Youth X-change

A Youth Exchange through Arts & Technology - Stories of Culture, Identity, Community & Place


Partnership Development for Researching the Education of Aboriginal Students: A Youth Exchange through Arts & Technology - Stories of Culture, Identity, Community & Place

This study is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant


Education for Aboriginal students across Canada is in need regeneration and renewal. It has become a national priority and there is increasing demand for teachers who understand the pedagogical implications of working with Aboriginal students. What is urgently called for is engagement rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing and histories to redress past inequities, nurture educational success and find practical solutions for meeting Aboriginal learners' diverse educational needs. Enhancing Aboriginal education has implications for all Canadians for repairing and renewing Aboriginal-Canadian relations, for economic and ecological sustainability, towards building our successful shared future.


How can partnership development between university researchers, Aboriginal community schools, and organizations that support them for the co-creation of curriculum and knowledge mobilization help nurture the educational experiences and successes of Aboriginal learners? The objectives of our study are to

  1. establish sustainable collaborations between three diverse Aboriginal community schools and organizations that support those schools;
  2. undertake research development of co-created curriculum models, through arts, digital technology and youth exchange, for nurturing the educational success of Aboriginal learners;
  3. build capacity within the communities to utilize and further develop the emergent curricular models;
  4. disseminate learning from the study to schools, school authorities, and teacher preparation programs;
  5. develop other partnerships for research into the education of Aboriginal learners.


Our collaboration involves University of Alberta researchers; three diverse First Nations schools including: Chief T’Selehye School in the Northwest Territories; Tatsikiisaapo'p Middle School on Kainai Reserve, Alberta and Ben Calf Robe – St. Clare School in Edmonton, Alberta; as well as Kainai Board of Education; Aboriginal Learning Services, Edmonton Catholic School District; K’asho Gotine Charter Community Council; Aurora College; and Instructional and School Services, Department of Education, Culture and Employment, Government of the Northwest Territories.

Our community consultations have indicated that education is a priority for all partners; they have identified the partnership development as aligning with their established goals. Partners will provide leadership for the research; analyze and evaluate the processes and products of the curriculum exploration, attuned to the specific cultural contexts of their communities and the educational goals of their regions. We acknowledge the diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures and knowledges, the support offered Aboriginal learners through maintaining cultural identity, and their need to work against the effects colonization for success that encompasses more than high school attainment.