Supporting Indigenous STEM Students

This is a snippet of Michelle Pidgeon and my post at Supporting Student Success.

The disparity of post-secondary education (PSE) completion between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians (40% vs. 55.3%) continues to persist (Statistics Canada, 2016). Unfortunately, the disparity is wider when we compare undergraduate degree completion between Indigenous (8.6%) and non-Indigenous Canadians (23.25%). The gap of post-secondary completion (certificate, diploma, degree, and above) specific to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields is even wider. Indigenous people are half as likely to have STEM based PSE (4.1% vs. 10%), and for those with STEM Bachelors degree and above, the gap moves to being a fifth as likely (1.1% vs. 5.7%).

In 2012 Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta created the Aboriginal Science & Technology Education Program (ASTEP) to support the growth of Indigenous STEM students in the Faculty of Science and Technology. This program operated from 2012-2019 and represented one of three Indigenous specific STEM programs offered specifically at the university level in Canada.  To understand the impact and influence of this program an external review was conducted in 2017 following Indigenous research processes (Kovach, 2009; Pidgeon & Hardy Cox, 2002). This process included an analysis of institutional data, comparisons with similar programs, and interviews and sharing circles with students, staff, and faculty who were closely associated with ASTEP.

Read the rest at Supporting Student Success

Review: Pathways for Remembering and Recognizing Indigenous Thought in Education

This is a snippet of my review posted at SA-Exchange.

Sandra D. Styres 2017 book Pathways for Remembering and Recognizing Indigenous Thought in Education: Philosophies of Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (land) is a key addition to the literature around understanding core concepts in Indigenous philosophies of education.

The audience of this book is academics who want to be able to express the specific philosophies that Indigenous people bring to education. It is not a book aimed at practitioners so much as researchers. Although it touches on story as a teaching method (Archibald, 2008) it does not utilize that as a primary method itself. There is some teaching through story but not nearly as much as a book like Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This book falls somewhere between western academic writing and Indigenous teaching through story, and that is one of its strengths. In addition, while Styres is trying to explain concepts that are common to many Indigenous peoples, she is approaching educational philosophy from a Haudenosaunee perspective.

Read the rest of this review at SA-Exchange.

Dispelling Myths about First Nations Chief’s Salaries

First nations chiefs are essentially CEOs these days. And with the First Nations Financial Transparancy Act we can see how much they’re making – see here for the data.

Now that list includes counselors so I pulled only chiefs and based this on the results.

Remember, these are CEOs. In addition to managing Treaty & Indian Act money coming in from the government they also manage various band run businesses, land and many other organizations.

Average salary: $80,00
Median salary: $75,000 (median Canadian salary is $70,000)

# paid less than poverty line: 76 (11%)
# paid less than canadian average salary: 179 (26%)
# paid less than middle class salary: 230 (34%)
# paid less than canadian median salary: 286 (42%)
# paid middle class salary 185 (27%)
# paid more than canadian middle class salary: 264 (39%)
# making it into the top 100 highest paid CEOs: 0

The highest paid chief made $930,793 but remember most of that (86% to be exact) was a bonus for negotiating a $8 million land deal for the band.

Only 15% of chiefs are even classed as “rich” (earning over $125,000 per year). To put that into perspective, more chiefs are earning less than $30,000.
So it looks like in general the “rich chief” myth isn’t just misleading, it’s completely wrong.