Fall 2023 - EDUC 311 E100

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

Class Number: 4904

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Thu, 4:30–7:20 p.m.

  • 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 Indigenous education.  The recent uncovering of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across the land called 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 one another 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 this land known as 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? To what extent can they be compatible with existing K-12 and post secondary systems?
  4. How can we engage in an ongoing inquiry process to deepen understandings of Indigenous content, perspectives, pedagogies, and knowledge to influence our current/future professional practice?


  • In-class Midterm Reading Reflection 20%
  • Personal Ecology Paper 20%
  • Student Directed Seminar 20%
  • Choice of Métissage Assignment or Annotated Unit Plan 25%
  • • Class participation* 15%


*Class participation

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

Letter Grade - Percentage Range – Grade Point

A+                        95-100                               4.33

A                          90-94                                 4.00

A-                         85-89                                 3.67

B+                        80-84                                 3.33

B                          75-79                                 3.00

B-                         70-74                                 2.67

C+                        65-69                                 2.33      

C                          60-64                                 2.00

C-                         55-59                                 1.67

D                          50-54                                 1.00

F                           0-49                                   0.00




Unreconciled (2022) by Jesse Wente (Penguin Ramdom House publication). 
There is an ebook aviable for this book as well as an audio book.

A course reading list will be provided at the first week of class, but some may change as we will be co-constructing the themes we explore together in this course. All course readings, outside of Unreconciled, (2022) will be available on CANVAS or accessible for free through the SFU Library.

ISBN: 9780735235755


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.