Martin, Barnard call for Indigenous perspectives in PSE

February 11, 2015

As part of a new series for the Globe and Mail, “Rich Country, Poor Nations,” former Prime Minister Paul Martin makes the case for including Indigenous thought in the classroom. Martin cites a recommendation from the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples that “Aboriginal children are entitled to learn and achieve in an environment that supports their development as whole individuals.” Martin asserts that universities must embrace Indigenous worldviews in order to help repair past harms and to provide a welcoming environment for the growing numbers of Aboriginal youth seeking higher education. “In today’s Canada, no student who wants to succeed should have to leave their identity at the door when they walk into a classroom,” writes Martin. University of Manitoba President David Barnard, writing in response to a Maclean’s article about racism in Canada, recently made a similar argument. Barnard mentioned ongoing efforts at uManitoba to engage Aboriginal students; to foster a better understanding of Indigenous perspectives, cultures, and histories among students, faculty, and staff; and to build a “culturally rich and safe and supportive learning and work environment.” In a recent post for Academica's Rethinking Higher Ed forum, Max FineDay argued that universities must do more to reach underrepresented groups, including Aboriginal people. This story also appeared in Academica's Indigenous Top Ten. Globe and Mail (Martin) | Globe and Mail (Series) | uManitoba News