Métis students, please stand up!
The importance of voluntarily self-identifying as a Métis student
The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) encourages students to self-identify in order to show pride in their culture and heritage.
In the past, due to prejudice and discrimination, Métis young people were often afraid to self-identify, especially in schools, and as a result the Métis became known as the “forgotten people”. Fortunately, the same increase in pride that led to the creation of the MNO helped us understand that the first part of asserting Métis rights is asserting Métis identity.
Supporting schools in developing policies for voluntary confidential self-identification of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students is one of the main strategies under the Province of Ontario’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework released in 2007.
The MNO has been a vocal supporter of this self-identification approach and has not only encouraged students and families to self-identify but has worked with school boards to encourage policy development and implementation.
While the Ministry of Education has recently reported that every school board has adopted an Aboriginal self-identification policy, these remain at varying stages of implementation. As such, the ability to acquire detailed data on Métis student achievement and graduation rates will require a sustained effort.
Métis families and communities are encouraged to self-identify as it can result in added funding and resources dedicated to Métis students but more importantly, it can bring greater visibility to Métis students in the school system. This data is critical to determining the successes and challenges that may still exist within schools across Ontario. The ability to have Métis specific data on students will allow for programs and resources to be targeted to assist students to be all they can be.