Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Elizabeth Bruch


Equity in education for minority students is an issue that has been ignored for quite some time. This is important to note because education is an important aspect to human development. This thesis focuses on education models in Canada and the United States, and how those models affect indigenous students specifically. Indigenous peoples are a historically marginalized group that have faced inequity in their educational experiences. This paper explores the historical context of education for indigenous peoples in both nations in order to understand their current educational issues. I used the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to frame my research. I then followed up with an exploration of the contemporary education policies and models in Canada and the United States, at federal, state, and provincial levels. It was found that while both nations lack effective education models for indigenous students, Canada is doing significantly better than the United States. Research also exposed three main issues that indigenous students face in their educational experiences in both nations, which was included in the paper. Those issues were: low graduation rates, a gap in assessment scores between indigenous students and their peers, and a lack of parent and community engagement. These issues were analyzed and I provided recommendations for how the two nations could go about implementing policies and programs that will eliminate these issues and create a more equitable educational experience for indigenous students. This is a problem that deserves more focus, time, and attention.