Spring 2020 - EDUC 311 D100

Foundations in Aboriginal Education, Language, and Culture (3)

Class Number: 7668

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SRYC 5360, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units.



An introduction to Aboriginal education in Canada and BC. There will be a critical examination of historical and contemporary issues in education and an exploration of culturally based Aboriginal education grounded in Aboriginal philosophies. Breadth-Humanities.


This course is hosted on the traditional, unceded and overlapping territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Peoples and Musqueam Peoples. This course is intended to be an introduction to Indigenous education in Canada with a particular focus on British Columbia. It is intended to provide an opportunity for us to pause, think and plan with regard to respectfully and meaningfully engaging in an inquiry process to deepen understandings of Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and pedagogies. This goal is pursued to help us make meaningful contributions to transforming Indigenous education so as to improve educational experiences for all learners. This course is developed in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) and the Canadian Association of Dean’s of Education Accord on Indigenous Education that all Faculties of Education make a commitment to advance Indigenous identities, cultures, languages, values and knowledge systems in all Canadian learning settings. The course works towards ensuring that you will have a better understanding of the complex social and political context of Canadian society in relation to Indigenous perspectives and concerns; be prepared to work with Indigenous learners and communities; assist you to engage in an on-gong inquiry process to understand Indigenous perspectives and knowledges. Within this course we will investigate four broad themes from the perspective of ourselves as future /current educators. Through each of these themes we will think self- reflexively, comparatively and historically about dominant cultural assumptions and commitments and the relation to education:          This course will require looking at Canadian society and our own assumptions and commitments quite closely. This is required in order to understand the historic and contemporary relationships between Canadian society and Indigenous Nations and peoples that frame the topic of Indigenous Education in a Canadian nation-state foundedin settler-colonialism. This course is meant to ensure that notions of history and power are taken into consideration so as to provide a thoughtful place to understand the challenges and opportunities within the concerns of this course. 


Our class format will be a combination of lecture, seminar, small-group discussion, talking circle, poster work, guest speakers, out-of-classroom experience (outside and in different institutional spaces) and in-class work time, to explore ideas experientially. As co-investigators, we are responsible for the tone of our discussions. In order for them to be successful, we all must endeavour to explore and question each other’s ideas and positions without either attacking the other person or taking their comments personally.

As a result, I expect:

Patience with differing or new views expressed in the class.Willingness to express and explore your reactions, questions and viewpoints with others.Respect for each other, accompanied by the commitment to express our views in a respectful, constructive manner.Openness to having our own views respectfully challenged and a willingness to genuinely consider these new ideas. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you believe we - or one of your other co- investigators - are failing to meet any of these requirements.

Your expectations …

 ·      Prefer small group discussion to larger group discussion in order to build and expand dialogue (assists people who are uncomfortable speaking in the larger group) ·       Important for everyone to respectfullylisten ·       We are all responsible for holding space by being mindful of not talking too much. If someone is talking too much, can you politely let themknow. ·       Collaborative community-honours diverseperspectives 


  • Attendance/Participation 5%
  • Invisible Backpack Self-reflection 20%
  • Team Reconciliation Project 40%
  • Individual Reflective Learning Portfolio 25%
  • Learning from the Land 10%


There will be classes that will happen outside of the classroom, there may be travel to near by locations involved but this will be discussed within the course. 


Details on assignments will be handed out on the syllabus in class. Since this class has an experiential component, attendance is of utmost importance.



Vowel, C. (2016). Indigenous writes: A guide to First Nations, MeĢtis & Inuit issues in Canada.
ISBN: 978-1-55379-680-0

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html