New “Indigenize” video project paints picture of student success

OHSWEKEN – Six Nations kids want challenging teachers and involved parents, a 2010 student success study has revealed. Now, the study is being dusted-off and turned into an online video project called “Indigenize” so as to get the information back into the hands of the community.

“We understand the presence social media plays with the younger generation,” said Michelle Bomberry, one of the researchers.

“Our group thought videos were the best way to outreach and disseminate the research findings.”

The Student Success Research Consortium, under a Social Science and Humanities Research of Canada grant, compiled the report.

Titled: “Student Success: A Community Initiative to Support the Success of Aboriginal Students in Education,” the report synthesizes the responses from 12 focus groups of about 30 students and 30 adults each, from across Six Nations.

Bomberry, a former member of the Six Nations Police service board, said her encounters with at risk Six Nations kids helped to inspire her research.

“A successful education system has to include who we are as Haudenosaunee people,” she said.

“We need our community members teaching our children and engaging them. We have our own cultural nuances and theories of knowledge that you learn being a member of Six Nations. There is value in immersion as well in the mainstream system.”

The research tackles issues like truancy, teen pregnancy, and the role of parents in a child’s education. The report suggests that the biggest motivator for Six Nations children was “knowing that someone cares about you.”

The video series is slated for an online release this spring. It is being developed in partnership with the Student Success Research Consortium, the Two Row Times, and Thru the Red Door studios, a Six Nations based multimedia productions facility. 

“This research acknowledges what many parents have known for a longtime – kids need our support and guidance to thrive both in and out of school. Red Door is excited to work with Two Row Times and the community to bring this video series to life,” said Gary Joseph, project manager and co-owner of Thru the Red Door.

Following the release of a video series, Bomberry said the consortium is organizing a pilot project to help fill some of the Six Nations service gaps that allow social issues to impede on student success.

“Our community can get involved,” she said.

“We claim we are about respect, and using our good minds, but as we see there is a lot of negativity… our ultimate goal is to have our students educated, and not lose sight of who we are as Haudensaunee people.”

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