appendix C. Here, I will answer one of them: who will benefit from it? This research benefits me, my supervisor, the University of Alberta, Aurora Research Institute, the scientific community, and I hope the community and people of Tuktoyaktuk. Though I would like to be confident and sure of the research benefiting the community of Tuktoyaktuk, unfortunately I am not. The community members of Tuktoyaktuk wish that the research will help the community by raising their concerns of the prevailing educational inequities that are happening in remote Arctic rural communities compared to urban southern cities. This research is also able to give community members, as well as local and regional agencies a deeper and more thorough understanding of the history of education in the area and current issues that families and youth perceive to influence student engagement. Whether or not the thesis and related documents are able to do that, I do not know. I will distribute and present the results of the work in the community and the region and maybe then I will have a better sense of how the work will benefit the community. I hope that the community has benefited from the research process and having me be a part of their lives. Some individual community members have said that they appreciate me talking to the students about myself, my home country, Finland, and studying at the University of Alberta. An Elder told me that just by having a conversation with the youth and letting them know that they can also go to university, I have already done enough. I have had discussions with the community members on ways that the education system has been changed in other Aboriginal communities to better serve the needs of those specific communities. Maybe these conversations have helped the community in some way. 22
The research is a big part of the criteria for me to get a Master's degree. I have also benefited by learning from the research process and having the opportunity to work with people I care about and on issues that are dear to me. My supervisor will benefit by having one of her students graduate from the program and being able to publish papers out of the research in cooperation with me and the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The University of Alberta will benefit by the research as it adds to research being done at the university ­ adding to the "ranking" of the university on an international scale. Aurora Research Institute, the main funder of the research, will benefit by getting more information on the research question and showing the government that it is actively involved in research in the area of education. Indigenous methodology is founded on the notion that research should, first and foremost, be beneficial to the community. If, from early on, I have not been sure that the research will benefit the community, how can I go on? Would it be more ethical for me not to do this research, as I am not able to insure the benefits to the community? How big will the benefits to the community have to be in order for the work to be considered truly beneficial? Who measures the benefits? These are questions that I have struggled with and the struggle continues. What is a strong enough sign that the community is really interested in cooperating in the research? Making a few phone calls to individual community members? Meeting with several community agencies? I could go on and on with these kinds of questions. What grounds me back to reality, and the only way I know how to do research, is to draw from the experiences I have with the Inuvialuit. The bottom line is to have good intentions; not to be ignorant; treat people with respect; be friendly and patient; and relax. Though it is good to be reflexive, what people take from the research experience is the interaction and the atmosphere during the interaction. Though I have questioned the research and myself several times during the research process, my feeling all along has been that the community of Tuktoyaktuk might benefit and enjoy working with me on this research and that has made me continue with the process. 23
In the beginning of August, I visited Tuktoyaktuk and took part in a TCC board meeting and presented the research proposal. During the meeting TCC board members commented on the study proposal and told me about their concerns related to education. Some of the issues that came up were the need for the Inuvialuit to have control over the school; changing the curriculum is a timely process; and the problem of social passing (how implementing the Inclusive Schooling Directive hinders the education process). The TCC was supportive of the study and we discussed ways that the study might be beneficial to the community, these included: that community concerns could be presented to policy makers, and the school staff could learn from the final report of the study. I stayed in Inuvik for a couple of weeks to do more arrangements for my stay in Tuktoyaktuk. Once I went back to Tuktoyaktuk, in late August 2007, I met with the TDEA and the Tuktoyaktuk Elders committee to introduce the research and to gain their input on the research proposal. All of the three agencies were supportive of the study. During the Elders committee meeting, Elders were keen to share their perceptions of the education system. For another three weeks, before starting the actual "gathering of data", I spent time at the Mangilaluk School getting to know the school staff and taking part in community events. Secondary Data Secondary data from hisorical documents, scholar articles, and research reports were used as background material on Inuvialuit culture, economy, values and their relationship to learning within the formal school system. The historical data from secondary sources was used to develop chronological accounts of what life was like for the Inuvialuit from 1890 onwards and why certain happenings occurred. Further, secondary data was used to give context to the events and to interperet long-term consequences in a way that primary informants might not be able to assess at the given time (Cullen, 2009). 24
Participating Participating gives the research a sense of context (Wolcott, 1995) that might be more difficult to gain from secondary sources. Between 2007 and 2008, I spent three months taking part in community life to better understand what life is like in Tuktoyaktuk. Fieldnotes were in written form the participation and observations. By participating, I hoped that local community members would get to know me and would feel more comfortable in taking part in the research (Wolcott, 1995). Taking part in organized weekly community events like Adult's Nights and nights at the youth centre were helpful in meeting community members. I also took part in organized special events like the Thanksgiving Dinner, MLA Candidate Debate, and Self-Government Information Session. Taking part in a caribou hunt, checking the fishnets, and picking berries were activities that taught me more about how life in Tuktoyaktuk is still connected to the land. I also sat in on some of the high school classes, talked to the students about Finnish history and identity, and spent time in the teacher's lounge at Mangilaluk School. Participating in school, community or on the land activities did not follow a schedule or a rigourous plan. More than anything, participating in community life gave me a broader sense of everyday life in Tuktoayktuk. As my mind was focused on education, unexpected encounters and situations gave me glimpses of how learning and education is a part of everyday community life. Interviews Rapley (2004) guides interviewers to aim for detailed and comprehensive talk from the interview participant by: asking some questions; selectively following up on specific themes or topics; and allowing interviewees the space to talk at length. Individual thematic semi-directed interviews allowed me to learn about people's experiences related to education and ask specific questions related to the problem. The initial thematic interviews were done in 2007 with six families that had at least three living generations: grandparents, parents, and youth. By interviewing families with three generations I was 25
able to get a deeper understanding of how the reasoning for education has changed over a century. These interviews with family members began by the participant agreeing to the interview, and the interviewee and I going through the information about the research and consent form (appendix D). The interviews were recorded by a digital audio recorder. Hand notes were written from the interviews where participants (two grandparents, a parent, and a youth) did not want the interview to be recorded. In the beginning of the interview, I followed an interview script (appendix E) which first asked the participant their socioeconomic background concentrating on educational (i.e. the name and length of time the participant attended a school or a program) and occupational information. The interview script continued on to questions of family; good life; educational experiences; school (teachers, attendance, homework, grades); school and family relations; future goals; and what helps with learning. I tried to encourage the participant to share their own experiences with education in a story form. Some participants, especially the Elders, were eager to share their experiences, and the interviews became more like life history interviews with an emphasis on education. Some of the youth, on the other hand, were less keen to tell about their experiences in a story form and the interview followed more of the interview script. After transcribing and initial analyzing of the data, verification and follow-up interviews took place mostly in 20085. I went back to Tuktoyaktuk and tried to meet up with all the interview participants. During the verification and follow-up interview, the participant was presented with a timeline (see an example of a timeline in appendix F) of significant life happenings that s/he had shared with me. I also read out loud a summary (see an example of in appendix F) of the interview content which emphasized the participant's learning experiences (both in and out of the formal educational system), how family and community life impacted education and vice versa, and opinions about education. By doing the verification, I had a chance to tell the participant how I had understood their story and the participant was able to correct facts and interpretations. According to Gubrium and Holstein (2002: 15) when the interviewer and interviewee interact in an interview situation, both actors are constantly "doing analysis", "making meaning" and 5 Some verifications over the phone and over internet correspondence took place in 2009. 26
"producing knowledge". In other words, the interviewing situation can be perceived as a discourse that is negotiated by the actors present in that specific space and time. As my aim with the interviews was to develop a shared understanding of participants educational experiences (Yates, 2004), the verification gave me more confidence in my interpetation of the participants' stories. During the verification, I also presented participants with Chapter three: Paper #2: Factors Influencing Student Engagement in an Inuvialuit Community. I showed the participants, whose quotes I had used in the paper, the context and quotes that I intended to use. At the time of the verification Chapter two: Paper #1: The Meaning of Education for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk was not complete, but I had chosen quotes that I intended using, and I asked for the interviewee's promotion to use those quotes6. Thematic semi-directed interviews were also done with two educational policy makers, and three teachers and two school staff at the Mangilaluk School. These interviewees were with people who have insight to local and regional issues related to education. The interview script was similar to the interview script with family interviews. By focusing on good life; teaching experiences; school (students, attendance, homework, grades); school and family relations; students's future goals; and what helps with learning. Criteria for the Family Participants Gobo (2004:435) argues that "defining sample units clearly before choosing cases is essential in order to avoid messy and empirically shallow research". Also, Rapley (2004) emphasizes that it is important to take notes of the recruitment processes and to include it 6 Of eight grandparents interviewed, face-to-face verification interviews were done with three. With one grandparent the verification was done over the phone and with another over internet correspondence. One grandparent had passed away before verification could be done, and two grandparents were too busy to commit to a verification interview. From the seven parents interviewed, four verification interviews were done face-to-face; one over the phone; and two were not done. Out of eight youth, four participated in a verification interview. I can only speculate on some of the reasons why participants did not want to engage in a verification interview. Some participants were too busy and felt like verification would have been a waste of their time. Others did not show up to the verification interview for reasons that I do not know. I tried to set up several new interview times, but some of the participants never showed up or I could not get a hold of them anymore. Though it troubles me that the verification was not done with all the participants, none of the participants suggested any changes to the manuscript or my understanding of the interview data during the verification interview. 27
in research reports, as questions of access and recruitment can be essential in understanding the outcomes of the research. The goal for the research was to interview three generations in six families in the community of Tuktoyaktuk to find out how the meaning of education has changed for Inuvialuit families over the cumulative period of their experience. From each family, a youth, parent and a grandparent took part in the individual thematic interviews. The first criterion for choosing families to take part in the study was that they included at least one young adult between the ages of 16 to 19. This sampling enabled me to explore how families were helping high school students with school engagement. Youth between the ages 16 to 19 are either in high school, dropped out from high school, finished high school recently or have never gone to high school. Hence, their experiences of going to high school or not going to high school are fresh in their minds and the minds of their parents and grandparents. I was not able to get an official list of youth between the ages of 16 to 19 in Tuktoyaktuk. For that reason, I had to rely on population approximations from Statistics Canada and information from informants. In 2007, there were about 100 youth in Tuktoyaktuk between the ages 15 to 19 (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Discarding the 15 year olds, it is likely that the number of 16 to19 year olds would be about 80. Taking into account that older youth tend to leave Tuktoyaktuk for college or work, it is more likely that the number of youth between the age 16 to 19 in Tuktoyaktuk is closer to 60 or 70. The Tuktoyaktuk youth centre staff and the youth who went to the youth centre helped me to make a list of youth between the ages of 16 to 19. The list ended up having 54 names, so it is likely that the list lacks names in the chosen age group. Since the main research question was how has the meaning of education changed for Inuvialuit families the second criterion was that at least one grandparent from each family would take part in the study. From the 54 youth, 35 had grandparents living in Tuktoyaktuk. Of the 35 youth, eight were raised by their grandparents. For the purpose of this study emphasis was given to the families where the youth were entirely or mainly raised by their parents. Of the 27 multigenerational families, all but one youth's grandparents went to residential school. The one family in which the grandparents did 28
not go to residential school was not included. Consideration was then given to completion rates of high school. Of the 27 families identified (above), six families were purposely selected so as to ensure the sample included: 1) some youth who had graduated from high school; 2) some youth still attending high school; and 3) some youth who had dropped out of high school. Finally efforts were made to balance the gender of students, parents and grandparents involved. Of the six families chosen (above) eight youth, four male and four female, took part in the study. In 2007, two youth were 19 years; three 18 years; two 17 years; and one 16 years old. From two families two siblings participated. Seven parents participated, five mothers and two fathers. Also eight grandparents participated, five grandmothers and two grandfathers. Two of the youth lived with both of their birthparents. One lived with his adoptive parents. One female youth lived with her boyfriend and another with her boyfriend, their son, and the boyfriend's parents. Two youth lived with their mother and the mother's new partner. One youth lived with her grandmother. All youth had siblings that either lived in the same house with them, in the same community or in another community. In September and October 2007, at the time of the first interviews, four youth participants were attending high school, three had graduated from high school, and one had dropped out from high school and had a part-time job. The participants who were attending high school were not working while going to high school. One of the three graduates had a full-time job, other one a seasonal job and the third was doing upgrading for university. In April and May 2008, at the time of the verifying interviews, all of the four participants who were attending high school in 2007 had dropped out. The high school graduate that had a full-time job in 2007 had a different full-time job in 2008 (which she still has in 2009). The high school graduate that was doing upgrading in 2007 had got a seasonal job in 2008 (which had turned into a full-time job in 2009). Of the four youth who had dropped out of school in 2007, two were unemployed in 2008 and 2009; one had become a mother in 2009; and one was determined to continue with high school in 2009. 29
Recruitment Either the research assistants or I phoned research participants and asked whether they would like to take part in the study. I would ask some participants to participate in the research when I met them on the street or at their families' houses. Getting youth to participate in the study was at times difficult. Three youth who had agreed to participate in an interview did not meet me at the agreed time and I found myself either looking for the youth or rescheduling the interview several times. Even though I had anticipated this to happen, at times I found it to be frustrating or even embarrassing. It was embarrassing in the way that I had to contact the participants several times and I was not sure if they were trying to avoid me or had forgotten about our appointment. One of the female participants wanted us to do an interview at her grandmother's house. The grandmother initially told me that she was not interested in taking part in an interview, but that I was welcome to visit anytime and interview her other family members. For three nights I sat on Alice's (the grandmother) couch waiting for Sophie (the participant). At first I felt like I was intruding, but soon enough Alice would make me feel at ease. During these nights I watched TV with Alice and her family members. We drank tea and Alice would show me her sewing and old artifacts she had found on the land. Alice would also tell me about her father who was a respected hunter. She showed me photos of her family that were on top of the bookshelf and on the walls. The third time I was waiting for Sophie and it was apparent she was not coming, Sophie's sister, Jodie, whom I had got to know by now, told me that she would like to take part in the study. So I ended up doing an interview with Jodie that night. Finally, after Sophie and I had successfully completed the interview, I felt welcome to Alice's house even though there was "no work to be done" anymore. But by that time Alice had got to know me well enough that she agreed to also take part in the study. This experience made me appreciate the importance of spending time with participants outside the formal interviewing situation. 30
Youth Focus Group The youth focus group with high school students was organized to get a better sense of what community life and school is like for the youth. One of the strengths of focus groups are that they provide the research with a possibility for insights into the participant's behaviors and motivations (Morgan and Krueger, 1993). It can also provide a medium where the participants engage in a discussion by questioning each other and explaining themselves (Morgan, 1996). From the high school, 15 students participated though all were invited. The aim of the focus group was to learn more about how high school students perceived living in Tuktoyaktuk, going to high school, and what kinds of future plans the students had. During the focus group I made notes, no audio recording was made. Anonymity of Participants Anonymity of the research participants was discussed during each individual interview and youth focus group. Some of the stories that participants shared were of sensitive nature, for example descriptions of abuse that had taken place at schools or reflections on trauma relating to a death of a family member or friend. My suggestion was that when presenting participants stories in a written form, I would use alias names. Most participants agreed to this, but some participants wanted me to use their real name. Even after I tried to explain the harm that might confront the participant if some community members read the research and were able to recognize the participant, two participants were determined not to have alias names and preferred me to use their real names. Thus, this this was done. 31
Analysis During the research I tried to keep in mind that "analysis is always an ongoing process" (as explained in Rapley, 2004:26). The analysis for the research started with the literature review, conversations with people in Tuktoyaktuk, my supervisor, friends, peers, and my personal experiences and interests which gave me ideas about the research topics and analytic themes. The analytic themes were tested during the interviews. Through working with three generations, I made an analytical choice about the voices, identities and groups I wanted to be essential for this research (Rapley, 2004). Most of the interviews were transcribed by me. Two research assistants helped in transcribing two interviews. After transcribing, I read through each transcript, made notes for myself in the margins and made a summary of each interview. The notes in the margins were related to methods, theory, follow-up questions, how the data related to other data, etc. As mentioned before, the summary highlighted the participant's learning experiences (both in and out of the formal educational system), how family and community life impacted education and vice versa, and opinions about education. Then I went back to the transcripts and highlighted quotes that I though caught the essence of the research questions (Creswell, 1994). For the intergenerational family interviews an Excel file was created with socioeconomic data of the participants and themes that emerged. For Chapter 2: paper #1, which is a chronological account of changes in the meaning of education in Tuktoyaktuk, the Excel sheet helped in organizing participants educational histories in a chronological order. Chronologies allow the research to follow events over time and thus utilize one of the major strengths in case study research (Yin, 2008). The analytical goal is to test a theory through the historical journey (Yin, 2008). Secondary data was used to develop causal accounts of what life was like for the Inuvialuit from 1890 onwards. Empirical data was used to complement or contradict the information provided by the secondary data. At times empirical data led the way, in that it made me 32
ask more questions of the context. Other times secondary data instructed me go back to the empirical data to see how the findings correlated. After highlighting quotes in the transcripts for Chapter 3: paper #2 (which concentrates on student engagement), categories were developed of the themes that emerged. The analysis started with open coding (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) by identifying and naming conceptual categories. This was followed by what Strauss and Corbin (1998) call axial coding: going back to the data to find out how the categories linked together. As much of the data on student engagement was obtained in narrative form, causal events and descriptive details were identified. Categorizing and coding was also done for Chapter 2: paper #1, especially when the analysis advanced to the meaning of education in the 2000s. Reflections on the Role of the Research in the Research: Reflexivity in Interviewing Three Generations Interviewing can be a learning experience for both the interviewer and interviewee. When I asked a question from one of the Elders she had a habit of throwing the same question back at me. She wanted me to answer the question before she would answer it. All of a sudden I was being interviewed and I could not help to think of how my answers could influence the Elder's answers. Further, even though I had made my peace with not trying to do "objective research", since no research is truly objective, I wondered how truthfully and strongly it is appropriate for me to express my opinions on the questions. Fine et al. (2003) discuss the balance of reflexivity of the researcher both on the field and in academic writings. The authors claim that social science researchers continue to treat themselves as controlled and distant data gatherers who reveal as little as possible from their personal lives in order not to "contaminate" the data gathering situation. This dilemma takes me back to 2004 when I was doing fieldwork in Inuvik for my undergraduate thesis on Inuvialuit views about the Mackenzie Gas Project. I shared an office space with a young Inuvialuk woman and she advised me to tell something about 33
myself when going to peoples homes and engaging them into the research. This advice has been something that I often come back to. For several reasons, I have found it difficult to tell about myself and my opinions when doing research in the NWT. Part of the explanation for my discomfort is the recognition that by introducing information about myself, I may be setting up or emphasizing an imbalance in class and power relations. Smith (1999), Rigney (1999) and Reynolds (2003) discuss the importance of understanding the power relations between the researcher and the participant and how it is inextricably linked to wider issues of colonial, ethnic, social, class and gender divisions in society. I come from a privileged position of being a graduate student in university. Some of the participants had college education, none had gone to university. I am a white female and come from a middleclass urban background. Both of my parents and all of my siblings have university education. I felt like maybe I do not have enough in common with people in Tuktoyaktuk to talk about my background. At times, I felt like my background sounded too academic, urban and privileged, and for that reason people might not want to share their experiences with me. Coming from a different background, I was afraid that research participants might think that I would not be able to empathize with their experiences. But quite soon I noticed that people were happy to hear just about general things about Finland (latitude, forests, lakes, saunas, animals, etc.), and some people were less interested in hearing about my background than others. Also, me being me is enough. Since I can not change my background to suit research agendas, I better get comfortable with my background. Tuktoyaktuk and I Plummer (2001) states that at some point `memory' can transform from an inner psychological phenomenon to a socially shared experience. She continues that the best stories are actually the ones that are said so often that we literally come to believe that they are true. For this reason, it might be easier for an outsider to conduct a study within a certain group, because those stories that are constructed by collective memory and are 34
taken as truths can be looked at from a fresh perspective. In Tuktoyaktuk, I am an outsider. I noticed that being an outsider helped me also in getting in contact with people who might not have wanted to share their story with someone from the community. Though fieldwork for this study was done only during 2007 and 2008, my stays and previous work in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) are also reflected in analyzing the data to a certain extent; mainly by being able to assess the relevance and validity of the data. My first visit to the ISR and Tuktoyaktuk occurred in the summer 2003 when I was an undergraduate student. I was doing work practice at the Aurora Research Institute, Inuvik, for an Inuvialuit Ethnobotany Project for two and a half months. Myrna Pokiak from Tuktoyaktuk was also working for the project and she invited me to stay with her in Tuktoyaktuk for two weeks. In 2004, I spent six months in the ISR preparing and conducting undergraduate thesis work which focused on Inuvialuit views of the Mackenzie Gas Project. Most of this time I spent in Inuvik, but I also visited Tuktoyaktuk four times that year. My first visit was in March. The week long visit was mostly spent painting Maureen Pokiak's kitchen since there was a blizzard and we could not go outside much. The second visit, also for a week, was in April during Beluga Jamboree. Though we spent most of the week in town during that visit I also had the chance to go to Husky Lakes with Maureen and Myrna Pokiak. The third visit was in May when I was Boogie Pokiak's guest at his cabin at Husky Lakes and home in Tuktoyaktuk. The last visit in 2004 to Tuktoyaktuk was for two weeks in the summer when I was doing fieldwork for the undergraduate thesis. During that visit I stayed with James and Maureen Pokiak, and Boogie Pokiak. In 2005, I spent six months in Inuvik first verifying and presenting the results of the Inuvialuit views of the Mackenzie Gas Project study and then conducting a similar study with the Gwich'in. In 2006, I spent another six months in Inuvik continuing working with the Inuvialuit on their views about the Mackenzie Gas Project. During that time, I volunteered for a youth forum at Coastal Zone Canada Conference held in Tuktoyaktuk. These, admittedly, limited visits to Tuktoyaktuk influenced my eagerness to work with the people of Tuktoyaktuk. In addition to the academic reasons choosing Tuktoyaktuk as 35
the case study community, my personal experiences in the community assured me that it was a good choice. First, the Pokiak family have treated me with extreme generosity and patience by letting me stay in their homes, including me in their daily activities, and answering my questions. Second, by meeting some of the community members over the years and having had taken part in community events I felt that people from Tuktoyaktuk seemed very welcoming. Third, I like Tuktoyaktuk as a place. I like the vicinity of the Beaufort Sea, which supplies Tuktoyaktuk with fish, seal, Beluga Whale, driftwood, travelling possibilities by the sea, and economic opportunities. I like travelling to Husky Lakes which are located east and south of Tuktoyaktuk. Fourth, in 2005, I had found it quite easy to knock on people's doors and have a conversation with them about the Mackenzie Gas Project. Limitations of the Research There are several limitations to the research. First, as this is a case study of only one Inuvialuit community, the results should be used with caution when making comparisons or generalizations to other Inuvialuit or Inuit communities. The community of Tuktoyaktuk is unique in that since the 1950s, Tuktoyaktuk has been strongly influenced by boom and bust economic cycles, first with the DEW-Line site and from the 1970s onward, with the oil and gas developments in the region. The history, dependency and unpredictability of a single natural resources sector has an impact on, among several things, the educational and occupational preferences of the community. Also future oil and gas activities are planned for the area, thus, it is likely that the boom and bust cycles will continue to impact the community in years to come. Though the study might not serve as a good comparison to majority of Inuit communities, it is relevant when considering communities that are dependent on a single natural resources industry. Second, as qualitative methods were used, the generalization of the results even within the community of Tuktoyaktuk should be done with caution. The study methods included: thematic interviews with three generations of six families; a youth focus group 36
with 15 students; and interviews with school staff and policy makers. In addition, I took part in community life for three months between 2007 and 2008. These diverse qualitative methods provided the study with rich personal and family stories of life and educational experiences, expert views on educational change in Tuktoyaktuk, and knowledge of community life in general in Tuktoyaktuk. But they lack in quantifying the educational hopes, options, concerns, and realities. Also, though efforts were made to include an even number of male and female participants, most of the grandparents and parents who took part in the study are female (out of eight grandparents two are male and out of seven parents two are male). One of the reasons for it being harder to involve male adults in the research was that some of the youth did not know their father/grandfather that well; the father/grandfather lived in another community/out on the land; or father/grandfather had passed away. This imbalance in participants' gender might skew the results by emphasizing female experiences and opinions. Third, the first objective of the study is to explore how the meaning of education has changed for the people in Tuktoyaktuk over time. To do this, four time periods were chosen: 1890s to1930s; 1940s to 1960s; 1970s to 1980s; and 1990s to 2008. Only two participants who took part in the study went to school between 1890s to 1930s, compared to seven between 1940s to 1960s; seven between 1970s to 1980s; and eight between 1990s to 2008. The study relies on secondary data through out the thesis to compensate for the small sample size, but especially between 1890s to 1930s, the empirical data is lacking. Fourth, at times during the interviews I noticed how participants wanted to portray their lives to me in a certain way. The participants knew that other people from their family participated in the study. With some of the youth I noticed that they did not want to share with me information that they were afraid I might share with their parents. This occurred even though I had promised the interviews to be confidential. For example, when discussing skipping school, using alcohol or doing drugs, some students did not want to reveal to me their actions and behavior. Some youth participants, especially girls, I perceived to be presenting a role of a "good student" to me. Even though I had noticed 37
that some students had difficulties in keeping up during a class or had not been in school that week, the students would tell me that school is easy and that they do not skip school. Some interview participants told me about conflicting stories of parents waking them up for school. As I shall explain in further detail in Chapter 3: paper #2, waking up for school has become a cornerstone in the discussion on student engagement in Tuktoyaktuk. My interpretation is that a student who did not want to put his mother in a bad light reported to me that his mother wakes him up for school, even though the mother told me different. A grown up woman defended her parents when she told about being strapped for being late for school in the 1970s. In regards to the discourse of waking up for school, I think that some participants wanted to give me a picture which they thought I would perceive as "the right way" for parents to support their children with school. Borland (2004) argues that a personal narrative is a performance and a fundamental mean by which people comprehend their own lives and present a "self" to their audience. The audience can be the interviewer or the people who the study is intended for. It is impossible for me to know how much participants presented a "self" that might alter the research results. What I do suspect, though, is that I being a white, outside researcher asking about education might have made some participants defensive and resulted them in representing a less complex "self" than they would have represented to their close friends or an inside researcher. References Abrahamson, G. 1963. Tuktoyaktuk - Cape Parry: an area economic survey, 1962. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Northern Administration Branch, Industrial Division. Alunik, I., E. D. Kolausok and D. Morrison. 2003. Across Time and Tundra: The Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Antikainen, A., J. Houtsonen, H. Huotelin, and J. Kauppila. 1995. In Search of the Meaning of Education: the case of Finland Export. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 39(4)295-309. 38
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Chapter Two: Paper # 1 "The Meaning of Education for Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk" 48
Abstract The concerns relating to Aboriginal education are complex as they go beyond the problems in the prevailing education system by tying into global, national, and community trends. This research investigates how the meaning of education has changed for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk in the past century and how government policies, modernity and global trends have facilitated that change. Further, the study explored how Inuvialuit educational and occupational identities also changed during this period. The study found that the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit has been and continues to be: acquiring the means to support a family. I describe and categorize the changes in the meaning of education as: i) learning "the Inuvialuk way" (1930s); ii) "striving for the best of both worlds" (1970s); iii) dreaming of "becoming whatever I want" (2000s). Though educational and occupational opportunities have vastly increased and diversified, the dream of "becoming whatever I want" often remains unrealized. For most people, local employment opportunities; dropping out of high school; family ties; and on the land activities continue to ground educational and occupational identities to the realities of everyday life in Tuktoyaktuk. 49
Introduction This research is interested in exploring the meaning of education for Inuvialuit youth and their families in Tuktoyaktuk and how it has changed over three generations. The study found that the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit has been and continues to be: acquiring the means to support a family. I described and categorized the changes through time as: i) learning "the Inuvialuk way" (1930s); ii) "striving for the best of both worlds" (1970s); iii) dreaming of "becoming whatever I want" (2000s). The Inuvialuit were historically semi-nomadic; the family acted as the educational environment providing diverse knowledge and skills, including survival skills (Hamilton, 1994). This kind of learning was ingrained in harvesting activities and household chores (Condon, 1987). In the 1950s, Inuvialuit were encouraged by the government to move to centralized locations with health, education, economic and governmental services (Pokiak, 2006) and people in Tuktoyaktuk began to engage in large scale wage employment from military surveillance, transportation and by the 1970s, oil and gas development. Now that the Inuvialuit are working on a spectrum of jobs from oil riggers to office jobs, and are actively involved in many aspects of governance (e.g. representatives on co-management boards), the need for formal post-secondary education is well realized. The marketing of education as an individualistic endeavour that results in a career and overall success in life has been a global success story, which is recycled also in the hopes and dreams of families in Tuktoyaktuk. I will explain through this historical journey that community perceptions of education have changed significantly over time. The paper will present how the meaning of education has changed in four time periods: 1890s to1930s; 1940s to 1960s; 1970s to 1980s; and 1990s to 2000s. Although much has changed since the grandparents went to school, the formal school experiences of the grandparents are still echoed in the experiences of the youth in 2008. 50
Background Aboriginal family life and education has undergone vast changes in the past fifty years (Castellano, 2002; Durst, 1991; Hamilton, 1994). Fifty years ago, most Inuit families were moved from small semi-nomadic groups to resettle in communities so that their children could attend daily school programs (Dorais, 1997). The education system conflicted with the Inuvialuit lifestyle, which was structured around travelling with the family (Hamilton, 1994). Further, residential schools played a key function in the government's efforts to assimilate the Aboriginal peoples into the western Canadian culture (Barman et al., 1986; Llewellyn, 2002; Assembly of First Nations, 1994; Miller, 1996). Many residential schools forbid Aboriginal children to practice their culture and visit with their families for extended periods of time. The consequence of this strategy was that some students forgot their mother tongue and when they finally returned home the some students were unable to communicate with their parents and Elders (ITK, 2005; Hamilton, 1994). Though Aboriginal people expect education to improve their life prospects (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003), the painful memories of the residential school system have left wounds on some of the parents and grandparents of today's youth. These wounds can be seen in the ways that families approach education in the 2000s. In 1984, the Inuvialuit settled their land claim and the Inuvialuit education system has worked in becoming more inclusive of Inuvialuit culture and Inuvialuktun7 language in school programs (ITK, 2004). Although historically government educational programs were oriented toward assimilation, today the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) culture-based education policy requires schools in Northwest Territories (NWT) to create, preserve, promote, and enhance their culture. This policy is based upon the principle that culture provides a foundation for learning and growth (GNWT, 2004; Lewthwaite, 2007). As the educational system in Inuvialuit communities is developing ways to be more culturally respectful, the reality of low high school graduation rates, 7 The language of the Inuvialuit. 51
(worse relative to other areas in the north) (Vodden, 2001), continues to worry families, communities, policy makers, and employers (GNWT, 2001; Peart and King, 1996; Bachmayer et la., 1978; Vodden, 2001). The statistics on high school diplomas in Tuktoyaktuk reveal an increase of only two percent in two decades8. This is 50 percent less than non-Aboriginal students in rural Canada (Richards, 2008). Students in the NWT are lagging behind the rest of Canada in meeting public expectations for science (Council of Minister for Education, 2005), and many students who achieve higher education levels and job qualifications end up leaving the Inuvialuit communities (Vodden, 2001). The low level of education in the region and diminishing requirements for unskilled labor gives indication that the economic future for the Inuvialuit is worrisome (Vodden, 2001). This is unfortunate as the Inuvialuit are planning for self-government, and are looking for ways to increase sustainable economic futures that work for the Inuvialuit communities. Also, as big industrial projects are planned for the area, local communities might not be able to take advantage of the opportunities as the people lack skills and training. Rather than hiring local workers, industry may have to continue to import southern skilled workers to the region with little change to high local unemployment rates. Thus, it is feared that the inequities between the Inuvialuit and Euro-Canadians will continue to stay the same or even grow. When addressing the issue of education, Nellie Cournoyea, the Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC)9, stated: "Education is very important and IRC has to help elevate the academic educational standards as they are far below the norm. Inuvialuit are very competitive and individualistic. As a responsible organization it is important for us to provide capacity and support in building a strong and independent society... Inuvialuit are not only seen as being employees of the various organizations. Many see themselves as successful business people with both academics and well- 8 In Tuktoyaktuk, 34 percent of residents aged 15 years and older were high school graduates in 2006 or had a post-secondary diploma (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Compared to other communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, excluding Inuvik, this is about average (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a,b,c,d,e). 9 IRC manages the interests of the Inuvialuit in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region as explained under the land claim ­ Inuvialuit Final Agreement (Alunik et al, 2003). 52
developed traditional life skills." (Cournoyea, 2004:12-13) Cournoyea's description of contemporary Inuvialuit combining employment and traditional skills, and how those are connected to education is at the core of this research. This study is also guided by Cournoyea's description of Inuvialuit being competitive and individualistic with a strive for independence. As both individualism and communalism are context specific (Triandis, 1995), this research is interested in the ways that individualism is expressed in the meaning of education. Theorizing the Changes in the Meaning of Education through Identity and Individuality Some studies have focused on educational attainment and experiences of Inuit in the Eastern Arctic (Schofield, 1998; Berger, 2008; Vick-Westgate, 2002; Miller, 1996), and historical educational structural changes and policies in the NWT and the Eastern Arctic (King, 1998; King, 1999; Vick-Westgate, 2002; Milloy, 1999; Miller, 1996). Studies have indentified issues that relate to Inuit students dropping out of the formal school system (Berger, 2008; Cole, 1981; Roy-Nicklen, 1986; Collings, 1994 Condon, 1987), and Aboriginal perceptions of the role of the school in the Beaufort Delta Region (Bunz, 1979). Still, there continues to be a lack of knowledge of current educational experiences and aspirations of Inuvialuit in the Western Arctic. Through a historical journey, the paper will draw on Inuvialuit reflections on the meaning of education and secondary data on social change to construct a story of how the Inuvialuit educational and occupational identities have changed over a century. As colonial history of northern Canada has and continues to show, people and groups with political and economic power engage in preserving, portraying, and changing their own identities and identities of other groups either to suit their own interests, or what they imagine is in the best interests of a certain group. This has also been seen in the school systems of the NWT, where curriculum and pedagogy development are finding ways to 53
bring local culture into the southern Canadian school system which, in turn, is influenced by global educational trends. Identities are socially and culturally constructed. They are formed when a person or a group internalize identity and find meaning in the internalization (Castells, 1997). For Giddens (1991) and Dorais (1997), identities are creative processes that are formed through interaction in one's cultural, social and physical environments. Identities are not static; they change and adapt over time; adjusting to historical requirements and shared experiences (Dorais and Searles, 2001). Jenkins (2008) describes the process of identity as `being' or `becoming'. At the same time, some parts of selves and cultures are expected to stay the same. We engage in a balancing act of preserving certain parts of ourselves and the collectives we belong to (Giddens, 1991; Lalonde, 2006). Dorais and Searles (2001) differentiate between personal, collective and ethnic identity10. Personal identity refers to characteristics of a person that are considered unique. Collective identity involves a person's bond to a group. It is either psycho-sociological (originates from an awareness of belonging to a certain group of e.g. gender; age; social class; or professional category) or cultural (expressing connection to certain symbolic and material systems) in origin (Dorais and Searles, 2001). Billson and Mancini (2007), who have worked with the people of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, observed that mothers are usually the ones making decisions regarding children's schooling. Though mothers prefer their children to complete school, boys favour learning from their fathers out on the land instead of learning in a school setting. As land skills are a part of cultural identity in Pangnirtung, this choice is a valid option. But there are also youth who dropout of high school, do not become skillful hunters, and are unable to find a job. According to Billson and Mancini (2007), the uncertainty of the future for these youth can have distressing impacts on their personal identities. 10 The differentiation between the three identities is helpful, but as Jenkins (1996) reminds us, all identities are still social constructs and should be approached in the specific context. 54
Ethnic identity refers to a person belonging to a certain cultural or linguistic group that often shares the same geographic origins and/or phenotype. It is enhanced by shared cultural traits like values, beliefs, traditions and behaviours (Wallace, 2001). Used as a social power, ethnic identity can be employed to highlight a group's economic and cultural uniqueness, thus resulting to weakening the dominance of the state (Dorais and Searles, 2001). Inuvialuit Pitqusiit: The Culture of the Inuvialuit (GNWT, 1991) is an educational book that is told by selected Inuvialuit and sheds light on how the Inuvialuit see the progress of their identities. In it the Inuvialuit note that the Inuvialuit recognize the uniqueness of a person, and the cultural and ethnic commonalities that tie them together: love and gratitude for the land. The Inuvialuit know who the Inuvialuit are, because they know the person's birth place, family, history and personality (GNWT, 1991). Cultures are often portrayed and polarized in simplistic terms (Kim et al., 1996). Western cultures are repeatedly described as individualistic and Aboriginal cultures as communal. These generalizations do not capture the complexities of identity and how different socio-cultural contexts influence identity. A person might be individualistic in work, but collectivistic in leisure activities, with extended family, and community involvement. Further, overgeneralizations might situate Indigenous peoples in an unfortunate sphere of irrational and idealistic standards (Cruikshank, 2004). More subtle distinctions are described by Stairs and Wenzel (1992) in the case of hunting and identity building. They suggest that the process of becoming a mature person in an Inuit culture would best be described as Inuit world-image identity. The authors make distinctions between Inuit world-image identity and Western self-image. Central to the world-image is that the process is towards grounding instead of autonomy. The authors continue that the "Inuk maturity ideal (inummarik) is group and environmental interdependency rather than self-sufficiency"11. Interestingly, Condon (1987) assesses that autonomy is one of the most prominent characteristics of youths' lives in Uluhaktok. Children are not parents' possessions, thus, there is little attempt to direct their thinking, actions, achievements, and aspirations. The high level of autonomy allows youth to develop at 11 Appendix H continues the discussion of inummarik. 55
their own pace and it is most apparent in education, career aspirations, and marriage. When concentrating on describing the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit in the Western Arctic, world-image might work as a metaphor for early 1900s, but not necessarily for 2000s. As becomes apparent from Cournoyea's earlier statement, the contemporary Inuvialuit have individualistic and competitive sides when it comes to education and employment. Even though this might not be the case of all Inuvialuit, traditional metaphors and categorizing exclude and discriminate Inuit whose lives have taken them beyond inummarik (Searles, 2006). In the school setting, students may struggle with the stereotypes that are associated with their ethnicity or gender. When studying Asian female students, Shih et al. (1999) found that when certain social identities were made prominent at an implicit level, the students' performance adjusted to the course predicted by the stereotype associated with the identity. Modernity and globalization impact identities in various and diverse ways. I use modernity12 as the umbrella definition of processes that have paved the way for the Inuvialuit to join the mainstream Canadian society. Globalization13 is an inherent part of modernity. As a part of globalization, some processes bring cultures together (e.g. the use of high technology and consumerism) others strengthen local autonomy and cultural identities (Giddens, 1990). For the Inuvialuit the latter has happened, for example, through the Inuvialuit land claim and negotiations for self-government. Some contemporary social theorists have assessed that traditions, collectivism and social structures will diminish as individualization, as a part of modernity, takes over (Beck, 1992; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2002: Giddens 1991; Bauman 2001, 2007). In premodern world, a person's place in society came as a given without little agency and choices (Bauman, 2001; Beck, 2001). As choices have increased, human identity has 12 Hall (1995) identifies four key features that have contributed to this phenomenon: 1) modern nationstates that dominate with secular forms of power; 2) capitalist economy founded on large-scale production and consumption; 3) decline of predetermined social hierarchies and formation of social and gendered division of labor; and 4) decline of spiritual or religious world view and rise of capitalist consumer culture demonstrating individualistic and rational impulses. 13 Giddens (1990:64) defines globalization as "the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa". 56
transformed from a `given' into a `task' (Bauman, 2001). In the modern society, Giddens (1991) and Bauman (2001) see personal identity as reflexive project where the individual has to adapt to continual societal change and limitless choices. To a certain degree, Condon's (1987) work in Uluhaktok echoes the assessments of Bauman, Beck and Giddens. He agrees that before the impacts of Euro-Canadian culture, youth in Ulukhaktok did not have the same choices as modern youth do. In early 1980s, the youth had a choice of, for example: attending high school or occupational training; working in local and regional politics; and the decision of where to live. Still, occupational aspirations of youth in Ulukhaktok echo the job and training opportunities of the NWT. The scarcity of jobs available in small and remote northern communities does not allow youth to construct and advance one's identity quite as rapidly as Beck and Giddens suggest. Also, as there are more social problems in northern communities, the barriers (e.g. poverty, health issues, and learning difficulties) to choices are evident. "The routine stability and constancy of ordinary lives, and the uneven distribution of resources" restrict individuals and groups from forming new identities (Jenkins, 2008:29). Thus, though options have increased, individuals at least in Ulukhaktok are bound by the context they live in. Still, some youth in Ulukhaktok dreamed of becoming a hockey player, stewardess, or songwriter. These occupational preferences are clearly influenced by globalization of pop culture, sports, and travelling. To add to the complexity of discussion, as non-traditional behaviours (e.g., boys not striving to become good hunters; working mothers; snowmobiles replacing dog teams) become more and more popular among individuals, they can eventually reach a threshold level of common behaviour. This can happen for example when a new generation (not just individuals) start to break away from traditional behaviour and come up with "new traditions" (Mills, 2007:71-72). Thus, modernity is not the end of tradition or start of extreme individualization. Instead, communities persist as traditions continue, new traditions are made and people become more individualistic with fewer restrictions and more options (Luke, 1996; Thomson, 1996). In this paper, I will discuss how the individual and collective Inuvialuit have thrived, interacted, adopted, and rebelled when their identities have been challenged by formal 57
education. Since formal education is a part of colonial history, modernity, and globalization, I will use secondary data to give a more coherent picture of the social changes that have formed Inuvialuit identities. Reflecting on the analysis of Giddens, Beck, Bauman, and Jenkins, I assert that education in the Inuvialuit region has evolved from being a tool to support the Inuvialuit way of life, to becoming a function of pseudomodernity. Although it would appear as though youth today could become "whatever they want", the expectations of "becoming" created through the education system, media and other voices of globalization are rarely met. The reality of life in a small northern community ties the peoples' educational and occupational identities firmly to the everyday life of Tuktoyaktuk. Methods The aim of the paper is to describe the history of Inuvialuit engagement in formal education in order to better explain "the meaning of" or "reasoning for" education in the contemporary lives of the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk. I will approach the topic by using empirical data from a case study and place that data in an explanatory context that includes government policies, and aspects of social change that has taken place in Tuktoyaktuk and in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region over the last 100 years. The research uses four methods: secondary data, participation in community life, individual biographical and thematic semi-directed interviews, and focus group with high school students. Secondary data from historical documents, articels, and research reports provide background information about the Inuvialuit culture, economy, values and the relationship with learning and the school system. Historical accounts from secondary sources were used to develop chronological accounts of Inuvialuit life from 1890 onwards. They were also used to deepen the understanding of why certain happenings occurred. More importantly, as Singleton and Straits (2005) elaborate, these sources 58
were used to explain the social changes that were taking place and how those changes impacted Inuvialuit identities and the meaning of education for the Inuvailuit. I spent three months in 2007 and 2008 taking part in community life to better understand how learning and education is a part of everyday community life. Further, by participating I hoped that locals would get to know me and would feel more comfortable to take part in the research (Wolcott, 1995). Participating involved taking part in organized weekly events (adult's game nights, youth center) and special events (celebration feasts and political events), and community life in general (caribou hunt, checking the fishnets, picking berries). It also involved sitting in on some of the high school classes and spending time in the teacher's lounge at the Mangilaluk School. The aim of the individual biographical and thematic semi-structured interviews was to give the participants a chance to tell about their educational experiences from their point of view. These semi-structured interviews followed a "pre-set agenda to define the flow of the interview" (Yates, 2004:156). Biographical method (Denzin, 1989) was used to get an understanding of how the participants' educational experiences related to their life course and identity formations. Thematic semi-directed interviews allowed me to learn about people's experiences and opinions related to education, and to ask specific questions related to the problem. The initial interviews were done in 2007. After transcribing and doing preliminary analysis of the interview results, verification and follow-up interviews took place in 2008. The aim of the interviews was for me to develop a shared understanding of participants educational experiences (Yates, 2004). During the verification and the follow-up interview, the participant was presented with a timeline of significant life happenings that s/he had shared with me. I also read out loud a summary of the interview content which emphasized the participant's learning experiences (both in and out of the formal educational system), how family and community life impacted education and vice versa, and the participant's opinions about education. By doing the verification, I had a chance to tell the participant how I had understood their story and the participant was able to 59
correct facts and interpretations with which they did not agree. Thus, the verification process gave me more confidence in my interpetation of the participants stories. Interviews were done with six families that had at least three living generations: grandparents, parents, and youth who are attending high school or have just graduated from high school. By interviewing three generations, I was able to further my understanding related to the reasons for getting an education and how those reasons have changed during a century. From six families, eight youth, four male and four female, took part in the study. From two families two siblings participated. Seven parents participated, five mothers and two fathers. Also eight grandparents participated, five grandmothers and two grandfathers (see table 2-1). The families were purposely chosen because they had a young adult between the ages 16 to 19. The Tuktoyaktuk youth centre staff and the youth at the youth centre helped me make a list of the multigenerational families. Of the 27 multigenerational families, eight families were approached by the research assistant or me. Two individuals from two families did not want to take part in the study, so these families did not end up taking part in the study. Thematic semi-directed interviews were also done with two educational policy makers, three teachers, and two school staff. The interviewees sought were people who have insight to local and regional issues related to education. In addition, focus group with 15 high school students was organized to get a better sense of what community life, school and future aspiratons are like for students. One of the strengths of focus groups is that it provides the research with a possibility for insights into the participant's behaviors and motivations (Morgan and Krueger, 1993). It can also provide a medium where the participants engage in a discussion by questioning each other and explaining themselves (Morgan, 1996:139). By combining these four methods, I hoped to get a deeper understanding of how educational and occupational identities have changed in Tuktoyaktuk over a century. The paper will explore how these identities are increasingly becoming individualistic, as 60
modernity and globalization affect everyday lives of the Inuvialuit. However, at the same time, the identities continue to be tied to the realities of Tuktoyaktuk.
Table 2-1 Interview participants': name; age; level of education; and occupation. Age of the participants is shown in intervals of five years. Education is demonstrated in grade school year completed, with upgrading and college. Most of participants names are aliases, but two participants preferred not to be referred to by alias names.
Name Age Education Occupation
Grandparents Persis 90
3
Looking after the family
4 & Aurora
Rose 80
College
Several jobs as a cook, cleaner and a social worker
Gary 65
8
Hunter, trapper, and a journeyman
Mae 65
8
Several jobs as a cleaner
Alice 65
8
Looking after the family
Gloria 60
6
Several jobs as a cook and a cleaner; and crafts
Paul 55
9 & Aurora College
Oil and gas worker and an office job in town
8 & Aurora
Zoe 55
College
Social worker
Parents
Andrew 50
9
Business owner and politics
Rebecca 50
7
Cook and a cleaner for the oil and gas industry
Richard 50 10 & upgrading Working for the Inuvialuit and politics
Salena 45
8
Looking after the family and crafts
Fiona 40
8
Looking after the family
Ruth 40 9 & upgrading Office clerk
9 & upgrading & Dorothy 40 Aurora College Office clerk
Youth
Sophie 20
12
Office clerk
John 20
12
Working for a transportation company in town
Jodie 20
9
Unemployed
Garret 20
Working for a transportation company in town and
12
politics
Joyce 20
8
Stay at home mom
Maureen 15
9
On and off student
Brady 15
9
Unemployed
Joseph 15
10
Student
61
Results14 1890s to 1930s - Learning the Inuvialuk Way of Life Herschel Island off the north Yukon coast was a traditional hunting, fishing, and whaling place for the Inuvialuit. Between 1890 and 1907, whalers based from San Francisco hunted bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea and overwintered on the island (Usher, 1971b; Alunik et al., 2003). In 1896, at the end of the whaling era, it has been estimated that over 1,200 people overwintered on the island (Morrison, 1984). Due to the large population size on the island, Anglican Missionaries opened a mission there in 1895 and a year later established the first day school of the Inuvialuit region (Alunik et al., 2003). For three years, about 30 adults and children attended school in the winter months learning to read and write Inuvialuktun, and some English (Alunik et al., 2003; Macpherson, 1991; Whittaker, 1937). While there was no residential school operating in the Inuvialuit territory, some children were sent to St. Peter's Anglican Mission School in Hay River for a couple of years of schooling (Whittaker, 1937). The government did not play a significant role in decisions about education of the Inuvialuit or those related to Inuvialuit wellbeing. The Inuvialuit were seen by government as "collectively insulated" from the outside world and it preferred to leave the missionaries in charge of Inuvialuit education (McLean, 1997; Jenness, 1964; King, 1999). The whaling industry was the first global economic endeavor in which the Inuvialuit participated. It introduced the Inuvialuit to a new material culture and early stages of consumerism15. As the whaling era came to its end, the growing importance of, another 14 The results are presented in table form in appendix F. 15 Due to the close relationship with the whalers, foreign illnesses spread amongst the Inuvialuit. The deaths caused by the diseases resulted in traditional villages being abandoned (Usher, 1971a). Usher estimates that in the beginning of 1800s the Inuvialuit population had been about 2,500. The Royal Northwest Mounted Police reported in 1905 that the Inuvialuit population had gone down to 250 people and by 1910 to 150 (Usher, 1971b). At the same time more Alaskan Inupiat moved to the Mackenzie Delta in hopes of employment and better caribou hunting opportunities. As time passed the Inuvialuit intermarried with the Inupiat, as they had done with the whalers and the Dene tribe of Gwich'in, and so the genetics and cultural identity of the Inuvialuit developed in new ways. 62
global industry, the fur trade, ensured the Inuvialuit were well off economically. By then, the Inuvialuit were accustomed to many material goods from the south, and the fur trade made it possible for the Inuvialuit to continue to purchase those material goods (Morrison sighted in Alunik et al., 2003). In 1907, the value of fur trade between Inuvialuit and whalers was estimated at $1.4 million (Morrison sighted in Alunik et al., 2003) and the average standard of living among the Inuvialuit was higher than many working-class eastern Canadians (Whittaker, 1937). Though the trading opportunities and small scale wage employment for the whalers increased, the income, life paths and identities of the Inuvialuit continued to be tied to the land through a semi-nomadic lifestyle. All the grandparents (born between 1918 and 1954) interviewed for this study reported that their fathers were hunters and trappers, and mothers took care of the family and home16. Even though only three of the grandparents reported their parents going to school, some Inuvialuit had learned basic reading and writing skills from the Alaskan Inupiat, traders, whalers, and missionaries without going to formal schools (King, 1999). According to Whittaker (1937), the Inuvialuit regarded a written request to be of higher value than a verbal one, and thus writing and reading skills were sought through schooling or other means. Several children were sent to school for a couple of years to acquire basic reading and writing skills after which they continued learning practical life skills and cultural teachings with their family (Alunik, 1998). Children that were not sent to school continued learning life skills while living a seminomadic lifestyle with their parents. In 1925, a Catholic Indian Residential School17 was opened in Aklavik as it was increasinly becoming the new transportation, commercial and administrative center of the Western Arctic (Alunik et al., 2007). A year later, an Anglican residential school was formed at Shingle Point, but it moved to Aklavik18 only ten years after operation 16 Dorais (2001) explains in more detail about the gender division of labour in Inuit cultures: hunting being mainly for males and sewing and household chores for women, and the symbolic meanings behind those divisions. 17 Later called Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Residential School. 18 Soon the school building at Shingle Point became cramped (Milloy, 1999) and it was exposed to extreme storms (Macpherson, 1991) and flooding (Mangelana, 1994). 63
(Macpherson, 1991). As expressed below in narrative, Persis (one of the interviewees) went to Anglican Mission School at Shingle Point from 1930 to 1933. Even though Persis liked school, her parents did not want her to stay in school longer than three years so that she would learn "Inuvialuk19 life": Some of them [children] just stay one year and quit. They say they don't like it. I don't know why... [I went to school for] three years. We really like to go to school long ago. We really wish to learn something, but as soon as we could read little bit and write they stop us. Our parents said, "Good enough. Not gonna go too far. You've got to learn Inuvialuk life too." Even if we want to go back [to school] we can't. Jimmy's experience was similar. Jimmy's father had died by the time he was old enough to go to school. In the early 1900s, there was discussion between the church and parents whether children would be sent to school. Since Jimmy's father was not alive, Chief Mangilaluk of Tuktoyaktuk was consulted on Jimmy being sent to school. Obviously, Chief Mangilaluk did not believe formal schooling being necessary for every child, as Jimmy's widow remembers: The church wanted to know if they wanted to go to school. I think my husband [Jimmy] was crying cause he didn't want to leave his mother. And then the Chief said, "Well, he's not going to leave his mother without a helper!", but he had a big brother. You know? So that's why he didn't go to school, cause of the Chief. Rose went to the All Saint's Anglican residential school in Aklavik from 1938 to 1942. As a part of the assimilation process, the students were not allowed to speak Inuvialuktun at the residential schools20. As both Persis and Rose knew some English before going to school, they had an easier time communicating than many other children. Rose enjoyed school and found it very useful after she went back to live with her family. She remembers from childhood reading telegrams for people who were not able to read and 19 Inuvialuk is singular for Inuvialuit. 20 As a part of the assimilation effort to civilize Indigenous peoples was to teach the students the official language of the nation-state. Some schools in Canada ended up following the example of the United States where assimilation efforts were based on notions that the Indigenous peoples: 1) were savages that needed to be civilized through the teachings of Christianity; 2) should be subordinate to the nation-state; and 3) deficits in mental, moral and physical abilities could be overcome by using specific pedagogical methods (Lomawaima, 1999). 64
getting praised for her talent. She was able to shop at a store, because she knew how to read and count. Like Persis, Rose ended up leaving school to help her parents at home. There was an obvious reason for this: the best way for both girls and boys to learn the Inuvialuk way was to travel and live with their parents. 1940s to 1960s ­ Obeying Other's Wishes; Humbling under Disease and Distance; and the Balancing Act between Both Worlds Tuktoyaktuk had been a traditional Inuvialuit settlement since the 18th century. In 1934, the Hudson's Bay Company Kitigaaryuit trading Post was relocated to Tuktoyaktuk and it became an important harbour in the Western Arctic (Alunik et al., 2003)21. Anglican mission school was established in Tuktoyaktuk in 1947. A year later, it was transferred to the Department of Northern Affairs and National Development (Canada, 1966) as the federal government took over the administrative responsibility of northern education and began building several federal day schools across the NWT (McLean, 1997). At the same time, fur prices collapsed and the government encouraged people to move to towns where it was establishing education and health services (Usher, 1973)22. The first year, about a dozen children attended the school (Macpherson, 1991). Though five participants went to school during the late 1940s and 1950s, only two attended the federal day school in Tuktoyaktuk during those early years. Most of the families were still out on the land the majority of the year and it was more practical for them to send their children to residential schools in Aklavik23. Though there were differences between the wealth of various communities and families, King's (1999) study on federal residential schools asserts that before fur prices collapsed, the income of the average Inuvialuit family was estimated to be amongst the highest in 21 Before that only four families lived there permanently (Ferguson, 1961). 22 A literature review on the development of Inuit communities has found that semi-nomadic family groups (or band communities) settled to permanent communities due to economic, political and religious reasons (Dorais, 2001). 23 Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s children who were left orphans due to epidemics (Alunik, 1998) and children whose mothers were taken ill or died would also attend residential schools. 65
the world. The Inuvialuit were seen as skillful business people who were comfortable utilizing their natural resources as trading goods. For the Inuvialuit during this time, education was seen as a tool to assist the local people to become even more successful in their business endeavours (King, 1999)24. But not all parents in the NWT believed that their children needed formal schooling. As the school attendance in the NWT was not as high as the government would have liked it to be, the government threatened to hold back family allowance if children failed to attend school (Berger, 1977; King, 1999). Gary, one of the interviewees, explains how government policy influenced his mother's decision to send her children to school, even though she wished otherwise: I was forced to go to school. That's the only way my mother would collect family allowance. My mother didn't want me to go to school. We had no choice in order to survive. Gary went to the day school for a year and continued his schooling in All Saint's Anglican residential school from 1952 to 1954. In addition to holding family allowances, the increased Government Services in towns influenced Inuvialuit daily lives, as well as the continual presence of churches. Move to the communities influenced the Inuvialuit daily lives also with the continual presence of religion. The authority figures of the churches made efforts to influence many parts of Inuvialuit lives, including sending students to residential school. Since the day school in Tuktoyaktuk was not religious; some parents were advised to send their children to receive a religious education either at the Anglican or Roman Catholic residential school in Aklavik. Gary explains how powerful the church was in forcing parents to send their children to school: My parents had no say, we were forced to go. The RCMP and mission took me... When you went to day school, you got family allowance. I don't know why I had to go to Aklavik. Religion had a lot to do with it. The bishops had more power than the RCMP. 24 S. J. Bailey, who had been commissioned by the government to interview northerners on need for Inuit education in 1948 and 1950, had reported that the Inuvialuit wanted same rights as other Canadians and this included a sufficient education system. One government official had commented that the Inuvialuit were so unsatisfied in the education of their children by missionaries that they were willing to pay for education if the system was remade to meet their needs (King, 1999). 66
Gary and Alice (who went to the Roman Catholic residential school) both had a difficult time adjusting to school life, especially since they were punished for speaking Inuvialuktun. Due to long distances and lack of transportation, some children were not able to see their parents for a couple of years, even during holidays. Also, as diseases, especially tuberculosis, took a toll on family life, school provided an alternative home for children who had lost a mother or both parents. Thus, getting an education was not always the motivating factor in parents sending their children to school, survival and better quality of life also acted as incentives. The first major wage employment opportunity for the Inuvialuit, though short lived, was the building of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line in mid-1950s. Of the Inuvialuit communities, Tuktoyaktuk benefited the most from the DEW-Line construction (Alunik et al., 2003). The Inuvialuit could work as much as they wanted as labourers and heavy equipment operators (Jacobson, 1994).25 Ferguson (1961) assessed that the occupational status of a person in Tuktoyaktuk depended on the wage of the employment and the level autonomy related to the occupation, thus making a skilled trapper one with highest status. He noted that young adults had become a distinct group in the community due to their education and involvement in wage employment. Though the education was still limited, it brought the youth closer to the Euro-Canadian culture and their goals in life took a different path from their parents (Ferguson, 1961). According to Ferguson (1961:61-62), the youth's aspirations included wage employment and "the life of a European". With town life and wage employment, the work identities for men became somewhat more diverse. Still, most of the men were hired as journeymen and continued to hunt and trap on their spare time once the DEW-Line construction was finished. During this period, the federal government's position on education changed; Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources annual reports (Canada, 1954, 1955) began to display increasing evidence that the education of the Inuit was considered to be inevitable. In the early 1950s, the government position was that education would assist 25 At the same time local people were hired by the Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (NTCL) which began operating from Tuktoyaktuk (Bachmayer et al., 1978). Also, Eddie Gruben's Transportation started as a small local company (Alunik et al., 2003). 67
the Inuit in hunting and fur trading, but by 1955 the main argument for education was to ensure the Inuit would be able to benefit from wage employment opportunities (McLean, 1995). By then, the Aklavik residential school buildings were in a rough shape (Milloy, 1999) and the building of the new government center of the Western Arctic, Inuvik, had began. Community day schools, Tuktoyaktuk Federal Day School being one of them, acted as a strong agent of change toward Euro-Canadian values as it taught the Alberta provincial curriculum (Milloy, 1999; Ferguson, 1961). According to Ferguson (1961:66), the Inuvialuit culture was included in the teachings only by polarizing it to the "highly-prized European culture". The teachers were under the impression that "the basic problem is to make industrial life meaningful to the children" (Ferguson, 1961:66). Inuvialuit adults were of the view that formal education is important, but some men disliked teachers and felt that they needed supervision (Ferguson, 1961). This might be due to the school downgrading the Inuvialuit culture, or the physical abuse that was used as a discipline method. At the age of 11, Gloria, one of the interviewees, quit school after the principal "clubbed" her with books because she had been talking with a friend. Inuvik became the new government center of the Western Arctic in 1958 and the Sir Alexandra Mackenzie School in Inuvik was opened a year later (Hepburn, 1963). The two residential hostels, run by the Catholic and Anglican churches, took in hundreds of Aboriginal students to attend the new federal day school. The admission to Inuvik residential schools from Tuktoyaktuk was restricted to children above grade six and to those whose parents were out on the land (Abrahamson, 1963). In 1959, three of the interviewees, Alice, Garry and Mae, who had all gone to residential school in Aklavik, continued their schooling in Inuvik. By the age of 15, Alice and Mae had had enough of school. Though Mae's mother would have wanted her to continue with school, her goal was not education, but to marry a boy in Tuktoyaktuk: I failed grade eight, so I ask my parents for a year off. My dad said OK. My mom said no. But my dad said OK, so I took a year off. And in that year I end up getting married... That's the goal I had! 68
Before Mae got married she worked for the Hudson's Bay Company as a clerk. Alice's mother needed help with taking care of the younger children, so Alice stayed home and also got married at the age of 15. In the late 1950s, it was common for girls to get married shortly after puberty (Ferguson, 1961), but as Mae's mother expressed, some parents preferred their children to further their education. At that time, women in Tuktoyaktuk did not work much outside the home, except in the handicraft industry (Ferguson, 1961), but southern influences of women working as nurses, teachers and cooks were also affecting Tuktoyaktuk26. By mid 1960s, the fur garment industry was a year round operation, employing 19 women and resulted in women staying in town rather than going out on the land. Also, the lack of hostel facilities for day school students resulted in women staying in town (Bissett, 1967). Thus, town life with economic employment for women and schooling of children were paving the way for new cultural and work identities. By early 1960, the population of Tuktoyaktuk and camps nearby had increased to 405 and students attending the day school more than doubled in five years, amounting to 122.27 The move to communities brought more occupational choices, and the government expected education to prepare the Inuvialuit to fully benefit from Canadian citizenship. All school aged children were attending school, though school attendance was not obligatory (Abrahamson, 1963). In the early 1960s, during the DEW-Line employment peak, permanent employment in Tuktoyaktuk had grown, but by 1965, it had stayed the same with the exception of an increase in the fur garment industries (Bissett, 1967). By the mid-1960s, most people in Tuktoyaktuk had cash income; a government study assessed that in ten years (mid-1950 to mid-1960s) the economy of Tuktoyaktuk had changed from hunting, fishing and trapping to a wage economy 26 In Inuvik the young women had more occupational options to choose from. The women that were better educated could hold steady jobs as nursing aids, store clerks, waitresses, and baby sitters (Ervin, 1968). 27 The population increase in Tuktoyaktuk was rapid in the 1950s. In 1957, the population of Tuktoyaktuk and nearby camps amounted to 340 (Ferguson, 1961). The population had increased by 240 in six years (Canada, 1966). Tuktoyaktuk Day School had 59 students attending from grade 1 to 9. Most, 36, of the children were enrolled in grades 1 to 3; only nine students were enrolled in grades 6 to 9. Majority of the older students were attending residential schools in Aklavik (Ferguson, 1961). For some of the families, school had been the driving force to move to town (Arey, 1994). 69
(Canada, 1966). Subsequent analysis has painted a less polarized perspective; given that most of the men still practiced subsistence hunting and many were employed only part of the year, a mixed or subsistence-based economy is a more appropriate way of describing the economy (Usher, 2002; Abele, 2006). Yet, as the wage economy became so prolific, Abrahamson's evaluation of the diversification of occupational identities and options to choose from describes the Inuvialuit moving yet another step closer to modernity and globalization. In the community of Sacks Harbour, Usher (1970) estimated that education and the media were introducing metropolitan values. He asserts that the rationale for education had moved beyond the "Three R's" (reading , writing, arithmetic) to "including the values of a technologically sophisticated urban society, and of developing people to fill the roles that such society requires" (Usher, 1970:435). Factors influencing the push for education included a growing industrial economy. In Buchmann's (1989:23) words, the education system was shaping the Inuvialuit youth to become economic individuals. However, by no means was it easy for the Inuvialuit to combine the Inuvialuit way and the new opportunities that were available. Garry attended school in Inuvik for three years before continuing his schooling in Yellowknife in the early 1960s. He was hoping to get a mechanic's diploma, but he did not end up finishing the course and he went back home to learn hunting and travelling on the land: I went there [to Yellowknife] for a mechanical course... I had better options in Yellowknife. We had choice to take some kind of course. We were working same time, using tools. All that came handy for me even though I didn't finish the course... They [parents] were glad; they supported me going to school... Up to today I regret not finishing. I say: "I should have finished". I just had a few more months. At my age then I started drinking so they sent me home. I got caught three times. You got three chances. I lost three chances and I got sent home... My parents never said nothing to me. By then, I was able to do my cultural things. It was hard at first... I almost forgot my culture, but I got it back from my parents. Ten years going to school, really screwed us up for a while... I'm still learning. I could do it, but I've still got some ways to go. Gary's story reflects how the educational options increased in the 1960s, as he was able to choose a trade's course. By that time, people in Tuktoyaktuk had experienced the 70
industrial opportunities brought by the DEW-Line, and as trades occupations were also emphasized at school, it was natural for young men to try out that path. Gary's experience of his parents not commenting on him quitting school could express the individual's right to choose the opportune time to leave school. Condon (1987:191) assessed that the high level of autonomy Inuit youth possess in Uluhaktok allows them to develop at their own pace. Children are not parents' possessions, thus there is little attempt to direct their thinking, actions, achievements and aspirations. Also, as Garry was eager to learn on the land skills from his parents, he was continuing the Inuvialuk way which was still highly valued. In the 1960s, when Paul was going to school, his parents would spend some years on the land, others in Tuktoyaktuk. While his parents were on the land and when he was old enough to attend high school, Paul was sent to the Catholic residential school in Inuvik. Paul had an extremely negative experience at the residence due to abuse and neglect, but he wanted to get an education, so he continued to go back to school. As he explains: My parents, I believe, thought that it was a safe place for me to go, because it was run by the Catholic Church and my parents were really strong Catholic followers. So in 1962, when they [parents] were going to the bush, [they] sent me, [and my siblings] to Grollier Hall... But during that time I was taken from my bed and physically, sexually abused... that was suppressed so deep that I forgot about it, but it controlled how I began to conduct myself. First of all I isolated myself from my parents... Literally I did not want to see them. I didn't even want to be with my brother or my sister when I came back from Inuvik. I don't know why, maybe that tear inside; that sexual assault really ripped my mind up, you know? It was tough. But why I kept on going back was because I wanted to be educated. I wanted the education. Even at that young age, I wanted to go to school, I wanted to learn. As with other parents, religion and spending time on the land influenced Paul's parents to send him and his siblings to a residential school. When his parents were living in town, Paul was able to attend school in Tuktoyaktuk. Though Paul had liked school, in grade seven, while he was attending Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk, he thought that school was not getting him anywhere and he was ready to quit. His parents did not comment on 71
Paul quitting school, but he ended up getting educational guidance from the principal, as Paul describes: They [parents] didn't talk to me about value of life. "Get up, go to school." Sunday: "Get up, church." Never explain why. You become a zombie. It's really important to have that communication, you and your children, it's really important, because it develops them in a process... They [parents] never taught me, [just] woke me up to go to school. Never talked becoming something. It was a teacher, that I really am thankful today about teaching me the values of education. I always thought he was a strict principal, but I walked out of school when I was in grade seven, because I figure I had it all. I had it made! I don't have to worry about education. But he came to talk to me at home, he made a home visit. Sat down... Told me how important education is. There are several ways of reflecting on Paul's experience and his perception that his parents' did not give him guidance in life or education. On the one hand, his parents may have been giving him freedom to choose his own educational and occupational path, as suggested by Condon (1987). On the other hand, the experience may demonstrate the generational gap that had begun to develop by the late 1960s. The values and life experiences of his parents' generation were still tied to living on the land, and thus had little resemblance to the town life that their children were experiencing. The parents had little advice to give the young generation on town life, and the children's respect for their parents seemed to be eroding (Ervin, 1968; see also Hobart and Brant, 1966). Young people were spending more years in school, and especially residential schools in "big town Inuvik", they were getting more and more exposed to Euro-Canadian culture and values. Thus, they might have been more perceptive toward guidance related to individual enhancement and career goals. Students who received their schooling in day school continued learning from parents with not as much interruption as Gary and Paul had experienced. Andrew, the youngest of ten siblings, went to the day school from 1964 to 1970. For Andrew, learning on the land skills with his father often took priority over school: I didn't know why I had to go to school; I didn't know why I couldn't just stay at home. Whenever my dad went to trap line I missed a lot of school, cause dad 72
taught me trapping and on the land stuff. I try not to take them [his children] out of school. School wasn't stressed for us, but now you need education for everything. Andrew's experience shows how some families continued to prioritize the Inuvialuk way over formal education. Andrew's mother recalls how her husband wanted the children to go to school, but the children were given an option of going to school or helping at home and on the land: Their dad tell them, "You've got to go to school. Look at me, I didn't go to school, all I learn [was] how to hunt and trapping."... If you stay home you've got to cut wood, you've got to bring ice... Up to them. We're not pushing after they learn. If they want to quit, up to them. If they kept on, keep on. They got to learn from their dad how to hunt. Similar to Gary's parents, Andrew's mother spoke about the individual's freedom to choose whether to go to school or not. If a person decided not to go to school they were obligated to help around the house and learn how to hunt. 1970s and 1980s ­ Family Influences on Living in Both Worlds In 1970 Imperial Oil made a major oil discovery, which led to an oil boom in the Mackenzie Delta. The boom had significant social impacts through employing locals and transient workers from the south (Alunik et al., 2003).28 Young people dropped out of school to work on temporary jobs for the oil industry and drinking, drugs, violence, theft and suicides increased (Alunik et al., 2003). Paul was one of the young men hired by the oil and gas industry. He had been going to college in Fort Smith in the hopes of becoming a priest, but he had been caught drinking too many times and he was sent back home. The boom had also an impact on family life and younger children's schooling. As Ruth explains, her older brother made sure the younger siblings attended school when her 28 Though Inuvik was impacted most by the boom, also Tuktoyaktuk was affected. At the peak periods of the oil and gas boom the population of Tuktoyaktuk nearly doubled (Ayles and Snow, 2002). 73
parents were drinking, but when the older brother went to high school in Inuvik, the younger siblings ended up missing school: When the oil companies came there was all this money in town and people would drink and drink for days on end... My parents started drinking a lot... it was like that a good ten years [1975-1985]... I remember my brother used to make sure that we were in bed by eight o'clock in the evening and he'll wake us up for school, give us breakfast and we'd get home at lunch and you know our parents were drinking he'd make us lunch and then send us back to school. We hardly missed any school, but after he went to Grollier that's when we weren't getting up and we'd miss, maybe twice, two days in a week. Only a few students enrolled in higher grades at Mangilaluk School. One of the reasons for this was the availability of temporary unskilled jobs which required no education (Bachmayer et al., 1978). As shown earlier, there had been differences between Inuvialuit family and individual values towards formal education, but as the forceful church and government enforcement of education continued to subordinate, families cultural, economical, and social resources started to play a more significant role in influencing children's educational attainment. Rose's husband stressed to Rose and their children the importance of formal education, but also the Inuvialuk lifestyle: He always said when he gets a letter or something written in directions ­ how to use something ­ he always had to look for someone to read it for him or write something... for him it meant that sure they [his children] go to school. He said that if he got higher education he had both worlds in his hand ­ hunting and holding on to a job." It was Rose's role to wake the children up for school, go to parent teacher meetings and to send the children to high school in Inuvik. Rose took her role seriously and all her children, except for one, ended up graduating from high school in the late 1960s and 1970s. As Rose explains, sometimes it was hard for her to send her children to Inuvik: I make them get on the plane. I bought their tickets and it was hard sometimes; they don't wanna go back, but I made them. If he [husband] hadn't pushed me, sometimes I would have gave into the kids when they wanted to stay... And there were times when they were unhappy. I was really lucky to have a little job, so I would just buy a ticket and go to Inuvik to find out what was wrong and I felt that 74
was important for me as a mother to go and see what was bothering them. To let them know that I'm there for them and their dad is there for them. Even though other families also strived to make a living in "both worlds", the dream was often cut short. As Rose explained, her husband's interest in education made her try her best to support the children with schooling. Part of the support Rose was able to give included personal visits to Inuvik, especially when the children were in trouble. The aviation industry had become a more common means of transport in the Mackenzie Delta and because Rose had a permanent income, she was able to visit her children in Inuvik. However, Rose's situation was relatively unique. In the 1970s, these kinds of financial means were not common, especially for women in Tuktoyaktuk. Rose's husband hoped that their children would continue schooling after high school, and Rose continued to encourage her children to graduate from college. When one of her sons dropped out of a college program, she persuaded him to go back and finish his degree: He's the one that came home just before the first two years. He had that much to go [shows an inch between her fingers] to get graduation. Decided to quit... I gave him such a hard time when it [the program] opened up again he went and he stayed for two years... He has a job, his own business... That's good money. He's married now and she works at the hospital, payroll. What is different about Rose's story is that she tells how she pushed her children to continue with their education. The other grandparents who took part in the study left the decision of school more or less to their children. Rose is proud of her son graduating from college and owning a business which pays well. She also mentions her son's wife having a job and a regular salary. In other words, her son has done well for himself not just by getting educated and being a business man, but also having a wife that works and gets a regular salary. Due to some of the reasons explained earlier, Rose's family was more of an exception than a rule when comparing educational accomplishment of her children. The study 75
participants told of the barriers that they confronted even though they wanted to get educated. Andrew's studies in Yellowknife were cut short, because he did not have the family support he needed while studying there. The abuse that some parents had experienced while going to residential school and the abuse that their children were experiencing in Mangilaluk School at times acted as a disincentive for parents to send their children to school. Alice, Rebecca's mom, wished her children would have stayed in school longer, but her nine children dropped out in grade seven or eight. Alice's oldest daughter, Rebecca, attended Mangilaluk School in 1972 and she liked going to school, but she use to be late for school in the mornings and got punished for that. She also got into fights, as Rebecca explains: I enjoyed that [going to school], but I always tended to be late in the mornings... My dad would get up and go to work five in the morning. So he wouldn't be there to wake [us up], my mom probably just slept through... I would just run, and I got a strapping just for being late, a number of times... I showed my mom my hands and she marched straight to the school and she didn't let me go back to school for a week. I begged to go back to school and after a week she let me go... I was getting into fights. Even though my parents lived here in Tuk, I had been going to school in Inuvik and you know how kids get when there's someone new in town... So I just got sick of fighting. In grade seven, Rebecca quit school to do "nothing". Again, as with some of the previous reflections, her parents did not comment on her dropping out and her mother said that individuals can choose for themselves the right time to leave school and the job they want to do. Also, Garry would have preferred his children to go to school and graduate. His children attended Mangilaluk School from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. Gary let the children decide for themselves whether to go to school or not and they all quit school before graduating: Sometimes they [teachers] came to the house to talk about our children, the teachers or social services people. They were telling how they were doing or how they were attending. My children could miss school all they wanted and they didn't get scolding. We didn't force our kids to go to school. It was up to them. They were free to go to school... [In life] I want my children to go on daily basis. You can't plan anything. Plans don't hold. They can decide for themselves. Plans don't work out, never does. I want my children to live better what I went 76
through personally, too hard. School is better to finish, that way they can do something. Garry's and Alice's stories might reflect that the parents wanted to protect their children from the physical abuse that they had gone through themselves. Thus, it is apparent the new opportunities that had emerged were not available for everyone. This is a very different picture from what the government had in mind. By the 1970s, the Canadian government policy had proceeded from helping the Inuit to succeed in modern economy, to a role of providing "education and training opportunities that would enhance each individual Inuk's ability to freely choose how they wanted to live." (McLean, 1997:11). McLean's (1997) analysis of government discourses on Inuit education suggests that government rationale for educating the Inuit changed from one that focused on improving the collective Inuit cultural deprivation, to one focused on meeting the needs of individual students. However, most students were failed by the education system and instead of "freely choosing how they wanted to live", the young males that quit school often relied on hunting and labour work. Young females that were failed by the education system would help around the house or work at the local stores. But a new phenomenon was also taking place, already in 1977 the community members were observing that some high school graduates were unemployed and living with their parents (Bachmayer et al., 1978). As also commented by Condon (1987) and Billson and Mancini (2007), it was obvious that the straight link between education and wage employment had cracks, and these cracks were also noticed by Alice. Alice values getting a high school diploma and sees it as a proof of intelligence and skills that are needed to take part in the modern workforce. But she has a hard time understanding why all graduates are not able to benefit from their high school diploma: In my mind grade 12 is enough. Pass it, pass it. You see people in Tuk they over grade. People go grade 13 [upgrade] sometime. There's couple of them that's high grade people walking around. They not have job. No job! Here they're smart in their head... They could sit in the office. Do all the work and papers. You know? What's going on? 77
In the 1970s, some parents preferred not to send their children to high school in Inuvik. Mae, a mother of eleven, raised her children on the land from 1960s to 1980s29. During early years, her children were learning both the Inuvialuk way and formal education through homeschooling. In the 1970s, Mae's husband made the decisions on whether the children attended high school or not. As Mae explains, she did not always agree with her husband's decision: My oldest daughter, [Miranda], her interests ever since she was small was to go to school and that's the only one that finished, graduated... So we gave her that opportunity... [Cathy, the second oldest,] I think she wanted to finish school, but we didn't give her that opportunity so she really put herself to learning hunting and trapping... Miranda had gone to school and my husband did not want more children to go to school in residence. I guess you can say that he was the boss at that time. I should just have said that F him and put the kids to school. Cause they need their school. If it was up to me they would have gone to school. Also, Dorothy's parents were against sending their children to high school in Inuvik30. It was mid-1980s and there was still no high school in Tuktoyaktuk. Stringer Hall residence in Inuvik had closed already in 1974, but Grollier Hall operated until 1997.31 Sometimes Dorothy is glad that she stayed in Tuktoyaktuk, other times she is disappointed because she was not given "a choice to learn". Dorothy's parents agreed that it was better for Dorothy not to go to residential school at Grollier Hall. A safe home environment was more important than education, as Dorothy's father explains: Yes we were on the same page on that. The most important for a parent is to nurture our children and family has to stay together. Stay together and give children that nurturing they need. And maybe what happened with me [sexual abuse at Grollier Hall], the bad memories and I didn't want my children to go through that. 29 This was not common, as by the mid-1950 only a few families from Tuktoyaktuk lived most of the year on the land (Usher, 1976). 30 During the Berger Inquiry (Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, 1976) for example Elsie Andreason testified against sending her children to school outside the community. 31 Grollier Hall was run by the Catholic Church until 1985 when territorial government took it over (GNWT, 2002). 78
Salena dropped out of school in grade nine because some of the teachers at Mangilaluk School were physically abusive and humiliated the students by making them stand in the corner, for example. After a few years, she wanted to go back to school, but she was pregnant and pregnant girls were not allowed to school. Salena gave her baby for adoption and at the age of 19 she tried to go back to school, but the Mangilaluk School suggested that she should upgrade through adult education. Salena was not willing do upgrading and she ended up getting married and raising a family. By the early 1980s, in addition to the Alberta curriculum, the Mangilaluk School was offering an Inuvialuktun language program for K-4 and a cultural sewing program (GNWT, 1987)32. At that time, education policy in the NWT separated itself from the federal policy by emphasizing community and local control over education (King, 1998:151). This was in cohort with the prevailing political atmosphere demanding Aboriginal self-determination and power33. Divisional boards of education and the Aurora College were formed (GNWT, 2005), but as Abele et al. note (2000), the educational policy did not give full control to Aboriginal peoples. The Inuvialuit land claim ­ Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) (DIAND, 1984) ­ was approved in 1984. IFA recognized the importance of education (DIAND, 1984), but it was vague in defining the Inuvialuit Social Development Program (which education is a part of), and lacked an implementation plan. Also, commitment and policy from governments hindered on appropriate action to plan for education that would meet the needs of the Inuvialuit (Vodden, 2001). Some changes did happen though. For example, more communities started to offer higher grades of education. Tuktoyaktuk did not get a high school for a 32 In early 1980s there were 752 people living in Tuktoyaktuk (GNWT, 1988) of which 179 were enrolled in K-9 Mangilaluk School (GNWT, 1987). 33 After the oil discoveries on Inuvialuit lands in the 1970 many Inuvialuit wanted to make sure they would be consulted before industrial developments took place on their lands (Alunik et al., 2003). The Committee of Original People's Entitlement (COPE) was formed to represent Aboriginal northerners in negotiating for a land claim (Usher, 1973). In 1977 the oil boom turned into a bust as the Berger commission recommended a 10-year moratorium on building the pipeline to transport the oil to southern markets. This moratorium was put in place so the Indigenous Peoples could settle land claims before the pipeline was built. COPE's mandate gave momentum also to act in favour of Inuit driven education. Inuit Cultural Institute was frustrated with NWT's 1976 education plans that lacked any consultation with Inuit and it formed a National Inuit Council on Education (NICE). NICE was to investigate the possibility of Inuit planned and administered education in the North, but because of shortage of funding NICE met only once and dissolved after a while. (Duffy, 1988) 79
couple of years and some of the youth found it hard to leave the community for high school. Especially for children who had lived on the land, the thought of going to school in Inuvik was hard to imagine, as Fiona explains: They [parents] tried to send us to school in Inuvik. And we couldn't hack it. Like a lot of us, we were raised on the land... I finisher grade eight here then I was 16 [and] I ended up pregnant with my oldest daughter. I had her. I got married. That's how I've been since. But it was pretty tough for them [parents], like keeping all their kids in school. All my brothers and sisters they completed grade 10 and they dropped out. It's pretty hard when you have to leave home for school I think. I couldn't do it. And my other brothers and sisters were practically forced to do it. So I, in a way, I kind of played them, but it was for the better. By the early 1980s, gender identities had experienced severe changes in Tuktoyaktuk. Modernity and the global women's movement highlighted the acceptance of working mothers and the need for gender equity in housework. Female employment in Tuktoyaktuk was common and some women had become the main wage earners of the family. Mostly, employment opportunities were housekeeping and kitchen help jobs for the oil and gas industry; governments and local businesses. (Erickson and Veit, 1985) Women's increased financial independence and time spent outside the home affected the family dynamics and gender identities. Men's identities, which had been tied to providing for the family, were challenged and women were criticized for doing less housework and being less "traditional" (Durst, 1991). These changes were facilitated by increased media communications and improved transportation. In the 1980s, it was still common for girls in Tuktoyaktuk to get pregnant before going to high school. Some grandparents adopted their children's babies so it would be easier for the girls to continue with their schooling.34 Ruth's parents adopted her firstborn and hoped that Ruth would go to high school in Inuvik. But Ruth wanted to be close to her daughter so she stayed in Tuktoyaktuk. She wishes she would have gone to high school 34 Some of the interviewees told about the Inuvialuit custom of grandparents raising their child's firstborn child. This custom has changed over time and was not practiced by all families. In the 1980s, it was mostly practiced when the daughter had a baby and was not married or was still attending school. 80
so she would have been able to get a higher paying job without upgrading for many years: I thought I'm going up to grade nine, that's good enough. I never thought of the future or what employment possibilities I'd have if I only have a grade nine. It's not too much, no experience, you only get these jobs that pay $7 an hour... regardless of my parents I wouldn't go to school, I wouldn't go to Inuvik. I wouldn't listen to them and I was so spoiled by my dad. I went to him and I was crying and I said, "I don't want to go to Inuvik." He said, "Well you don't have to go if you don't want to." But it was my mom who really tried to let me [go] to Inuvik. I think it would of been easier if I would have been able to stay [for high school] here. Cause my daughter wasn't even a year old... Well I didn't want to leave my daughter. I wanted to stay in Tuk to be close to her, but now I wish I had listened to my mom and not my dad. As with previous stories, some parents had differing opinions on whether the children should be sent to high school out of town or not. In 1987, this dispute was solved through Tuktoyaktuk getting a high school. Mae, who had been living on the land, decided to move permanently to town so that her youngest children could attend high school under her supervision. As she explains: The oldest ones were born in the 60s and the [younger] ones after the 70s. They're two separate lifestyles... But by then with the younger kids they had the high school in Tuk. So I stayed in town for them, those kids to finish their schooling. Which majority of them didn't even though I took the time off. You need your education. You can't just take homework out on the land with this higher grade. You have to be in town... So I did that for them and I'm not sorry even if they didn't pass or didn't finish. I'm not sorry I stayed in town because it gave me an opportunity to keep good in the workforce... I know it [education] was the most important thing, but my children knew better. They thought, "Oh, I don't need it." But now they're sorry. 1990s to 2000s ­ The Dream of Becoming Whatever I Want The population of Tuktoyaktuk increased throughout the 1990s and reached its peak in 2001 with just over 1000 residents, but by 2007 the number had gone down to 956 (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). During the school year of 2006-2007, there were 234 81
students taking K-12 at the Mangilaluk School. For the past five years (2005-2009), an average of seven students graduated from high school. There is no gender differences within the graduates from high school; compared to the Aurora College community learning center in Tuktoyaktuk where most, about 85 percent, of graduates are females. In 2009, seven out of 16 students who enrolled in upgrading graduated from the learning center (Khimji, 2009). The economy of Tuktoyaktuk can still be described as a mixed economy with most people engaging in harvesting activities (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Though for many families, harvesting activities have become more recreational rather than essential livelihood activities. Women are employed in office environments, especially for government, healthcare, social services, education, and the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation35. The transportation industry has continued to bring employment mostly for men. NTCL and E. Gruben's Transportation Limited (that started operating in Tuktoyaktuk during the 1950s and 1960s) are important sources of both permanent and seasonal employment. Though, increased hydrocarbon developments boosted employment rates periodically, low employment rates continue to be a problem. In 2006, the employment rate was 39 present, while the unemployment rate was 33 percent (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). Reflecting on contemporary educational interests, "to get a job" was the most common answer participants gave to the question "why is education important?". Most of the parents expressed that they wanted their children to get educated so that they would be able to work and provide for their families. More specifically, education is seen as an instrument to economic self-sufficiency, opportunity, security and choices. As Salena explains: It's not easy to get a job now, you've got to have grade 12 degree... You've got to have all you're papers or else you're just going to be stuck here and there. You 35 After the land claim community corporations were established in all Inuvialuit communities. Together the community corporations form the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) which is responsible for managing the interests of the Inuvialuit in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Alunik et al, 2003). 82
wouldn't survive it. There's so much technology now that you've got to learn, you've got to have all your education... We [Salena and her husband] didn't want them [the children] to live on the streets or live off anybody. We want them to work for their own life, work for their own money; make something out of themselves... And my kids are trying their best to help me, whenever they could get a job, they'll go for it and they help me pay for whatever too. And my son, he's going to school now. He said he's going to get a good job in order to pay for the utilities. Salena, as well as other participants, emphasized the importance of having a piece of paper to prove that one has completed school. To me, the discourse of having a piece of paper demonstrates how modernity has made Inuvialuit lives more dependent on national and global bureaucracy. Person's skills and knowledge are not measured as much in practice and for specific duties, as through a piece of paper that is granted after passing standardized tests. Some community members see school teaching valuable skills, other see it more as an institution that directs who will succeed in life (with the help of the piece of paper) and who will be left out. All of the youth who took part in the study started their formal education in the 1990s when technological advances, especially in information technology, brought another wave of globalization to the Arctic shores of Tuktoyaktuk. At the same time, government policy plans started to emphasize technology (King, 1998)36. Salena, as well as other parents and grandparents, made note of the technological advances, which had taken place since they went to school. Many participants believed that formal education, which teaches students how to use information technology, has helped their children and grandchildren to be equipped for future jobs. The 1990s also launched an era of culturebased education for the Inuvialuit, at least in reference material37 and organizational 36 The territorial government published People: Our Focus for the Future: A Strategy to 2010 (GNWT, 1994), a policy plan for education. The new policy plan had similar elements to the policy plan released 12 years earlier by emphasized community and local control over education. In addition it heavily highlighted the importance of technology. It presented the government's dream of ideal northern communities that are strong in their local cultures, vision their own futures and network with partners. The aim was to build "community learning networks" opposed to framing education as an individual effort. (King, 1998) 37 The Northwest Territories Department of Education published two significant educational materials for the Inuvialuit. Inuvialuit Pitqusiit: The Culture of the Inuvialuit (GNWT, 1991) was the first document the territorial government published of one of the Indigenous peoples of the NWT told by themselves. Second, Inuuqatigiit: The Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective (GNWT, 1996) was issued to be used as a curriculum in conjunction with other documents. 83
help38. The culture-based education initiative has continued through out the early 2000s39. However, the school system is still based on the colonial curriculum from Alberta. As many of the teachers are hired from southern provinces with little or no understanding of the Inuvialuit culture, and may not stay in the region long enough to form an understanding of it, there is a concern that teaching methods continue to repeat the colonial past40. Teaching at the Mangilaluk School is not based on Inuvialuit culture, though the Inuvialuit culture is brought into it, but rather on mainstream Euro-Canadian culture. Thus, modernity continues to shape the education system by tying the Inuvialuit strongly to the mainstream Euro-Canadian culture. In 2008, the frustration with education brought the Inuit together, as in the 1970s, to discuss the educational challenges the Inuit face41. Mary Simon (2008), the president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), dreamed of a future where more bilingual Inuit would graduate from high school with a firm knowledge and pride of their own culture. She also highlighted the importance of becoming skillful users of information technologies and "transforming our own communities or seeking opportunities throughout the world" (Simon, 2008). Thus, the ITK position on education corresponds to recent policies that the GNWT has launched. In Tuktoyaktuk, culture-based education has been implemented by offering Inuvialuktun42 language classes, a northern studies curriculum, and on the land courses. On the land courses are offered a couple of times a year and include hunting, trapping, life skills and a language component. Participants had differing views of the cultural appropriateness and content delivered at the Mangilaluk School. Some participants 38 The Inuvialuit Education Foundation was formed to support Inuvialuit in entering and completing educational studies. The Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Center was established to, for example, develop a language plan for the ISR and create an Inuvialuktun Language Curriculum. 39 This has followed the guidance of the Aboriginal Language and Culture-Based Education Departmental Directive (GNWT, 2004) and the publication of third policy plan, Building on Our Success (GNWT, 2005). 40 One third of Inuvialuit 15 and over had an Aboriginal teacher or teachers' aid while at elementary or high school (Statistics Canada, 2006). 41 A National Inuit Education Summit ­ Inuit Ilinniarnirmut Sivummuaningat: Toward a National Inuit Education Strategy ­ was held to launch a process of seeking out an Inuit education plan. The difference to the meeting in the 1970s was that this time government officials and university partners were also invited. 42 Since 2007 Inuvialuktun has been taught also for high school students. 84
thought that there should be more of the Inuvialuit culture integrated to the school, others preferred less, and some were satisfied. The ones that criticized, for example Inuvialuktun classes, were disappointed with the way it was delivered and how little the students were learning. Some participants were worried that if there was more Inuvialuktun and local culture taught at the school, students would not acquire the understanding of the global context. The participants who wanted more cultural teachings at school were concerned that youth are not speaking the Inuvialuktun language or do not know what is going on in their own territory. The job aspirations of the youth who took part in the workshop or individual interviews, included: lawyer; cop; mechanic; engineer; flight attendant; teacher; biologist; hair stylist; model or dancer; big game guide; NHL-player; pilot; and laboratory technician. In the youth workshop, one third of the students did not know what they wanted to be after graduating high school, but all wanted to graduate high school. The job interests portray the diversity of occupational goals that reflect global dreams, but they also relate to the employment history of the Western Arctic and specifically Tuktoyaktuk. I will demonstrate this by making three separate lists of the dream jobs: 1) Tuktoyaktuk jobs: cop; mechanic; teacher; and big game guide; 2) Western Arctic jobs: biologist; laboratory technician; hair stylist; pilot; lawyer; and engineer; and 3) global jobs: flight attendant; model or dancer; and NHL-player. The Tuktoyaktuk jobs are occupations that have mostly been known to the Inuvialuit before the 1950s: cop; mechanic; and teacher. I added big game guide to the list for it has such strong connections to the hunting traditions and Inuvialuit culture. The common characteristic of these jobs is that they are based in Tuktoyaktuk and children and youth see how these professions contribute to their own town. The Western Arctic jobs (hair stylist; pilot; biologist; laboratory technician; lawyer, engineer) which are often based from Inuvik or Yellowknife less resemble people's daily lives in Tuktoyaktuk. As children and youth visit Inuvik or towns and cities outside the ISR, they are more and more exposed to professions like a pilot or a hair stylist. Also, TV might contribute to the preference of these occupations. Most of the research done in Tuktoyaktuk and the Western Arctic has been related to the environment, thus people are familiar with the work of biologists and laboratory 85
technicians. Court is held once a month in Tuktoyaktuk and that is how youth get familiar with lawyers work, the TV series that portray court life might also contribute to it. The engineers that are hired for the rigs are usually from southern provinces because there are few local engineers. Often engineering jobs are seen as a step up from a mechanics job and thus, desired by those that are interesting in advancing their career. The global jobs (flight attendant; model or dancer; and NHL-player) are occupations that have little or no resemblance to the economy in Western Arctic or Tuktoyaktuk. In the Western Arctic, the small planes do not have flight attendants and the flight attendant occupation has become more familiar to people as they travel outside the Western Arctic. Also, now that the Inuvialuit and Inuit own one of the major airlines working in the Canadian Arctic, Canadian North, they recruit and are more visible in the north. The careers of a model, dancer, and NHL-player are clearly occupations that are driven by globalization through TV, newspapers, magazines, and internet. Interestingly, already in the early 1980s, Condon (1987:173) found the youth's occupational aspirations to be very similar as the youth's aspirations that took part in this study. This begs the question: has much changed in 25 years? The answer is yes. Among the participants who took part in the study, the job interests do not seem to have much gender differences, other than NHL-player as a man's job and hair stylist and model or dancer as woman's job. Both young men and women expressed their interest in being, for example, teachers and engineers. Sophie, a high school graduate aged 19, wants a man's job which pays well and which earns her respect: One of my goals is I wanna do a man's job. I wanna work on the rigs, the rigs out here on the ocean... [maybe] be an engineer, like electrical engineer... I kind of don't wanna work in an office and sit there and answer the phone and do paperwork. That's what I'm practically doing. I'm doing that and I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I wanna do a man's job... Well, its good money, it's really good money. And, like you associate with people, you have fun, and it's something that I wanna do and that I would enjoy. Not just sit at a job that I don't wanna do and it's like so boring... My sister... She worked out on the rig. She was the first woman to work out on the rig and she was a rough neck so she was doing a man's job. And like just doing a man's job, just to have that much respect for you. Like all those guys having respect for you, all those women having respect for you. That's cool! I like that! 86
Sophie, dreaming of a man's job, shows that she has thought of her career goals and of what she needs to get there. Sophie's reasons for wanting a man's job reflect what Cфtй (2000) calls developmental individualism, where conscious people make decisions that are inspiring. For Sophie, and some other people in Tuktoyaktuk, office work is boring, and more practical jobs which include working with people would suit her better. Like Sophie noted, she wants the engineering job so she would receive respect. To me, it seems like the work identity she now has is not rewarded by admiration from other people and she is not getting the social rewards she is looking for in a job. Also, as Sophie frankly puts it, she wants a man's job. As was mentioned earlier, most office jobs in Tuktoyaktuk are filled by women. Thus, it becomes clear that the patriarchal job division which is a defining feature of modernity is still well established in Tuktoyaktuk and that Sophie wants to break away from that trend. Sophie is also clear on how other aspects of her life relate to her career. Sophie's mother, Rebecca, has discussed Sophie's career goals with her and they both agree that it is better to have education and a career before starting a family: Sometime I tease her: "You're gonna get pregnant and..." "No mom, no, no, no!" she says. "Before I have a baby I'm gonna career, a house!" You know? Everything she wants before she wants a family, and I'm very proud of her, the way she thinks. The general notion in Tuktoyaktuk is that it would be better to finish school and get a job before starting a family43. This is also emphasized to young men. When I asked Ruth of her wishes for her son's future or education, she replied that she wanted him to finish school and get a good job before starting a family: The only wish I have is for him to finish [school], to get a good job, and then start a family. As I talked to him I told him you have to really think in regards family. Because once you stop, if you get someone pregnant, your whole life stops. You've got to make sure your kids are provided for; you have to take 43 Though there are still some teen pregnancies in Tuktoyaktuk, pregnancies are not usually the reason why girls drop out of school. Between 1996 and 2005 there were an average of 3,7 teen births in Tuktoyaktuk (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). In the workshop youth were very vocal about pregnancy being a bad choice while going to school as it interferes with schooling. 87
responsibility for your actions. That's what I wanted. I wanted him to finish his school before he thinks anything like that. Participants emphasized the importance of a person finding work that is enjoyable. Most parents and grandparents interviewed did not take an active role in advising which career and educational path their children should take, but all of the parents had discussed the topics with their children. Mae, a mother and a grandmother, explains that her grandchildren have a mind of their own and do not necessarily listen to her advice. She also believes that in order to feel good about life, a person has to enjoy their life and make their own decisions. Fiona, Mae's daughter and a mother of five, agrees with her mother that a person can decide for themselves on what career path they want to take. There are exceptions to the rule though; Fiona ended up forbidding her daughter to pursue a career in the military (another man's job) because a military career could be too dangerous: I would leave it up to my kids. Like Adriana, she want to go to military, that's the only one I'm stepping into, because that's dangerous to me... I want her to take a year off to look into the Aurora College see what kind of programs they having and what interests her... I'm trying to let her find something else, but she's not an office person. Office people are boring people. She can't sit on the computer all day. She's an out on the land person. Like she's an outdoors person... I'm trying to convince her in archaeology or something like that cause it involves outdoors and something she likes doing. She's a girl, but she's not a girly girl. She grew up as a tomboy so something of that range. And I told she can't just go and do it [a college program] cause somebody else is doing it, one of her friends. She has to do it because she wants to do it [and] then look forward to passing it and getting your diploma or whatever ­ whichever field she wants. As becomes apparent from Fiona's quote, she does not hold office jobs in high regard. Interestingly though, some female Elders spoke respectfully of office jobs. Office jobs in Tuktoyaktuk are amongst the full-time permanent jobs that can secure a person a monthly wage, and as noted before, are often held by women. When Alice explained what a good job was, she said that it was steady work sitting in the office in front of a computer. As a part of globalization and the defragmentation of power in the north, the settlement of land claims has increased the amount of co-management boards and community 88
consultation related to environmental, political, social and cultural issues. Community members who are elected as board members to represent the interests of a certain community, travel to meetings regionally, nationally, and some even internationally. Though only selected few are chosen for these positions, "traveling jobs" have become a sought after position and bring a sense of pride for the family. To represent a community, for example, on an environmental board a person does not have to have a high level of formal education, but instead, expertise in a certain area, as Zoe explains: Education is something that we learn culturally; you don't forget it. Say you know how to travel by the stars, by the snowdrifts, it's something that it's part of education, but it's different because it's a different culture. So he [husband], even he's a grade six level he travels to places where there governor generals and, you know, the people that are authority. I always tell my husband that you're very lucky to do that. Education is not just only learning basically reading and writing, but also Traditional Knowledge. Zoe's husband is regarded as an expert in his field for he has Traditional Knowledge, thus he is elected to represent the community. Becoming a hunter and learning on the land continues to be well respected among all generations, people's views continue to reflect Rose's husband's dream for his children in the 1970s ­ having both worlds in one's hand. But even in the 2000s, this dream is not realized for all. Some of the youth who have become hunters quit school before learning to read. Eric left school in grade seven. He had been passed on to the following grade with his peers, though he had major difficulties keeping up and never learned how to read. Now he is the main hunter for his extended family and his parents and girlfriend are proud of him. Also Joyce's boyfriend, Chris, quit school before he learned how to read. This does not bother Joyce because she can read for him and Chris being a good hunter compensates for the fact that his formal education has been cut short. But for the youth who drop out of high school and do not become hunters, the amount of options are scarce. Joyce, who quit school in grade 10, was first babysitting for her relatives; but then ended up getting pregnant. She was bullied at school, and that is why she does not want to continue going to school in Tuktoyaktuk, but she would like to graduate one day. Her dream was to become a dancer or a model. Brady, who had difficulties concentrating at school and was abused by a 89
teacher, also quit in grade 10. He took a life skills course in 2008, but has been unemployed ever since. He would like to study mechanics or engineering, but for now he is looking for a job. In 2007, there were eight big game guide and outfitting businesses in Tuktoyaktuk. These businesses bring seasonal wage employment to business owners and the local people who they hire to assist with the hunts. For hunters, these businesses have been providing wage employment that is essential in upgrading their machinery and providing for their families. Since some caribou and polar bear population numbers are in decline, as well as the U.S. listing polar bears as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, the big game guide industry in Canada's Arctic regions is in decline. Some of the youth who had thought of becoming big game guides have had to change their plans. Garret, aged 19, has graduated from high school and plans to go to college to become a mechanic. He likes hunting and he would still like to be a game guide like his father: I'll just probably wanna help my dad. I wanna go back to school though and get into trades. Probably welding, small engine mechanics, after that work your way into a welding technician that's a pretty good job. That's good money... The thing is like, big game hunting, few more years you probably won't be able to hunt. That's how bad it's getting. That's what I wanted to do when I was going to school, I wanted to be a big game guide and then my dad was telling me that you probably can't do that forever ­ probably got to do something else. Like it's not a full-time job, it's seasonal, so you could probably work those two jobs [game guide and mechanics] at the same time. The game guide business can be seen as a continuum of the hunting tradition and Garret wants to follow his father's footsteps with his career. At the same time, as the future of the business is unreliable, Garret has had to look into other employment options. Since the Inuvialuit men have been working with engines (first with boats, then skidoos and cars) for several generation, a mechanic's occupation could be also seen as a "new tradition". Though none of the youth who took part in the workshop or interviews stated that their first career goal is to become a hunter, three male and two female students said that they would like to live on the land. 90
Some people, from all generations, talked about wanting to have a career and being able to climb up the economic ladder. Two of the mothers that took part in the study were planning to further their education once the children were older. Three mothers had done upgrading and college courses, because their junior high school education was not enough to provide them with a satisfying job. One of the grandfathers got a college degree when he was 40 and a grandmother when she was over 60 years old. Richard, 46 year old father of five, reflects on how he wants his children to have careers and more options than he had. One of those options is to be able to get a job in Tuktoyaktuk and live with the family. Richard believes that a university degree secures those options and helps in earning a better salary: He [his son] wants to become an engineer. Yeah, I think its Civil Engineer. So already I'm winning cause I didn't want him to become a welder... Just because I've been through that. That labour part it's good when you're young, but when you get older unless you're gonna be away from your family all the time... You've got journeymen papers and you want to go somewhere then you've got to work out of town or, but if you get university then you've got all the way options open... And as you get older yet you start thinking, gee, I could of went further and got something in university... I see that there's a difference in jobs and it's about pay too. As was noticeable from previous stories, education and employment goals do not exist in a vacuum, both youth and parents emphasize the contexts. Sophie, Ruth and youth in the workshop agreed that it is better to have a family after graduating from school. Richard emphasizes the importance of getting an education that will lead to a job in the community. All three, and others also mentioned high pay. When talking about education, some of the youth used the phrase: I want to graduate so I can become whatever I want. Sophie, who thinks she might want to be an engineer, explains that for her graduating and "becoming whatever I want" is about learning required skills; opportunity to leave Tuktoyaktuk; and assurance of being supported financially to further ones studies. Also, for Sophie education is the vehicle for more options: 91
When you graduate you know everything and also you could be anything you want. You can leave your community, like a small community especially if you're Inuvialuit. They'll pay for your way, they'll pay for your tuition, like they'll give you money for food and rent. Like that's another reason why it's good to graduate. You can do whatever you want. You could get out of your town and learn some more... I've got a job, but I still I wanna see more than Tuk. Like I wanna see, I wanna meet people, I wanna learn more. I just wanna go beyond this little community... I'm thinking of going to college, but I still don't know what I want to be. Cause I could be anything. Sophie has a very positive way of looking at life and the options she has. For her, graduating from high school has opened a lot of doors and she is not sure which path she should take. She, and some other student participants, connects her options to her ethnicity ­ being Inuvialuit, she does not have to pay for post-secondary education. One of the opportunities that post-secondary education brings is to get out of Tuktoyaktuk. From the youth workshop, only two out of 15 students aged 14 to19 wanted to continue living in Tuktoyaktuk, ten wanted to move out and three were not sure. Though these youth expressed a wish to move out of Tuktoyaktuk, some of the youth might wish to move back to their home community after studying and working outside of their community. In North America, the brain drain in rural areas was especially noticeable in the 1980s, but it continues still in the 2000s (Butler Flora et al., 2003) and is a recognized problem in Aboriginal communities (Henson et al., 2005). This trend is also evident in the ISR, where the people tend to move to Inuvik where there is a better chance of upgrading at Aurora College, as well as the opportunity to be employed in, among other sectors, the oil and gas industry. Inuvialuit with higher education levels and job qualifications tend to leave to work and live outside of the ISR (Vodden, 2001:59). Statistics from a recent study show that job and education opportunities outside of the home communities were the most significant factors that influenced the Inuvialuit to consider leaving their home communities (Cliff, 2008). Some families in Tuktoyaktuk and other Inuvialuit communities move to Inuvik while their children attend school, because they find the quality of education to be higher and the children have more subjects to choose from. Family was the most significant reason not to leave ones home community. Other reasons that influenced peoples preference to stay in their home 92
communities were: jobs; connection to their hometown; good hunting, fishing or trapping conditions; and friends (Cliff, 2008). The parents and grandparents interviewed seem to have accepted that in order for their children and grandchildren to receive post-secondary education they have to move to Inuvik, Yellowknife, Whitehorse or the university cities in southern Canada. Interestingly, most parents and grandparents did not have a preference whether the youth should come back to Tuktoyaktuk once their studies were done. The essence of "becoming whatever I want" is for the individual to find their own path in life. The rest of the family and community are expected to respect the individual's decision and support it. Encouraging people to find their own paths in life can be traced to the high autonomy that Inuvialuit children, youth and individuals have. As Mae explains, the individual person has to make their own decisions as to where they want to live: For me it always depends on the individual, where you go you make a home there. That's your home. I've been moving here and there and home is where you make it. If you can succeed in the job or whatever you try to do that's good. Even though you'd like to keep your family close together you can't do that. I can't do that. You know? They have to grow within themselves... Parent always think you move so far away from home what if you get run over or you know. And all these things happening you hear on the news, but we can't stop anything that's gonna happen. You choose some right and wrong, and the best things how to live a good life, and you hope for the best, and you send them out, and pray for them. Most of the female participants were troubled by the excessive drug and alcohol use in Tuktoyaktuk. Some mothers thought that their children might be better off in a community where there was less substance abuse. Fiona goes as far as making it her main goal to get her children out of Tuktoyaktuk: The way it was long ago we had to learn both on the land and then in school. But my main goal right now is getting my kids educated [in school] and out of here... Just like town's full [of] alcohol, drugs and gambling. So, I push my kids. Only time they can be nineteen years old and still stay under my roof as long as they're in school. After they've done school they can go off do whatever but they have to complete their schooling, their grade 12 and get out of this community, find out 93
something that they want to be, but my main aim is to get them out of this community. Fiona's position on wanting her children to leave Tuktoyaktuk brings out an aspect of modernity that has become more common: living as a nuclear family with children that are not yet engaged in wage employment and sending children "to the big world" as soon as they have their high school diploma. Living with three or more generations has decreased, as has young couples living with their parents44. Some of the Elders do not like that "children are kicked out of their homes before they get married" and see it as the "white man's way". Also Fiona's daughter, Adriana, had a hard time accepting it and she extended her graduation from high school just so she could stay another year in Tuktoyaktuk living with her family. As Fiona explains: "Once you're done school, you're of age, you're out of here, you're on your own. You get a job, you support yourself." And she was kind of scared to move... She could have graduated last year, but no. She deliberately missed her departmental, so she didn't graduate last year, she only graduated this year so she had another year at home... She needed five credits and she did it. She had no problem. She graduated in August, and: "Ok Adriana, you're on your own." Graduating from high school is a cornerstone in the youth's lives and some of the students are not ready for the expectations that are woven with the graduation certificate. Though the three generations agree on the importance of formal education and hope that more youth would graduate from high school, some parents' expectations for their children did not resonate with the students themselves. At the same time, some youth expressed high career goals, even though their parents explained that those goals might be unrealistic. 44 In 1981 households with more than six people amounted to 43 percent compared to 13 percent in 2006 (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007a). 94
Discussion For the students of Tuktoyaktuk the educational and occupational identities have, and continue to be, grounded to the local realities and economies that are founded on the natural resources of the land. Modernity and globalization started to influence Inuvialuit lives as monetary employment, first whaling and later trapping, became defining parts of Inuvialuit lives. Formal education and English helped with the fur trade, shopping for goods and keeping in contact with people in other communities. Thus, some Inuvialuit were eager to have their children formally schooled for a couple of years, though the main purpose in life was to live the Inuvialuk way ­ where the semi-nomadic lifestyle provided the learning environment and parents and relatives supervised children's learning. With caution, this can be perceived as striving towards what Stairs and Wenzel (1992) call "Inuit world-image identity" or Inuit identity that is maturing toward inummarik ­ a most genuine person (Stairs, 1992). But as Elders in Tuktoyaktuk talked about the Inuvialuk way, the right way or good life ­ not inummarik ­ I prefer not to use the inummarik metaphor. The Inuvialuit expressed a desire for higher quality formal education, and after WWII, the government made an effort to provide the Inuvialuit with the same services as for other Canadians, including education. Yet, formal education was not always the motivating factor for Inuvialuit parents sending their children to school. In the beginning of 1950s, the forceful ways in which the government and church worked together to raise school attendance, as well as diseases in the family, influenced some parents' decision. Also, the lack of transportation to get back home from residential schools resulted in some children staying at residential schools longer than what the families might have wanted. Among men, the generational gap between parents with a few years of education and children completing higher grades was noticeable already in the 1960s. Still, the Inuvialuit educational and work identities were tied to local conditions and opportunities and young men were mostly working as journeymen. 95
In the 1970s, most families approached formal education as expecting their children to attend school. If parents felt that school was strenuous or abusive towards their children, they might have advised the children not to attend school or let the child decide for themselves. As Condon (1987) has noted, the cultural norm of children's and youth's high level of autonomy and parent's non-interference could have contributed to the parents not taking a firm stance on children staying in school. Modernity and globalization continued to bringing more options for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk in the way of industrial boom and bust cycles, and educational opportunities. During a boom, there were plenty of employment possibilities, but after the boom, especially, the people with lower levels of education had a hard time finding a job. Thus, the dream of "best of both worlds" where one could hunt and hold on to a job was left just as that ­ a dream. In the 1980s, globalization was most evident in Tuktoyaktuk as an increase of Inuvialuit autonomy and power through the land claim, which also influenced the education system to include more community input. Tuktoyaktuk getting a high school helped families that did not want to send their children to high school outside of the community, though high school graduation rates have not increased considerably. The influence of modernity can be seen as the number of women in the workforce increased and in some families women became the main breadwinners. Though the educational policy changes throughout the 1990s and 2000s has emphasized culture-based education and local input, the Mangilaluk School system is still based on the curriculum and pedagogy from Alberta. As many teachers are from southern Canada and turnover of staff is a conceded problem, modernity continues to shape the education system by tying the Inuvialuit to the mainstream Euro-Canadian culture. Yet, Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk have differing opinions on whether the school system is the best provider of cultural teachings and values. The participants explained that the Inuvialuk way is mostly taught in the family setting through values and norms, and spending time on the land. The formal education is to prepare people for wage employment. Formal education is seen as providing economic self-sufficiency, opportunity, and choices. This finding is different to what Dorais (1997, 2001) observed in Quaqtaq. For people in Quaqtaq, meaning of education included the transmitting of traditional Inuit customs and values. 96
As noted in the results, the people who preferred there to be less emphasis on the Inuvialuit culture were unsatisfied by the way it was taught. Also, some participants were under the impression that one global system for education would be better than an Inuvialuit system. The Inuvialuit employment identities have diversified considerably, especially for women. Within a short 50 year period, women in Tuktoyaktuk have not only entered wage employment, but the employment opportunities have expanded from the fur garment industry to cooks, cleaners, teachers, office administrators, health workers, and business owners. The youth's dreams for their future occupation are diverse, tying into the history of Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvialuit Settlement Region and to global dreams that are common to youth around the world. The globally marketed slogan of education being the key to a good future is well recognized also in Tuktoyaktuk. Some youth are very positive about their chances of "becoming whatever they want", since they have a high school diploma. Bauman (2001) views the need "to become what one is" as a characteristic of modern life. He states that individualization and modernity are "the same social condition". In his line, I would argue that "becoming whatever I want" is an individualistic endeavour, but one that is a part of modern life and represents an especially hopeful understanding of one's situation and future. Individualization, according to Bauman, transforms human identity from a `given' into a `task'. But as some of the youth's stories reflect, not everybody is in the fortunate position to take their identities to task. As Jenkins (2008) has noted, the daily routine of life, slowly changing institutions and the uneven allocation of resources restrict individuals and groups from forming new identities. Though educational and occupational options have increased also in Tuktoyaktuk, people continue to be bound by the context they live in. The sad reality is that the school system continues to fail more students than it passes, a statistic that is not uncommon in many northern Canadian communities. Some students and their families reported a continuation of mental and physical abuse (either from the teachers or peers) at the Mangilaluk School. This had made some students quit school. The negative educational experiences that the grandparents and parents experienced are, unfortunately, reflected in some of the experiences of the current students at Mangilaluk School. 97
Conclusion The meaning of education for the Inuvialuit has been and continues to be: acquiring the means to support a family. For the Inuvialuit, the formal education system initially emerged as a tool to support the Inuvialuit in taking advantage of opportunities, especially employment, brought on by modernity and globalization. By the present period, formal education has evolved into a function of pseudo-modernity. Although it would appear as though youth today could become "whatever they want", the expectations of "becoming" created through the education system, community members, media and other voices of globalization are rarely met. The tasking of educational or occupational identities (Bauman, 2001) is cut short by local realities and everyday life in Tuktoyaktuk. As most youth do not graduate from high school, dropping out of high school is considered common, though unfortunate. Thus, it seems that for many dropping out is only one stage in life, not an identity crisis. Some youth are taught by their relatives to live the Inuvialuk way and continue to provide for their families as their ancestors did before them. Women, especially, upgrade at the Aurora College community learning center in Tuktoyaktuk and continue to take a course from Aurora College in Inuvik or Yellowknife. Those that return to Tuktoyaktuk are often hired by the local hamlet or government offices. Men continue to be hired by transportation and oil and gas industries. Mills (2007:71-72) might argue that these occupations have become "new traditions" in Tuktoyaktuk, as they have become more common than or just as common as older traditional occupations (hunting, trapping, housekeeping). Though many of the high school students want to move away from Tuktoyaktuk and realize their global dreams, educational and occupational paths and identities continue to be bound to life, family and economic opportunities available in Tuktoyaktuk. 98
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Chapter Three: Paper # 2 "Factors Influencing Student Engagement in an Inuvialuit Community" 108
Abstract In Inuvialuit communities high school dropout rates worry families, communities and policy makers. Dropping out of school can be seen as a process of disengagement from school that transpires over many years. This paper discusses the home, school, community, and policy factors that influence school engagement as well as the interactions that enforce or erode student engagement. The study was conducted in the Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk. Similar to previous studies, this research found that the following factors increase student engagement: connection to teacher; trusted friends; parental monitoring and participation; educational expectations and aspirations; communication; social networks; and healthy lifestyles. In addition, interaction between the families, school and community will be discussed. 109
Introduction It is commonly accepted that formal education increases health, employment, and income opportunities (Ross and Wu, 1995; Ross and Mirowsky, 1999; Adler and Newman, 2002; Health Council of Canada, 2005). The level of education, especially among the Inuit in the north, falls below that of non-Inuit in Canada (Richards, 2008; ITK and SRAD, 2006). This is also the case between the Inuvialuit ­ Inuit of the Western Arctic Canada ­ and non-Aboriginal Canadians. There are a number of cultural, structural and resistance theories that can explain this gap. Cultural discontinuity theory suggests that minorities do not do as well in a school system that has been molded towards the majority culture (Ogbu, 1982; Wilson, 1992; Deyhle, 1992; Hornett, 1990; Williamson, 1987). Some structural theories explain the gap by highlighting the socio-political and economic factors that inform students' educational paths. Internal colonialism is one of most commonly used structural theory to explain the educational gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students (Kelly and Altbach, 1978; Perley, 1993; Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). It is founded on a notion that a dominant group rules over a marginalized group (nation) within a nation state. The dominant group holds the power, for example, by planning and controlling the education system (Kelly and Altbach, 1978). Nowadays internal colonialism is mostly discussed in the terms of appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy used by the Euro-Canadian teachers. Resistance theories that emerge from the psycho social literature explain the gap by Aboriginal peoples' ongoing resistance to mainstream domination, which includes the school setting (Ryan, 1998; Wagner, 2002; Heimbecker, 1994). This paper explores family, community and school influences over student engagement in an Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk. Using an ecological approach, the paper creates hypotheses of factors that enforce and erode student engagement at the Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk. Further, the paper explores the interactions of those factors, to further learn of the complexities of student engagement. 110
Theoretical Foundation An ecological approach provides the theoretical foundation for hypnotising about school engagement among Inuvialuit youth. The ecological approach is used as a framework for exploring the various sources of support (e.g., parents, teachers, and peers) in the lives of the Inuvialuit youth. Bronfenbrenner (1976; 1986a) positions a young person within a set of five environmental systems that influence their development (see figure 3-1). Microsystem involves the structures and processes taking place in an immediate setting containing the person (family, peer group, and school). Mesosystem contains the linkages and processes taking place between two or more settings containing the person (relationships between microsystems). For Bronfenbrenner (1986a; 1986b) the interaction between home and school is essential for student engagement. He argues that students whose parents are positively involved in their schooling, are more engaged than the students whose parents are less involved. Exosystems are external settings that influence the person (i.e. activities of a local school board or community influences on family). Macrosystem refers to predominant institutions of economic, socio-political, and educational systems of culture or subculture. It takes into account the beliefs and ideologies of the society (e.g. policies, school curriculum, customs, lifestyles). Chronosystem comprises of sociohistorical conditions or patterns of events and transitions over a life course (e.g. starting school, puberty) or unexpected events (e.g. death of a parent or birth of a sibling). 111
Figure 3-1 Ecological approach is made up of five environmental systems (microsystem; mesosystem; exosystem; macrosystem; and chronosystem) that influence student engagement. Bronfenbrenner (1976) explains that real life situations are usually influenced by a combination and interaction between the systems. For example, a high school student who is pregnant (i.e., a chronosystem) is affected by societal views of teen pregnancy (i.e., a macrosystem) as well as more immediate factors like how family and school (i.e., a microsystem) adopt to a student being pregnant and having a child. Further, if the student goes back to school after a maternity leave her school engagement might be affected by the student's parents' ability to make new arrangements at their work places (i.e., a exosystem) to help the student with taking care of the baby. Student Engagement Fredricks et al. (2004) reviewed definitions, measures, precursors, and outcomes of engagement literature related to educational context, and found the literature to define engagement in three ways. First, behavioural engagement emphasizes participation (i.e. a student taking part in academic and social activities, and thus achieving positive academic outcomes and preventing from dropping out). Second, emotional engagement 112
includes positive and negative relationships to teachers, peers, and school, which influences the motivation of the student. Third, cognitive engagement highlights investment (i.e. the student is willing to make the necessary effort to understand complex ideas and learn difficult skills). The literature review concluded that engagement is associated with positive academic outcomes, including achievement and persistence in school; and it is higher in classrooms with supportive teachers and peers, challenging and authentic tasks, opportunities for choice, and sufficient structure. This paper focuses on the emotional engagement, i.e. the relationships that motivates students to continue with their schooling. As it is likely that emotional engagement influences behavioural and cognitive engagement (Fredricks et al., 2004), the connections between the three different ways of engagement are discussed. Social support, provided by parents, friends, and teachers, has been found to be positively associated with school engagement (Bowker, 1992; Willeto, 1999; Jackson et al., 2003; Brewster and Bowen, 2004; Garcia-Reid et al., 2005; Garcia-Reid, 2007). The way students feel about their course work and school is connected to the quality of relationship they have with a specific teacher (Osterman, 2000). Caring teachers influence Aboriginal student's decision of staying in school (Bowker, 1992; Deyhle and Swisher, 1997; Coladarci, 1983). School boards are in key position to promote positive teaching practises (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). The relationships that students have with their teachers may influence parent-teacher relationships and vice versa. Studies on parent-teacher communication in different cultural settings, have found that teachers dominate parent-teacher interviews by choosing the topics of discussion, parents might be fearful of bringing issues up with the teacher, and that one negative incident can make the parent decide not to communicate with the teacher anymore (Walker and MacLure, 1999; Bernhard, 1999; Phtiaka, 1999). Though individual teachers can help students and parents with school engagement, changes are needed to support non-Inuit teachers in caring for their students. Since power relations and values can not be excluded from the school, Inuit controlling Inuit education is at the core of this change (Berger, 2007). 113
Studies on students at risk and different ethnic groups have shown that good parental monitoring behaviour and family cohesion benefits student's school engagement (Annunziata et. al., 2006; Bowker, 1992; Steinberg et al., 1992). Parenting style influences the degree to which a child is open to parents' influences, and thus it moderates the impact of parent-school involvement. Students from homes that are more organized and structured, are more likely to attend school regularly, pay attention in class, get higher grades, and avoid problem behaviours (Steinberg et al., 1992; Connell et al., 1995; Taylor and Lopez, 2005). Youth with less adult supervision are more vulnerable to peer pressure and are more likely to engage in antisocial activity (e.g., theft, vandalism) (Steinberg , 1986). Fletcher et al. (1995) studied adolescents at different points in their transition to substance use (nonusers, experimenters, and regular users), and how their substance abuse was influenced by parental monitoring and peer substance use. Fletcher et al. (1995) argued that high-monitoring by parents moved youth toward nonuser friends and low-monitoring by parents moved youth toward substance-using friends. Condon (1987) describes that in the Inuvialuit community of Ulukhaktok the youth do not live by regular and predictable schedule of activities and autonomy of the children and youth is extensive. Billson and Mancini (2007) who worked with the people of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, came to the same conclusions. Consequently, it would seem that Inuit children at large do not benefit form high parental monitoring. Some scholars have assessed there to be discontinuity between the Aboriginal students' home and school environments. Aboriginal parents may have little experience with formal education, let alone the way formal education is delivered to their children (Condon, 1987; Taylor, 2007; Schlag and Fast, 2005). Schlag and Fast (2005) found that Inuvialuit youth get little support or encouragement from the parents to stay in school. This might be due to parents own negative experiences with school, parents feeling inadequate to help their children with school, or parents not seining positive impacts of schooling in their children's lives (Schlag and Fast, 2005; Condon, 1987; Taylor, 2007). Taylor (2007) connects parent-school relationship and student-school relationship to community norms. He has found that the most pressing challenge for healthy parent- 114
school partnerships in Inuit communities is parents lacking the normative support and clearly defined models for supporting their children. In what Taylor calls "the 80-20 rule", 80 percent of the community members perform well and the rest do not perform according to acceptable standards. Thus, the 80 percent make an effort to bring the rest 20 percent up to the standards. The challenge of engaging students with school can become overwhelming when the community, instead of functioning to the 80-20 rule, functions to a 20-80 rule. Kreuger and Kreuger (2003) argue that even by acknowledging the importance of parental involvement and students' school success, Aboriginal families have been marginalized in two ways. First argument is that the parents are not participating in the student's schooling, and thus students are not succeeding in their educational efforts. Second, parental participation is arbitrarily planned instead of defined by the community. Agbo (2007:1) calls for an onus from the school to "empower the community through genuine discussions that foster collaboration and respect for multiple perspectives" for this to happen there would have to be significant value shifts especially from the teachers. Kleinfeld et al. (1985) pledge for the blaming to stop, and assert, that well working high schools have a functioning and supportive partnership with the community. The scholars give advice on how to build this partnership, for example, by involving the community in school programs and programs are adapted to meet students and community's needs. Safe and secure school environment can enhance school engagement. A UN Study on Violence against Children (Covell, 2005) found that in North America the most common type of violence in school is peer bullying. Social and verbal bullying is more common for girls, while physical aggressiveness is common for boys. Stable peer networks and social networks can work as protective factors against bullying in school (Pellegrini and Bartini, 2000). Teachers can prevent bullying by intervention. Bullying intervention where families and school work together may provide most effective (Ahmed and Braithwaite, 2004), and schools and teachers can make an ongoing effort to publicize compassionate and considerate behaviour towards differences (Schissel and Wotherspoon, 2003). 115
Alcohol and drug use can erode school engagement. Adolescent drug abuse is connected to personal, family, peer and community factors. Some of these factors include: availability of drugs; community disorganization; alcoholism in the family and parental use of illegal drugs; poor family management practices; peer pressure; lack of commitment and failure at school; bullying; and favourable attitudes to drug use (Hawkins et al., 1992). Strong family bonds and school engagement decrease drug use and association with drug-using peers (Elliot et al., 1985; Jessor and Jessor, 1978; Smith and Fogg, 1978). Studies have found the association between alcohol and drug use among First Nations youth to be less related to peer substance abuse, than with EuroAmerican youth (Randall et al., 1993; Oetting et al., 1989). According to Randall et al. (1993), First Nations youth might engage in drug and alcohol use more with family members (e.g. siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles), compared to Euro-American youth, as they associate more with the extended family more. In a northern Aboriginal setting, the engagement of students was found to be linked among other things resiliency of the student (Davidson, 2007). Resiliency can be defined as the ability of and an individual or a family to overcome life's challenges and to grow stronger as a result of dealing with obstacles in life (Walsh, 2006). According to Walsh (1996, 2006) people cope with crisis and hardship by making meaning of their experiences: linking them to our social worlds, to our cultural and spiritual beliefs, to our multigenerational pasts, and to our hopes and dreams for the future. Studies have explained low educational attainment of Aboriginal people with factors such as curriculum and Learning Environments that have not been culturally appropriate (RoyNicklen, 1986; Heimbecker, 1994; ITK and SRAD, 2006). Schlag and Fast (2005) found that in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region there is a need to higher educational standards and to take youth on the land for extended periods. This paper also explores how students and parents perceive the curriculum and quality of education at the Mangilaluk School. 116
Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk and School Tuktoyaktuk is one of the coastal communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region with a population of 956, most Inuvialuit (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007). Prior to 1934, only a few families lived permanently in the Tuktoyaktuk area. Tuktoyaktuk became the new harbour for the Hudson's Bay Company as the whaling fleet left Herschel Island (Makale et al., 1967). The harbour is the only deepwater port in the region making it a focus of oil and gas exploration since the 1970s (Ayles and Snow, 2002). Tuktoyaktuk employment rate is 39 percent, about thirty percent lower than in the NWT (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007). Employment options include: office administration positions especially for federal and local governments; work in healthcare, social services, and education; jobs in transportation and oil and gas industries. Though, increased hydrocarbon developments boosted employment rates periodically, low employment rates continue to be a problem. Unemployment is a problem, especially with the people with lower levels of education. People who do not have a regular full-time job, often work seasonally. Community life in Tuktoyaktuk is influenced by the seasonal changes and migration of animals caught for food and hide. From the residents of Tuktoyaktuk, most hunt and fish and half of the households mostly consume country food as a source for meat (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2007). Learning how to live on the land is still a part of life for many families, though for some families it has become more recreational than a necessity. The first school in the region was opened by Anglican Church at Herschel Island in the 1890s. The day school operated only for three years. By 1926, a Catholic residential school and an Anglican residential school were operating in the area (Macpherson, 1991; Alunik et al., 2003). About 30 percent of Inuvialuit adults have attended a residential school (Statistics Canada, 2006). A Federal Day School opened in Tuktoyaktuk in1947, and it was later named the Mangilaluk School. Since the 1980s the Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority has overseen the delivery of education at the local level. It is made up of elected community members, who meet periodically with the principal. The 117
Beaufort-Delta Education Council of the Northwest Territories Department of Education administrates the school. The Mangilaluk Schools is governed under the Northwest Territories Education Act and it follows the Alberta curriculum. Adjustments have been made to curriculum to make it more relevant to northern students. The schools in the NWT are expected to use Dene Kede (curriculum from the Dene perspective) and Inuuqatigiit (curriculum from the Inuit perspective) as guides in integrating Aboriginal pedagogy and teachings to the Alberta curriculum. Yet, high school graduation is solely founded on knowledge and pedagogy of the Alberta curriculum, as grade 12 students are required to pass Alberta Departmental Exams in order to graduate from high school. Schools in the Northwest Territories implement the Inclusive Schooling Directive (Education, Culture and Employment, 2006). The directive is set out to insure equal access for all students to educational programs. Further, students are placed into grades according to age, rather than educational abilities. The number of Inuvialuit teachers has grown from the 1970s; one third of Inuvialuit 15 and over had an Aboriginal teacher or teachers' aid while at elementary or high school (Statistics Canada, 2006). Methods To explore how family, community, school, and policy factors might influence school engagement, three methods were used: community participation field notes from three months field work, transcripts from a youth focus group, as well as interviews with key informants and diverse multigenerational families. The data gathering took place in the community of Tuktoyaktuk during a three month period in 2007 and 2008. The data used in this paper weighs heavily on the interviews with diverse families. I had visited Tuktoyaktuk several times since 2003. My previous visits had not taken more than two weeks and so the aim of community participation was to get a better sense of what everyday community life is like in Tuktoyaktuk. Further, by participating I hoped that community memebers would learn to know me a little bit and would feel more comfortable in taking part in the research (Wolcott, 1995). Participating involved taking 118
part in community life in general, some of the high school classes and spending time at the Mangilaluk School. The youth focus group was organized for the high school students. All high school students were invited; 15 participated. The aim of the focus group was learn more about how high school students perceived living in Tuktoyaktuk, going to high school, and the kinds of future plans the students had. Focus group was hoped to provide a medium where the participants engage in a discussion by questioning each other and explaining themselves (Morgan, 1996) without as much involvement from the researcher as in a oneon-one interview situation. This way information may arise that might not come up in an interview situation. The interviews with key informants included two policy representatives, three high school teachers and two school staff. These participants gave me insight to the policy issues impacting the Mangilaluk School and what school life and teaching was like for the high school teachers. The interviews with three generations in six diverse families were done to learn more about the student family relationships. The families were chosen so that the youth participants from the families would include youth who: i) had graduated from high school; ii) were attending high school; and iii) had dropped out from high school. The families were purposely chosen so that they had a young adult between the ages 16 to 19. Youth between the ages 16 to 19 are either in high school, dropped out from high school, finished high school recently or have never gone to high school. Hence, their experiences of going to high school or not going to high school are fresh in their minds and the minds of their parents and grandparents. The Tuktoyaktuk youth centre staff and the youth at the youth centre helped me to make a list of multigenerational families. From the 27 multigenerational families eight families were approached by the research assistant or me. Two individuals from two families did not want to take part in the study, so these families did not end up taking part in the study. 119
The initial interviews were done in 2007. In 2008, the verification and follow-up interviews took place. From six families eight youth, four male and four female, took part in the study. Two youth were 19 years; three 18 years; two 17 years; and one 16 years old. From two families two siblings participated. Seven parents participated, five mothers and two fathers. Also seven grandparents participated, five grandmothers and two grandfathers (see table 3-1).
Table 3-2 Presents the interview participants': name; age; level of education; and occupation. Age of the participants is shown in intervals of five years. Education is demonstrated in grade school year completed, with upgrading and college. Most of participants names are aliases, but two participants preferred not to be referred to by alias names.
Name Age Education Occupation
Grandparents Persis 90
3
Looking after the family
Rose 80
4 & Aurora College
Several jobs as a cook, cleaner and a social worker
Gary 65
8
Hunter, trapper, and a journeyman
Mae 65
8
Several jobs as a cleaner
Alice 65
8
Looking after the family
Gloria 60
Several jobs as a cook and a cleaner; and
6
crafts
Paul 55
9 & Aurora College
Oil and gas worker and an office job in town
8 & Aurora
Zoe 55
College
Social worker
Parents
Andrew 50
9
Business owner and politics
Rebecca 50
7
Cook and a cleaner for the oil and gas industry
Richard 50 10 & upgrading Working for the Inuvialuit and politics
Salena 45
8
Looking after the family and crafts
Fiona 40
8
Looking after the family
Ruth 40 9 & upgrading Office clerk
9 & upgrading &
Dorothy 40 Aurora College Office clerk
Youth
Sophie 20
12
Office clerk
John 20
12
Working for a transportation company in town
Jodie 20
9
Unemployed
Garret 20
Working for a transportation company in town
12
and politics
Joyce 20
8
Stay at home mom
Maureen 15
9
On and off student
Brady 15
9
Unemployed
Joseph 15
10
Student
120
In September and October 2007, at the time of the first interviews, four participants were attending high school, three had graduated from high school, and one had dropped out from high school and had a part-time job. The participants who were attending high school were not working while going to high school. One of the three graduates had a full-time job, other one a seasonal job and the third was doing upgrading for university. In April and May 2008, at the time of the verifying interviews, all of the four participants who were attending high school in 2007 had dropped out. The high school graduate that had a full-time job in 2007 had a different full-time job in 2008 (which she still has in 2009). The high school graduate that was doing upgrading in 2007 had got a seasonal job in 2008 (which had turned into a full-time job in 2009). Of the four youth who had dropped out of school in 2007, two were unemployed in 2008 and 2009; one had become a mother in 2009; and one was determined to continue with high school in 2009. The interview questions with youth, parents and grandparents focused on three broad topics: good life, family, and education and learning. Participants were asked, for example: Who belongs to your family? Can you tell about your family? What is a good parent and grandparent? What is a good life? Have parents and grandparents helped you to live a good life? The participants were encouraged to tell about their school experiences in a story form. Especially with the older participants the interviews ended up taking a life story form. The grandparents and the parents reflected on how education and family life in contemporary Inuvialuit society compared to when they were growing up. Some of the youth who were not as comfortable telling stories a more structured form. I would ask, for example: What do you like about school? Are there any good teachers at the school? What makes those teachers good? Do you have bad experiences of going to school? The questions related to school focused on: attendance; homework; grades and achievement; future goals; and support for education. 121
Findings
Family
The Student and Microsystems
Families influence student engagement by encouraging and helping with school, but also by being supportive and loving in other aspects of life, not just school. When participants discussed good parenting four themes emerged: communication, love, presence, and emphasising the importance of school. Participants would talk about the importance of communicating, listening, and talking. Paul, a father and a grandfather, explained that by communicating a person can develop a deeper love towards their family members. He nurtures his adult children by kissing them on the lips every time he sees them. Paul had felt that his parents were not nurturing and communicating enough, but God taught him the importance of communication, and his duty as a parent is to pass on that teaching to his children and grandchildren. Also, for nonreligious participants communication and asking questions was important, as Fiona, a mother of five, explains:
They can ask any kinds of questions, even how bad it is. If I could answer it, I will. Don't be shy, or don't be scared to ask questions. Make a good parent you have to know how to communicate with the kid. Have your kids trust and confidence in you. Like let them feel safe. With us, it's always open discussion, always. Anything you want to ask, ask it, and I won't get up and yelling and hollering at them. Spending time together on the land or in town was also valued. Addictions and a busy way of life were considered to take time away from the family. Some of the employers in town expect their employees to commit to 12 hour work days. One father had decided to leave his job, in order to get more involved in the local politics and to have more time with his family.
All youth participants reported that their families helped them with school and encouraged them to graduate from high school. The amount of support and the way it
122
was demonstrated varied. Some parents who were concerned about the quality of education, would move to bigger communities in the NWT to provide their children with better education; others would send their children to bigger centres. These kinds of arrangements required economical means and social networks. Many youth said that their parents would "wake them up for school" and remind them how important school is. Sophie, who graduated from high school, said she had many people in her life who helped her with her schooling, one of them being her mother: I know my mom's love and her kindness... If homework was hard for me I'd stay after school and I'd let my teachers help me. If not, then like if a friend knew the homework and I didn't, then I'd ask my friend. But most of all, I kind of ask my mom, and she would help me. But if my mom didn't know what to do, and I needed more help, then I'd ask my teacher. Some youth found it hard to take advice from their parents, but found it easier to communicate with their grandparents. Three male youth were very close with their grandparents, and would often turn to their grandmothers for help. The grandmothers would not necessarily help the youth with school, instead listened to their troubles and gave advice. Gabriel acknowledged that his parents have tried to help him with school. He was not willing to take their advice, though, instead he finds it easier to follow his grandmother's advice: Raila: Why didn't you listen to your parents? Gabriel: I'm so stubborn. Wanted to be a teenager and have fun. It's probably it. Didn't realize what they were saying was trying to help me. Only till after. Raila: What about your grandma, do you always listen to her? Gabriel: Yup. Follow her advice. I have to respect. I grew up with her and she's my line to follow that woman. Anything she tells me, I'll sit there and listen, and follow her rules, listen to her advice. She knows and lot about life. She reads that Bible a lot, she prays a lot, she's really a religious woman. I don't know, I just really respect my grandma and what she has to say... Tells me stories. What she used to do. She partied. She used to always tell me, "You know, I drank a couple of times, I didn't enjoy it ­ all it does is cause problems. I don't want to see you drinking, smoking drugs or anything like that." Just give you past experiences, and like tell you what went wrong, and it short of makes you think, like if my 123
grandma's telling me that, then it's not worth doing, if it's going to make her sad to see you like that. Gabriel ended up finishing high school without repeating any courses, but for Maureen, who has learning difficulties, high school has been a struggle. Maureen has a hard time communicating with her mother and father, she does not follow their advice, and has a hard time accepting help with homework from her mother. She was closer to her grandmother who has now passed away. Maureen liked spending time with the grandmother and it was easier for Maureen to talk to her and obey her. The grandmother would also help Maureen with her homework. In 2007, Maureen's cousin had become her biggest supporter in her personal life and at school. Maureen's cousin moved to another community at the end of 2007. In spring 2008, Maureen quit high school, but she is planning to go back. Many youth talked about the importance of sibling and cousin support in their lives. Siblings and cousins that are similar in age or older would help the youth with personal problems and homework. Also, aunts and uncles helped some students with their homework. All parents reported that they wanted their children to do well in school. When the youth received report cards the parents were interested in their grades, and if the youth had not done as well as expected, some of the parents would have a discussion with the student. Some parent would use punishments, like taking away the student's ipod or preventing them from going to afterschool sports, but most parents did not agree punishing their children for poor achievement. Some parents rewarded their children for good achievement either in words, gifts or money. From the youth focus group it became clear that students who are enrolled at the Mangilaluk high school want to graduate from high school. From the youth who took part in the focus group, all 15 reported that they wanted to graduate from high school and 11 wanted to continue to college or university. From the individual interviews, the three youth who had graduated from high school reported that they were planning to continue to go to college or university, and their parents were encouraging them to continue to post-secondary education. The students who took part in the individual interviews and 124
had not graduated high school, also reported that they were planning to graduate, and all but one had plans to continue to post-secondary education. The student who was not sure about his plans was the youngest of the male participants. Two of the students who had graduated from high school had high expectations of their own high school achievement and also their parents were expecting them to do well. Both of the students and their parents gave high value to homework, studying and receiving high marks in report cards. As Sophie explains: Report cards, I like them, even though I didn't wanna show my parents. I like them, because even me, I wanna know how my marks are doing. I wanna know how my grades are doing. I wanna know if I need more improving... So like you get a report card and your math is like 45 percent and your parents see it. And then they'll push you, and push you, and push you. You know,? To get your mark higher. And like a mark is 45 percent and then I see it, and I'm like: "Oh no!" You know? I don't want to graduate like this. I don't want to continue my education like this. The two youth who had graduated from high school had discussed their future goals with their parents, and they had considered how to reach those goals. John had planned to go into trades, but his father had made him realize that he could go even further in his education and he plans to become an engineer. Gabriel on the other hand did not achieve as well in high school and he barely graduated. Gabriel explained that as a welder he does not have to have high achievement from high school, and it is enough that he graduates. Gabriel did not value homework, he was able to pass his grades without homework and that was good enough. His parents have tried to emphasize homework, but they were not that successful in their efforts. Gabriel and his father have had several discussions about Gabriel's future goals. Gabriel enjoys hunting and being out on the land and his father thought he might become a wildlife biologist, but Gabriel is set on welding and his father supports him in that. The individual development of a student impacted some of the expectations that parents had of the youth. Maureen would like to get good grades, but she does not like to look at her report cards because she does not do well in school: 125
I don't look at my report cards. My parents and grandma look at them... When they tell me about my report card they weren't happy about it. My marks were low. Last year before summer parents weren't happy. They told me this year they wanted me to do better. I try to come to school everyday and catch up with work. I was skipping school before. Maureen told that no one supervises her homework. Maureen wants to graduate and go to college, but her mother does not think it is realistic. He mother would rather that she would do work training. Waking up for school became a cornerstone in the attendance discussion. Low attendance is especially noticeable in the morning classes. Whether the question was about helping the student with school or what makes a good parent, many of the interviewees mentioned that waking up for school is what it all comes down to. Sophie told about the help she received from her family members, in regards getting up for school: She [mother] has given me lots of support. Cause like being in Inuvik my mom was a single mother, so there's just me and her, and like she'd wake me up for school and I'd go. Sometimes I'd just get up by myself, just so eager to go to school, nothing else to do, and that's how I graduated too... and also here my boyfriend is giving me lots of support too when I moved here [Tuktoyaktuk]. He wake me up for school and I'd go. Sometimes I wouldn't want to, but he'd tell me just to go. I had lots of support and from my nanuk [grandmother] and daduk [grandfather] here, my daduk waking me up for school. Even tough we couldn't get up he'd still yell at us and wake us up for school. Most participants saw education as the only way to be able to get a job, provide for a family and be self-sufficient. Participants explained parents or guardians not waking the children up for school as a sign of neglect from the parent's part; those parents being either unemployed, having addictions, or not valuing school. As explained in the previous chapter, historical reasons relating to residential school or the Inuvialuit culture can also contribute to parents and grandparents not sending their children to school. 126
Peers Peers influence student engagement by behavioural expectations and by enhancing or weakening the school environment. Participants emphasized the negative impacts that peer pressure, in the form of alcohol and drug use, has on school engagement and the community. Four youth, two female and two male, told how their skipping school related to alcohol and drugs. For John, the temptation of alcohol and drugs has not been as easy to overcome. John felt like quitting school a few times during junior high and high school; one of the reasons was alcohol and drugs related to peer pressure: Around here you can't really do nothing right, like stay healthy, like stay away from drugs or alcohol. There's a lot of bad influence around here... I was into little bit Marijuana, my high school days. When I was smoking Marijuana I got caught and just about got expelled. I just told them wouldn't do it again. I'll quit at school. And the other ­ alcohol. Just loosing total interest in school... Couldn't stay away from my friends. They were doing some other things and I just followed, peer pressure. They gave me a lot of peer pressure. "Come on man, I'm trying to go to school." "Lets go!" "Alright lets go." But sometimes I'm the instigator: "Let's go somewhere." That's why I'm trying to hang with my parents as long as I can ­ stay clean. When John was skipping school, his teachers would call his parents and they would convince him to continue going to school, which he did. John thanks his family for being supportive of his schooling and him living a better life. Sophie, on the other hand, had made the decision not to drink alcohol and do drugs while going to school: There's drugs going around, I can tell you there's a whole bunch of teenagers drunk every weekend and they don't care... I refused alcohol and I refused drugs and you just have to be strong with that too, you have to be a strong person to refuse all that stuff. All female youth participants had experienced bullying in school. They agreed that there was more bullying in elementary school and junior high school, than in high school, though one student was also bullied in high school. Joyce quit school in grade 10. Two of her cousins that she had got used to going to school graduated and she did not feel confident enough to go to school alone: 127
I used to get into a lot of fights [in grade 9]. Fights used to come to me; I guess that's why it didn't go as planned... Well, two of my cousins that I really got used to going to school with are graduating. So that leaves me one cousin to go to school with. I guess I got scared. Always been part of my family... Just get scare of maybe I wouldn't do good or you know... I feel like I'm not fitting in or, just one of those weird people in a town. I feel awkward... When I'm with my cousins, it's like I can do anything. Joyce wants to go back to school, but she does not want to go to school in Tuktoyaktuk. Also parents and grandparents talked about bullying in school. A grandmother told of the ways students would make fun of a certain family when she went to residential school in the 1940s. The girls would comment on their dirty clothes and go through their things. Ruth, a mother of six, is aware of the bullying problem in school, and recognized that bullying in the community has been going on ever since she was a child: We have these D.A.R.E. programs that go on and there's not too much recognition in regards to bullying. Because I know that that happens in a lot of schools and some people don't see it, but its there... Yeah and maybe that's one of the reason why kids don't go to school too. I never thought of that before. Cause when I was going to school I know there was a family their kids always got picked on, so they quit sending them to school and some of them only went to grade two, grade three. According to the youth, bullying happens mainly after school. The students who had been bullied did not like to talk about their experience to their parents or teachers. They felt that nothing would be done or that their mothers would just call the other student's mother, and then they might get into a new argument with the student that had bullied them in the first place. School School, including its location, resources and teachers, influences school engagement. Mangilaluk School is located in the east side of the town within 15 minute walking distance from most of the houses. A school buss takes the students to and from school in the mornings, afternoons and during lunch time. None of the participants criticised the 128
location of the school or the school building itself. Mangilaluk School building hosts K12 students, and some participants would have preferred the high school having its own building, but this concern came up only twice. A more current concern was the diversity of courses offered at the school. The schools in the NWT get funding according to the attendance rates and the participants emphasized that the quality of education that the school is able to offer is directly linked to the number of students attending school. Roughly for every 17 students who have over 60 percent attendance in the count month the Mangilaluk School gets a staff member. When participants talked about problems with school they often came back to the low attendance. Many participants saw higher school attendance as means to hire more teachers and for the students to have more subjects to choose from. Student's low school attendance was reported to be due: bullying; peer pressure; teachers making students angry or abusing students; lack of parental skills and support; lack of communication between the school and homes; and addiction problems in the community. Andrew, a father of two, was disappointed that students in Tuktoyaktuk are not offered all the prerequisite courses that are needed for university. He, like many other participants, was also concerned that the level of education the students were getting in Tuktoyaktuk is lower than in southern Canada. As Andrew explains: High school ­ you don't have so much to choose from like down south, kind of behind here. Up north it should be the same as down south. There are no excuses why kids have to do upgrading. A problem that many northern schools struggle with is the high turnover of teachers. In September 2007 there was an especially high turnover for the high school, as three of the seven high school teachers started as new teachers. Usually the turnover for high school teachers has been one or two a year. For teachers outside the Inuvialuit Settlement Region it takes time to get used to the culture and the way people life in Tuktoyaktuk. Also, it takes time for the local people to get to get to know the individual teachers. A mother of a high school graduate hoped that the teachers that come to teach would be tolerant and willing to learn the culture of the Inuvialuit: 129
I think it's the attitude, being both like culture ­ my Inuvialuit culture ­ and education more as white man way of living. It clashes, both cultures. Some people that come up: RCMPs, nurses, teachers, basically they're all white people. And I see them come and go, and it's attitude. I believe they come up with willingness to help, to do their job, but some of them have an attitude. Some of them come up and say: "Ok, this is the way I've done it." Or: "This is the way I've known how to do it." And they don't learn themselves; they don't feel people, the culture, the way of living. They just say: "Ok, this is the way to do it, this is by the book." A simple solution to the problem would seem to be training and hiring of local teachers. But is seems that a teacher's occupation is not very appealing for the youth and adults in Tuktoyaktuk. Also, locals are fairly critical of their own teachers and want to be sure that the teachers are also academically qualified to teach their children. As Andrew explains: Sometimes I have trouble with who my sons' teachers are. Some of the teachers don't have an education. They are dropouts. There should be better screening. It's always fine and dandy that teachers are Aboriginals, but they should be qualified. Some teachers just want to get home and alcohol is a problem [with some teachers]. Better teachers ­ better education. The youth participants who had graduated from high school all emphasized the importance of knowing the teacher for a longer period of time, not the ethnicity of the teacher. These students respected teachers that they knew better and teachers that were strict, but fair. When Gabriel had skipped school one of the teachers would help him to catch up: You get to know the teacher it's a lot easier. I had this teacher she just pushed me to do my work and she made it a lot easier. She talked to me; she was pretty much like a councillor I guess. She was my teacher too so it was pretty awesome... She helped a lot. She's probably the one who drove me to graduate. Just gave me a lot of help. Even with the work I'd get left behind and she'd go out of her way and separated out the stuff I missed, so I could catch up, help me with the work and it's pretty awesome. It's good to have a teacher like that. But not all youth were able to communicate even with the teachers who had lived in the community for years. Three participants who had dropped out of school by April 2008 130
found it more difficult to communicate with the teachers. Joyce, a youth who had not gone to school since 2006, reported that out of town teachers are fairer, because they do not know the students who well and what the students have done in the past. Maureen, on the other hand, did not like to talk to male teachers. Usually the participants talked about not getting along with an individual teacher; without framing it as an issue of ethnicity or gender. John who had got into trouble for skipping school and smoking Marijuana at school had trouble with a social studies teacher: I almost quit in grade 11. I got into too much trouble. I didn't like this one teacher. He treated me like a little kid. Giving me work I didn't need and that class was just bogus. I didn't want to do with that class... some work didn't even [fit] the curriculum... there's little bit math in there, science, we were supposed to [do]. I was telling we're supposed to be learning about history, 100 century history... One incident me and this social teacher got into a big argument and I just about socked him. But calmed myself down and walked away. I got suspended for two weeks for doing that, threatening the teacher. I got it straightened out with the principal and got it all going. Exosystems Curriculum and Policy Changes in the curriculum and education policy in recent years have made education in Tuktoyaktuk more sensitive to local culture; however, community members have diverse and opposing opinions on the future directions of curriculum and policy. The Government of Northwest Territories culture-based education policy requires schools in the Northwest Territories to create, preserve, promote, and enhance their culture (GNWT, 2004; Lewthwaite, 2007). In the Mangilaluk School the culture-based education has been implemented by offering Inuvialuktun language classes, a northern studies curriculum, and on the land courses. Participants had differing views of the cultural appropriateness and content delivered at the Mangilaluk School. Some participants thought that there should be more of the Inuvialuit culture integrated to the school, others preferred less, and some were satisfied. Since 2007 Mangilaluk School has taught Inuvialuktun also for high school students. Sophie had already graduated from high school when they started 131
offering Inuvialuktun in high school. Sophie had not thought about missing Inuvialuktun classes in high school, but when I asked about it she wished she had the option to learn the language while going to high school: I think that's why you know like I haven't learned yet... but they never offered it to us in high school. I don't know how come, they should of so they could help us learn. But they didn't, that was kind of upsetting if you come to think of it right now. Some of the parents were critical of the way Inuvialuktun was taught in school and they preferred their children to take other courses that would be beneficial to them in college or university. This is a dilemma that comes up often ­ how to balance the schooling so that students have a firm foundation in the local culture and all the necessary prerequisite courses that are required for entering college and university studies. On the land courses are offered a couple of times a year and include hunting, trapping, life skills and a language component. In recent years on the land courses have been canceled due lack of interest from the students. Many of the families take their children on the land especially during the spring and summer and prefer to teach their children traditional skills in a family setting. Since many youth have the opportunity to do on the land activities outside the school they might not sign up for the on the land courses offered by the school45. Interestingly though, other federal government funded programs that work with the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation (TCC) have had success in getting the youth involved. These include whale harvesting program (GNWT, 2009), berry picking program and youth and elders on the land camps (HRSDC, 2009). The TCC might be in a better position in providing cultural programs in Tuktoyaktuk and that may influence students not to take part in cultural camps organized by the school. The Mangilaluk School system is based on the Alberta curriculum and it is questionable how culture based the education really is. Some scholars assert that the curriculum used 45 Maggie, a member of Mangilaluk School staff, said that often the youth do not want to miss out on activities that are happening in town and thus decide not to take part in the course. Also, some groups of youth think going on the land is "uncool" and thus the peer pressure prevents some youth from signing up for the course. 132
in Aboriginal education continues to have an assimilationist bent (Castellano et al., 2000; Aylward, 2007; Burnaby, 2008). One of the advantages of having teachers stay in a community longer would be that they get to know the local people and are able to contact Elders and local people to assist them in class with local history and culture. Some of the teachers have invited Elders to teach Traditional Knowledge, but it is left up to the individual teacher to make such decisions. As many of the teachers are hired from southern provinces with little or no understanding of the Inuvialuit culture, and may not stay in the region long enough to form an understanding of it, there continues to be a concern that teaching methods are not culturally appropriate. Some parents had strong opinions about the Inclusive Schooling Directive (Education, Culture and Employment, 2006). The directive is set out to insure equal access for all students to educational programs. In practice the students are placed into grades according to age rather than educational abilities. The parents who are against this practice perceived inclusive schooling not to motivate the students to strive for better results, because they do not fail a grade even though their attendance and academic achievements are low. A father who had made his son repeat grade two because he had not learned to read talked about self-government and the need to get rid of inclusive schooling: I bet you right first thing out of the door is social passing. I mean, how can they ignore communities that say this is where our kids are being ignored? This is where the government system is failing. It's by your system just moving them forward, just to keep up with their peers even tough they're not ready for their next grade. How can they ignore that for all these years the communities have been saying that? Another father reported that inclusive schooling was a white man's way of dealing with learning and that age is not a factor when people learn. Some community members wondered if inclusive schooling had contributed also to the low quality of education. A few parents preferred their children to stay with their peer group, because otherwise they might have to repeated a grade several times and they might have dropped out of school even earlier. 133
In 2007 the Mangilaluk School offered pure mathematics, physics and chemistry for the first time. John and Gabriel both graduated from high school in 2007, before these courses were offered, and found high school to be at times boring, not challenging enough. Gabriel had a hard time sitting in class doing work quietly. He enjoyed classes where there is more interaction and discussion, but he had a hard time sitting down and doing work on his own. Through out high school he did not do homework because he did not like it and he passed the classes anyhow. John wanted to take advanced courses like pure mathematics, physics and chemistry, but those courses were not offered when he was in high school: Well, as I can remember from junior high to high school the curricular activities wasn't really good till I got into high school. Even then kind of didn't make any sense, it wasn't challenging enough. It wasn't really something I wanted to do... Before I left grade nine I asked to move me up to pure math. They messed it up and left me to essentials... Grade 10 I wanted to do chemistry, I wanted to get into physics so bad, but they didn't have those courses offered then. They finally got it just this school year. Macrosystems Attendance and Time Management Waking up for school was mentioned earlier when discussing parental neglect. Low attendance in school can also be approached from a normative perspective, especially when there are common trends in student attendance. In other words, as low attendance in Tuktoyaktuk is considered common, the problem is not restricted to a few families, instead it is a community wide issue. Attendance is low in the morning classes and specific times of the year. In September, when the school year starts, attendance is usually higher than as the school year proceeds to Christmas break. Also, in the springtime students attendance is lower, because families go out on the land to fish and hunt for geese. The community members acknowledge these trends. The interviewees 134
did not place judgement on students taking time off from school in the springtime, but not waking up for morning classes was seen as a problem. Low attendance in the mornings has a negative impact not only on the individual student, but the student's class as a whole. Not attending morning classes becomes a norm and students who do attend morning classes are seen as acting outside the norm. Students who were not attending morning classes said that they were just too tired to wakeup for school. Hence, waking up for school also tied to larger concept of time management of individual students, a family and the community. Joseph had gone to a southern city for the summer to do voluntary work commented on "everybody being on a schedule". He tried to stay on schedule when he returned home, but he found it hard because his family is not on a schedule that supports his schooling and neither is the community of Tuktoyaktuk: Just like up here there's nobody on schedule, there's hardly any people on schedule like most of the people down south. So that's one thing I learned that most of the people are on schedules and had to fit right into that schedules. So I had to go to sleep earlier, get up earlyish to work and that. So on weekends I was usually in bed by 2. So, as soon as I came back here I messed that whole schedule up. It's all different now... I guess most of the people think they could do whatever they want... Well, my mom and her husband they usually get up like about 10 in the morning and make coffee so they get up for the day, and I try to get back on schedule. Go to bed around midnight, but it's because I stay up so late on the weekends it affects my sleeping hours. Joseph's description is similar to what Condon (1987) described in his work with the Inuvialuit community of Ulukhaktok where the youth do not live by regular and predictable schedule of activities. Some grandparents and parents were also worried about children not having curfews and parents not knowing where their children were: It's pretty tough when a lot of the people in this community have kids same age as my kids and my kids have rules, chores, everything like a normal home would, but a lot of people they don't have at their home. Their kids could get up and go as they please. And it's pretty tough when your kids try [to] follow their peers. It's pretty tough for me to keep them on track, but I try. 135
Deaths in the Community
Cronosystem
Five participant families had experienced a death or deaths in the family that had a severe impact on their family life and some of the youth's schooling. The deaths that the participants talked about were due to disease, injury or suicide. Some people talked about the support they received after a death in the family, others felt like they had been left alone. A mother whose child had died reported that the support her family received helped her family to move forward:
It was a hard thing to deal with. But we're so close ­ our family. It wasn't as hard as it would have been if I didn't have that much brothers and sisters and if my husband didn't have his family. We had a lot of support and were able to overcome that somehow. Still can't believe that my two older ones graduated. A death of a family member can erode school engagement, for example if the student loses a person who used to wake him/her up for school or help with homework; it can also occupy the students mind and distract their schooling. School staff and a mother reported that when a student dies it is hard for other students in the class to motivate themselves to continue with school. A teacher reported that a death of a student may also bring the students together. The Mangilaluk school staff encourage student to come back to school after a death of a student and to share their thoughts. The school acts as a safe place where the students can share their memories of the student that passed away and how can the students get over the difficult time together.
Interactions between Systems As discussed above, there are many kinds of factors that influence school engagement ranging from personal issues such as learning disabilities; family influences such as guidance; peer support or distraction; as well as issues of school staff, curriculum and
136
policy. These groups and elements do not function in isolation of one another but interact together in their influence. Parental support with school starts with basic necessities like preparing breakfast for the youth and waking them up for school. One of the ways for parents to support the student was by sending the student to a bigger centre for schooling. Sending children to high school to a different community requires economic and social resources. The student has to also be ready for the challenge of a new school, home, and community environment. Joseph went to school in Inuvik for a while, but he had to come back to Tuktoyaktuk. He had stayed with his sister and her boyfriend, but the boyfriend was unsatisfied with the amount Joseph's mother was paying them for feeding Joseph so had to go back to Tuktoyaktuk. John's parents discussed sending him to school in Inuvik, but at that time John was getting into trouble and his father though it was best for him to live at home under the parent's supervision until he was more responsible to take on the challenge. Student-teacher relationships are connected to parent-teacher relationships. Two parents and a grandparent told about incidents where their child had not been treated well by a teacher and they decided to take their children out of school for the rest of the grade so that they would start with a different teacher when they went to the next grade. As discussed in chapter two, parents and grandparents who had attended residential schools, the Tuktoyaktuk Federal Day School and the old Mangilaluk School talked about abuse at the schools. The participants' stories reflect how people in Tuktoyaktuk continue to be sensitive to the way their children are treated by the teachers and the principal. Still, some parents and grandparents emphasized that they want to know both sides of the story when their child or grandchild gets into a disagreement in school, as Fiona explains: A lot of kids get frustrated with some teachers and they eventually dropout. They won't go back. But me I tell my kids: "You having trouble with teacher let me know. I'll go to the school, we'll have a meeting, and it will be fixed, you know?" And it will be fixed for a few months and something else will come up and... But a lot of parents don't do that, they'll say: "Oh, the kid doesn't like the teacher, they're not going to school no more." They don't get to the problem and try [to] solve it. But it's got to work both ways: the parent and the teacher, and 137
that's what I do with all my kids as they're growing up. I make sure I'm involved and their teachers know that they can phone me at any time. Though this is Fiona's approach usually, Fiona was one of the parents who ended up taking her child out of school, because she felt like she could not work with one of the teachers. Fiona is not afraid of approaching the teachers at the school, but some parents have become so disappointed in the way their children and themselves have been treated by the school staff that they have given up on trying to communicate with the school. Salena and her husband had taken their son Brady out of junior high school because the teacher abused Brady and the parents felt that the school was not cooperating with them: He was doing good in school until he's dad took him out. Until that abuse started happening and he lost interest. I don't know what level he's doing now, cause [I] lost track after we took him out after that abuse. We only found out when we get the reports where he is... I didn't bother with parent-teacher interview because I was upset with the teacher that bunched up my son and I wouldn't cooperate with them cause the teacher would not apologise. And I said: "Gee wiz, that's how I dropped out of school, by being abused." I told the teacher that and the principal and I was trying to get straight answers out of them, me and my husband [were trying]. He wouldn't give us straight answers, just kept on getting angry at us so we got angry. I got angry and I grabbed him. I wasn't supposed to grab him, but I grabbed him and I said: "I want the truth, I don't go hitting you. Why you go hitting my son? There's got to be a reason!" I had to, I was at that point, but us we never hit our kids, but teacher hitting that little kid. Salena's account shares light on how the conflict that happened between the student and the teacher (microsystem conflict) acted as a start off of unfortunate events. The parents not being able to solve the problem with the school (mesosystem problem) caused the father to take Brady out of the school for six months. When Brady was ready to go back to school his father died (chronosystem). He tried to go back to school, but he was not able to concentrate. During that time the other family members were also grieving (lack of microsystem support) and Brady's absence from school ended up lasting two and a half years. Brady went back to school in 2007. He was in grade 10 and he found that he was behind other students. It was hard for him to understand what the teachers were saying. He went to school three or four days a week. Sometimes he got sent to the principal's office because he did not get his works done. Salena and Brady did not 138
discuss school and Salena, not wanting to communicate with the school, made Salena unaware if Brady was going to school or not. In spring 2008 Brady had quit school and attended an employment program. Youth also discussed parental interventions that had worked in favour of their school engagement. Often these interventions had happened when a teacher phoned the parents because the student had been skipping school. As explained earlier, alcohol and drugs were often involved. Peer pressure seemed to have affected some of the students' judgements. Youth also talked about friends that did not go to school and how hanging out with those friends would erode school engagement. Effective mesosystem interventions were able to have a positive effect on student engagement. When Gabriel was skipping school the interaction between his teacher and parents, and parents and friend made him go to school more: Gabriel: The past year I missed a lot of school. Just not going, just not attending... Just thinking it's boring, you don't have to go, not wanting to go. Sleep in every day... sometimes like I'd make it seem like I was [going to school], like my buddy lives right across the street and usually I just grab my stuff, sign up and go sit with him even though school was on. Sitting there, not doing nothing [meaning gambling]. Raila: Did your teachers ever call your parents that... Gabriel: Yup, a few times... Got into shit. Then they [parents] go into my buddies and tell him not to let me hang around there during school hours. So, every time I try to go there he'd say "Hey your parents told me to tell you got to go to school. Can't sit here."... Yeah it worked, started going to school more. Raila: Were you angry with your parents? Gabriel: No. Just thought I wouldn't get caught. I wasn't mad that I couldn't just hang out instead of going to school. Also two other youth explained their parents not knowing about them skipping school. In both cases a teacher called the parents, the parents intervened and the result was that the students started to go to school more. Interestingly, the teacher that called the parents (or who's call resulted in a successful intervention) was the teacher that had been in the school for several years. Most parents appreciated teachers calling them if their children had not shown up for school, done their homework or got into trouble at school. One 139
mother wished that teachers would also call when her children were doing well, because the phone calls she got from the school were always delivering bad news. Joyce quit school in grade 10. She used to live with her grandmother. By waking her up for school and being interested in her report cards her grandfather was the greatest support she had for going to school. He died five years ago. Joyce was bullied in school and when two of her cousins graduated she did not feel confident enough to go to school alone. Her cousin told her aunt about the bullying in school. The aunt contacted the parents of the girl that had bullied Joyce, but Joyce did not think that that helped the situation. In 2008, she went to Edmonton to live with her father and sister as she wanted to go to school there. But Joyce did not get along with her sister and she missed her grandmother, so she moved back to Tuktoyaktuk. When Joyce moved back she got a job, started to date a boy in town and got pregnant. Joyce would still like to finish high school ­ one day ­ but she still does not want to go to school in Tuktoyaktuk. For now she is happy staying home and taking care of her baby. Maureen's learning difficulties have continued throughout her schooling, but she has tried to go to high school and her goal is to graduate. In grade 10 Maureen's friends were bullying her in school. At that time she was drinking alcohol and skipping school. In 2007, she was determined to do better in school and not to skip school so much. Maureen does not like to receive help from her mother. Her greatest social supports were her grandmother and her cousin. Her grandmother died a few years ago and her cousin moved to another community. As mentioned before, Maureen used to feel comfortable to ask for help from some of her teachers, but those teachers have moved to other communities. Sometimes Maureen has got into trouble because she has been cursing at a teacher. In 2008, Maureen quit school. She got into an argument with her teacher and she got suspended from school for inappropriate language. But Maureen, like many others, still plans to graduate. Her mother thinks she might do better in job training, because her strengths are not in academic skills, but there tends to be very little job training possibilities in Tuktoyaktuk. 140
Discussion Bronfenbrenner's (1986a) ecological approach was used as a lens to explore the home, school, community and policy factors, as well as the interactions that enforce or erode student engagement in Tuktoyaktuk. Based on the responses of participants to questions about their involvement in the education system, the study identified a range of factors that influence student engagement. The microsystems that influence student's engagement are families, school and peers. Home factors which increased school engagement included: parental monitoring and participation; educational expectations and aspirations; communication; and social networks. In the early 1980s, Condon (1987) found that youth in Ulukhaktok were granted a great deal of autonomy. This seems to be also the case in Tuktoyaktuk, where youth may get more autonomy and in some families parental monitoring is minimal. However, contrary to Schlag and Fast (2005) findings, youth participants in this study reported that their parents had helped them with school. Parental monitoring in the form of discussion about report cards had made some students try harder to succeed in school. Parents, grandparents and partners "waking students up for school" helped the students with attendance. Interviewees reported that a good relationship with the teacher enhanced school engagement. The students interviewed, who had graduated from high school, all reported that they had close connections to teachers, especially teachers that they had known for several years. This finding is in keeping with the Deyhle and Swisher (1997) study, which suggested that caring teachers impact Aboriginal student's decisions about staying in school. The students who had dropped out of high school, shared more stories of difficulties getting along with the teachers, though these students also reported getting along with some of the teachers. Conversely, bullying and a lack of trusted friends eroded school engagement. Like Pellegrini and Bartini (2000), this study found that stable peer networks can work as protective factors against bullying in school. Female students reported bullying and lack of trusted friends at school increasing students' sense of alienation, resulting in students skipping school or not feeling comfortable being in school. 141
Deaths in the community impacted families and students. Keeping in mind that a death in the family impacts family members in different ways, two families reflected on how they were able to overcome the death of a parent or loved one. What seemed consistent in many stories was that a death of a family member diminished the social supports that students relied on to help them with school engagement. In one case, the death of a family member happened during a crucial time in the school year and became a tipping point in a student's decision-making about quitting high school. The results of this study concur with Fredricks et al. (2004), who argue that student engagement is a multifaceted construct. In this study mesosystem (relationships between microsystems) relationships between parents and teachers, or the meso and microsytem, worked both in favour and against student engagement. Parent-teacher relationships are complex particularly given the history of residential schools and even the old Mangilaluk School. Parents and grandparents in Tuktoyaktuk are sensitive about the treatment of their children in school. Some parents do not hesitate to take their children out of school if they suspect that their children are mistreated. At the same time, most of the parents reported that they appreciated the teachers calling them if their children had skipped school, not done their homework or misbehaved. Macrosystem factors that were mainly discussed included educational policy and curriculum. These issues become exosystem factors, as they are filtered through the school board and community perceptions of appropriateness of policy, curriculum and pedagogy. Participants' views on the cultural appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy used at the Mangilaluk School were diverse. Some participants thought that there should be more of the Inuvialuit culture integrated to the school, others preferred less, and some were satisfied. The participants who wanted more cultural teachings at school, were concerned that youth are not speaking the Inuvialuktun language, or do not know what is going on in their own territory. Some Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk do not see the formal education as the primary forum for teachings of cultural activities. Instead, the family unit, friends and community events are the expected environments where cultural 142
teaching and activities take place. This comment raises the question whether the talk of "culture-based education" has made some community members fear that schooling would change into a culture camp and the students would not be able to continue to postsecondary education in the south. Since most participants wished that youth would continue with post-secondary education, confusion of what culture-based education means might make some community members skeptical of integrating Inuvialuk way to the teaching at Mangilaluk School. Conclusion The complexities and interplays of challenges that the families in Tuktoyaktuk face in achieving their goals in the education system have to do with: personal issues (e.g. learning disabilities); life course happenings (e.g. death of a parent or grandparent); family influences (e.g. guidance, socioeconomic resources, families past experiences with schools); peer support or distraction; issues of school staff, curriculum, policy, and the power relations that exist between the Inuvialuit and the school system. This study found that interplay of home factors which increased school engagement included: parental monitoring and participation; educational expectations and aspirations; communication; and social networks. Parental monitoring in the form of discussion about report cards had made some students try harder to succeed in school. Parents, grandparents and partners "waking students up for school" helped the students with attendance, but it also contributed to some students' sense of being loved and cared for. Also, stable peer networks contributed to school engagement and work as a protective factor against bullying in school. Cultural discontinuity theory, internal colonialism theory, and resistance theory are helpful in furthering the understanding why some Inuvialuit students find it difficult to adjust to the school environment. Participants expressed this in ways which they perceived good relationships with school staff enhancing school engagement, just as 143
negative relationship could result in a student dropping out. As this can be the case also in non-Aboriginal communities, this study highlighted the importance of understanding the historical context of schools in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The negative school experiences that some grandparents and parents had continue to resonate in parents and students engagement with school. Some parents expressed the ways in which cultural discontinuity continues to be manifested at the school especially when new teachers with no experience of the community come to do "things by the book" and are unable to learn how to work with and for the community. Some community members respond to the maltreatment of students and parents by the school staff by resisting school rules, for example, in the way of: nonparticipation, disturbing the class or dropping out. Participants' views on the cultural appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy used at the Mangilaluk School were diverse. As, the family unit, friends and community events are expected to act as the environments where cultural teaching and activities take place, there continues to be a cultural divide between the formal education culture and the Inuvialuit culture. Participants hoped that more Inuvialuit would enter into postsecondary education. As post-secondary institutions are bound to prerequisite courses and standardized tests, some community members are under the assumption that following the same system as in the south is the best way to prepare students in the north for post-secondary education. As the Mangilaluk School is administrated through the Beaufort-Delta Education Council of the Northwest Territories Department of Education and governed under the Northwest Territories Education Act, much of the power to influence structural changes is outside the community of Tuktoyaktuk. Some community members have found it difficult to implement structural changes at the school. As the school should function as a resource for the community, policy and structural change in the school system should echo the wishes of the community (Stairs, 1994; Lipka, 1998; Cline, 1975). To be able to go forward with schooling that works in Tuktoyaktuk, the Inuvialuit need to be in charge of their own education. 144
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Chapter Four: Conclusion The study investigated how the meaning of education has changed for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk over a century, and how youth and their families' educational experiences impact student engagement at the Mangilaluk School. The main objectives of the study were to: 1) describe how the meaning of education has changed for Inuvialuit youth and their families; 2) investigate how government policies, socioeconomic and cultural changes, and strive for self-determination have contributed to education in the Western Arctic; and 3) explore the ways in which families and policy help youth with school engagement. The research was guided by indigenous methodology. The case study used four qualitative methods: secondary data, participation in community life, individual thematic semi-directed interviews, and a youth focus group. The results from first paper, The Meaning of Education for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk, function as a historical context for education and social change in the community of Tuktoyaktuk and the Western Arctic. This historical journey is essential in forming a more thorough understanding of the second paper, Factors Influencing Student Engagement in an Inuvialuit Community. The combination of both these papers helps to understand the struggles and victories that students in Tuktoyaktuk have experienced throughout their educational journeys. This chapter explores the results of the research and provides a summary of the findings. Suggestions for future research and the relationship between the two papers will also be discussed. 152
Summary of Findings The results of the study found that the meaning of education for the Inuvialuit has been and continues to be: acquiring the means to support a family. Since the 1890s, when the Inuvialuit first familiarized themselves with the formal education system, and until the 1930s, the meaning of education was to live "the Inuvialuk way". "The Inuvialuk way" was embedded in the semi-nomadic lifestyle, influenced by hunting and trapping seasons. The formal education system emerged for the Inuvialuit as a tool to take advantage of opportunities brought by modernity and globalization and thus help to live "the Inuvialuk way" in a changing world. By the late 1940s and 1950s, the meaning of education began to be influenced to a greater extent by nationalistic and global agendas and happenings. This was due to, among other things: the collapse of global fur prices; industrialization of the north due to the Distant Early Warning Line construction during the Cold War; and the Canadian government providing northern settlements services including healthcare, schools and welfare. By the 1970s, the Inuvialuit were mostly living in communities, and the meaning of education had progressed to "striving for the best of both worlds". The "best of both worlds" entails having the credentials to work in wage employment and having the skills needed for on the land activities. The 2000s have brought a more abstract way of approaching education. The meaning of education has evolved into a dream of "becoming whatever I want" ­ a means of pseudomodernity. Today's youth want to go to school so that they can choose freely their occupational careers ­ become "whatever they want" ­ and start providing for their families. But the expectations of "becoming" created through the education system, community members, and voices of globalization often remain unrealized. The tasking of educational or occupational identities (Bauman, 2001) is cut short by local realities and everyday life in Tuktoyaktuk. For most people, local employment opportunities; dropping out of high school; continuing education at a community college; family ties; and on the land activities, ground educational and occupational identities to the realities of everyday life in Tuktoyaktuk. 153
The study also explored home, school, community and policy factors, as well as the interactions that enforce or erode student engagement. The complexities and interplays of challenges that the families in Tuktoyaktuk face in achieving their goals within the education system have to do with: personal issues (e.g. learning disabilities); life course happenings (e.g. death of a parent or grandparent); family influences (e.g. guidance, socioeconomic resources, families past experiences with schools); peer support or distraction; and issues of school staff, curriculum and policy. Northern communities in Canada struggle with various health issues (from malnutrition to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and social issues (e.g. violence and poverty) which impact student engagement. These struggles are not specific to Aboriginal communities, but they are often exacerbated in Aboriginal communities. Community factors that erode school engagement in Tuktoyaktuk include: addictions; peer pressure; and a death of a close friend or family member. Most comments related to addictions had to do with parents not looking after their children or students not wanting to go to school due to alcohol, drug use or gambling. The most common form of peer pressure that participants talked about was also related to drug and alcohol use. For some students, death of a family member was found to diminish social supports that students relied on to help them with school engagement. Also, trauma in the family and community and the lack of support for trauma contributed to a lower school attainment. Home factors which increased school engagement included: parental monitoring and participation; educational expectations and aspirations; communication; and social networks. Parental monitoring, in the form of discussion about report cards had made some students try harder to succeed in school. Parents, grandparents and partners "waking students up for school" helped the students with attendance, but it also contributed to some students' sense of being loved and cared for. Also, stable peer networks contributed to school engagement and worked as a protective factor against bullying in school. Participants' views on the cultural appropriateness of the curriculum and pedagogy used at the Mangilaluk School were diverse. As the family unit, friends and community events are expected to act as the environments where cultural teaching and activities take place, 154
there continues to be a cultural divide between the formal education culture and the Inuvialuit culture. With the help of the Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority, the educational planning in Tuktoyaktuk seems to be reflecting some of the needs and interests of the students at Mangilaluk School. Community members expressed frustration on not being able to influence policy related to school and the government not listening to the ways people in Tuktoyaktuk would like to educate their children. Some community members are active advocates for self-government and are hopeful that with self-government, the Inuvialuit will finally be in the position to gain power of Inuvialuit schooling. Future Areas of Research Three areas of educational research are suggested for the community of Tuktoyaktuk and the Inuvialuit Settlement Area at large. First, this research indicates that the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk value both formal education and the "Inuvialuk way" of learning. But, community members have diverse and opposing opinions on the importance and ways of integrating Inuvialuit culture and pedagogy in the school curriculum. A study focusing on integrating Inuvialuit culture and pedagogy into the school curriculum would be an important contribution to further understanding community members' views on locally negotiated schooling (Cline, 1975; Stairs, 1994; Lipka, 1998). A study that would concentrate on Inuvialuit views of structural and policy changes in education would help to bridge this gap. This study could include three components: 1) workshops on visioning what the future of education should hold for the region; 2) information sessions on the results of the workshops; and 3) a survey (in all Inuvialuit communities) on to what extent culture should be integrated to the school curriculum and what policy changes should be made. This research would be especially timely as the Inuvialuit are negotiating for self-government and soon might be the ones in charge of their own education system. 155
Second, related to the first suggestion, a separate study could focus on the community district education authorities' functions, resources, and ability to influence change. It seems that the Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority (TDEA) struggles with being heard at the regional and territorial level. There were indications that the TDEA would prefer to have more decision making power e.g. in hiring of teachers. A study on the decision making processes, abilities, and desires of local education authorities in the Beaufort-Delta region would help in understanding to what extent local agencies are able to influence decisions impacting their community schools. Third, a body of research supports the idea that formal education increases health, employment, and income opportunities (Health Council of Canada, 2005). But some research findings among Aboriginal peoples in Canada suggest that higher education can lead to higher distress (Kirmayer, 2000) and more suicidal acts (Boyer et al, 1994). There are different hypotheses on why this might be the case. It would be important to find out whether and how higher educated Inuvialuit cope with stress, as well as family and community expectations. This study could have a quantitative and a qualitative part. First, with a help of a quantitative survey, the study could find out the self-reported level of stress among Inuvialuit with differing levels of education. Second, a qualitative investigation could deepen the understanding of the relationship that education plays in the lives of the Inuvialuit. Next Steps This thesis used a published paper model; but all the research findings could not be included in the two papers. Two other papers from the research findings will continue the work. First, a paper will concentrate on family stories that highlight the different and diverse educational experiences that the six families who took part in this study shared. This paper will continue in explaining how intergenerational experiences influence the current 156
youth's educational paths. The paper will also discuss how lifelong learning in the formal education system has become an integral part of families' lives. To secure the participants anonymity, the families stories will be altered so that the families will not be recognizable form the stories. Second, a book chapter on educational security will hypothesize whether or not using the term "educational security" could help Aboriginal peoples in their struggle for formal education that is based on the needs of Aboriginal students. If the education problem is defined as an educational security issue the discourse changes from prioritizing economic benefits of the nation, to enhancing Aboriginal human rights. Using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 14 and the government of Finland's definitions of educational security as a framework, I will explore how educational security issues have been confronted historically by the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk. Concluding Remarks The results of this study serve to better understand the historical context for education and social change for the Inuvialuit in the community of Tuktoyaktuk. This historical journey demonstrates how the meaning of education has transformed through a century, but still continues to be tied to the principle of: acquiring the means to support a family. The principle of supporting a family guides Inuvialuit in their education and occupational paths. Similar to research among other Aboriginal peoples, student and family engagement in formal education for the Inuvialuit is influenced by the families past experiences, perceptions of the education system, and the history of power relations between the Inuvialuit and Euro-Canadians. As with other research, participants in this study identified factors that contribute to student engagement. However, this study also gives insights to some of the complexities and interplays of challenges that the Inuvialuit youth in Tuktoyaktuk face in achieving their goals within the education system. As of 157
now, the education system is not working for the Inuvialuit. For this to change, the Inuvialuit need to be in charge of Inuvialuit education. References Bauman, Z. 2001. The individualized society. Cambridge: Polity Press. Boyer, R., R. Dufour, M. Preville, and L. Bujold-Brown. 1994. Chapter 11: State of Mental Health. In A Health profile of the Inuit : report of the Santй Quйbec Health Survey Among the Inuit of Nunavik, 1992, ed. Jettй, M. Vol. 2. Montrйal: Santй Quйbec. Cline, M. S. 1975. Tannik School: The Impact of Education on the Eskimos of Anaktuvuk Pass. Anchorage: Alaska Methodist University Press. Health Council of Canada. 2005. The Health Status of Canada's First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples. Toronto: Health Council of Canada. Kirmayer, L. J., L. J. Boothroyd, A. Tanner, N. Adelson, and E. Robinson. 2000. Psychological Distress among Cree in James Bay. Transcultural Psychiatry 37(1):35-56. Lipka, J. 1998a. Introduction: A Framework for Understanding the Possibilities of a Yup'ik Teacher Group. In Transforming the culture of schools: Yup'ik Eskimo examples, eds. Lipka, J., G.V. Mohatt and the Ciulistet Group. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Stairs, A. 1994. Indigenous ways to go to school: Exploring many visions. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 15(1): 63-76. 158
Appendix A Map of Inuvialuit Settlement Region 159
Appendix B This graph shows the research process. Starting from coming up with a research topic (1. Research on education). The Aurora Institute, whom I had worked with before, was interested in an educational study in the region. My supervisor, Brenda Parlee, and I had also noticed that educational issues came up often when community members were discussing issues like resource development or employment in the region. I contacted Tuktoyaktuk (2. Contacting community) and as the feedback for a study on education was positive I came up with a 3. Research proposal. At this stage Antikainen's work on the meaning of education in Finland guided me. For Antikainen (1998) the term meaning refers to both method and theory: 1. As also Gubrium and Holstein (2002: 15) emphasize, when the interviewer and interviewee interact in an interview situation, both actors are constantly "doing analysis", "making meaning" and "producing knowledge". In other words, the interviewing situation can be perceived as a discourse that is negotiated by the actors present in that specific space and time. 2. Antikainen's theoretical framework was guided, for example, by questions: A) how do people use education in constructing their life-courses?; B) what do education experiences mean in production of identities?; C) what is the substance, form and social context of significant learning experiences? 160
Antikainen et al. (1995) found there to be generational differences in the meaning of education for Finns. He categorised the meanings as: education as an ideal, life as a struggle (born before 1936, generation of war and scant education); education as means to an end (1936-1945, generation of structural change and increasing educational opportunities); education as commodity (1946-1965; generation of social welfare and many educational choices) and; education as individualization (born after 1965). This finding intrigued me to ask how had the meaning of education changed for the Inuvialuit. Most of the 4. Fieldwork was done in 2007. In Chapter 1: Introduction I give a more thorough explanation of the fieldwork, so I will not get into it here. During 5. Transcribing & analysis & writing I continued exploring theoretical interests. I came to see connections between participants' educational experiences and McLean's (1995, 1997) descriptions of governmental policies. I was also influenced by Dorais' (1997) historical book: Quaqtaq: Modernity and Identity in an Inuit Community. 6.Verification of the interviews took place mostly in 2008 in Tuktoyaktuk. In Chapter 1: Introduction I explain the verification process in detail. 7. Writing and presentations of the research started in 2008 and continued in 2009. Presentations at academic conferences were useful forums in testing theoretical interpretations and meeting people with similar research interests. 8.Consultation and presentations will continue after the thesis is done. As explained in Chapter 1: Introduction, in October 2009 I will present the research findings in Tuktoyaktuk and take the thesis to research partners. 9. "Polishing" of papers from the thesis will continue in 2009 and maybe at a later date. This research process has inspired Aboriginal organizations, Brenda Parlee and I to continue multigenerational work with Aboriginal families in relation to education and occupational interests and options. 10. Doing similar work with the Sami referees to expanding the research to a Sami community in Finland. The arrows in the research process demonstrate the somewhat circular way that research takes place. At the same time, this graph is still a simplification of the research process and should be taken as such. References: Antikainen, A., J. Houtsonen, H. Huotelin, and J. Kauppila. 1995. In Search of the Meaning of Education: the case of Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 39(4)295-309. Antikainen, A. 1996. Living in a learning society: life-histories, identities, and education. London: Falmer Press. 161
Antikainen, A. 1998. Between Structure and Subjectivity: Life-histories and Lifelong Learning. International Review of Education 44(2-3):215-234. Dorais, L-J. 1997. Quaqtaq: Modernity and Identity in an Inuit Community. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Gubrium, J. and J. Holstein. 2002. From individual interview to interview society. In Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method, eds. Gubrium, J. and J., Holstein. California: Sage Publications. McLean, S. 1995. To Educate or Not to Educate? Canadian Discourses Concerning Inuit Schooling From the 1930s to the 1950s. Journal of Historical Sociology 8(2): 182­ 197. McLean, S. 1997. Objectifying and Naturalizing Individuality: A Study of Adult Education in the Canadian Arctic. Canadian Journal of Sociology 22(1):1-29. 162
Appendix C Smith (1999:10) guides scholars who conduct research on, with or about Aboriginal peoples to pose and answer the following questions: 1. Whose research is this? 2. Who owns it? 3. Whose interests does it serve? 4. Who will benefit from it? 5. Who has designed its questions and framed its scope? 6. Who will carry it out? 7. Who will write it up? 8. How will the results be disseminated? My answers to the questions are as follows: 1. Whose research is this? The partners in this research are: 1) the community of Tuktoyaktuk (community agencies: Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation (TCC); Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk; Tuktoyaktuk Elders Committee; Tuktoyaktuk District Education Authority (TDEA), and the Mangilaluk School; 2) Aurora Research Institute ­ Aurora College 3) University of Alberta (me ­ Raila Salokangas and my supervisor Brenda Parlee). Through individuals and community agencies the community of Tuktoyaktuk has been consulted since the planning of the research started. Community agencies have contributed to the research in diverse ways. The TCC has been interested in the study from the start and has given suggestions on the research problem. The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk helped with office space, photo copies, and interviewing space. The Tuktoyaktuk Elders committee provided feedback on the research proposal and engaged in a discussion on education in Tuktoyaktuk. TDEA and the Mangilaluk School gave information on the school statistics. The Mangilaluk School was welcoming of the research and accommodated me in taking part in school life. Also some interviews and a youth workshop took place at the school. Aurora Research Institute (ARI) ­ Aurora College in Inuvik is the main funder of the research. ARI is responsible for licensing and coordinating research in the Northwest Territories. ARI has been helpful in discussing and guiding many aspects of the research. The research is my research; my selfish reasoning behind this research is to get a Master's degree which is dependent on me conducting a research project. Also, as I am the main investigator and writer of the project report I have an extensive amount of power to influence the research process. This is also something that 163
the community members who took part in the research realized. Some of the interviewees said that they are "happy to help me in my studies and that they will do their best to help me get graduated". With power comes responsibility and I feel and have taken the responsibility of conducting this research in an ethically sound manner. During the research project Brenda Parlee, my supervisor, has guided the research. As we are affiliated with the University of Alberta; the university is also a partner in the research. 2. Who owns it? In various stages of the research different people and organizations own the research. The interview "data", transcripts, have been in my possession the whole time of the research. After the transcripts were printed out and some initial analysis was done, I contacted the interview participants and verified the information (see details in Methodology and Methods section in Chapter 1). After the verification the "data" became my possession. Some interviewees agreed to give their interview transcripts to the Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Center in Inuvik. That way the transcripts will become public documents. I will distribute the products of the research to the community agencies that are partners in the project and to the research participants. I will also do several presentations in the community of the research. 3. Whose interests does it serve? As I already commented in answer 1. the research definitely serves my interest as it will help me graduate and get a degree. The community members of Tuktoyaktuk also wish that it will help the community by raising their concerns of the prevailing educational inequities that are happening in remote Arctic rural communities compared to urban southern cities. The research might also serve the interests of other partners in the study. 4. Who will benefit from it? Though I would like to be confident and sure of the research benefiting the community of Tuktoyaktuk, unfortunately I am not. The community members of Tuktoyaktuk wish that the research will help the community by raising their concerns of the prevailing educational inequities that are happening in remote Arctic rural communities compared to urban southern cities. This research is also able to give community members, local and regional agencies a deeper and more thorough understanding of the history of education in the area and current issues that families and youth perceive to influence student engagement. Whether or not the thesis and related documents are able to do that, I do not know. I will distribute and present the results of the work in the community and the region and maybe then I will have a better sense of how the work will benefit the community. 164
I hope that the community has benefited from the research process and having me be a part of their lives. Some individual community members have said that they appreciate me talking to the students about myself, my home country Finland, and studying at the University of Alberta. An Elder told me that just by having a conversation with the youth and letting them know that they can also go to university I have already done enough. I have had discussions with the community members on ways that the education system has been changes in other Aboriginal communities to better serve the needs of those communities. Maybe these conversations have helped the community in some ways. The research is a big part of the criteria for me to get a Master's degree. I have also benefited by learning from the research process and having the opportunity to work with people I care about and on issues that are dear to me. My supervisor will benefit by having one of her students graduate from the program and being able to publish papers out of the research in cooperation with me and the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The University of Alberta will benefit by the research as it adds to research being done at the university ­ adding to the "ranking" of the university on an international scale. Aurora Research Institute, the main funder of the research, will benefit by getting more information on the research question and showing the government that it is actively involved in research in the area of education. 5. Who has designed its questions and framed its scope? The idea and the research proposal were formed and written by my supervisor Brenda Parlee and I. Efforts were made to partner with community organizations and people starting from the planning of the research and this has happened to a certain point. But to a large extent the questions and scope were determined by me. I was advised by my supervisor that it is better to have an idea of what to research before going to a community, because coming and saying: "Here I am, what do you want me to do?", might be too vague and people might find it hard to give input. From this standpoint I came up with a research guide which I presented to community organizations before starting the research in the hopes that they would have input to it. 6. Who will carry it out? Bulk of the research was carried out by me. Two research assistants helped me in Tuktoyaktuk in setting up interviews, introducing me to people, and transcribing the interviews. As described earlier, many partner organizations and individuals helped with the research. 165
7. Who will write it up? I will do the write up with the help of my supervisor. During the verification interviews I showed the interviewees the early draft that I had written. In the draft the participants' quotes were situated in the text I had written. All of the participants agreed for me to use their quotes the way I suggested. 8. How will the results be disseminated? As stated before I will go back to Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik to distribute the research material and give several presentations at the community. At this point the community will have the chance to give me feedback on the research. I will also contact all the research participants and give them a brief summary of the study. References: Smith, L. T. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. 166
Appendix D
The Meaning of Education for Inuvialuit Families in Tuktoyaktuk
Contacts Raila Salokangas, MSc Candidate Department of Rural Economy Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry 507 General Services Building University of Alberta, Edmonton Alberta T6G 2H1 [email protected]
Dr. Brenda Parlee, Asst. Prof. Department of Rural Economy Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry 507 General Services Building University of Alberta, Edmonton Alberta T6G 2H1 Tel: (780) 492-6825, Fax: (780) 492-0268 [email protected]
Information Sheet for Adults over the Age 18 in Tuktoyaktuk Purpose: The research tries to find out the meaning of education for Inuvialuit youth and their families in the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The research will also involve education policy makers and teachers in Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.
Methods: You are being asked to talk to the researcher (Raila Salokangas) about your experiences of going to school and of education in general. If you agree to participate, the interview can take place at a location of your choosing. Raila will ask you questions and you can answer in your own words. There are no right or wrong answers. With your permission, Raila will take notes and record the interview on audio-tape. This interview will last for 2 to 3 hours. You may be asked to talk to Raila again on a later date. The reason for this is to make sure that Raila understands what you meant in the previous interview. Raila may also want to ask some questions that she only thought of after the first two interviews. This follow-up interview should take less than an hour. This research is interested in both personal and family views on education. The study requires that at least one participant from each generation (grandparent, parent and young 167
adult) in a family unit takes part in the study. If a participant decides to withdraw from the study and there is no other representative of her / his generation who wants to participate in the study from the specific family, the family (including individual interview data) might not be used for the study. Confidentiality: If you agree, the interview will be recorded on tape. The name of the person in the interview will not be recorded on the tape or the paper. Instead a number will be given to that interview. This number will be used on anything that gets written about the interview. Only Raila, Raila's supervisor and the research assistant have access to the name of the person on the tape. All of the information that has the person's name on it will be locked up. To ensure that your information is valued over the long term, we would also like to store a copy of the interview tape and transcript with the Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Center. You can decide whether you agree or not to have your interview data stored at the Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Center. It is the law that anything you say in the interview about a child being abused has to be reported to Northwest Territories Health and Social Services. Benefits: Out of respect and acknowledgement that Elders are the experts of Inuvialuit culture and that their time is valued by the research, Elders (adults above the age 50) will be provided with honoraria of $100 attending a single interview. Adults, adults between the ages 31 to 49, will be provided with honoraria of $50 attending a single interview. Young adults between the ages 16 to 30, will be provided with honoraria of $30 attending a single interview. It is hoped that the study will help in understanding the education experiences of families in Tuktoyaktuk. Local agencies, like the Aurora Research Institute ­ Aurora College and the Inuvialuit Community Development Division have already expressed their interest in the study findings. It is also anticipated that other policy making agencies, like the Beaufort-Delta Educational Council will find this study helpful to make good decisions about education. Risks: It is not expected that being in this study will harm you. But, you may feel bad or angry with the education system. During or after the interview, some participants may recall painful memories related to residential school or bulling in school. You should contact the following agencies, if you are in need of counseling: 1. Rosie Ovayuak Health Centre, Tuktoyaktuk: Phone: (867) 977-2321 2. House of Hope: Phone: (867) 977-2176 3. Mental Health and Social Work Counselling: 168
Phone: (867) 977-2434 /2511 Withdrawal from the Study: Even after you have agreed to do the interview you can decide you do not want to do the interview anymore. This can be before, during or after the interview. You can also decide not to continue to participate during the family interview or possible third interview. Also, if you decide after the first, second or third interview that you do not want what you said to be used, the research will not use the information you provided. The latest you can let Raila know that you will withdraw from the interview is two weeks after the last interview. Use of your Information: This study is being done for Raila's Master's thesis. Raila is a student at the University of Alberta. There will be a report, published papers and possible conference presentations made out of the interview data. If you want, a short version of this report will be mailed to you. The report that gets made will not have your name in it. In the case of any concerns, complaints or consequences contact Helen Steinke, Administrative Support to the AFHE Research Ethics Board, 2-14 Agric/For Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2P5, ph, (780) 492-8126, Fax (780) 492-8524. 169
Rural Economy Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics
5-15 General Services Building Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H1
http://www.re.ualberta.ca [email protected]
Tel: 780.492.4225 Fax: 780.492.0268
INTERVIEWEE PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM FOR ADULTS ABOVE THE AGE 18 IN TUKTOYAKTUK for The Meaning of Education for Inuvialuit Youth and their Families in Tuktoyaktuk
NO: _____
Interviewee: ___________________________________
Address for Sending Transcript (and a Report of the Study): ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________
Researcher: ___________________________________
Date:
___________________________________
Location:
___________________________________
PLEASE INDICATE YOUR ANSWERS TO PART A-E BY INITIALLING IN THE SPACE PROVIDED A. Consent to Interview: I have read the attached project information sheet and I agree to participate in the interview relating to this project. I understand that I can choose not to answer any or all of the questions that are asked and can stop the interviews or withdraw (quit) the project at any time without prejudice or consequence. I DO _____consent to the interview. I DO NOT _____ consent to the interview.
170
B. Consent to Audio Recording: I understand that the researchers will be using an audio recorder. I DO _____consent to the interview being audio recorded. I DO NOT _____ consent to audio recording and would prefer that the researcher only took hand written notes. I DO NOT _____ want any audio recording or note taking during the interview. C. Consent to Use of Interview Results: Raila is working with the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) to carry out this research. Raila would like to use the results of your interview in a report for ARI. If there is any information that you would not like to share publicly, please let Raila know. Raila would also like to use the results in her work at the University including the development of her Master's Thesis and in academic publications (published papers). I understand and DO _____ consent to Raila using the results of my interview in public documents as outlined above. I DO NOT _____ consent to Raila using the results of my interview in the public documents outlined above. I WOULD _____ like to get a copy of a short version of the report that will be done for the ARI. I WOULD NOT _____ like to get a copy of a short version of the report that will be done for the ARI. D. Consent not to Use Your Name in Public Documents I would not like to acknowledge you by name in any research documents and materials, the results of your interview will be coded as Person 001 etc. so that the public does not know who shared the information. I agree NOT ___ to have my name to be shared in public documents/ presentations and would prefer that Raila attribute my interview data to an alias or coding system. E. Consent for Storage of your Interview Results You will receive a written copy of the transcript of your interview. After you receive a copy of the transcript of your interview, you will have 14 days to decide if there is information from your transcript that you would not like to be used in the research project. Raila will keep a copy of any audio recordings and / or transcriptions for the purposes of reporting and publication at the University of Alberta. To ensure that your information is valued over the long term, we would also like to store a copy with the Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Center. I DO ___ want my information stored with the Inuvialuit Cultural and Resource Centre. I DO NOT ___ want my information stored and would prefer that it be destroyed once the research project is completed. If you have answered all of the questions in Part A-F, please sign below. 171
Interviewee ___________________________________ Date: ___________________ If you require additional information or have any concerns about this project, please contact: Raila Salokangas or Dr. Brenda Parlee. Department of Rural Economy University of Alberta Tel: (780) 492-6825 Fax: (780) 492-0527 e-mail: [email protected] e-mail: [email protected] 172
Appendix E Meaning of Education Questionnaire for Parents
A: Interviewee Information
1. Date of interview 2. Place of the interview
I__I__I__I__I__I__I DD MM YY ________________
3. Interviewee number (1-999)
I___I___I___I
4. Name of the interviewee___________________________________________________
5. Address and phone number _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
6. People present during the interview _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
B. Socio-demographic background
7. Gender
1 male 2 female
8. Inuvialuit beneficiary
1 yes 2 no
9.
a. In what month were you born? ______
b. In what year were you born? ______
10. Living place (community)_______________________________________________
11. Education
1 Less than high school graduation certificate 2 High school graduation certificate only 3 Some post-secondary education 4 Trades certificate or diploma 5 College certificate or diploma 6 University certificate or diploma below bachelor's degree 7 University degree
173
_____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
12. Occupation (current or latest)__________________________________________________
13. How do you make a living (what percentage of your time do you spend on a wage economy and what percentage of your time do you spend on land). _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
14. Current work situation Specifications (description of the present job) ______________________________
1 full time work 2 part time work/ seasonal work 3 working at home (looking after family or home)
_____________________________
4 student 5 unemployed 6 other
15. Spouse's education__________________________________________________
16. Spouse's Occupation (current or latest)__________________________________________________
17. What was your father's job? Please explain exactly what he did (for example, hunter, trapper, labour worker for the DEW line, homemaker, truck driver). ______________________________________________________
18. What was your mother's job? Please write down exactly what she did (for example, homemaker, store clerk, interpreter). If you do not know please do not write anything. ______________________________________________________
C. Meaning of Education questions Family: 1.Who belongs to your family? 2. Can you tell a bit about your family? A good life: 3.What is a good life? 4.What kind of support did / do your parents / grandparents / teachers give you for you to live a good life? 5.Does learning and formal education help you to live a good life? Meaning of education to you: 6.What does education / learning mean to you? 7.What is your experience with education and learning? 8.How did learning (education) occur when you went to school? 9.How is education different for your daughter(s) / son(s)? 10. What works / does not work with regards to education in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region / Tuktoyaktuk?
174
Attendance: 11. How many days a week did you go to school when you were in school? 12. Should a student's school attendance be supervised? 13. Who supervised the student attending school? 14. How many days should students attend school? 15. Who should supervise school attendance? 16. How many days a week does your son / daughter attend school? 17. When is it acceptable for a student to miss a day in school? 18. Should the school be contacted if a student misses a day / three days / five days of school? 19. Should the parent be contacted if a student misses school? Homework: 20. What is the purpose of homework? 21. Should a student's homework be supervised? 22. Who supervised your homework? 23. How many nights a week did you do homework when you went to high school? (if you went to high school) 24. How many nights a week should a high school student spend on homework? 25. Who should supervise homework? 26. How many nights a week does your daughter / son do homework? 27. Where does she / he do it? 28. Who helps her / him with the homework? 29. When is it acceptable for a student not to do their homework? 30. Should the home be contacted if the student doesn't do their homework once / three times / five times in a row? Grades: 31. What is the purpose of report cards and grades? 32. Do you remember getting report cards and getting graded when you went to school? 33. Did your parents expect you to get good grades? 34. Were your parents interested in your grades? 35. How is it when your daughter / son brings report cards home? 36. Are you interested in the grades they are receiving? 37. Do you know if your daughter / son is getting good grades? 38. Do you want them to get good grades? Future goals: 39. What is the purpose of future goals? 40. What is the purpose of educational goals? 41. Should a year nine student know their future goals? 42. Who can help year nine students figure out their future goals? 43. What did / do you want from education for yourself? 44. What / who helped you to reach your educational goals? 45. What does your daughter / son want from education for themselves? 46. What / who helped / helps your daughter / son to reach their educational goals? 47. What do you want from education for your daughter / son? School and parent / grandparent relations: 48. How much interaction is needed between the school and the parents / grandparents? 49. How should the interaction take place? 50. What is the purpose of parent's nights at school? 51. Who benefits from parent's nights? 52. Did your parents attend parents nights when you were a child? 53. Do you attend your children's parents' night? 175
Role of a parent: 54. What makes a good parent? 55. What is your role as a parent? 56. How can a parent improve their daughter's / son's learning and well-being? 57. How have you helped your daughter / son with education? 58. What would help you to help your children with school? Role of a grandparent: 59. What is a role of an elder / grandparent? 60. What makes a good grandparent? 61. How can a grandparent improve their grandchild's learning and well-being? Role of a daughter or son: 62. What makes a good daughter/son? 63. What is a daughter's/son's role? 64. What can a person do to improve their own learning and well-being? Role of a teacher: 65. What makes a good teacher? 66. What is the role of the teacher? 67. How can a teacher improve their students learning and well-being? Aids to education: 68. What helps a person to learn? 69. Should a student be awarded for good achievement / attendance? 70. What kinds of prises should a student receive for good achievement / attendance? 71. Should a student be punished for low achievement / attendance? 72. What kinds of punishments a student should receive for low achievement / attendance? 73. What are the barriers to education (primary / elementary / junior high school / high school / post secondary)? 74. What kind of support did / do your parents / grandparents give you in regard to education / learning? 75. Were there other people or things that helped you with education / learning? 76. What structures (regional / territorial / governmental) are there in place for educational support? 77. Do you have any recommendations for bettering the education / learning for your children? 176
Appendix F
Ruth's lifeline (the years are not shown in order to protect the participant's identity):
Family moves to Tuk
Born
Second child born First child born
Parents pass away
Son graduates
Upgrading
Adopting a daughter
Mangilaluk School Moves in with boyfriend
Move to Inuvik for a while
Marries husband Child passes away
Working full-time
SUMMARY of Ruth's story (some of the details have been altered in order to protect the participant's identity): FAMILY: · Both of Ruth's parents went to school: mother in RC Mission until grade 4 or 5 · Father worked on the DEW-Line site · Mother was a homemaker and had odd jobs here and there · Ruth has ten brothers and three sisters · Ruth has a lot of aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews · She and her husband have seven children and two grandchildren GOOD LIFE: · Her family is really close, Ruth believes that having a close family is the most important thing in life · Education helps a person live a good life, because if a person wants to get a good paying job they have to have a grade 12 diploma · Parents who have more education are also able to help their children with homework SCHOOL: · When her parents were drinking the older brother used to put the younger children to bed, wake them up for school and make them lunch. · Ruth got pregnant and she quit school for a while. Her parents adopted the baby and she went back to school to finish grade 9.
177
· She didn't want to go to high school in Inuvik though her mother wanted her to go. Her father spoiled her and said that she didn't have to go if she didn't want to. Ruth also got pregnant again, so she figured she just can't do school. · Ruth applied for many jobs, but she didn't get them because her grade level was so low. So she decided she's going to try to get her grade to even between 10 and 12. She tried really hard with the first year of school. It really helped her build her self-esteem. Before she went to school she was thinking "This is all I'm gonna do. This is all I'm gonna be". A lot of people in this community think they can't upgrade because they've been stuck in that situation for so long. Two months after she finished grade 12 she had a job. Some people they never, they think they can't do things, but they don't try. · Ruth tells her children that if you want to be something you have to have grade 12. If you don't graduate from high school upgrading can take four or five years. · It's hard to get a good paying job without a high school diploma · School is different now to what it was for Ruth's parents and what it was like for Ruth. Now the children have the option to stay in Tuk for high school and they have a lot more choices · A few years ago many families were moving out of Tuk to get a better education for the children, but now there are pure courses offered. · Ruth thought it was good when his son in grade 7 had a little notebook on homework. The teacher involved the parent by having one of the parents or guardian sign the notebook · Ruth and her husband help the children with homework, also the high school English teacher has been really helpful · Ruth is very interested in her children's report cards and getting them through high school ­ the marks are not only the child's accomplishments, but also the parents' · Bullying in school is not talked about enough. There was a family when Ruth went to school that was picked on and the parents stopped sending the kids to school in grade 2 or 3. Bullying might be one of the reasons that children stop going to school · Ruth's daughter graduated when she was six month's pregnant. She wanted to quit, but her mother told her to go on, because otherwise it will be harder for her to succeed in her life PARENTING: · Ruth has tried to learn from her parents mistakes by bring her children up different: she tells her children how much she loves them · Her parents taught her to have respect for others · Youth don't think about tomorrow, but the parents can open their eyes and think about their future · Hopes that her son gets out of town, because he is mixing with the wrong group, the people who drink and waste their time. POLICY: · School attendance is still a big problem though it's not as bad as a few years ago. · There used to be a councillor at the school to work on parent school relations 178
· If things get bad between the student / parents and the teacher the principal could act as a liaison. · The DEA is looking into charging the parents if the students are not going to school. · Ruth thinks that even high school students could have a little book which has all the dates of when the assignments are due and homework. · The school is in need of a student counsellor and career advisor, but the position was sacrificed because the school needed another teacher. · There are scholarships for students who leave their home communities for postsecondary, but there should be more. · Inclusive schooling is setting the kids up for failure in the future, because they do not have the courses or the marks to go straight to university · There should be more education and awareness about bullying in school 179
Appendix G
Change Meaning of education for the Inuvialuit ­ to provide for oneself and the family Government view and policy on Inuit education Changes in the political life of the communities Changes in living conditions Inuvialuit Economies in Tuktoyaktuk region Changes in identities 1. ethnic 2. cultural 3. education 4. work 5. gender
1890 - 1930 Prioritizing "Inuvialuk way": 1) Learning "Inuvialuk way"; and 2) formal education to help work and trade with outsiders Inuvialuit isolated from modern world ­ do not need formal education (Inuit education left to the missionaries) Traditional communities abandoned due to diseases ­ other communities expand (i.e. Tuk) Living on the land with extended family Semi-nomadic lifestyle; hunting, trapping, working for the whalers 1. Diseases lower the number of Inuvialuit; Inuvialuit intermarry with whalers and Inupiat 2. Christianity; intermarriage with whalers and Inupiat molds
Time Line
1940 - 1960
1970 - 1980
Leaning towards
Searching for
"Inuvialuk way": 1) balance: Being able
Learning "Inuvialuk to benefit from
way"; 2) formal
"both worlds";
education to obey
some families lean
government and
more towards
church rules; take
"Inuvialuk way"
advantage of wage other toward wage
employment
employment
Inuvialuit should
Emphasis on
have same
benefits to
opportunities as other individual students
Canadians
and community
(government
capacity building
responsible for
(more control to
delivering education) community)
Inuvialuit start moving to modern settlements: churches; social services; school; and the RCMP control peoples lives Living on the land and in town with extended family Decline in trapping; DEW-Line construction (laborer jobs for men); wildlife harvesting more common when less wage employment; some women in fur garment industry 1. Diseases taking a toll; Inuvialuit intermarry with reindeer herders and southern workers 2. Christianity's and government's strong influence on belief, value, and norm systems; modernity influences (industrialization,
Inuvialuit land claim; more control to communities and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region Living in town with extended family or nuclear family Oil boom and bust; wage labor for both men and women; increased employment from the land claim; wildlife harvesting more common when less wage employment 1. Ethnicity used as a political tool for land claim settlement; some Inuvialuit intermarry with southern workers 2. Increased modernity: media; transportation; consumerism; less emphasis on
1990 - 2008 Prioritizing wage employment: 1) Getting wage employment; and 2) "Inuvialuk way" Culture-based education and community capacity building in the time of high technology (more control to community) Communities and the Inuvialuit work with the governments; industries; and the Inuit Living in town with nuclear family Oil boom and bust; work for both men and women; increase of "office jobs" 1. Ethnicity used as a political tool in selfgovernment negotiations 2. Increased modernity: high technology; consumerism; mobility; little emphasis on Christianity
180
material and belief systems 3. tied to the land; benefits of 3Rs 4. tied to the land 5. based on equity
permanent housing) 3. tied to the land; formal schooling up to grade 6; learning to live in community 4. tied to the land and industrial developments 5. males are the head of the family (Christianity)
Christianity 3. formal schooling until grade 8; and learning to live in community 4. tied to industrial developments; government jobs and the land 5. women's right's movement reached the north ­ more equity
3. formal schooling until grade 10; adult education; community life; on the land skills for those that are interested 4. tied to industrial developments; government jobs 5. based on equity
The table above presents the results of how the meaning of education has changed for the Inuvialuit in Tuktoyaktuk since 1890s. Since this change is related to, for example: government view and policies on Inuit education; changes in community political life; living conditions; Inuvialuit economies; identities; and individualization, the table also presents these changes. It should be noted that the table is as an oversimplification of the results and it is not able to portray the diversity of the issues presented. Never the less, it was done to help the reader to get an idea of the results and how they relate to each other.
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Appendix H In this appendix, I explain some of the ways I explored Inuit identity, and specifically cultural identity. I will elaborate in further detail the definition of inummarik which is discussed in Brody (1991: 141-162); Stairs (1992); Stairs and Wenzel (1992); and Stairs (1994). This further exploration of the term inummarik was done to give me a better sense of how cultural identity has contributed to Inuvialuit educational and occupational identities. Stairs (1992: 118-119) explains Inuit identity to be progressive, continually maturing toward inummarik, a most genuine person. It stems from correct interaction with people and animals and environment. Inummarit (plural) are people of particular places though the importance of mobility is emphasized. Inummarit have the right relationship with the world by being generous. Cohesion of community is valued and kept by tolerance, calmness, friendliness, non interference, patience, obedience, cooperativeness. The way inummarik acts ­ works, talks, walks and eats ­ is distinct. Importance of hunting, distributing food and eating traditional foods is underlined. Brody's portray of inummarik is similar to Stairs', though he emphasizes certain traditions (speaking Inuktitut, eating raw meat, using a dog-team) more (Brody, 1991:142). He also struggles how some Inuit using technological advances of modern life and behave erratically call themselves inummarik (Brody, 1991:148,160-161). Stairs and Wenzel (1992:8,10) answer his dilemma by emphasising the importance of situational identities which crop up with different contexts and call for certain codes of conduct ­ a person can be inummarik one day and something else the next. Stairs (1992, 118) also notes that inummarik identity is evolving and the "progressive identity is demonstrated by Inuit as they absorb such external features as syllabic writing, fox trapping, media technology, and large-scale carving into the same body of traditional knowledge as oral `literature,' sea mammal hunting, land lore, and kinship structure". In Inuvialuit Pitqusiit: The Culture of the Inuvialuit (GNWT, 1991: 11) the Inuvialuit note that just by looking at a person one might not know that they are Inuvialuit. Inuvialuk might have dark or blond hair. They might be a hunter or an office clerk or 182
both. There are many different kinds of Inuvialuit, but the major commonalities unite and define the Inuvialuit. The Inuvialuit know who Inuvialuit are, because they know the person's birth place, family, history and personality. Accordingly, the Inuvialuit recognize the uniqueness of a person, and the cultural and ethnic commonalities that tie them together: Being Inuvialuit means having love and appreciation for the land. Many of us have jobs so we can afford to spend time in the land. A few of us spend a great time on the land, making it our home above all else. All of us can feel the changing seasons in our very hearts and souls. Most of us rely on local game for a good part of our diet. We greatly appreciate seasonal foods, just as our ancestors did. This explanation in Inuvialuit Pitqusiit does correspond to how Stairs and Wenzel explain inummarik. Some of the Elders I asked about inummarik told me that they had heard of it, but that the word was not used. When I asked can a person who goes to school and works in an office be inummarik, one of the Elders said yes. An Elder from Sacks Harbor told me that since people do not speak their language, words like inummarik are not used anymore. An Elder in Tuktoyaktuk said that Inuvialuit speak about "the right way" or "good life". My attempt to deepen my understanding of Inuvialuit cultural identity's connection to inummarik was not thorough enough to say anything comprehensive about it. If I wanted to continue the investigation I would have to study the different Inuvialuktun dialects and hold a workshop with Elders in Tuktoyaktuk to find out what words and metaphors reflect the Inuvialuit cultural identity the best. Triandis (1995:27) approaches individualism and collectivism as context specific. A person might be individualistic in work, but collectivistic in leisure activities, with extended family, and community involvement. Thus, when looking at identity and individualism it should be clearly stated which part of human life is under investigation. From the empirical data presented in this thesis I come to the conclusion that the meaning of education is to acquire the means to provide for a family. Though youth might have individualistic dreams, reality in and of Tuktoyaktuk is collectivist in nature. This is due, 183
among other things, to the educational barriers, cultural ties, and scarce occupational opportunities. References: Brody, H. 1991. The People's Land: Inuit, Whites and the Eastern Arctic. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. GNWT. 1991. Inuvialuit Pitqusiit: The culture of the Inuvialuit. Yellowknife: Department of Education. Stairs, A. 1992. Self-Image, World-Image: Speculations on Identity from Experiences with Inuit. Ethos 20(1):116-126 Stairs, A. and G. Wenzel. 1992. "I am I and the Environment": Inuit Hunting, Community, and Identity. Journal of Indigenous Studies 3(1):1-12. Stairs, A. 1994. Indigenous ways to go to school: Exploring many visions. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 15(1):63-76. Triandis, H.C. 1995. Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press. 184

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