MÉTIS STUDENT SELF-IDENTIFICATION IN ONTARIO’S K–12 SCHOOLS: EDUCATION POLICY AND PARENTS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES
The mandate for school boards to develop self-identification policies for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students is part of the 2007 Ministry of Education’s Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. In this paper, we share findings from a larger study on the Framework that examines Métis student self-identification processes and assesses barriers, challenges, opportunities, and best practices. We draw on themes from a literature review concerning Métis education and we examine data from an online survey and key interviews with school administrators responsible for initiatives to support Métis students’ self-identification. The survey and interviews took place in the winter of 2011. We find that, for the self-identification policy to be effective, teachers, administrators, and support staff (clerks, receptionists, secretaries, and teaching/educational assistants) must build a school climate that welcomes Métis learners and parents, families, and communities and affirms their historical and contemporary values in practice. This way, students and their families may feel comfortable to identify as Métis.
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