Essay, 2000 words.
“Volumes of studies, research and reports dealing with Indigenous people in non-Indigenous education systems paint a familiar picture of failure and despair. When measured in non-Indigenous terms, the educational outcomes of Indigenous people are still far below that of non-Indigenous people. This fact exists not because Indigenous people are less intelligent, but because educational theories and practices have been developed and controlled by non-Indigenous people. Thus, in more recent times, due to the involvement of Indigenous people, research shows that failure is indeed present, but that this failure is that of the system, not of Indigenous Peoples.” (Coolangatta Statement on Indigenous Rights in Education, p.56)
The Coolangatta statement was a statement developed over six years (1993-1999) across three WIPCE meetings where thousands of Indigenous Peoples examined and argued their rights to their education as Indigenous Peoples. The above quote highlights Indigenous education within western institutions from an Indigenous standpoint and presents that it is the system that is deficit not the students within it.
From examining this quote and in our current educational systems do these ideas have relevance when considering Indigenous student outcomes today? Is there a need for our educational systems to change to improve Indigenous educational outcomes? What should be changed in the system to improve these outcomes?