Decolonizing and Indigenizing Public Education

Teaching Where You Are 

“As educators, part of our work in decolonizing our teaching begins with learning about the place(s) on which we live and work, and the people who have lived there since before colonial times. Starting where you are can also help debunk pan-Indian notions that have been infused through media, curriculum, and colonial mythologies.”  Shannon Leddy and Lorrie Miller 

Dr. Shannon Leddy is an Asociate Professor of Teaching, Indigenous  Education, Faculty of Education, UBC.  Her practice focuses on decolonzing education and Indigenous education within teacher education and her research interests include art education, cultural studies, environmental education and ways of knowing. Dr. Leddy also serves as co-director of the Institute for Environmental Learning, a UNESCO Regional Centre of Excellence, and an IPE/BC Fellow.

Dr. Lorrie Miller is a sessional instructor in the Department of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, UBC She holds a PHD in art education. Dr Miller coordinated the Orange Shirt Project, Acts of Remembrance, Respect and Reconciling,  at UBC.  In 2022, along with co-editor, Wenona Giles, Dr. Miller received the Jackie Kirk Award from the Comparative and International Education Society for the edited book collection, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees: Lessons from the Dadaab Refugee Camps.

Interview with Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams 

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.

Learning To See: Generating Decolonial Literacy Through Contemporary Identity-Based Indigenous Art 

“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

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.