Indigenous Classroom Climate Issues (ICCI)
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) provided a crucial directive for Canadians: learn about colonization and its ongoing impacts and take action wherever possible to support efforts to transform Canadian society into one that offers a respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples. Educational institutions have long been recognized as both a tool of colonization and a source of continued oppression for Indigenous students. Indeed, these expectations are highlighted in the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (2017) report, Walk this Path with Us, along with recognition that the institution envisions a future where Indigenous students can “flourish,” “be recognized and celebrated,” “respected” and “see their culture[s] as an essential part of the fabric of the University” (p. 2). The report acknowledges the challenges to walking this path and the time required for it to be realized.
As SFU faculty members we have heard anecdotal reports from our students about their experiences with on-going colonization and racism in their lives as well as in their interactions at SFU. In particular, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students report difficult classroom situations arising from the discussion of Indigenous topics in classrooms at Simon Fraser University. This project invites current and former SFU students to share their recollections of, and reflections on, their experiences through video recording, audio recording, and confidential online surveys. It is modeled after precedent studies of university classroom climate issues arising from the discussion of Indigenous topics, beginning with the UBC-based project, What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom (WILICT  https://intheclass.arts.ubc.ca/), for which Karrmen Crey (our Principal Investigator) was co-developer and co-researcher, and project manager. Student Experiences is also similar to Kinàmàgawin: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom (2011, https://carleton.ca/indigenous/kinamagawin-aboriginal-issues-in-the-classroom/), an initiative at Carleton University that adapted the WILICT research model to document and address similar classroom incidents and climate issues.
This project builds upon the research procedures developed in the UBC-based project, What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom. We will use audio or video recorded interviews and an online survey to explore troubling classroom climate issues arising from the discussion of Indigenous content in SFU classes, and more general university experiences.
We are currently looking for former and current SFU students who would like to participate in either the survey, an interview, or both. If you are interested in participating in an interview only, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below for further information.
If you would like to participate in the survey, click here to be taken to a link to the survey. If you are also interested in participating in an interview, you will be asked to leave your information to be contacted following completion of the survey.