Lau, J. (2021). Non-Indigenous people’s perceptions of food insecurity on Indigenous reserves—Student and teacher perceptions, the role of schools, and actions. The Young Researcher, 5(1), 96-121.
Food insecurity (FI) has been widely researched, but remote Indigenous communities face additional barriers to accessing food. Few studies have analyzed non-Indigenous perceptions of Indigenous issues, which is essential understanding for reconciliation. This study aims to explain students and teachers’ level of awareness about FI on northern Ontario Indigenous reserves and to explore the relationship between the reported level of awareness and actions taken. Using a mixed-method approach, Grade 12 students and teachers at single-sex, independent, urban Ontario (COSSOT) high-schools completed a survey that analyzed their perceptions and assessed their knowledge. The results indicated that a school’s perceived lack of emphasis on Indigenous issues correlated with less knowledgeable respondents, and teachers were often more inaccurate; however, inaccuracies were often overestimations, so respondents might have better understood the generally expensive food environments. Overall, respondents’ knowledge and sense of personal responsibility is lacking; therefore, their actions to meaningfully demonstrate support are limited.
Keywords: high-school students and teachers, perceptions, Indigenous, non-Indigenous, food insecurity, actions