Jean Graveline, Primary Investigator with Brenda
Westacoot, Shawn Wilson and Marie Battiste, Retention
of Aboriginal Students: A Qualitative Analysis of
Contributing Factors. Brandon University and University
of Saskatchewan. SSHRC Standard Research Grant. 2002-2005.
Summary of Proposed Research
The work of
the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP 1996)
has illustrated the importance Aboriginal
peoples place on education and the serious gaps still
remaining in educational institutions to ensure they
have access, resources, support,and the needed curriculum
to achieve their economic and social goals through education.
The study highlights Aboriginal peoples’ desire
to retain their identity and continue to build upon the
rich resources of their communities, through their language,
cultures, and elders’ knowledge and teachings.
The fact that Aboriginal people bring their own Aboriginal
worldviews with them when seeking post-secondary education
has not been fully understood or utilized in post-secondary
While post-secondary institutions have done considerable work in making bridges
to enable students to make transitions to university life, little has been
done to develop adequate programming that goes beyond student access to forging
new curriculum, programming, and supports to merge traditional Aboriginal knowledge
with universities. Furthermore, retention of Aboriginal peoples within Western
institutions continues to be an on-going challenge at the undergraduate level,
while at the graduate level, the issue is to encourage and inspire the most
appropriate type of leadership growth needed for First Nations schools and
This research then focuses on two types of educational
programming, undergraduate and graduate education, with
the aim of studying the retention issues of undergraduate
Aboriginal students at Brandon University and the needs
of graduate students seeking to address Aboriginal education
in their own growth at the University of Saskatchewan.
Detailed data will be collected through qualitative and
quantitative methods to determine what programs students
have considered, how they arrived at their choices, their
admittance processes, as well as the kinds of programs,
support, and needs they had/have while at the university.
At the graduate level, students who have graduated provide
information for what resources, support, and courses
inspired them to complete their studies or conversely
prevented them from completing or presented obstacles
for them and what recommendations for change of programming
they have for the new improved INEP program. The narrative
data will be analyzed, a report created, and information
disseminated through several avenues.
project is led by the First Nations and Aboriginal
Counselling (FNAC) Degree Program, Brandon
University, Brandon, Manitoba; in partnership with the
Indian & Northern Education Program (INEP), Department
of Educational Foundations, University of Saskatchewan,
Dr. Marie Battiste, Professor
College of Education
University of Saskatchewan
28 Campus Dr.
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X1