Educator, researcher, and scholar

Print

Edōsdi ushyē. Tałsetān didene hots’ih. Tsesk’iye esdā tsehi. Tlabānotine hots’ih ja’sini. My name is Edōsdi, which literally means “someone who raises up pets and children,” or more simply, “someone who is a teacher.” My English name is Judy Thompson, and I am a member of the Tahltan Nation. My clan is Crow and my crest is Frog. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of First Nations Studies (FNST) at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and am also the Tahltan Language and Culture Lead for my Nation. I completed a PhD at the University of Victoria, where I also completed a Master of Science in Environmental Studies. At Simon Fraser University (SFU), I completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and the Professional Development Program in 1994. 

While my overall undergraduate career at SFU had a great impact on me, it was the two years I spent in two SFU education programs that profoundly affected my life by igniting my passions for both teaching and the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

In 1990, I began the journey of learning who I am as a Tahltan person, which involved learning my Tāłtān language from my Elders. In late 1991, I was accepted into SFU’s First Nations Language Teacher Education Program and I continued to learn my Tāłtān language within an academic setting that honoured my language, my culture, my people, and my people’s ways of knowing. After one year, I transferred to the Professional Development Program (PDP). Upon completion, I received two teaching awards: the Award for Professional Excellence and the Claude E. Lewis Award in Education. 

Taking part in these programs helped to shape the scholar I am today. They helped me to build relationships with Indigenous communities, connect youth with their Elders, and to learn about the relationships between language, culture, land, and identity. They gave me the opportunity to teach at the primary level – where I taught a First Nations theme that covered the five areas that address the development of the whole child. They gave me the chance to bring First Nations knowledge and wisdom into the math and science courses I was teaching to First Nations adult learners. And they gave me the opportunity to teach at the college level and to develop Indigenized curriculum and Aboriginal programs and courses. 

Finally, my time in these programs helped bring me to my current work, that of an Assistant Professor in the department of FNST at UNBC and Tahltan Language and Culture Lead for my Nation. These two positions allow me to continue to focus on the revitalization of Indigenous Languages, as well as giving me the opportunity to continue to learn my language as part of my scholarly work.

My identity is tied up in being a teacher and an Indigenous scholar who is focused on the revitalization of Indigenous languages. These two SFU education programs helped to make me the educator, researcher, and scholar I am today.

Judy Thompson
B.Sc. 1994, CLA 1992, PDP 1995

Read all the stories from the 1990s