Bringing Indigenous knowledge into the classroom

December 22, 2021

In 2020, librarian Ashley Edwards, from Red River Métis, joined the SFU Library team with a mandate to create the Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre (ICRC). Edwards aims to shape the ICRC into a space—both physical and online—that offers guidance to SFU instructors interested in indigenizing and decolonizing their curricula and pedagogy.

“We still prioritize Western ways of knowledge and knowing,” says Edwards. “The ICRC is a resource to help faculty bring in Indigenous content. It’s one step towards challenging the status quo.”

The ICRC provides articles, studies and other resources to help university educators decolonize and indigenize their classrooms.

The ICRC defines indigenization as the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and ways, and decolonization as redressing historical and current practices that have caused harm to Indigenous peoples.

Edwards says universities have historically held and uplifted Western European views and methodologies in higher education. Indigenizing curriculums incorporates multiple ways of learning about and understanding the world, and valuing Indigenous ways of doing so.

Edwards adds, “If we graduate students who are going out and teaching with an understanding of how to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, think of how these two-eyed seeing perspectives will help people to walk in two worlds and the impact that this will have on Indigenous—and non- Indigenous—students. I really want students of the future to have a better experience than I did.”

A formal physical space for the ICRC will eventually be established on the fourth floor of the W.A.C.