Decolonizing and Indigenizing Public Education
This interview was originally published in the October edition of the Bulletin, produced by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT/ACPPU).
“Indigenization is when we’re able to embed Indigenous points of view and ways of being within our practice in institutions and in society. When we can be who we are, and it’s understood and recognized either in public or within institutions.”
Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is a member of the Lil’wat First Nation of Mount Currie, British Columbia. She led the development of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and a Master’s in Counselling in Indigenous Communities at the University of Victoria, where she is Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum and Instruction. She also developed a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students in British Columbia. Williams received the Order of Canada in December 2020.
“Recent revisions to British Columbia curriculum mandate the inclusion of Indigenous content and pedagogies across the curriculum, which is a positive step towards better understanding. But such changes are not made easily. We need to revise the way we look at Indigenous peoples, content, and pedagogies within school curriculum so that teachers and students are better able to detect and eliminate racism when they encounter it in course materials, and in themselves.”
Shannon Leddy (Métis) is an Assistant Professor (Teaching) in Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, where she also teaches in the NITEP program. She focuses on decolonizing education through infusing Indigenous content and pedagogies in teacher education. She serves as Co-Chair of the Institute for Environmental Learning, a UNESCO Regional Centre of Excellence.