Assessing and addressing awareness of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people among first-year and fourth-year university students in Canada

This research investigates how Canadians are educated about First Nations, Métis/Metis, and Inuit peoples. This is a time of significant change for Métis/Metis, Inuit, and First Nations educational research in Canada. Public leaders across many sectors increasingly recognize the importance of a basic understanding of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis/Metis governance issues, histories and cultures in the effective functioning of social institutions including education, justice, and health care. Policy analysts notice that Inuit, First Nations, and Métis/Metis peoples are a growing percentage of the Canadian population and represent significant potential for future employment, yet they continue to fall behind non-Indigenous students in high school graduation, university entry and retention. There has been growing attention to Métis/Metis, Inuit, and First Nations rights and their economic and social importance in Canada. There is also an increased appreciation of the differences between First Nations, Métis/Metis and Inuit and non-Indigenous students which requires a more sophisticated approach to student needs. Canadian provincial education systems and universities are beginning to grapple with these issues as education challenges rather than exclusively Métis/Metis, Inuit and First Nations issues. While policy changes are being introduced in secondary and university education across Canada, most educators have little understanding of the environment faced by Inuit, First Nations, and Métis/Metis peoples in Canadian institutions, and, importantly, lack the data to track the impact of policy changes. This research will support and inform individuals and institutions seeking to improve education for Inuit, Métis/Metis, and First Nations peoples peoples and education about Inuit, Métis/Metis, and First Nations peoples in Canada.