Aboriginal science symposium: Enabling Aboriginal student success in post-secondary institutions

Kulig, J. C., Duke, M., Solowoniuk, J., Weaselfat, R., Shade, C., Lamb, M. and Wojtowicz, B. (2010) Aboriginal science symposium: Enabling Aboriginal student success in post-secondary institutions. Rural and Remote Health, 10 1: 1-7.

Author Kulig, J. C.
Duke, M.
Solowoniuk, J.
Weaselfat, R.
Shade, C.
Lamb, M.
Wojtowicz, B.
Title Aboriginal science symposium: Enabling Aboriginal student success in post-secondary institutions
Journal name Rural and Remote Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-6354
ISBN 1445-6354
Publication date 2010-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 10
Issue 1
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Editor Paul Worley
Place of publication Deakin West, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian Rural Health Education Network
Language eng
Subject C1
939901 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
920210 Nursing
930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
130301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
Formatted abstract
Context:  Research in the sciences is now beginning to acknowledge what many Aboriginal educators and students have experienced or witnessed in educational curricula, a general dismissal of Indigenous knowledge as being considered scientifically ‘worthy’. This is the result of educational institutions’, and the systems within which they are placed, failure to teach from broad cultural orientations. Aboriginal persons are under-represented in post-secondary education programs, with a similar disparity in the limited number of Aboriginal persons holding careers in health, science and engineering occupations.

: The University of Lethbridge is attempting to increase the number of Aboriginal students who successfully complete programs in a variety of areas. To that end, the Support Program for Aboriginal Nursing Students (SPANS) commenced in Fall 2007 in order to increase the numbers of Aboriginal students who enter and complete the 4 year nursing program. At one time there were as few as 2–3 Aboriginal nursing students across the 4 years of the program. Since SPANS began there are now 34 students of Aboriginal background across all 4 years of the nursing program. This is noteworthy because statistically there are only 1200 Aboriginal Registered Nurses in Canada, a daunting statistic that is alarming low. One of the objectives of SPANS is to enhance the nursing faculty and clinical instructors’ understanding of Aboriginal science so that it can be integrated into the current curriculum. With this aim, an Aboriginal Science Symposium was held in May 2009 to bring nursing faculty together with other University faculty and experts in Aboriginal science. The symposium attempted to highlight the links between programs in nursing and health sciences and the need for integration with Aboriginal science. The 3 specific symposium objectives were to: (1) generate an understanding of traditional scientific knowledge; (2) bridge Aboriginal and Western scientific thought, toward and; (3) understand ways of implementing and raising awareness of how Aboriginal knowledge and understanding of science can be applied to help inform and improve teaching in all educational science settings.

Lessons learned
:  From keynote addresses, panel group discussions, and breakout sessions, participant responses to the symposium objectives coalesced into 4 themes: (1) Aboriginal ways of knowing: informing Western science curricula; (2) Elders and community, enhancing science education; (3) Aboriginal student experience in the science classroom; and (4) strategies and advice to meet the needs of the Aboriginal science student.
Keyword Aboriginal
Aboriginal science
Aboriginal ways of knowing
Health sciences students
Indigenous knowledge
References 1. Mendelson M. Aboriginal peoples and postsecondary education in Canada. Ottawa: The Caledon Institute of Social Policy, 2006. 2. Statistics Canada. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census. (Online) 2008. Available: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080115/dq080115a-eng.htm (Accessed 6 November 2009). 3. Statistics Canada. Educational Portrait of Canada: 2006 Census. Statistics Canada cat no 97-560-X. (Online) 2008. Available: http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/analysis/education/pdf/97-560-XIE2006001.pdf 4. Rae B. Post secondary review: higher expectations for higher learning. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2005. 5. Cajete GA. Igniting the spark: an indigenous science education model. Skyand: Kivaki Press, 1999.Accessed 26 July 2009). 6. Aikenhead GS. Renegotiating the culture of school science. In: R Millar, J Leach, J Osborne (Eds). Improving science education: The contribution of research. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2000; 245-264. 7. Canadian Council of Learning. Lesson in learning: the cultural divide in science education for Aboriginal learners. (Online) 2007. Available: http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/LessonsInLearning/Feb-01-07-The-cultural-divide-in-science.pdf (Accessed 26 July 2009). 8. Friesen JW, Friesen VL. Aboriginal education in Canada: a plea for integration. Calgary: Detselig, 2002. 9. Aikenhead GS. Science education for everyday life: evidence based practice. New York: Teachers College, 2006. 10. Van-Eijck M, Roth WM. Recalibrating the status of science and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in education. Science Education 2007; 91(6): 926-947. 11. Snively G, Corsiglia J. Rediscovering indigenous science: Implications for science education. Science Education 2001; 85(1): 6-34. 12. Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. 2002/2001 Census Dictionary. Statistics Canada cat no 92-378-XIE. Ottawa. (Online) 2002. Available: http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Reference/dict/appendices/92-378-XIE02002.pdf (Accessed 26 July 2009).
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes "Conference Report"

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Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Wed, 26 May 2010, 11:29:49 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work