Monday, 28 January 2013

Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education

Kathy Mallett and Wendy Prince are conducting a research project entitled Kiskinwahamkwakewin. This is a cree word which describes the task of education or instruction.   Some of the findings were then taken and developed into the social justice campaign entitled Aboriginal Children Count.  Too often the debates happening around Aboriginal people ignore issues for young children. This campaign is to reach the grassroots and connect with parents and talk about the needs of young children. Further goals include making government more aware about the issues surrounding young children and their specific needs.

There were three stages to their work. The researchers invited families to participate in order to discuss the values they hold and what meaningful people in their lives gave them or taught them those values. The second aspect they asked the parents is what values they actually taught their children and what are the differences between the values they learned and the values they teach to their young children. Wendy and Kathy also asked the families what types of programming they wanted to see in their communities.

As an example Wendy talks about how she would yell at her children to get them to do things. She was mimicking the values in parenting she had learned from her mother, who was also a residential school survivor. Eventually she decided to ask the kids how the felt about the parenting values she was using during a family sharing circle. The children indicated that they did not like this and wanted to see greater respect. Wendy then used more Indigenous parenting techniques to convey her values to her children. 
Some of the values that the parents talked about where the seven teaching and other values such as courage, respect, helping one another, eating together, standing independently, language.

To close Kathy said that too often Aboriginal parents are stereotyped as being bad parents, but there are excellent parents who do wonderful work with their children and their research demonstrates that the values that Aboriginal peoples hold as parents are very important and positive and should be used by many different parents.

The researcher have the intent of going into other communities(i.e. William Whyte, St John's neighborhoods) to complete the learning circle portions of the research  in the near future. 

Kathy Mallet is a mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother of three boys and one girl.  Kathy is a band member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, and has lived in the inner-city of Winnipeg since the early 1950s.   In 2008 she received the Grass Roots Women’s Award, and in 2000 she received the first Manitoba Human Rights Commitment Award.  Kathy’s first award came in 1985 when she was recognized for her community work by receiving the YWCA Women of the Year Award in Community Service. Most recently Kathy received the Order of Manitoba on July 11, 2011 and the Grandmothers Keep the Fires Burning award.

Wendy Prince, Cree woman from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and also familial connections to Peguis First Nation.  Notawiy(mother of three amazing adults), Kohkum (grandmother of two).  Wendy currently supports young parents(13 -23) in the areas of housing, budgeting, educational pursuits, finding appropriate childcare, parenting, and provides 1-1 counseling(i.e grief & loss, self-esteem, family violence, etc.) via the Parenting Student Support Program @ Mount Carmel Clinic. 

To Learn More (Interview and Podcast)  


Ouellette, Robert-Falcon. (Director) (2013, Jan 28). At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research. Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education with Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from  
Ouellette, Robert-Falcon, dir. "Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education with Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince ." At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research.. N.p., 28 2013. web. 28 Jan 2013. < ›


  1. The premise of this article is quite accurate in the importance of making the government more aware about the issues surrounding young aboriginal children and their specific needs. Aboriginal children are notably the most marginalized group of people within Canada. This article expresses the grave need to ensure that Aboriginal children are not being left behind in having their needs met, and through the educational system which is articulated through the Aboriginal Children Count campaign. I feel that when issues surrounding Aboriginal people arise, whether at home or in the media, the children are often a secondary component or ignored entirely unless it’s a direct issue to the child. Thus, having a campaign that connects Aboriginal parents and their children’s needs directly can have a positive impact toward meeting those needs entirely. It is important to realize that all families have different values, and different means of expressing those values. Sometimes, values may be lost over a generation, transmitted with difficulty due to circumstances or at times new ones may formulate according to new enhanced perspectives, and innovative approaches to raising children. It is important to consider the certain ways of teaching and raising children occur, which can further illuminate assets or deficits children are equipped with today.
    One of the main points that stood out for me as a reader in this blog posting inferred that:

    "Aboriginal parents are stereotyped as being bad parents…”

    I agree that Aboriginal parents have often been stereotyped as being unfit, bad and so forth. Some of this can be attributed to a different or “unconventional” parenting style; some can be attributed to negligent and careless parenting, although to the contrary this can be seen across all ethnicities, not just Aboriginals, which is a common misconception. Stereotypes as such occur mainly due to the fact that that is the only side that is typically shown by the media as well. This further exasperates societies perception if they deem who appears to be an unfit Aboriginal parent. However, Aboriginal parents are more easily crucified for a mistake, over a non-aboriginal parent that commits an offense toward a child or disregards them; non-aboriginal faults will rarely make headlines. As Prime Minister John Howard of Australia would say regarding children's school attendance throughout Australia, "It has got nothing to do with race," he said. "It's got everything to do with responsibility of the parents."
    One part of this post I don’t entirely agree with, mentions that yelling at children to get things done is counterintuitive and a result of the mother having learnt that parenting technique from her own mother, a residential school survivor. Granted, yelling isn’t always the best method of communication, but I believe that at times children need firm guidance.

  2. Quite often, when discussing Aboriginal issues in Canada, the one group that is overlooked are the children, and their issues. In order for our society to improve the state of affairs for Aboriginal peoples, we need to be focusing on the children, and listening to their concerns.
    A child’s problem solving skills come directly from what they see from their parents, and other important adults in their lives. If their parents choose to solve problems peacefully through talking and sharing, the child will follow their example while in school. However, if the parents tackle their problems through shouting and responding violently, the child will also practice these values in the classroom and on the playground, which detrimentally affects other students and teachers.
    As an elementary school teacher, it is crucial for me to understand the importance of the influence parents have on their children, and how this influence will play out in my classroom’s dynamics. The parents are in the classroom; their values are represented by the child. So if I have 25 students in one class, I potentially have 50 or more parents represented, all with different ideas and values.
    Maintaining a connection with parents is important. They play the most important role in a young child’s life. In some schools I have visited, great emphasis is placed on involving the families and communities of the child, and giving them a voice in the school. I admire this development and hope to incorporate the same ideas into my classroom in the future.
    I respect the seven values of aboriginal parenting described above, and hope to use these ideas, and potentially the painting, in my classroom. The seven values of aboriginal parenting are humility, wisdom, love, courage, respect, and honesty, all centred around truth. These values could also be seen as universal, something that ever culture strives to instill in the younger generation.

  3. After listening to the podcast with Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince I am captivated by what they have to say. Education is very important in any child’s life, and there research in early education is done with a passion and concern towards aboriginal children. I agree with Kathy when she states that too often ‘Aboriginal parents are stereotyped as bad parents’ when in reality there are excellent Aboriginal parents doing important and positive things for their children. I think the media can portray Aboriginal parents in a bad light. We should be moving away from that and towards the positive stories, such as the research Kathy and Wendy are conducting in Winnipeg.

    Education is a necessity in society; however the way it happens is in constant flux. There are ever changing policies, programs, professional development and populations that will continue to fluctuate and shift as the world moves forward in education for diversity. Since there is vast difference in the population that a teacher may face in the classroom from city to city and year to year the education of that teacher to learn to teach to diversity is the first challenge. There will be different requirements for that teacher to meet depending on where they have taken their schooling therefore the education that they receive in university in one province may be vastly different from another. This difference is not necessarily a negative aspect to education just merely a challenge that a teacher may face when teaching to diversity in Canada.

    I think that I have to be critical and reflective on my pedagogy as a teacher. Many challenges have occurred when addressing cultural diversity in education and I am certain there will be many more but I believe that if we as educators truly do want success for all learners then it will happen with the goal “to inspire and empower our children and youth as they learn to understand, negotiate and transform the world around them.” (Zine, 2005)

    Zine, Jasmine (2005) Inclusive schooling in a plural society: Removing the margins. ATA Magazine 85(4), 12-17.

  4. For the second blog comment entry, I have read and listened to the blog article and podcast entitled, “Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education” which discusses the research conducted by Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince on the importance of incorporating the voice, needs, and issues of young, Aboriginal children (Ouellette, 2013). The entry focuses on how children are treated in a family setting when the main form of discipline and management comes from the perspective of Residential Schools. This means that if children today are overlooked and raised in an environment that is not centered on their needs, they will consequently feel disrespected and unvalued. The article suggests that the seven Indigenous teachings of respect, love, trust, humility, wisdom, and courage should be at the core of parenting and education for Aboriginal children. As said in the entry, “some of the values that the parents talked about where the seven teaching and other values such as courage, respect, helping one another, eating together, standing independently, language” (Ouellette, 2013, p.1). There is a strong connection between the values presented here for raising Aboriginal children and education for Aboriginal students. The basis of culturally responsive instruction should be on the values that Aboriginal children and their families believe to be important to their culture. In an early years classroom specifically, students should feel as though they are respected, reflected, and represented within the community of learners (Toulouse, 2006). This is essential in providing an educational experience that will encourage students to value education from a lifelong perspective. This is not only true for Aboriginal students, but for all students for every diverse background. As an educator, building relationships and growing to understand the perspectives of every student within the classroom will lead to increased educational attainment, self-efficacy, and positive cognitive, spiritual, and physical health (Toulouse, 2006).


    Toulouse, P. (2006). Supporting Aboriginal student success: Self-esteem and identity, a living teachings approach. Retrieved from

  5. This article resonated with me because it discusses how important it is that we, as teachers, become the best role model we can be for our students. No matter our students’ cultural background, it is extremely important that each child feels as though they are significant. I think that this responsibility does not only fall on the parents of the children, but of the other adults in their daily lives, particularly their teachers. Parents have a great responsibility in that they are typically the primary models in a child’s life. They teach their children about values and let them know what they should consider valuable. However, there are many students that we will encounter in our careers that do not have a parental role model in their lives. In this case, we will need to become the primary person to teach children the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum consists of all the things teachers teach students in a day, that are not a part of the concrete curriculum guide, for example, what to value. In the post, Wendy mentions how she yelled at her children as a form of parenting. They did not respond well to this and needed to have a friendlier environment to thrive in. Teachers must carefully consider their actions when they are the primary adults in a child’s life. I think that the 7 teachings (love, respect, honesty, wisdom, humility, courage, and truth) are definitely a part of the hidden curriculum. I believe that it is incredibly important to teach the students that come from broken homes the values of the 7 teachings. We use our wisdom in order to teach our students to love and respect one another, as well as to be courageous and truthful. These students are the ones that will need our wisdom the most in order to become the best people that they can be. The 7 teachings can be considered by all teachers when looking to implement values in their students’ lives.

  6. Issues affecting young Aboriginal children are seldom heard about in mainstream media or in parliament. When they are mentioned, it is usually in the realm of abuse or having been seized from their birth homes by Child and Family Services and placed in the care of other, often non-Aboriginal homes.
    In the article, Wendy Prince decries yelling at her children, and states they would benefit more from an Aboriginal perspective on parenting. Kathy Mallet states that Aboriginal parents are often seen as “bad parents”.
    That Canadians view Aboriginal parents and parenting as inferior is due to a lack of information, and ignorance of cultural differences. Dr. Clare Brant is an expert on aboriginal psychology and mental health. He states (1990),

    “Many general psychiatrists see Native children [as]…passive, difficult to assess and not forthcoming. … The general psychiatrists failure to recognize the derivatives of the individual child’s cultural heritage as they affect his behavior in a clinical situation may result in unperceived errors in diagnosis…”

    One can only assume that teachers and social workers, having exclusively a mainstream Canadian cultural background would (and do) react in the same way. However innocently ignorant, the truth exists that these children, and therefore their parents, are stereotyped as difficult people.

    Regarding Aboriginal parenting ethics, though he admits they are varied across the spectrum of peoples, Brant states,

    “The ethic of non-interference is one of the most widely accepted principles of behavior among Native people. It even extends to adult relationships with children and manifests itself as permissiveness. … Native parents will be reluctant to force the child into doing anything he does not choose to do.”

    Passivity, permissiveness and guardedness are all undesirable traits in mainstream society. The young children, along with their parents, who enter a world uneducated to their cultural heritage, face baffling hostility and frustration with those who simply don’t understand that the child needs an alternative manner of communication. These are not problem children, the products of “bad parents”.

    Brant, Clare. Native Ethics and Rules of Behaviour. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 35, (August 1990), 534-535.

  7. One thing that stood out for me from this article is the effectiveness of sharing circles. Wendy decided to ask her children during a family sharing circle how they felt when she would yell at them. Wendy’s mum was a survivor of residential schooling and she would yell at Wendy to communicate. From what I have been taught about sharing circles I know that you are supposed to feel safe and free of judgement while participating. Clearly Wendy’s children felt safe in their family sharing circle as they were able to tell her that they did not like when she would yell at them. As a future educator I think it is very useful to be aware of the power of sharing circles and how it is a great was to be respectful of and inclusive or Aboriginal children. Even if a classroom did not have any Aboriginal children in it, introducing students to Aboriginal traditions and customs is still important so as to gain a deeper understanding of the history of Canada.

    Living in a country like Canada I think it is very important that diversity is celebrated in the classroom. I remember there being potlucks and other events where students would celebrate their family’s cultural background. Incorporating Aboriginal customs into the daily routine of the classroom would make the classroom environment more comfortable for students who have an Aboriginal background. But I think that children in the early years of their education all require attentive teachers, respect, and a feeling that they are safe while in school. All children should be treated equally with no bias or favoritism shown to one group over another.

  8. I agree with the statement that Aboriginal parents are often stereotyped as being bad parents. This is a stereotype that is very real in Winnipeg. Bad parenting is only one of the stereotypes that they are plagued with. I think it is important for people to look past what they see in the media or on the streets and realize that there are wonderful Aboriginal parents out there just as there are in very other culture around the world.

    I think it is a very real possibility that most people have no idea that Aboriginal cultures value parenting and strive to teach their children values like courage, respect, helping one another, eating together, standing independently, language. We have a lot we can learn from the traditions in parenting held by Aboriginal peoples.

    I think it is important that schools are aware and informed about the parenting styles of Aboriginal families. Research says that parental involvement in schools for minority families, specifically Aboriginal famlilies, is persistently low (Davies, 2002; Floyd, 1998; Moles, 1993). This leads to me ask… why? It’s important for teachers to realize the reasons that Aboriginal parents are often not involved in their child’s schooling, or at least not visibly. Is it perhaps because they feel marginalized in their community? Is it because they had bad schooling experiences in their past and they do not know how to become involved? Perhaps they are intimidated? Perhaps they don’t understand the school system if they are a parent who is coming from a reserve and did not grow up in the city. Teachers need to be informed about the reasons why these stereotypes are present and what we can do to make a change.

    I think the campaign Aboriginal Children Count is a positive way to inform people about Aboriginal values in parenting and teaching. This is a campaign that could potentially inform teachers about how to promote the involvement of Aboriginal values in their schools and classrooms. I personally would love to attend a PD session about how to integrate these styles and values into my classroom.

  9. The way that children learn and develop is so important. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society there is “scientific evidence that shows early experiences have a lasting and far-reaching impact on health, development, and later life.” This implies that those first experiences can be either positive or negative to the child’s overall growth and maturation. When it comes to aboriginal children, it seems this group is being overlooked as to their specific needs, and perhaps not learning any specifics about their culture as their parents do not have the means to pass down that indigenous knowledge.

    Even though Aboriginal parents have been stereotyped as bad parents, we know that this is not always the case. This is indicative by Wendy asking her children what they would like to see more of, and when they said respect she “then used more Indigenous parenting techniques to convey her values to her children.” The seven sacred teachings are an incredible way not only for aboriginal children, but all children, to learn and understand core values. And in the case of Aboriginal children it also comes from a cultural perspective which might be more effective in teaching and translating those values to children.

    As adults, and in my case, as a teacher, we are responsible for teaching the next generation what we value and what is important for the healthy function of society. And this starts young. We need to embrace our differences and support each other and teach a code of conduct to our young ones based on love, respect, truth, honest, humility, wisdom and courage. It will only be when we all embrace these values will we see social justice for our children.

  10. Just looking at the graduation statistics of Aboriginal students makes it obvious that there is something in our education system that is not working. Something must be done to change this, it is undeniable. When searching for this change, talking to families is a great start. Families know very what they need and where their struggles lie and having this information will make any decisions regarding Aboriginal education much more informed.
    The mother, Wendy, described in this article tells of how her children did not like her yelling at them. Instead they “wanted to see greater respect”. This value of respect between parents and their children is not one desired only by Aboriginal families, but by many families of all backgrounds. Coming from an upbringing where I was constantly being yelled at and yelling back I can relate. Many times when I yelled at my parents it was out of frustration at not being allowed to have an adult conversation, or to have my opinion considered respectfully. Most often my ideas were tossed aside as childish nonsense, even when I knew I was speaking the truth. The dynamic in many households, including mine, is one where the child is less than the parent. The child is treated as less than and their ideas are often treated as less than the adult’s as well. As such, it is true that all families – whatever their race, culture, background, etc. – would benefit from using Indigenous parenting styles, using the seven teachings.
    The seven teachings (respect, wisdom, love, courage, humility, honesty and truth) which are taught in Aboriginal culture are not values which should only be held by those belonging to that culture. They are rich and positive values which would increase positivity for any family and for any classroom. It is important for parents to value their child’s thoughts and ideas but it is equally important for a teacher to value his/her student’s thoughts and ideas. Luckily although much of what I said at home was not taken seriously, most of what I said at school was discussed with respect.

  11. I agree with this post in saying that Aboriginal parents are often stereotyped as being bad parents. The unfortunate reality is that often young parents have not been educated in how to deal with very young children, and alongside the stereotype, some of these young parents are Aboriginal peoples. This lack of education however can stem from a wider variety of factors. When you look the disconnect Residential Schools created, many people lost their traditional values and teachings, and have not been able to pass those skills onto their children. Further into that, large majority of skills, especially parenting skills, are going to be similar to those of your parents, as most people learn by example. If the example is not the best, a person may not have all the knowledge and skills they need to be considered a “good parent”. I found the example of asking the children what they would respond to pretty powerful. From my experience with children in general, yelling seems to be the main method to get the children’s attention, however, they will repeat that behaviour, and generally not be responsive. The suggestion is the post was for Aboriginal parents to look to the 7 teachings for ideas on how to improve parenting. I personally think this applies to more than Aboriginal parents, as these values are extremely important, especially when children are at a young age. To better educate Aboriginal parents, access to resources in needed. These resources also need to connect with the traditional teaching, be create a more influential and positive resource that could in turn help “bad parents”. A lack for knowledge and experience would be the main reason that people see it as “bad parenting”. Although it may not be intentional, parents may to know any different from hat they have been taught and what they have experienced.

  12. After reading this post I was interested in the effect that residential schools have had on parenting as a result of the section of this post on Wendy who was mimicking the parenting techniques of her mother, a residential school survivor. I have heard before that many Aboriginal parents have trouble parenting their children because they are the products of the generations of broken families caused by residential schools.

    I found a journal article which examines the effect of residential schools on parenting called: “Residential Schools and Aboriginal Parenting: Voices of Parents” by Jean Lafrance and Don Collins. One quote from that article which really resonated with me was: “The practice of separating children from parents and the parenting role model is singularly responsible for many of the problems related to child care now found among Aboriginal parents” (109). Residential schools are the source of so many of the problems that Aboriginal people face today, and understandable so, but it is still quite surprising to think that that system had a domino effect that is still damaging children today.

    The article discusses the practice of separating children from their parents and how children may have been away from family members for 10 or more years, thus not experiencing life in a family nor having family values modeled for them. “Children learn parenting skills by the way they are parented” (109), as the article explains, and if children don’t grow up seeing those skills being modeled they wont know how.

    I think that the best way to work on this problem is education. We need to educate current parents about techniques that will help their children succeed, and we need to educate children on how to be good parents when they grow up. I think that how this post discusses the Aboriginal values as a part in parenting is very important too. Culture is always a great thing to bring alive for children and the values discussed work well for parenting. In this case what needs to be done is educating both parents and children about these values so that they can take them home with them and hopefully have a happier home environment. Maybe this will have a more positive domino effect and future generations will be able to look back on the effects of residential schools as an important impact on our past, not our present.

    “Residential Schools and Aboriginal Parenting: Voices of Parents”


  13. I feel that the issues children face are often ignored or not taken seriously, especially with issues facing Aboriginal children. I do not understand this because if we want children to take adults seriously, we need to be taking the children seriously as well. I have noticed that children are likely to model attitudes and actions that they see happening with adults that they look up to. Wendy Prince put this into better perspective for me with her example of how she practiced the same discipline techniques with her children as did her own parents. Even though she did not like being yelled at as a child, she continued this with her children because it was all she had ever seen or experienced. That is, until she actually asked her children how they felt about her parenting style and they admitted they would like to see greater respect. I feel that it’s important for children to feel respected by others in order for them to reciprocate and show respect towards others, particularly adults.
    Although a child’s parents are likely to be the biggest role model in their lives as they are constantly in a position to look up to them, I feel that educators can have the next biggest influence on children’s lives. These influences can either have an incredibly negative impact on the child’s later life but it would be ideal that these role models in their lives had a positive impact on them. A teacher always has a wide variety of students in their classroom who come from diverse cultural backgrounds and it is our role to make each student feel they are significant and important. There will also be a number of students who come from broken homes who are in desperate need of reliable role models in their lives. Canadian Paediatrics Society’s First Years First Act states that “During the early years, children’s experiences can either nurture health and resiliency, or make them vulnerable to poor health and development. If children are supported with positive environments and social experiences, their future will look bright. But if they experience chronic stressors such as poverty, maternal depression, abuse or neglect, their development and health and well-being risk being disrupted or undermined.” This statement taken from the Canadian Paediatrics Society website proves that a child’s early years education experience is a crucial indicator of their future lives.


  14. It is unfortunate that the government is overlooking the issues facing Aboriginal children. They should be focusing all of their attention on them because they are the future. They should be investing time and money in order to alleviate those problems. These children need to be the ones who carry forth the Aboriginal culture in the best way possible. If they continue to be neglected by the government, they will not be able to understand and carry on those traditions. It is encouraging to see the research done by both Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince being used in a social justice campaign to raise awareness about this issue. It brings this issue to the forefront and hopefully will allow for change in this issue.
    The other aspect of this post that I found interesting was the impact residential schooling had on parenting. Wendy used the parenting style that she saw from her mother who was also residential school survivor (Ouellette, 2013). The experiences they had to go through while in residential schools impacted the way they interacted and disciplined their children. Being taken away from Aboriginal parenting techniques “robbed these children of their rightful cultural legacy” (Lafrance & Collins, 2003, p.109). They were not able to carry on those traditions with their own children because they had no understanding of it. Jean Lafrance and Don Collins of the University of Calgary, look into depth about the affects of residential schools on Aboriginal adults and how those consequences are carried out in today’s society (2003). Even though there is a current generation that has not directly experienced residential schools, they are still being affected by not being able to experience the traditional Aboriginal familial techniques (Lafrance & Collins, 2003). It is unfortunate that this tragedy is still affecting Aboriginal children. Hopefully through awareness and further re-teaching of these traditional teachings, Aboriginal children can benefit from these important teachings.
    There is still a lot of work to do by the government in addressing the needs of Aboriginal children and the affects of residential schools are having on them. These social justice issues need to be put at the forefront of Aboriginal issues in Canada, so that the future generations are able to experience their traditional teachings.

    Lafrance, J., & Collins, D. (2003). Residential schools and Aboriginal parenting: Voices of
    parents. Native Social Work Journal 4(1), 104-125.

    Ouellette, Robert-Falcon. (Director) (2013, Jan 28). At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous
    Research. Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education with Kathy Mallet and Wendy Prince [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

  15. Blog #7: “Aboriginal Children Count: A Campaign for Social Justice for Early Education”
    Kristjana Michaluk
    February 25, 2014

    I recently was watching the documentary We Were Children and so when I read this blog post it made me think about how residential schools have affected Aboriginal families. Children who were in residential schools have suffered greatly and do not always know the best ways to parent. Robert has spoken about these issues before in his blog posts and I think this leads to the stereotyping that Kathy Mallet and Wendy Price researched about. “Kathy said that too often Aboriginal parents are stereotyped as being bad parents, but there are excellent parents who do wonderful work with their children and their research demonstrates that the values that Aboriginal peoples hold as parents are very important and positive and should be used by many different parents” (Ouellette, para. 5).

    As teacher candidates we are taught that schools teach more than reading, writing, and arithmetic; there are hidden and null curriculums as well. This means that schools also teach values, social constructs, and more whether they mean to or not. Aboriginal families are often stereotyped into an unflattering category that states they are poor parents and uninvolved in their children’s education. This is unfair and as teachers (and people really) we need to make sure that we are not seeing out students like this. We need to support the children and families who need support regardless of their cultural background. People are people, end of story.

    I think that many Aboriginal children and parents struggle and I wish that research such as Mallet’s and Price’s were more available for them. Truthfully, I believe that all parents could learn from them. Euripides said “Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future” which makes me think of the effects of Residential Schools on Aboriginal peoples. Families were torn apart and children did not learn the things they needed to, they were not given the support to get over the traumas they experienced; values and teachings were not passed down. I plan to show the film We Were Children to my social studies class this practicum and I hope to then discuss the effects of residential schools; hopefully if we educate our future leaders than we can start to eliminate some of these stereotypes.


    Wolochatiuk, T. (Director). (2012). We Were Children [Documentary]. Canada : National Film Board of Canada.