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Inside the cultural chasm at N.W.T. schools

The Story

The mix of white and Inuit students at schools in the Northwest Territories is revealing some difficult dilemmas. Inuit students are not flourishing in school. Their parents think more education in the Inuktitut language and a culturally relevant curriculum would help. But white parents don't want their children losing out because of the lagging Inuit students. One argument focuses on the difference between education and schooling. Is there room for Inuit culture in Canadian schools? Both sides recognize that northern Canada is culturally distinct from the south, but regional control over education is not an option the government wants to consider. Inuit parents, however, are demanding an education system that responds to the unique needs of their children. Today, the predicament is heard nationwide.

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Dec. 15, 1982
Guests: Ethel Andrew, Elsie Cassaway, Margaret Cook, Cindy Gilday, Steve Kakfwi, Dave Mathews, Roy Menna, Dennis Patterson, Mary Wilson
Host: Nadine Berger
Duration: 27:17

Did You know?

• Since the mid-1970s, the Inuit have negotiated several land claims with the federal government, the government of the Northwest Territories and the province of Quebec. These include the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (1975), the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984) with the Inuit in the Western Arctic, and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1993).

• These agreements have slowly but surely enabled the Inuit people to have more control over curriculum development, policy formation and language instruction.


An Inuit Education: Honouring a Past, Creating a Future more