Fall 2021 - EDUC 311 E100

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

Class Number: 5241

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM
    SRYC 3200, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units.



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


The intention of this course is to serve as an introduction to critical issues in Aboriginal education. The recent uncovering of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across Canada have clarified the legacy of institutional and physical violence perpetrated by colonial education systems against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. These events unfold against the backdrop of provincial and territorial school systems that purport to have taken-up the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) through recent curriculum revisions. Murry Sinclair optimistically predicted that “Education got us into this mess and education will get us out of it;” however, this “mess” is exacerbated by the truth that curricular shifts are meaningless unless we who inhabit educational systems do a better job of considering our ethical accountability to each other and the specific actions that we can take to continue to move reconciliation ahead in this land that is called Canada. Therefore, the goals of this course will be three-fold: broadening our understanding of the context out of which this “mess” has emerged; developing an inquiry into our individual and collective roles within this ecology; and reflecting on the teachings of the world around us as a means of journeying beyond colonial educational structures.


This inquiry will be conducted against the backdrop of the revised BC curriculum and four broad themes. Through each of these themes we will think self-reflexively, comparatively, and historically about dominant cultural assumptions and the relation to education:

  1. Who are the Indigenous peoples of Canada and how is this related to understanding Indigeneity, ourselves and Canadian society?
  2. How has Indigenous education been enacted historically and contemporarily in different contexts?
  3. What are Indigenous knowledge systems and pedagogies? What are successful practices in K-12 Aboriginal education in B.C.?
  4. How can we engage in an ongoing inquiry process to deepen understandings of Indigenous content, perspectives, pedagogies, languages, and knowledge to influence our current/future professional practice?


  • Critical Response paper 25%
  • Personal Ecology reflection 25%
  • M├ętissage Assignment 35%
  • Class participation* 15%


*Class participation

Please note that weekly attendance and self-assessment will be considered in determining this grade.

There is no final exam for this course.



A course reading list will be provided at the first week of class. We will be co-constructing the themes we explore together in this course. All course readings will be available on CANVAS or accessible for free through the SFU Library.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.