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Manufacturing partnership: Exploring discourses of collaboration and indigenous education development in Canada

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Abstract:

Situated at the critical juncture of nation building and indigenous rights, education for indigenous peoples has long been considered one of the primary vehicles of forced assimilation and integration by the Canadian state (Marker, 2000). In contrast, educational development has also been envisioned as an avenue to address historical inequities for First Nations in the quest for justice and social equality (Hare & Barman, 2000). This perception of education as a ‘change agent,’ coupled with an historical critique of the public education system, has sparked provincial educational jurisdictions to move toward the creation of partnerships between local school divisions and indigenous organizations, thereby promoting efforts of social inclusion.

This paper examines state discourses and conceptions of partnership specifically as they relate to one such initiative in an urban setting in West-Central Canada. With its rapidly growing indigenous population and marked disengagement of indigenous students from public schools, the setting provided a rich context to explore how naturalized discourses of partnership are intertwined with larger questions of power, progress, and participatory democracy. The data collected through sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork include interviews, field-notes, and documentary evidence that together narrate the contradictions and tensions of this collaborative effort.

Ultimately, my findings reveal that the reliance on partnership as a mechanism to increase the political representation and voice of indigenous peoples in the realm of urban educational reform has numerous implications for indigenous rights and self-determination. I argue that the partnership effectively works to depoliticize the debates surrounding urban indigenous educational reform by privileging constructions of the ‘indigenous problem’ in education that are emptied of history and, consequently, holds the potential for state reinvention through the auspices of indigenous community organizing. These analytic inroads also speak to the role of education in the quest for political emancipation of indigenous peoples in Canada more generally.
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Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494009_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Dhillon, Jaskiran. "Manufacturing partnership: Exploring discourses of collaboration and indigenous education development in Canada" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494009_index.html>

APA Citation:

Dhillon, J. , 2011-05-01 "Manufacturing partnership: Exploring discourses of collaboration and indigenous education development in Canada" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494009_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Situated at the critical juncture of nation building and indigenous rights, education for indigenous peoples has long been considered one of the primary vehicles of forced assimilation and integration by the Canadian state (Marker, 2000). In contrast, educational development has also been envisioned as an avenue to address historical inequities for First Nations in the quest for justice and social equality (Hare & Barman, 2000). This perception of education as a ‘change agent,’ coupled with an historical critique of the public education system, has sparked provincial educational jurisdictions to move toward the creation of partnerships between local school divisions and indigenous organizations, thereby promoting efforts of social inclusion.

This paper examines state discourses and conceptions of partnership specifically as they relate to one such initiative in an urban setting in West-Central Canada. With its rapidly growing indigenous population and marked disengagement of indigenous students from public schools, the setting provided a rich context to explore how naturalized discourses of partnership are intertwined with larger questions of power, progress, and participatory democracy. The data collected through sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork include interviews, field-notes, and documentary evidence that together narrate the contradictions and tensions of this collaborative effort.

Ultimately, my findings reveal that the reliance on partnership as a mechanism to increase the political representation and voice of indigenous peoples in the realm of urban educational reform has numerous implications for indigenous rights and self-determination. I argue that the partnership effectively works to depoliticize the debates surrounding urban indigenous educational reform by privileging constructions of the ‘indigenous problem’ in education that are emptied of history and, consequently, holds the potential for state reinvention through the auspices of indigenous community organizing. These analytic inroads also speak to the role of education in the quest for political emancipation of indigenous peoples in Canada more generally.


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Education for Sustainable Development: formal and informal education in conservation and development partnerships among the Kuna and Kayapó

Developing partnerships: How the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Swan Research and the Olympics helped carry the torch to form an educational collaboration

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