Full Professor | Laurentian University

Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education in Canada

This book provided insights and experiences from authors across Canada about why decolonising and indigenising in academia matters, and what it means to them.

Research informing summary:
Book: Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education in Canada (2020)
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Co-authors:

About:

This research used a qualitative approach, combining discourse analysis and surveys.

This book used an indigenising theoretical framework. The authors applied this using different methodologies, ranging from photo voice, Indigenous storytelling, qualitative methods, surveying, and discourse analysis.

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Funding:

This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

Key points

  • Indigenous people deserve the right to all types of education, regardless of their background. This book offers insight into why this matters, what this looks like, and how it can be achieved.

There is difficulty in creating a universal approach to indigenizing and decolonising universities. Indigenous people have different experiences across the globe, and no one approach works. This book highlights how approaches needs to be tailored to contexts. Universities are at different stages in the decolonisation process: some are just starting to understand decolonisation and have a long way to go, while others have already implemented anti-racism policies, hired indigenous faculty members, and addressed systemic oppression. The different chapters reflect these different stages.

Findings

  • The book offers a series of chapters providing different experiences and perspectives on indigenising and decolonising in academia.
  • The first chapter asks what decolonizing is. It provides the whole 'frontier' of what decolonising looks like, offers a series of definitions, and explains why we must change things.
  • Another chapter asks if decolonising is really possible. Indigenous communities have long experienced their knowledge being ignored or crushed in mainstream academia. This chapter asks how we can ensure that the gift of indigenous knowledge is looked after.
  • Other chapters offer examples of how indigenising in the academy is happening, for example through support groups for indigenous students to discussing assignments and research projects together, and strategies for Indigenous youth living in urban settings.
  • The final chapter focuses on the future, emphasising the importance of technology in decolonising and indigenising. It argues that if we don't keep up with technology, we will fall further behind in our efforts to decolonise. Indigenous children are already using technology to create content, communicate with friends across the world, and access information. Therefore, decolonising and indigenising technology is essential for future generations

What it means

This book offers insights into decolonising and indigenising academia from a range of academic thinkers, and provides a variety of examples of what Indigenous knowledge looks like, from language revitalisation, to poetry, to policymaking through to different youth research projects. At the end of each chapter, there are questions and resources, allowing the reader to become part of the decolonising strategy.

How to use

  • Universities are at different stages on the pathway to indigenising or decolonising: They can use this book to identify what stage they are at, where they should be heading, and how to get there.
Special thanks to Ramya Zwaal for preparation assistance

We would like to extend a special thank you to Ramya Zwaal, for their invaluable contribution in assisting the preparation of this research summary.

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Moeke-Pickering, Taima. 'Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education in Canada'. Acume. https://www.acume.org/r/decolonizing-and-indigenizing-education-in-canada/