Researcher Rejects Media Reports On “Native Myths”

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 13:56



The author of a report on Aboriginal post-secondary education says he worries the paper could be misused for political purposes.


Michael Mendelson disagrees with a recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press that claims his study breaks traditional stereotypes about the plight of Aboriginal people.


In particular, the newspaper report claims the study shows how the Native participation rate in the workforce is higher than expected and close to the Canadian average.


Mendelson’s article is also said to contain statistics that prove First Nations residents are “fleeing reserves to seek a better life in Canada’s cities”.


Mendelson says the newspaper reporter made incorrect conclusions on both issues. He says the truth is the Aboriginal population is flourishing on reserve and in urban settings.


Mendelson acknowledges his paper contain some encouraging findings about the success of Aboriginal people who complete high school.


However, he points out wage levels for Native people with diplomas are lower than that of other Canadians.


He insists his research indicates a lot of work has to happen before Aboriginal people are on par with other Canadians in many different areas.


Mendelson worries certain aspects of his report could be used to promote a political agenda that involves less funding for Aboriginal education, particularly for on-reserve residents.