Identifying Consistent Supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Adult Learners at Royal West Campus

Researchers: Kim MacLeod, Cody Dill and Deidra Evans
August 2015

The purpose of this research study was to learn from our First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) adult learners at Royal West Campus who have taken a non-traditional path through education to be where they are today. 

Our research objective was to learn from our students of Indigenous ancestry what specifically has and has not worked for them throughout their years of school experience, and to use this information to support student success at Royal West. Our data was collected through interviews, a focus group discussion and, while writing the report, discussions with two high school principals.

When we consider that currently 16 percent of the population of Saskatchewan is First Nations, we begin to understand just how over-represented First Nations students are among students who are taking longer to complete, or who are not completing high school. According to CTV Regina, “the C.D. Howe Institute study found 52.6 percent of Saskatchewan First Nations people between the ages of 20 and 24 haven’t completed Grade 12” (2013). This data is supported by the Ministry of Education in Saskatchewan whose current data suggests that one in two First Nations students in our province will not graduate (Caleval, telephone interview, 2015). 

This report identifies themes associated with students’ educational experiences, specifically in regard to supportive and non-supportive environments and situations. We identified 4 supportive situations as any person, school, resource or other factor that has had a positive impact on students’ educational experience. Non-supportive situations were those that were non-existent or detrimental to students inside and outside school. 

Unsurprisingly, most of the themes that we identified as being non-supportive can be linked to the historical and ongoing effects of colonialism, such as racism, poverty and disassociation from culture.