Supporting Inuit Student Success: A Guidebook for Educators

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Marina Westbrook
From an educator’s perspective, having access to culturally relevant supports and services is critical to student success; “Keeping this diversity in mind, providing culturally relevant support services is critical to Indigenous student success” (Cull, 2018). Through a review of related literary publications, research, observations, and discussions, the challenges that Inuit students face when moving to Ottawa for post-secondary education has revealed that this is a unique group of students with needs that are different from the typical student entering post-secondary at Algonquin College. The need for supports is particularly true for students who have to come so far from home to an environment that is vastly different from what they know. “Barriers to completion of postsecondary education for Inuit may include lack of academic preparation, the need to relocate (often from remote to urban areas), lack of financial resources, family responsibilities, and loss of support systems.” (Malatest et al, 2004; Holmes, 2005 qtd. in Bougie,, 2013, p.21). In addition, having heard first-hand that Inuit students experience racism while in the south, this highlights the need for cultural, social and mental health support. The purpose of this guidebook is to help educators recognize and understand the unique challenges and barriers that exist for Inuit students and to provide recommendations and resources to help overcome those challenges and support Inuit student post-secondary success.
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