chapter  5
Changing the Colonial Context to Address School Underperformance in Nunavut
ByPaul Berger
Pages 19

This chapter explores what Inuit in one community say are barriers to school success and link them to major theories explaining school under-achievement for minority and Indigenous youth. It argues that colonialism is a common thread and that neoliberal thinking provides a barrier to moving away from colonialism. Nunavut is a gigantic territory in northern Canada, about 12 times the size of Florida. Formal schooling began with English as the language of instruction, Euro-Canadian curriculum, and White teachers. Euro-Canadian curriculum, structures, and values continue to dominate schooling in Nunavut and often conflict with deeply held Inuit values. Inuit students face a myriad of obstacles predicted by major theories of school failure for Indigenous students. A literature review on culturally responsive schooling found that students experience racism through paternalism, prejudice, low expectations, stereotypes, violence and biased curricular materials. These exist in Nunavut communities and schools as the effects of colonialism and as part of continuing colonialism.