From Reconciliation to Indigenous Resurgence: A Digital Métissage

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Vicki Kelly, Faculty of Education

Project team: Paula Rosehart, Faculty of Education, and Calder Cheverie, videographer

Timeframe: January 2018 to March 2020

Funding: $6000

Program addressed: Indigenous Education GDE cohort

Description: In the last year or so there has been a dramatic shift in the landscape around Aboriginal Education in Canada. One of the most important changes is the result of the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which highlighted the lasting legacies of the historical and intergenerational traumas inflicted on Indigenous peoples in Canada. During the final TRC National Event in Ottawa there was a direct recognition of the role of education, through the Residential School System, as a site of cultural genocide and an acknowledgement of the role of education in creating pathways for healing the legacy of Residential Schools. Thus, Education for Reconciliation has become an important component of Aboriginal Education today. The TRC’s 94 Calls to Action included a call for post-secondary institutions to work with Indigenous Peoples to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning into the curriculum, and to put a significant focus on enhancing intercultural learning and deeper understanding.

Field Programs in SFU’s Faculty of Education has developed a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) in the area of Indigenous Education. It provides the opportunity to engage in focused, sustained, reflective inquiry into their practice within a 2-year cohort model. To this general model, the Indigenous Education area integrates a collaboration with local Indigenous communities in an effort to create a teacher professional development model for learning Indigenous pedagogy that is anchored in reciprocity and reconciliation with the Indigenous community.

For our TLDG project, we wish to investigate a cohort’s progress as well as document the design and evolution of the program itself so that others may learn from this work. Our goals for this project are therefore to:

1.        Document and evaluate the ways in which the program fosters student learning of Indigenous pedagogy and reconciliation as well as enables respectful relations, reciprocity, and cultural resurgence with and for the collaborating Indigenous communities.

2.        Create a holistic representation of the program and its participants’/collaborators’ experiences from which others can learn in the form of a digital Métissage.

Questions addressed:

  • Do students learn to practice Indigenous pedagogies?  What happens when they do and how is that learning represented?
  • What are the paths students take toward Indigenous pedagogy with community partners from local Indigenous nations and the school district?  In what ways is this work reconciliation?
  • What structural and curricular processes and protocols are created and need to be in place to foster and enable students to enact Indigenous pedagogies?
  • Is reciprocity and reconciliation possible in the current context? If so, in what ways and how? Can the work honour the local community’s intentions and voice?
  • Can this work give back to the community and their leads and foster local Indigenous resurgence?
  • What are the structural and curricular protocols and processes necessary to create reciprocity, reconciliation and resurgence?

Knowledge sharing: We will share the project’s findings with others in field programs and the Faculty of Education. In addition we plan on presenting at the Canadian Society for the Study and at Indspire (National Gathering for Indigenous Education). We have also submitted to present about our project at a symposium at Indigenous Teacher Education.

This project will inform changes to field programs, graduate diplomas and graduate programs in education and potentially inform the larger university community. Hopefully the documentary will serve as a resource that can impact teacher education in the local districts and BC broadly.