Abstracts of Papers
Dr. Byron Robbie:
Recognition in Multicultural Societies: The Politics of Difference and the Education of Aboriginal Children
Until several decades ago, governments and social institutions in Canada were intent on assimilating all national and ethnic groups into the dominant culture. This was true for all groups that were different than the dominant culture of the time, but especially true for Aboriginal people and their many nations. During this time, people who were different from those of the dominant culture were made invisible. In the education of the public this was evident in how schools were organized and embedded in community, as well as how relationships and instruction were understood in the classroom.
In recent decades in Canada, people from different cultures have become increasingly engaged in government and institutions in developing more just governance practices. In this presentation I will look at the changes in the social and political environment and describe the features of a society based in a politics of individual rights and the recognition of difference. I will consider how Canada has reached this point and describe some of the forces that have caused such significant change and reflect on some of the implications this new environment has for education in the future. I will especially focus on the education of Aboriginal children and build the view that culture and identity are critical pieces of schooling.