Ethical space in a secondary school: a case study /
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Discourse in the provincial education system that includes Aboriginal peoples is a convoluted one-sided affair. This has contributed to the limited academic success for Aboriginal secondary students in the provincial school system. The Office of the Auditor General (2004) announced a 27-28 year gap in Academic success compared to non- Aboriginal students (p. I). Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders are fiiistrated and confused with the lack of support for long-term solutions to address academic success for Aboriginal students. The boundaries in education that exist between the dominant society of Canada and Aboriginal peoples in education are hindering the development of ethical space in which to negotiate and apply "concrete arguments and concepts" (Ermine, 2000, p. 140) for 'best' solutions across the cultural divide. Recent literature suggests a gap in knowledge to address this cultural divide. This study reveals racism is still prevalent and the problem lies in the fallacy of Euro-Western pedagogical beliefs. There is a need to design ethical space that will assist transformation of cross-relations in education for inclusion of Aboriginal voices and content. I submit that ethical space involves physical and abstract space. This report is a qualitative, exploratory, and single case study of one northern Ontario secondary school attended by First Nations and Metis peoples who comprise 35% of the school population. Twenty-six stakeholders volunteered to participate in six interviews. The volunteers in this study are Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. Aboriginal peoples are firom two First Nations, and Metis peoples. It is an Aboriginal designed and delivered study that a) describes an Aboriginally-designed research method to gather data across cultural divides in a secondary school, b) reviews Tri-Council Policy Section 6 (TCPS) regarding 'good practices' in ethical research involving Aboriginal peoples, and c) summarizes stakeholder perspectives of the 'best educational environment' for one secondary school.