The transition to high school can be a challenging time for students as it marks a shift in what is required of students as well as a change in their social groups as more students come together in a single school. While all students will experience challenges during this transition, First Nations students face additional challenges not experienced by many of their peers. Furthermore, the experiences of First Nations youth in Ontario schools are not universal experiences. There are a number of factors such as where the students live and the school they are attending that influence they kinds of challenges they may experience while attending high school. This special e-book offers insights into the complexity of these challenges and how educators and schools might better address the needs of First Nations students in ways that improve the educational experiences of all students.
We will explore the experiences of First Nations students who live in First Nations communities and attend high school outside their community as well as the experiences of First Nations students who live in urban centers and not in their First Nation community. There are challenges that both groups face such as discrimination and racism but there are other challenges that each group faces that are specific to their lived experiences. The following articles are drawn from research conducted with First Nations youth attending high school in various parts of Ontario (see Styres, 2010; Zinga & Gordon, 2014; Zinga et al., 2010). It is important to note that there are also some regional differences as some challenges faced by First Nations youth are a function of the realities of their specific locations.