A study of the attitudes of Slavey Indian parents toward education in Hay River
Goller, Albert Edgar
The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes toward education of the Slavey Indian adults at Hay River, Northwest Territories. An attempt was made to solicit opinions of the minority ethnic group on the present formal educational programs as well as what changes, if any, they perceived as necessary in these programs to meet their needs. Ten households were randomly selected to provide a sample of Slavey adults for interviewing purposes. The interviews were conducted from a previously designed questionnaire to determine their attitudes toward the existing formal education programs under the following topics: participation, Indian content, home-school relationships, and teacher training. The findings were then analyzed and several recommendations were made on the basis of the perceived needs of the Slavey adults. It was found that education was viewed by the Slaveys as a utility which could be used to enhance the employment opportunities of the children. The adults viewed education as necessary in terms of learning to read, write and speak the English language; however, beyond this their conception of formal education was very limited. Several proposals were presented by the adults for making the school a more meaningful institution for the Slavey adults. The results indicated a need for some major revisions in the school programs to include the indigenous minority culture of the Slavey Indians. Recommendations were made on curriculum development and inclusion, teacher training, recruitment and orientation, school-community relationships, teaching in and of the Slavey language and involving the Slavey adults in the participation of educational decision making. The study also points out the futility of developing educational policy for the Slaveys instead of developing policy, programs and facilities with their full co-operation and participation.