The Indian in Saskatchewan elementary school social studies textbooks : a content analysis
Hammersmith, Jerome Alvin
The purpose of this study was to examine eight elementary school social studies textbooks using the method of content analysis to analyze the treatment of Indians in the books selected for the study. It was conceded at the outset that not all teaching about Indians is done in social studies programs and not all information about Indians is presented through textbooks. However, it was recognized that the textbook is the basic guide for many teachers and students, and often the single source for historical information presented in social studies courses in elementary school classrooms. For the purposes of content analysis of the textbooks the guidelines of Berelson for content analysis were used to develop the categories. The procedures developed by Dr. Hargopal Dhand of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon were modified to suit the purpose of this study.Data Work Sheets and Data Summary Sheets were used to gather and record information concerning frequency of occurrence of paragraphs devoted to Indians in the textbooks, topical classification of the paragraphs, illustrative and decorative features of the textbooks, classification of Indians presented, tribes selected, major topics discussed and approval or disapproval of Indians presented. The data were tabulated in both numerical and percentage form.A pilot study and validation procedure were carried out with students and professors of the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan in order to validate the method.It was found that generally the books analyzed gave an incomplete historical picture of Indian-Canadians. It was also found that Indian themes received low priority in the number and quality of illustrative and decorative features in the books. Indians were presented in such a manner as to detract from an understanding of the diversity of Indian cultures, languages and personalities. Indians were presented in a manner that lends itself to the encouragement of broad generalizations concerning an extremely wide variety of people that are classified as Indians.It was also found that there was a lack of variation in the tribes presented; there was a failure to reflect the richness and variety of Indian cultures in Canada; there was a high degree of unfavourable or negative presentation of Indian characters. For the most part Indians just are not there except for the initial contact-with Europeans, the beginning of the fur trade and a brief re-emergence during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. It was concluded that for the most part the textbooks analyzed will not contribute positively to helping Indian and non-Indian elementary school students in Saskatchewan know and understand the Indian dimension of Canadian history and culture.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
Copyright DateOctober 1971
perceptions of native peoples