The legacy of colonialism, residential schools and systemic racism has made access to post-secondary education full of social and economic barriers for Indigenous peoples. Access to education for Aboriginal people is a right enshrined through signed treaties and recognized in Canada’s Constitution. Despite the responsibility of government to ensure access to education, vast inaction and prohibitive bureaucracy has prevented many Aboriginal people from attending a college or university.
The Federation works through the Aboriginal Students Constituency to research policy options that address the underrepresentation of Indigenous students at colleges and universities. The Federation also does research to incorporate data on the effects of colonialism and systemic oppression on Indigenous communities as they pertain to equity issues and core campaign work. This work presents itself in materials and policy recommendations in the Students for Justice campaign, which works to ensure access and support of Indigenous students. Students who are able to access government funding and obtain a college or university degree become leaders in their field and continue on to provide meaningful contributions in their communities.
WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN ACTION
During National Lobby Week, the Federation lobbies Canadian MPs and Senators to remove the funding cap that was placed on the Post Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) in the early 90s. This funding cap prevents funding from increasing more than 2% a year, which does not provide nearly enough funding for the Indigenous students who have a right to financial support.