University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shannen's dream

Once students understand what racism is and how it works to justify racial inequality and the oppression of Aboriginal peoples, they will be able to use a race and power analysis to understand current injustices such as the state of First Nations schools in Canada. 

For more information and teaching resources see:

A Report Card No Parent Would Accept

Photo: Liam Sharp
Shannen Koostachin’s plea for a decent school for Attawapiskat would not surprise children on many reserves across Canada. In northern Manitoba, students from the Bunibonibee First Nation could not attend regular classes this year because their school is contaminated with mould. Lake St. Martin First Nation students evacuated a school infested with snakes a decade ago and still go to class in portables while awaiting a new school.
Federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser has reported serious problems in educational funding at INAC several times since 2001 and told a Senate committee in November 2009 that she has seen little improvement over the decade. The Parliamentary Budget Officer supported complaints of underfunding in a special report on capital spending in First Nations schools last year. Only 49 percent of schools were listed in “good condition”; 77 schools were housed in “temporary structures”; and 10 schools were closed due to their condition. More than 20 percent of the schools were described as “not inspected.” Comprehensive reports from INAC and its independent critics are all available online.
Charlie Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins–James Bay and a long-time advocate for a new school for the Attawapiskat children in his riding, introduced a motion in Parliament this fall to guarantee equality of education for First Nations students. For more information, see www.shannensdream.ca.
“In provincial schools, there are guarantees by law and regulation on everything from curriculum to class sizes to the quality of the school building and the square footage of classrooms,” says Angus. “That doesn’t exist in Indian country. You get what Indian Affairs gives you.”
Linda Goyette

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