Indigenous Knowledge(s) + Language in the Academy

SFU Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies is privileged to have Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams of the Lil’watul Nation of the interior of BC have a discussion with Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian, Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy.  Williams is a highly respected Elder, Knowledge Keeper and Scholar in the international, national, and provincial spheres of influence.

Discourses in Indigenous knowledge(s) and language(s) have recently entered the academic domains of higher education institutions, which are fundamentally based in Euro-Western knowledge systems.  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is schooled in both Euro-Western knowledge(s) and Indigenous knowledge(s) and languages.  Her experiences in education spans over 5 decades, thus she has been involved in many different aspects of the educational spectrum that exist in many different teaching and learning environments.  The educational journey of Dr. Williams started in 1968 with stories from her home community of Mt. Currie and indeed carries through to her more current involvement with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) where she discusses “Open Science and the Decolonization of Knowledge”.”

Join the Webinar

Thursday, March 16

1:00 - 2:00 pm (PST)

About Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams

Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is a member of the Lil’watul.  She retired in December 2014 as the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge and Learning, an Associate Professor in Indigenous Education and Linguistics, and Program Director of Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria. At the university she developed a series of courses called Learning and Teaching in an Indigenous World, introducing a learning community to Indigenous ways of teaching and learning. She developed a Bachelors Degree and a Masters degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and co developed a Masters degree in Counseling for Aboriginal Communities. She introduced a required course in Indigenous Education in the faculty of Education. She co-chaired a task force for the BC Deans of Education making it possible to implement a required course in all Faculties of Education in BC and she co-chaired a National Deans of Education report to achieve the same. Before joining the University of Victoria, Lorna held several senior positions, she was the Director of the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Branch at the BC Ministry of Education for three years where she directed research, policy development and implementation in all areas of education for Aboriginal students. Prior to this appointment, she was the First Nations Education Specialist with the Vancouver School Board. Lorna is a strong advocate committed to working with Indigenous communities to increase the achievement of Indigenous learners and to teach First Nations languages, cultures, heritage, traditions, and history to all students.

Lorna received her doctorate in education at the University of Tennessee. Her research is in the area of teacher development, collaborative learning and Indigenous language revitalization. Lorna was Chair of First Peoples Culture Council, and is the current Chair of the First Peoples Cultural Foundation organizations devoted to Indigenous language revitalization and supports culture ands arts development. She is a Council member of the Minister’s Council on Indigenous Women. She is a Fellow in the Trudeau Foundation and a Legacy Leader in Spirit Aligned Leadership Program. She is a member of the Indigenous research council for SSHRC.

Lorna co-directed a series of videos called First Nations: The Circle Unbroken made available to all BC schools and she was co-producer and subject of the award winning film, The Mind of a Child, one award was the Gemini - Canada Award. She has written children’s books, teachers’ guides and developed Lil’wat language curriculum to teach people to read and write the Lil’wat language, which was exclusively oral until 1973.

  • Ed.D University of Tennessee 2004
  • Order of British Columbia 1993
  • Order of Canada 2020
  • Indspire Award 2019
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, SFU, 2016
  • Professor Emerita: University of Victoria
  • Aboriginal Education Consultant
  • Chair, First Peoples Cultural Foundation
  • Elder/member, Ministers Council on Indigenous Education
  • Fellow, PET Foundation
  • Observer, International committee for the Decade of Indigenous Languages
  • Member, Planning committee for CCUNESCO
  • Member, SSHERC committee for Indigenous research