Thursday Dec 15, 2022

S1E6: First Nations Educational Outcomes with Dr. Veldon Coburn

The students have a conversation with Dr. Veldon Coburn about the education opportunities available to First Nations on reserve, the linkages between historical and contemporary inequities in education, and how this contributes to educational outcomes for First Nations students. The students also consider the importance of balanced and truthful historical accounts being captured in school curricula and how specific systems are upheld when this information is withheld. 

Dr. Coburn, a member of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies. He has a PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University and holds over a decade of federal policy experience.   



1:19 - The Mind the Gap report the students discuss is from 2013. Experts place the disparity rate at anywhere between 30-50%. You can read the report here: 

2:46 – The correct term is “First Nation reserves” not Indigenous reserves. “Indigenous” is a term to refer collectively to First Nations, Metis and Inuit. The reserves system was created through the Indian Act and is specific to First Nations. 


9:05 - You can read about the Mi’kmaq Education Act here: and the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement here: 


15:30 - To ensure that Canada’s history (especially around residential schools) is told in a balanced and truthful way, the Caring Society created the Reconciling History initiative, in collaboration with Beechwood Cemetery. You can read more about the initiative here: 

For more information on equitable education for First Nations kids, visit the Timeline and Documents section on In particular, check out the 2016 report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the 2018 report by the Auditor General of Canada. 


Produced by Rhea Agnihotri, Royita Ise Godwill, Jamie Hurlbut, Alina Khan and Sara Mohmand.

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