Abstracts and Presenters

All sessions in the Education Building on 27 Campus Drive.
Concurrent Sessions 1, Titles and Presenters

1 - 2:20 pm (1 hr and 20 min)

Transforming PSE through community perspectives and places (Room 2014)

Toku whare korero: Indigenous long houses as places for the re-education of non-indigenous adult and other educators in the Ngai Tuahuriri tribal takiwa (territory) of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Presenter: Lynne Harata Te Aika 

He Take Kōrero: Involving Ngāi Tahu community perspectives in the development of two post graduate Treaty education courses and a recent film project to support indigenization processes at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Presenters: Richard Manning and Lynne-Harata Te Aika

Towards Indigenizing a Canadian Prairie University: Complexities and Responses. Presenters: JoLee Sasakamoose and Shauneen M. Pete

Centering success on youth: research, leadership, and resources (Room 2010) 

Engaging Indigenous Youth in Research with Six R’s: Relationships, Reciprocity, Respect, Relevance, Reliability, and Being Real. Presenters: Serene Kerpan and Louise Humbert 

Exploring the Leadership Practices of Principals who promote the Educational Success of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students. Presenters: Tim Claypool, Jane Preston, William Rowluck, Jill A. Martin and Brenda Green

The Saskatchewan Cradleboard Initiative – A progress report on the development of multi-vocal K-12 STEM resources through University-level experiential learning projects. Presenter: Sandy Marie Bonny

Indigenizing Practice: Reciprocity and Relationships (Room 2009)

The Journey of Indigenization -- Formative Steps for a Small Regional College. Presenter: Tom Weegar 

Exchanging Gifts – Sharing knowledges and narratives across traditional lands and with/in institutions. Presenters: Imelda Perley, Brian Beaton, Lise Degrace and Pam Whitty

"Imagine Otherwise": Indigenizing Education with Indigenous Literary Scholarship. Presenter: Aubrey Hanson

Indigenizing Inquiry, Science, and Policy (2005)

Indigenizing Science Inquiry – a Case Study: Students on the Beamlines at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. Presenters: Tracy Walker, Robert Blyth & Michelle

Hogan Environmental Sustainability Education Policy in Canadian Aboriginal Education Systems. Presenter: Davida Bentham 

Crossing Many Boundaries to Create Allies. Presenters: Karla Jessen Williamson & Tim Molnar

Story as Theory and Practice (Library Classroom)

"Just a Pepper in a Bunch of Salt": Aboriginal Students' Stories of School. Presenter: Heather Findlay

“Coming to Know” Creation Stories of Institutional Transformation from Indigenous Educators. Presenters: Yvonne Poitras Pratt, D. Lyn Daniels, Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, Phyllis Grace Steeves, Karlee Fellner & Jacqueline Ottmann

Tea, Bannock and a Narrative Tradition involving Metis Kin and Kindred Spirit. Presenter: Yvonne Poitras Pratt

Enhancing disciplinary knowledges (Room 2002)

Decolonizing Epistemology: Threshold Concepts for Epistemological Stretching in Socio-Ecological Sustainability Education. Presenters: M.J. Barrett, Molly Patterson, Matt Harmin, Bryan Maracle, Christina Thomson, Michelle Flowers & Kirk Bors

Enhancing Psychology Curricula with Local Indigenous Traditional Knowledge. Presenters: Kim McKay-McNabb & Paulette Hunter

Teaching the Geographic Patchwork of Comprehensive Land Claims in Canada. Presenters: Vanessa Sloan Morgan and Heather Castleden

Click to view titles and presenters for Concurrent Session 1
Concurrent Sessions 1, Abstracts

Lynne Harata Te Aika

Toku whare korero: Indigenous long houses as places for the re-education of non-indigenous adult and other educators in the Ngai Tuahuriri tribal takiwa (territory) of Aotearoa (New Zealand)

This presentation reviews the recent efforts of Ngai Tuahuriri hapū (a subtribe of the Ngai Tahu tribe of New Zealand’s South Island) to give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi in local adult education settings. A series of workshops were provided for educators at the Ngai Tuahuriri whare korero (longhouse) located in a rural community north of Christchurch City. Over 600 teachers/leaders and adult educators affiliated to local schools and early childhood centres attended these tribal-led workshops. The primary purpose was to introduce non-Indigenous educators to their local tribal community and for them to learn about the tribe’s stories of place, tribal histories and culturally significant sites. For Ngai Tuahuriri, these workshops were an important step in building their own capacity to take a leadership role across sectors of the local education system. In their local tribal region, there are numerous adult/tertiary education providers, over 160 schools, and more than 300 early childhood centres. Almost all of these institutions, schools and centres are government funded Crown entities (i.e. Ngai Tuahuriri Treaty partners). As anticipated, it was clear that many non-Indigenous educators knew little about Ngai Tuahuriri’s histories or how to engage with Maori communities in a meaningful way. Many were also uncertain how they should engage with Maori learners and their families. The challenges and outcomes for both groupings of Treaty-partners, emerging from this dialogue, will be explored in ways that are mindful of the challenges facing indigenous communities in Canada and seek to promote international conversations about shared experiences.

Richard Manning and Lynne-Harata Te Aika

He Take Kōrero: Involving Ngāi Tahu community perspectives in the development of two post graduate Treaty education courses and a recent film project to support indigenization processes at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

This paper describes Treaty education and indigenization efforts at the University of Canterbury (UC) in New Zealand by outlining the development of two Master’s level Treaty education courses. It reviews the consultation and engagement process involving the local tribe, Ngai Tahu that enabled a tribal reference group to have input into the design, delivery and evaluation processes that underpinned a pilot Masters course (2009). It will then describe the student review process that supported the rationale for the development of two similar courses. These have been operating since 2010. One course is now delivered in the medium of Te Reo Maori, the other in English. Course activities, involving engagement with Ngāi Tahu custodians of knowledge (and the development of greater place-consciousness and the Treaty-based partnership that recently led to the development of the film project He Take Korero will be described. Each stage of this paper will be mindful of the experiences of Canadian colleagues and encourage further cross cultural conversations about the common challenges and opportunities experienced in both countries where academic colleagues collaborate to give meaningful effect to the Crown’s treaty promises.

JoLee Sasakamoose and Shauneen M. Pete

Towards Indigenizing a Canadian Prairie University: Complexities and Responses

As Indigenous academics, we walk a fine line between being viewed as experts in academia in our respected fields and being like newborns in the Aboriginal way. If we cross this line in our home communities, we are arrogant or disrespectful and some might say we are overstepping the boundaries of protocols and Elder knowledge. No Indigenous academic wants this reputation in his or her home community. Yet, the academic system, as our case study demonstrates, often prevents us from honouring the very protocols that propelled us to the level of academic success we have achieved. It is a contradiction that we must live with while constantly confronting it with the colonizer and ourselves. This paper explores some of the challenges associated with Indigenizing Canadian universities. This case study describes one event, which provoked institutional policy reforms. We outline several of the hurdles and roadblocks that hampered our work and contextualize these as Smith identifies as the “politics of distraction”.  We acknowledge that there is a paucity of research on Indigenizing the academy; it is, therefore, our intention to share some of the approaches we have implemented in our own university as a means of addressing the need for research.  In consideration of the challenges of doing so, this paper offers one example of how to institutionalize Indigenization efforts in Canadian higher education.    

Serene Kerpan and Louise Humbert

Engaging Indigenous Youth in Research with Six R’s: Relationships, Reciprocity, Respect, Relevance, Reliability, and Being Real

Indigenous youth are a rapidly increasing segment of our population with growth outpacing non-Indigenous youth at a rate of nearly 2 to 1(Statistics Canada, 2012). It has become increasingly important to engage Indigenous youth in research so that Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders can work together to ensure this large and diverse group of youth in Canada has what is needed to become healthy and successful members of our ever-changing society. Over the past five years, our research team has engaged Indigenous youth and schools in research on physical activity and healthy bodies. We will illustrate what attributes have helped us engage young Indigenous people and the schools they attend in the research process. This presentation will combine the use of principles from Indigenous research paradigms and participatory action research with stories from our research experiences to help others learn about what has worked for us and why it has worked. Members of the academic community will be able to use the insights provided in this presentation to begin to engage Aboriginal youth in research.

Tim Claypool, William Rowluck, Jane P. Preston, Jill A. Martin and Brenda Green

Exploring the Leadership Practices of Principals Who Promote the Educational Success of First Nations, Métis and Inuit High School Students

School principals play the most influential role, outside of classroom teachers, in advancing the academic success of students. Although the topic of school leadership has been intensely researched, few studies have explored the leadership tactics of school principals who influence First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) student achievement. Aboriginal peoples are the youngest ethno-cultural group in Canada and represent the fastest-growing number of students in school. Yet, this burgeoning Aboriginal population has substantially lower graduation rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Thus, research on school leadership and the education of FNMI students is timely and critical. We compared and contrasted the perceptions and practices of five Saskatchewan principals who fostered educational achievement for FNMI students. The objectives of our exploration were to: (a) describe the leadership behaviours of these principals; (b) identify personal, professional, and institutional successes and challenges of these principals; and (c) highlight their decolonizing attitudes and practices. Preliminary findings in the initial data analysis revealed: relationships are key; there are high expectations for all students; strong supports of staff as professionals translate into avoidance of micro-management; there are systemic challenges e.g., communication, funding; and a call for systemic supports for a host of initiatives. Additionally, we provide some recommendations based on our participants’ suggestions and their in-the-field experiences. Links will be made to related research that explore how a decolonized education system can nourish the learning spirit of students. This SSHRC Insight Development Grant funded project is part of a multi-site case study conducted in SK, PEI & Nunavut.

Sandy Marie Bonny 

The Saskatchewan Cradleboard Initiative – a progress report on the development of multi-vocal K-12 STEM resources through University-level experiential learning projects 

The underrepresentation of Aboriginal contributions and perspectives in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) educational resources has a negative impact on the learning goals and self-identity of Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal students; as well as on the learning outcomes, cultural capacity, and social agency of all Saskatchewan students (Aikenhead, 2013; Voice, Vision & Leadership, 2013). Addressing this resource gap, the University of Saskatchewan established the Saskatchewan Cradleboard Initiative (SCI) in March 2014 – a collaboration with The Nihewin Foundation, inspired by pioneering Native Studies educator Buffy Sainte-Marie and her Cradleboard Teaching Project (2002). Through the SCI, multi-vocal science resources are being developed by U of S students, coupling a call for engagement with First Nations and Métis perspectives within University-level academic coursework to the resource requirements of the renewed SK Science Curriculum (2011). Students from the College of Arts & Science and College of Education have participated in first-hand cross-cultural learning to draw connections between ways of knowing embodied in Indigenous and Western science, with an initial focus on supporting grades 4-7 science curriculum outcomes and indicators. Student-generated SCI media include short videos, hands-on activity guides, teacher lesson plans and content units. These resources represent learning journeys, are explicit about their cultural perspectives (they have been created by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students), and are making exciting links between Indigenous and Western science. Highlights among the 2012-2013 pilot projects include ‘Métis solution chemistry’, ‘Absorption and Mossbags’, ‘Animal Sound Challenge’, and activity units coupled to video projects that pair origin stories of Aboriginal instruments to lessons in physical acoustics. Students in teacher education programs see the evolving multi-vocal SCI resources as a benefit to their future teaching careers, and are excited to contribute to emergent narratives that normalize multi-vocality in science in keeping with the culturally celebratory spirit of the Cradleboard Teaching Project. This presentation will give an introduction and overview of the SCI to date, as well as future directions. 

Tom Weegar

The Journey of Indigenization -- Formative Steps for a Small Regional College

Many regional colleges in Saskatchewan, and indeed across the country, are interested in working more closely with Aboriginal communities within their region. As part of this process, some colleges have expressed an interest in Indigenizing the College. Yet, some colleges may be challenged in how to begin or attempt this process. Cumberland College, a rural regional college in Northeast Saskatchewan, has recently identified Indigenizing the College as an important part of their strategic plan. Under the direction of a First Nations and Métis Advisory Committee, Cumberland College has just begun the journey of Indigenizing the College. This workshop will outline the initial steps -- and potential pitfalls -- a rural regional college took to begin the process of Indigenizing the College. 

Imelda Perley, Brian Beaton, Lise Degrace and Pam Whitty

Exchanging Gifts – Sharing knowledges and narratives across traditional lands and with/in institutions

In this session, we narrate and reflect upon old and new stories from the traditional territories of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’qmak, Cree and Oji-Cree as we speak-live them in our meeting place at UNB. We begin with Imelda. As Elder-in-Residence, Imelda asked Natalie Sappier to create a mural welcoming First Nations students into the building, the intent being to restore Wolastoqiyik and Mi’qmak students to traditional knowledges and cultures. The mural is an aesthetic-spiritual–pedagogical living space to teach-learn land, sun, moon, river, bear, eagle, and peoples – relationships with the human and more than human in all of our lives – past, present and future. Lise has been a social worker at Eel River Bar First Nation for close to 15 years. Guided by the community, she has recently been part of a legal judgment in Northern New Brunswick, one that honours Indigenous familial values, particularly the place of multiple families in children’s lives. Brian’s 32-year personal, professional and scholarly relationships with/in six remote and rural First Nation communities has supported/supports broadband networks and information and communications technologies (ICT) in e-learning, e-health, e-business, e-administration and many other applications and services. Across Pam’s 23 years at UNB, Indigenous scholarship has consistently informed her undergraduate and graduate classes. An ongoing pedagogy of deep listening guides Pam, with participants, to critically act within the context of professional-personal spaces. Also, she is learning with Imelda, how 4 year olds, who care for unceded university forestland, might value this land. Traditional learnings, memories, experiences and Indigenous scholarship inspire our narratives and critical reflections as we consider the meaning of our work individually and collectively with, and across, traditional lands and post-secondary learning institutions.

Aubrey Hanson

"Imagine Otherwise": Indigenizing Education with Indigenous Literary Scholarship 

The recent growth of the discipline of Indigenous literary scholarship has enormous ramifications for the field of education. This paper for the Wâhkôhtowin: Indigenizing Practice, Linking Kindred Spirits conference at the University of Saskatchewan seeks to bridge the disciplinary developments in literature and education. Specifically, Indigenous literary scholarship emphasizes a set of Indigenizing ethics for the study of Indigenous literatures, linking writing to Indigenous communities and to cultural and political sovereignty movements. Social responsibility is a prominent concern in these discussions. How do such ethical considerations impact literature education? What possibilities might they offer to the broader project of Indigenizing education? Indigenizing the study of literatures involves connecting texts and communities. Creative texts are powerful expressions of individual and community experiences: Cree writer Neal McLeod invokes this power when he writes, “through stories, we can find our place in the world” (2007, p. 68). Literary scholars have argued that Indigenous literatures play an important role in decolonizing and resistance struggles, that they are a vital part of cultural and intellectual traditions, and that they help to shape community stories of survival and resurgence. Literatures can facilitate healing and learning—or can undermine these efforts, if texts are read and taken up in recolonizing ways. Ethical approaches and relationships are vital to Indigenizing literary work. The teaching of Indigenous literatures is an important site for considering what it means to Indigenize education. Mi’kmaw scholar Marie Battiste (2013) argues that literatures and other arts within the “Indigenous humanities” challenge Eurocentrism in education through “cognitive and knowledge pluralism,” enabling shifts in how humanities are taught (p. 115-117). Through literatures, Indigenous peoples envision transformations of colonial relationships and empowered Indigenous futures. Cherokee writer Daniel Justice argues that literatures help us to “imagine otherwise,” providing us with “a transformative vision of possibility” (2012, p. 108). Indigenizing the teaching of literature means transforming education through this “vision of possibility.”

Tracy Walker, Robert Blyth and Michelle Hogan 

Indigenizing Science Inquiry – a Case Study: Students on the Beamlines at the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron 

In providing high school students with an experience as close to authentic scientific research as possible, we recognized an opportunity for transformational learning through science education for all people involved. Science educators have been calling for more inquiry-based experiential learning in science pedagogy that extends beyond rote memorization. Aboriginal educators have been calling for curriculum inclusive of indigenous perspectives, values and culture that involves the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical parts of the whole student. The Canadian Light Source (CLS), a national synchrotron research laboratory using extremely brilliant light to investigate matter, has embraced experiential pedagogy in our outreach programs. We have created opportunities for high school students, post-secondary students, and teachers to pursue their curiosity through scientific research using synchrotron techniques. Here, learners are responsible for their own learning through designing their own scientific experiment. This has shown to meaningfully engage students and reach curricular goals that are more esoteric and harder to achieve within the confines of a regular classroom laboratory setting. The program created an opportunity to engage the whole learner rather than focusing solely on the intellectual. We have had the privilege to work with Gwitchin and Dene students, as well as others from the north. Students brought traditional knowledge from their communities to direct their research and related learning. Elders guided development of scientific questions and selection of samples. A Traditional Knowledge Expert traveled with students and helped make connections within and between what they learned at home and what they learned through their synchrotron project. The relationships built a shared learning experience had an impact on all people involved. Dene students gained confidence in themselves and their knowledge. Gwitchin students connected stories told by their ancestors with reports written about the Porcupine Caribou Herd – a staple of their diet and key to the Gwitchin way of life. CLS adjusted the approach of the educational program to nurture and celebrate Indigenization opportunities where possible. In this presentation we share how this program created spaces for inquiry-based science education to be Indigenized using high school student projects as case studies. We explore how this coming together has been transformational for all people involved and how future opportunities might develop for high school and post-secondary students, as well as others involved in science education. We share how an authentic science inquiry experience can place traditional Indigenous learning at the forefront and build relationships and connections among people. 

Davida Bentham

Environmental Sustainability Education Policy in Canadian Aboriginal Education Systems

As environmental challenges increase across the world with social, political and ecological implications, educational institutions must be responsive through policy, governance and curriculum. More specifically, education in Aboriginal communities has a large task of incorporating themes of sustainability while being responsive to the culture and beliefs of the Aboriginal Peoples in each specific community. Thus, this research explores the question how is sustainability being engaged in Aboriginal education settings in Canada? Western and Indigenous methods of understanding sustainability are explored within five key areas: governance, education, operations, research and community outreach. Additionally, sustainability education policy will be explored, or lack thereof, and an understanding of jurisdictional restriction and capacity limitations will be explored. Data for this research project is gained through a literature review and interviews with principals and teachers at three Aboriginal run schools: WSANEC, Tsartslip British Columbia; Onion Lake, Saskatchewan; and Eskasoni, Nova Scotia. Preliminary findings show that sustainability education is strongest when infused with local culture and language pedagogies.

Karla Jessen Williamson and Tim Molnar

Crossing Many Boundaries to Create Allies

The two presenters discover many layers of articulation and consciousness in their collaboration to create a sound and sustained engagement of teacher trainees to learn to appreciate Indigenous knowledge. In this presentation the two authors will share personal and professional experiences dealing with great differences and disparities. One of the presenters is a female kalaaleq (an Inuk from Greenland) while the other is a male, Euro Canadian from Western Canada. Their collaboration means coming to terms with Indigenous and Western "gaze", theories, and pedagogical implications. In the combined presentation the authors will share with the audience the contexts and motivation for their collaboration and bring to light the challenges of collegial disparities, institutional inertia, similar and dissimilar content and process knowledge. Some of these include the emotional demand, the discussions involving "unmasking" and "face", and negotiation of ethical space. 

Heather Findlay

"Just a Pepper in a Bunch of Salt": Aboriginal Students' Stories of School

Mirroring national trends, the Saskatchewan education system is failing Aboriginal students. The situation is urgent, evidenced by low rates of Aboriginal students transitioning through grades, lower results on provincial assessments, and the significant gap between Aboriginal students and their non-Aboriginal counterparts graduating from high school. In light of these issues, this research explores high-school aged Aboriginal students’ stories of school and, in particular, their stories of place, curriculum, teachers and administrators. The research recognizes schools as white spaces where dominant identities are affirmed through place, spaces, curriculum, and pedagogy. Data was collected through four semi-structured interviews with five adolescents who self-identified as Aboriginal. A Critical Race Theory framework, with its emphasis on counter-stories, was used to analyze the data, paying particular attention to the reproduction of dominance. The stories of these five participants highlight the need for teachers and administrators, the majority of whom are White, to take actions to promote the success of Aboriginal students in the classroom. Important to the participants is the creation of a sense of belonging to a place through the inclusion of Aboriginal artifacts and the actions of teachers to support those objects in meaningful ways. Additionally, the students articulate that teachers should authentically infuse Aboriginal content throughout core curriculum. Finally, teachers and administrators need to overcome their disconnect with Aboriginal students by developing close personal relationships with them and engaging in processes of decolonization through critical self-reflective work.

Yvonne Poitras Pratt, D. Lyn Daniels, Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, Phyllis Grace Steeves, Karlee Fellner and Jacqueline Ottmann

“Coming to Know”: Creation Stories of Institutional Transformation from Indigenous Educators

In July 2013, the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary initiated an Indigenizing strategy. As part of this strategy, the School of Education hired five Indigenous faculty members who joined a senior Indigenous Associate Professor to form a critical mass of Indigenous faculty members. Since then, this group has worked as a team in developing undergraduate and graduate courses, hosting symposia, engaging in research, developing conference presentations and participating in a task force aimed at recommending organizational changes related to decolonizing education. We are in agreement that it is essential to be actively engaged in the indigenizing process with the understanding that it is a process that should reflect Indigenous community needs and vision. However, the diversity that is inherent in Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing within and outside of the academy is also apparent in the diverse ways we think about and express "Indigenizing the academy.” As Indigenous academics, we have adopted various methods and strategies to navigate institutional challenges including the creation and fostering of ethical spaces, bringing Indigenous knowledges, experiences and practices through history and narratives into our teaching and other academic spaces, as well as working alongside allies and other Indigenous scholars. The coming together of diverse Indigenous scholars working to create community and ultimately change within the academy is a complex undertaking that has the potential to be realized in particular ethical spaces / places through the collaborative efforts of individuals and the wider Indigenous and academic communities “coming to know.” In this presentation, we narrate coming to know ourselves and one another through tentative theorizing and toward collective action as essential to systemic, sustained and specialized institutional transformation. Locating a powerful theoretical framework to situate our work within the academy and as a benefit for Indigenous communities is equally important if we are to be successful with Indigenizing higher education.

Yvonne Poitras Pratt

Tea, Bannock and a Narrative Tradition involving Métis Kin and Kindred Spirits

Over the past five years, I have worked alongside my home community of Fishing Lake Métis Settlement on a digital storytelling project, witnessing the role of storytelling as a valued and integral part of the learning tradition. Of the 19 digital stories created by Fishing Lake members, a significant number of stories focused on the intergenerational transfer of knowledge through experiential learning and the oral tradition, including multiple references to the “old red schoolhouse” built by community members in the 1930s. As forms of transformative learning, these stories represent an important intersection between traditional and new ways of learning that could inform the establishment of a viable educational model in which family and community are meaningfully included. This presentation focuses on the digital stories created by storytellers and Elders in the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement as a realization of community-based and educational objectives from a past, present and future perspective: 1. Revitalizing storytelling traditions well-known in Alberta and Saskatchewan from previous eras and contemporary times; 2. Restoring intergenerational connections between youth, Elders, and other community storytellers; and 3. Continued sharing and support for this type of decolonizing work.  Building from this doctoral work, I will also share findings from a recent community session – complete with bannock and tea – held with the Elders’ Advisory Group and participating storytellers from Fishing Lake around the storytelling process and community reflections on what these stories represent in terms of future learning potential. Finally, the further sharing of these digital stories with a selection of Métis scholars/students from Alberta and Saskatchewan, and their theoretical understandings of what these stories mean, is envisioned as a broadening of community support and Métis knowledge traditions.

M.J. Barrett, Molly Patterson, Matt Harmin, Bryan Maracle, Christina Thomson, Michelle Flowers and Kirk Bors

Decolonizing Epistemology: Threshold Concepts for Epistemological Stretching in Socio-Ecological Sustainability Education

This paper identifies 4 threshold concepts for decolonizing epistemologies through curricular design and practice. Results are from a SSHRC-funded study focusing on educational practices required to bridge Indigenous and Eurocentric knowledges in resource management contexts. Using Meyer and Land’s (2006) notion of a threshold concept – a conceptual gateway or portal into new and particularly troublesome understandings – we identify 4 key understandings that students must move through in order to decolonize their own epistemological positioning through “epistemological stretching”. We then go on to highlight pedagogical approaches and embodied tensions that emerge when they are engaged in practice. The threshold concepts range from the blatantly obvious: there are different ways of knowing, to the more subtle: knowing is relational, discourse supports and/or undermines particular ways of knowing and being, and worldview is the lens through which we experience reality. Data: This study is based on an iterative analysis of a wide range of data drawn from students in three different years of the graduate course ENVS 811: Multiple Ways of Knowing in Environmental Decision-Making. Data sources include: post-course student narratives of experience; in-class reflective activities and assignments; threshold concept survey of all students in three years of the course offerings (participation rate 78%); and two Master’s theses. Implications: Because threshold concepts are particularly troublesome and generate irreversible and often transformative “aha” moments and in student learning, a curricular focus on threshold concepts (as opposed to key concepts) is essential for decolonization.

Kim Mckay-Mcnabb and Paulette Hunter

Enhancing Psychology Curricula with Local Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

Global concern about the loss of Indigenous knowledge to prevailing colonial perspectives is growing, as exemplified by UNESCO’s recent recommendation that the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous knowledge be increased by representing it in curricula and situating learning in local communities. Indeed, in Canada, primary and secondary school curricula increasingly rely on Aboriginal perspectives; some Aboriginal communities guide students’ primary and secondary level education from traditional perspectives; and some schools are delivering a full complement of primary and secondary curricular options in Aboriginal languages. At the post-secondary level, Aboriginal knowledge traditions are emphasized in disciplines such as Indigenous Studies and Environmental Science, but are less frequently discussed in other disciplines, including psychology. We are embarking on a community-engaged research project to enhance current undergraduate psychology course curricula by identifying local Indigenous traditional knowledge that is compatible with themes addressed in undergraduate psychology courses (e.g., lifespan development and mental health). The purpose of our presentation is to present a conceptual framework adopted from the work of Williamson and Dalal (2007). As we present our work in light of this framework, we will address: (1) the anticipated benefits of indigenizing undergraduate psychology course curricula; (2) considerations related to ethics in teaching and research (including the observation of cultural protocols); and (3) rewards and challenges experienced in our preliminary work. Participants will be invited to provide feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of our conceptual framework in a local context.  

Vanessa Sloan Morgan and Heather Castleden

Teaching the Geographic Patchwork of Comprehensive Land Claims in Canada

If the Canadian landscape is viewed as an intricate legal tapestry, Indigenous title is the tangled mess of haphazard threads in the back. These threads threaten the de facto sovereignty and certainty of the state in light of the fact that treaties in these areas have not ceded Indigenous territories to the Crown. Comprehensive land claims (CLCs), or modern treaties, in Canada can thus be perceived as colonial patchwork, intricately sewn by common law’s legal mechanisms; they are contentious and complicated. Many Indigenous peoples view them as certificates of conquest, where rights are taken rather than granted. Alternatively, many non-Indigenous settlers are unaware of the historical conditions that have resulted in the often highly publicized land-use confrontations and drawn out treaty negotiation processes. Settlers may even be unaware of the occurrence of treaty negotiations, let alone why they are being negotiated. Settlers’ unknowing of Indigenous-settler relations have been theorized as a ‘geography of ignorance’: a culturally inscribed ontological positioning that physically and unquestionably places settlers as rightful inheritors of (often unceded) Indigenous territories. The popular discourse of Canadian history reproduces this geography and has shown to be prevalent even amongst students in higher education. Utilizing the conventional, yet highly value laden geographical tool of the map, we suggest new ways to facilitate teaching strategies by translating abstract themes concerning colonialism, territoriality, and Indigenous geographies into visibly spatial and place-based concepts. CLCs in Canada are our focus as they can be taught in the social sciences, particularly the discipline of geography, to provoke students’ engagement with the nuances of their own geographical ignorance. Although engagement with state mechanisms, such as CLCs, is not solely sufficient to fully address this ignorance, it is seen here as a strategy to catalyze student engagement with normalized land-inscribed geographies that privilege settlers’ in their social and physical locations. We argue that this is a first step for settlers, in terms of entering their own processes of decolonization through reflexivity, to understand that we are all treaty people. 

Click to view abstracts for Concurrent Session 1
Concurrent Sessions 2, Titles and Presenters

2:30 - 3:50 pm  (1 hr and 20 min)

Treaty Reconciliations and Education (Room 2002) 

The Possibilities for Reconciliation Through Difficult Dialogues: Treaty education as Peacebuilding. Presenter: Jennifer Tupper

“We are all treaty people “ Exploring the knowledge base and dispositions of pre-service teachers in Saskatchewan on Aboriginal issues through an online interview process. Presenters: Paul Orlowski & Michael Cottrell 

Trick or Treaty? A critical analysis of the impact of Pākehā (White) institutional biculturalisms and their influence upon Treaty education programs for teachers in Canterbury New Zealand (related to the experiences of Canadian colleagues). Presenter: Dr. Richard Manning

wâhkôhtowin as leaders, partners and allies (Room 2005) 

Sisters of Sāsīpihkēyihtamowin – Wise Women of the Cree, Denesuline, Inuit and Métis: Understandings of Storywork, Traditional Knowledges and Eco-justice among Indigenous Women Leaders. Presenters: Margaret Kress-White 

Negotiating the landscape: Partnerships and Allies. Presenters: Jacqueline Ottmann and Sharon Friesen 

Wahkohtowin at ITEP. Presenters: Yvette Arcand, Irene Oakes and Chris Scribe

Theory as Story: Pedagogy as Story (Room 2010) 

The Beauty of a Story: Toward Indigenous Art Theory. Presenter: Carmen Robertson Nanabush and the Scientific Method of Inquiry. Presenters: Michelle Hogan Robert Blythe and Tracy Walker 

Finding miyo-pimâtisiwin: kistesinaw/wîsahkêcâhk, the âtayôhkêwina, and wâhkotêskanâw: Finding the Good Life: Elder Brother, the Sacred Stories, and the Paths to Kinship. Presenter: Tasha Beeds

Disciplinary Transformations and Transformers (Room 2014) 

Indigenous Presence: Experiencing and Envisioning Indigenous Knowledges in Post-secondary Studies of Education and Social Work- leadership/ post secondary pedagogy. Presenters: Margaret Kovach, Jeannine Carriere, Harpell Montgomery, M.J Barrett & Carmen Gillies 

Transforming the Health Landscape in Northern Communities: Shared Leadership for Innovation in Nursing Education. Presenters: Lois Berry, Lorna Butler and Amy Wright 

Perspectives on Indigenization through Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Eyes - indigenization. Presenters: Lori Campbell and Jacqueline Belhumeur

wâhkôhtowin as lifelong pedagogy (Classroom Library) 

Who Is a Christian Child on the Prairies from 1880-1920? Considerations for Pre-service Teachers in Concepts of Childhood in History Presenter: Jonathan Anuik Wahkohtowin as Pedagogy: Learning Together about Justice. Presenters: Sarah Buhler, Priscilla Settee and Nancy Van Styvendale 

Aboriginal Advisors Circle as a Best Practice. Presenters: Val Arnault and Yvette Arcand

Click to view titles and presenters for Concurrent Session 2
Concurrent Sessions 2, Abstracts

Jennifer Tupper

The Possibilities for Reconciliation Through Difficult Dialogues: Treaty education as Peacebuilding

Critical approaches in peace education “aim to empower learners as transformative change agents who critically analyze power dynamics” (Bajaj & Brantmeier 2011, p. 221). Such approaches manifest opportunities for students to engage in difficult dialogues across communities of difference, with the potential to disrupt foundational bodies of knowledge that shape particular epistemologies. Through these disruptions, epistemologies may be repositioned as sites of inquiry (Trifonas & Wright, 2013). The need to create opportunities for critical peacebuilding education in Canada, specific to reconciliation of settler populations with Aboriginal peoples, is urgent in light of ongoing processes of colonialism that shape these relationships. This paper discusses the ongoing effects of colonialism on Aboriginal peoples in Canada and how these might be revealed and disrupted through particular curricular initiatives, informed by understandings of critical peacebuilding education. One such initiative, treaty education, has the potential to disturb dominant national narratives in classrooms, and to invite students to think differently about the history of Canada as it seeks to acknowledge and challenge epistemologies of ignorance that often shape relationships with Aboriginal peoples. Throughout the discussion, it is argued that ignorance is produced and maintained through dominant narratives of the nation which reinforce colonial dispositions that are inherently anti-democratic and that (re)produce structural and symbolic forms of violence, undermining the possibilities for (just) peacebuilding education. Treaty education may bring to the surface conflict for students, in terms of their prior knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal-Canadian relations: such conflict creates productive sites of possibility for disrupting ignorance. Specifically, the paper describes a high school-university student inquiry into residential schools undertaken in fall 2012, as one example of how treaty education might be used to foster the difficult dialogues necessary for critical peacebuilding education. 

Paul Orlowski and Michael Cottrell

“WE ARE ALL TREATY PEOPLE “ Exploring the knowledge base and dispositions of pre-service teachers in Saskatchewan on Aboriginal issues through an online interview process

In this paper presentation we analyse the responses of all applicants to a question on Treaties in an online admissions process and treat these as a valuable body of data to understand the knowledge base and dispositions of potential pre-service teachers in Saskatchewan on Aboriginal issues. Given that this predominantly Caucasian group will become part of the teaching force in a province where Aboriginal students already constitute a very large percentage of the school-age population, this research will inform the ongoing development of our undergraduate program and assist us in preparing teachers for the classrooms of the future in Saskatchewan. We see this research as one part of a wider strategy to indigenize our academy and to advance a post-colonial teaching profession in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Richard Manning

Trick or Treaty? A critical analysis of the impact of Pākehā (White) institutional biculturalisms and their influence upon Treaty education programs for teachers in Canterbury New Zealand (related to the experiences of Canadian colleagues)

This presentation will argue that dominant ideological constructs of the Treaty-relationship (between Māori and the Crown) have provided the colonial settler State of New Zealand with a Treaty code that continues to co-opt, distort and marginalize Māori aspirations of tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty). This, in turn, holds widespread implications for Treaty education initiatives in New Zealand universities (especially teacher education programs). The paper commences by providing a brief overview of the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in the New Zealand schooling and tertiary education systems since 1989. This will be followed by a review of the impact of biculturalism upon the scope of Treaty education in two Canterbury (South Island, New Zealand) teacher education institutions since 1989. This backdrop informs a theoretical discussion of New Zealand conditions that will encourage Canadian colleagues to consider the enduring influence of official (1970s) Canadian constructs of biculturalism upon the New Zealand government’s Treaty code 
(and to critically reflect upon indigenization initiatives in Canadian universities). Finally, attention will be paid to the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Consideration will be given to its potential to provide leverage for indigenous and non-indigenous Treaty educators (and their community partners in both countries) to ‘think locally and act globally’.

Margaret Kress-White

Sisters of Sāsīpihkēyihtamowin – Wise Women of the Cree, Denesuline, Inuit and Métis: Understandings of Storywork, Traditional Knowledges and Eco-justice among Indigenous Women Leaders

Environmental racism has recently entered the realm of academic inquiry and although it currently sits in a marginalized category, Indigenous, environmental communities and scholars have acknowledged it as an important subject of critical inquiry. With roots in southern Americana history, environmental racism has had a limited scope of study within Canadian universities. Few Canadian scholars have presented the rippling effects of this critical phenomenon to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and the challenge to bring this discourse to the universities of Canada remains significant. Mainstream educators and environmentalists dismiss discourses of environmental racism, ecological destruction and the correlating demise of Indigenous peoples’ knowledges, cultures and wellness as an insignificant and sometimes radical propaganda. In opposition, Indigenous peoples, globally, are countering this dismissal and they are telling their stories to ensure all have access to the discourses of environmental racism found within the ecological destructions of traditional lands and the cultural genocides of their peoples. The stories of their histories and activism define the resistance found within Indigenous communities. These same stories show the resiliencies of Aboriginal peoples in their quest for self-determination. Using an Indigenous research methodological framework, this study seeks to understand the complexities of environmental racism found within Canadian Aboriginal communities and further, it seeks to find, analyze and report the depth of resistance and resilience found within the storywork of Aboriginal women. The researcher attempts to gain perspective from eight Aboriginal women of four distinct Nations by focusing on the context of their lives in relationship to their leadership decisions and actions from a worldview of Indigenous knowledge, eco-justice and peace. The lived experiences of Aboriginal women from the traditional lands of the Cree, the Denesuline, the Inuit and the Métis are critical to an analysis of how environmental racism is dismantled and wellness sought. The Storywork of these participants provides answers as to how these Aboriginal women have come to resist environmental racism and why they currently lead others in the protection and sustainability of traditional lands, Aboriginal knowledge, culture and kinship wellness. Framed within Indigenous research methodology, all researcher actions within the study, including the collection, analysis and reporting of multiple data sources, followed the ceremonial tradition and protocols of respect and reciprocity found among Aboriginal peoples. Data from semi-structured qualitative interviews and written questionnaires was analyzed from the supportive Western method of grounded theory. 

Jacqueline Ottmann and Sharon Friesen

Negotiating the Landscape: Partnerships and Allies

As research and literature supports, partnership and allies are important in promoting and sustaining Indigenization of the academy. Alberta Advanced Education Aboriginal Subcommittee report, A Learning Alberta, Setting the Direction, Partnerships in Action: First Nations, Metis and Inuit Learning Access and Success (2006), Alberta Learning’s First Nations, Metis, Inuit Education Policy Framework (2002), and Alberta’s Commission on Learning final report, Every Child Learns, Every Child Succeeds: Report and Recommendations (2003), recommended policy actions and encouraged partnership and collaboration between governments, learning providers, communities, industry and the public in relation to post-secondary education of Aboriginal students. A pragmatic and systematic process for post-secondary institutional change is outlined in the document in the document Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan: 2020 Vision for the Future (2013). This Framework was developed by a comprehensive working group that included British Columbia’s Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Partners, including the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, the Métis Nation BC, the First Nations Public Service, BC Colleges, BC Association of Universities and Institutes, and the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia. Goal 2 of the recommendations states: Community-based delivery of programs is supported through partnerships between public post-secondary institutions and Aboriginal. In addition, the international research project An Institutional Leadership Paradigm: Transferring Practices, Structures and Conditions in Indigenous Higher Education (2009) recommended that universities work more intentionally at developing partnerships with Indigenous communities and inviting Indigenous peoples into the university to ensure ownership and authenticity of initiatives. In 2013, the University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education has created an Indigenous Education Task-Force whose mandate is to provide recommendations to the faculty for systemic and sustainable organizational change that would support Indigenous students and faculty, and strengthen overall policy, program and curriculum development. As research supports, to ensure that this initiative is successful, it was important for the Task Force to work in collaboration with key stakeholders, this including allies and the local Indigenous community. In this presentation the two Co-Chairs of the Indigenous Education Task Force will provide research and experiential examples of the decolonization process at the Werklund School of Education.

Yvette Arcand, Irene Oakes and Chris Scribe

Wâhkôtowin at Indian Teacher Education Program

The Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) is in its 42nd year of successful completion of 1550+ graduates in both the on-campus and First Nation community-based programs. The program maintains its distinctiveness by providing unique, innovative approaches to student advising and support. It provides a holistic culture based approach to education while honoring students’ individual contributions. ITEP promotes First Nation practices and teaching throughout the student's educational journey by building relationships that are respected and honored. Through a First Nation’s collaborative administrative model, ITEP provides a community structure to the academy.

Carmen Robertson

The Beauty of a Story: Toward Indigenous Art Theory

The oral telling of a story involves much more than simply an oral narration. Song, dance, performance, oratory, costume, and a multitude of visual expressions contribute to artful narrativion. Performance and performative storytelling supported the transmission of knowledge in pre-contact and contact Indigenous cultures in much of the Americas and today contemporary Indigenous visual and performance artists continue to create art in which story remains central. Story as art offers a framework for considering the difficult task of organizing, informing, and guiding in an understanding of cultural heritage. Art theory textbooks range in topics from aesthetic theory, formalist theory, cognitive theory, to postmodern theory more closely related to visual cultural studies. Most texts omit any discussion of Indigenous art theory; Western traditions eclipse such discourse, privileging a Eurocentric theoretical knowledge base. Debate over whether Indigenous peoples had a word for art preoccupied anthropologists and art historians for years. As a result, students of Indigenous art struggle to align theory with practice. Until recently, little has been published in this area. A pivotal essay written by Loretta Todd in 1992 marked an opening for theoretical discussions around Indigenous arts in Canada. A recent publication, Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World through Stories (2013), essays related to Anishinaabe arts and culture frames theory through cultural tradition demonstrates the latest attempts to theorize about art production in relation to a specific First Nation. As an Indigenous art historian of contemporary art I have heard time again how Indigenous artists make art that is too didactic, too angry, too traditional, or too derivative. Efforts to privilege art that looked more Western, conformed to Western art theory, or that was more difficult to read meant only a small group of artists have achieved a level of notoriety commensurate with contemporary mainstream artists. In the past twenty years, Indigenous artists and curators have begun to ignore Western labels and instead create and curate art that reflects cultural imperatives. Adopting strategies that highlight the diversity of Indigenous arts in relation to performative gestures, visual narrative, and elements of ceremony, grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, I hope to convey the complexities of formulating suitable theory while offering theoretical direction. This essay will engage notions of Indigenous narrativity and performativity to organize a systematic set of observations that articulates theoretical principles inherent in Indigenous arts.

Michelle Hogan, Robert Blyth and Tracy Walker

Nanabush and the Scientific Method of Inquiry

This presentation will use the story of ‘Nanabush and the Roses’ to demonstrate two fundamental arguments: 1) that traditional stories are relevant in all areas of life and study; and 2) that this story describes a method of inquiry that is consistent with the scientific method of inquiry used in the natural sciences such as physics and chemistry. The story of Nanabush and the Roses is a well-known Anishinabek story that describes the disappearance of the roses, as well as the subsequent struggle to find them and determine why they had vanished. We will demonstrate that this story contains the template for experimental research using the scientific method of inquiry as employed in the natural sciences. Indigenous knowledge is often juxtaposed with Western science and is often held to be a separate, albeit complementary, form of knowledge. Little consideration is given to the idea that Indigenous philosophies may contain Western scientific knowledge in addition to other forms of Indigenous knowledge. This paper argues that the scientific method is an Indigenous way of learning about the world that is validated through the Nanabush narrative. This leads us to two conclusions. First, that the scientific method of inquiry was known and understood by the ancestors, and was relayed through stories as a method of understanding the world. Second, that the stories as told by the ancestors have relevance in contemporary times in all aspects of life including the natural sciences. This presentation has three objectives: to examine the apparent disconnect between Aboriginal culture and Western science, to elucidate the experiment embedded in the Nanabush story and to provide an example of an Aboriginal student group that has relived the Nanabush story through a Students on the Beamlines project at the Canadian Light Source.  

Tasha Beeds

Finding miyo-pimâtisiwin: kistesinaw/wîsahkêcâhk, the âtayôhkêwina, and wâhkotêskanâw: Finding the Good Life: Elder Brother, the Sacred Stories, and the Paths to Kinship

In our nêhiyaw, Anishinaabeg, and other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, each and every one of us bears the weight of the violence, abuse, addictions, suicides and other dysfunctions we collectively face. None of us have been left untouched by this force called “colonialism” that marked our Ancestors and continues to mark not only us, but also our territories. In nêhiyawêwin, the Cree language, the kêhtê-ayak, the Old Ones, called it ê-mâyihkamikahk or “where it went wrong” (McLeod, 2007). It went wrong with the residential schools, the 60s scoop, and other legislated policies aimed at destroying us. It continues to go wrong, however, as we hurt each other, ourselves, our children, our kêhtê-ayak, kikâwinâw-askiy, Mother Earth, the Waters, and all the other Beings of Creation. Maria Campbell and other Knowledge Keepers assert many of us have forgotten wâhkôtowin, the ways we are related to each other and the rest of Creation. As Indigenous academics, one of our responsibilities is to create pathways to our own knowledge bundles in ways that our own people can utilize and others can learn from. My Ph.D. research looks to do so by exploring the ways wâhkôtowin can be regenerated in contemporary ways to help us continue to close the ruptures caused by ê-mâyihkamikahk. If we follow kistêsinâw/wîsahkêcâhk, Elder Brother, through the âtayôhkêwina, we can see our world through nêhiyawimâmitonêyihcikan, Cree consciousness. Our Elder Brother, kistêsinâw/wîsahkêcâhk shows us how to tap into mamâhtâwisiwin, the Life Force, and blanket ourselves with the maskihkiy, the Medicines of our people, our lands, and our waters instead of the blankets of shame (Campbell, 1973). These are the pathways that can move us from the violence of colonialism into the legacies our Ancestors protected for us, the legacies of miyo-pimâtisiwin, the Good Life.

Margaret Kovach, Jeannine Carriere, Harpell Montgomery, M.J Barrett and Carmen Gillies

Indigenous Presence: Experiencing and Envisioning Indigenous Knowledges in Post-secondary Studies of Education and Social Work

Indigenous Presence: Experiencing and Envisioning Indigenous Knowledges in Post-secondary Studies of Education and Social Work presents the findings of a recently completed qualitative study of the experiences of Education and Social Work faculty in selected western Canadian post-secondary sites. Using a conversational approach, with a thematic analysis guided by Indigenist principles, this study explores the meta and mini-narratives at work as Education and Social Work post-secondary educators attempt to integrate Indigenous Knowledges into their instruction. Participant interviews include reflections upon academic life that supports, impedes, or complicates the personal, relational, theoretical, and organizational aspects of integrating Indigenous knowledges into faculty instruction. The cross-disciplinary study involved 16 faculty members of diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous, within four specific professional practice programs. Participants in this study include tenured faculty members in professional academic programs of Education at the University of Saskatchewan and University of British Columbia and Social Work at the University of Regina and University of Victoria. As the majority of voices have over 10 years experience each as an academic, the narratives herein offer a temporal account of the measures taken to include Indigenous knowledges within the Canadian academic landscape. From their experience, the participants reflect upon ways forward. The study was funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and was conducted by the research team of: Margaret Kovach, PhD (P.I. University of Saskatchewan), Jeannine Carriere, PhD (C.I. University of Victoria), Harpell Montgomery, PhD (Col. University of Regina), M.J Barrett, PhD (Col, University of Saskatchewan) and Doctoral Candidate Carmen Gillies (University of Saskatchewan).

Lois Berry, Lorna Butler and Amy Wright

Transforming the Health Landscape in Northern Communities: Shared Leadership for Innovation in Nursing Education

People living in northern areas throughout the world experience poorer health status than their southern neighbours. Accessibility to health care services and availability of health care professionals play a role in the building of health capacity in northern regions. The College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan developed a principled approach to the creation of an Indigenous nursing workforce in Northern Saskatchewan. This approach builds on Williams’ concept of Therapeutic Landscapes, which recognizes the connectedness among environment, social interaction, and symbolic meaning within a population, and offers a way to analyze the influence of the contextual factors of place on health, and values and attitudes on well-being. In order to succeed, the College developed mutually beneficial, capacity-building relationships with northern communities, finding local champions to assist them. They reorganized their administrative structure to give visibility to their northern relationships, and built a distributive learning approach based on the commitment to “learn where you live”. Measuring the success of such approaches requires the development of new and innovative evaluation strategies, beyond the usual markers of individual student success. It requires approaches that capture the impact of such education programming on the fabric of the community as a whole.

Lori Campbell and Jacqueline Belhumeur

Perspectives on Indigenization through Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Eyes

As Indigenous educators we are working to create change and indigenize our educational institutions. One of the most valuable supports in the process can be our non-Indigenous colleagues. This presentation will examine the process of Indigenizing through Indigenous and Non-Indigenous eyes. Our presentation will look at four key questions: 1) What does the process of Indigenizing entail? 2) How can our non-Indigenous colleagues help in this process? 3) How do we cultivate Indigenous and Non-Indigenous alliances? 4) How do we address the awkwardness that people feel when changing practice? Participants will be involved in the presentation by being encouraged to share their personal experiences with forming alliances. This will either be done in a sharing circle or small groups. Outcomes: 1) Describe the process of Indigenizing; 2) Define alliance; and 3) Identify challenges and rewards of Indigenous and non-Indigenous alliances.

Jonathan Anuik

Who Is a Christian Child on the Prairies from 1880-1920? Considerations for Pre-service Teachers in Concepts of Childhood in History

Catholic and Protestant churches take credit for the formulation of ideas that shape modern schoolhouses in western Canada. Pre-service teacher candidates do not see the Christian contexts that illuminate the pedagogical stances that they take in class. This paper draws on my education elective course Concepts of Childhood in History and works specifically from the course topic: who is a Christian child? The lesson follows in sequence from two classes that look at Indigenous understandings of childhood. In this class on Christian childhood, I demonstrate to students the ideologies that resulted in the normalization of Christian ideals of childhood that would affect the delivery of education to First Nation and Métis children on the prairies. Christian ideals would become normalized as secular ideals and influence the form and execution of classes at school. Indigenous students would be the main targets in these early years of schools. I enumerate the messages from articles written by Christian education scholars at the turn of the 20th century to illuminate philosophies of morality, childrearing, learning, and education, the basics of Christian concepts of childhood, and their influences at school. Such an intellectual history informs students how the principles of education that would take shape in Indian Residential Schools and mainstream public and Catholic schools would disassociate Indigenous children and youth from their existing knowledge bases. Finally, I close with suggestions for a repurposing of teaching from value transmission to nurturer of sources and domains of knowledge, enumerated through the First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning Model. Such prospects serve as lessons in learning for teacher education.

Sarah Buhler, Priscilla Settee and Nancy Van Styvendale

Wâhkôhtowin as Pedagogy: Learning Together about Justice

In this presentation, the presenters will introduce and discuss their innovative interdisciplinary course 
“Wâhkôhtowin: Learning Together about Justice”, which they developed and taught together as a team with community partner Stan Tu-Inukuafe in 2013 and 2014 at Station 20 West in Saskatoon. This 13-week course brings law students and undergraduate Native Studies and English students together with former gang members (members of STR8 UP http://str8-up.ca/ ) and mature Aboriginal high school students from Oskayak High School (http://blog.scs.sk.ca/oskayak/ ) in a transformative teaching and learning project. The unifying theme of the course is “justice”, and the subthemes discussed include policing, the criminal trial process, prisons, and Indigenous/restorative approaches to justice and healing. Each subtheme is studied from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (law, literature, Native Studies) and with an emphasis on Indigenous pedagogies and epistemologies. A core methodology of the course relates to relationship-building/ Wâhkôhtowin within the group and the sharing of stories. Because many of the students in the class have first-hand experiences with police, the criminal justice system and prison, these experiences, as well as legal and literary texts, form the central content of the course. Through the course, students gain complex insights into justice and injustice “on the ground” in Saskatoon, learn about the difficult histories that still haunt our justice system, and, most importantly, build relationships with one another. Our paper describes the key aspects of our Wâhkôhtowin pedagogy and shares the findings from a qualitative study of the experiences and reflections of the participants in the class. We will discuss specifically why this interdisciplinary, Indigenous, relationship-based approach to teaching and learning is important within the context of the university.

Val Arnault and Yvette Arcand

Aboriginal Advisors Circle as a Best Practice

This presentation will explore the historical and current contexts of the Aboriginal Advisors Circle at the University of Saskatchewan. The group was started informally in 2002 and began as a support circle for Aboriginal Advisors, faculty and staff who needed a place to share information and ideas as well as the opportunity to gather and support one another. The circle evolved and changed over the years. The presentation will include the sharing circle process, the Colleges and Units represented, as well as the social, cultural and academic support the advisors explore in a respectful manner at each gathering. The presentation will also share the reporting structure, the terms of reference, and the importance of inclusion of the Circle at the University of Saskatchewan over the years. Discussion points will include the exploration and inclusion of culture and teachings that naturally occur within the group. The presenters will also share the successes and challenges of a culturally diverse group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal advisors. The heart of the presentation is the connection of the Advisors to community, students, Elders and families. Respecting Aboriginal identity while adhering to University administration and hierarchy, the Advisors find the support and information sharing critical to their own well-being and ultimately for successful outcomes.

Click to view abstracts for Concurrent Session 2
Concurrent Sessions 3, Titles and Presenters

4 - 5:20 pm (1 hr and 20 min)

Relationality as core foundations in Indigenizing Practice (Room 2002)

More than Wagootowin: Nehinuw social relationships to Indigenize education. Presenters: Keith Goulet and Linda Goulet 

Learning to Relate: An Exploration of Indigenous Science Education. Presenter: Jeff Baker 

Leading the way out of Plato's Cave: How Indigenous knowledges, peoples and approaches can transform academia. Presenter: Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad

Culturally Responsive Pedagogies (Room 2005) 

Culturally Responsive Curriculum in Physical and Health Education: An Indigenous Framework to Guide Transformation. Presenter: Brenda Kalyn 

The University of Saskatchewan Science Ambassador Program: community-based science outreach as a site of collaborative cross-cultural learning. Presenters: Sandy Marie Bonny & Ranjan Datta 

Culturally Relevant Information Literacy Instruction. Presenter: Deborah Lee

Building decolonizing practices and kindred allies (Room 2009) 

Kindred Practice: Experiences of a Research Group Working Towards Decolonization and Indigenization in the Everyday. Presenters: Ryan Jimmy, Willow Allen, Carmen Gillies & Vince Anderson 

Striving for Decolonization and Indigenization Through Staff and Faculty Professional Development: "Indigenous Voices" at the U of S. Presenters: Tereigh Ewert-Bauer & Colleen Charles 

LE,NONET: Supporting Indigenous Student Success at the University of Victoria. Presenters: Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas and Robert Hancock

Promising digital programming and partnerships (Room 2009) 

The Digital Storytelling Project: Shifting Historical Consciousness through Treaty Education. Presenters: Patrick Lewis, Jennifer Tupper, Alec Couros, Ken Montgomery and Katia Hildebrandt

Building digital bridges for indigenizing education: Student generated iMovies as multimodal knowledge artifacts or strengths-based wâhkôhtowin. Presenters: Lisa Korteweg and Alex Bissell 

Sāpo Nistohtamowin: A Partnership Programming at the University of Saskatchewan between the Aboriginal Students’ Centre and the International Student and Study Abroad Centre. Presenters: Davida Bentham and Janelle Pewapsconias

Decolonizing the Humanities (Room 2060) 

Reframing the Human: Animating the Mi’kmaw Humanities in Atlantic Canada. Presenters: Marie Battiste & Sakej Henderson 

Teaching the Baskets: Community-Engaged Learning as Indigenizing Practice in Post-Secondary Education. Presenters: Len Findlay & Isobel Findlay 

Leading the way out of Plato's Cave: How Indigenous knowledges, peoples and approaches can transform academia. Presenter: Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad


Click to view titles and presenters for Concurrent Session 3
Concurrent Sessions 3, Abstracts

Keith Goulet and Linda Goulet

More than Wagootowin: Nehinuw social relationships to Indigenize education

The existing Eurocentric knowledge system limits the understanding of the relationship systems of Indigenous peoples to socio-biological concepts of kinship. For example, much of the focus in history has been on building relationships with Indigenous peoples through marriage. This focus views those patriarchal relationships from the European perspective of the importance of blood relatives for economic and political power. From an Indigenous perspective, the Nehinuw (Cree) had a variety of social relationships that were important to their cultural ways that have not been widely explored in the literature. This presentation will examine a more extensive view of Nehinuw social relations. In addition to Wagootowin, Keith Goulet, a fluent Nehinuw speaker, will explain some of the key Nehinuw concepts of social relations that are pertinent to education and examine the deeper meaning of these concepts from a Nehinuw perspective. Linda will explain how these concepts apply to teaching and educational practice. Understanding these concepts provides insight to Indigenize our thinking. Applying these understandings to education serves to conceptualize how educators can use these concepts of social relations to Indigenize and decolonize practice.  

Jeff Baker

Learning to Relate: An Exploration of Indigenous Science Education

This presentation shares the story of my doctoral research, which explored the transformative possibilities of Indigenous science education (ISE) for catalyzing the emergence of more equitable and sustainable ways of living, and addresses its influence on the development of two university courses. Drawing on the qualitative frames of participatory action research and Indigenous research methodologies, relationships with members of the Indigenous education community in my hometown of Saskatoon, SK, guided my doctoral work. My research converged on the importance of learning to relate, focusing on how ISE might foster the development of more holistic and relational worldviews, and how educators interested in pursuing this work might be supported. I address these foci by introducing the complexity sciences (e.g., ecology, evolution, quantum physics) and complexity thinking as bridges between Western science and Indigenous knowledge systems, sharing anecdotes from my experiences performing this research, and discussing ways that this experience is informing the development of undergraduate courses in Native Studies and Education.

Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad

Leading the way out of Plato's Cave: How Indigenous knowledges, peoples and approaches can transform academia

The proposed presentation will provide a brief description of Jack Mezirow’s transformation theory along with other theories on transformative learning, and will examine how these theories could be utilized to make space for Indigenous ways of knowing, teaching and learning in adult education. The presentation will proceed to explore how Indigenous epistemologies, ontologies, axiologies and pedagogies differ from Western educational philosophies, and, were First Nations philosophies and pedagogies properly understood, respected and integrated, in which ways Western academic teaching/learning would be transformed through Indigenous knowledges, peoples and approaches. The presentation will concentrate in particular on Indigenous knowledge protocols, working with Elders / knowledge keepers, the importance of the Oral Traditions, place-based learning and the crucial role language plays in understanding and animating Indigenous worldviews in post-secondary teaching.The American adult education theorist Jack Mezirow (1927) has assembled various theories on humanist and developmental psychology, coupled them with his own research on experiential learning, and articulated a theory of transformative learning. Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies in general, and ways of teaching in particular have always promoted and fostered autonomous learning and meaning making. Although some efforts have been made to acknowledge Indigenous traditions, beliefs and worldviews over the past decades, thus far, Indigenous ways of teaching and learning have not been accommodated by post-secondary education systems, nor have they been recognized for their potential to enrich educational experiences, produce meaningful outcomes for all learners, and to transform educational structures, systems and their underlying philosophies and pedagogies in profoundly beneficial ways. Transformation, as envisioned by Mezirow and other theorists is a major change in meaning perspective that occurs at the level of worldview – a paradigm shift. Transformation theory could be a gateway to recognizing, empowering and bringing into being Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of knowing in the Western education system.

Brenda Kalyn

Culturally Responsive Curriculum in Physical and Health Education: An Indigenous Framework to Guide Transformation

This presentation will share how Indigenous knowledge/s create a framework for curriculum-based Physical and Health Education within contemporary schools today that emerged from research co-constructed between five Indigenous teachers, three cultural guides, several Elders, Indigenous Administrators, and one university professor. Indigenous peoples designed a model for living a healthy journey generations ago, long before contemporary notions of holism emerged in curriculum. The possibilities for shifting identities and re-shaping practices within pedagogical areas of study are significant when Indigenous knowledge guides this process. This practice extends itself into the university classroom with pre-service teachers who learn how to bridge the knowledge that Indigenous people bring to curriculum and transfer the knowledge into practice. An important step is to awaken teachers to question if their students can see themselves inside the curriculum they experience and ask if classroom practices honor Indigenous pedagogy. Responding pedagogically and culturally through Indigenous knowledge and the cyclical nature of learning encourages an opportunity for learning in new ways. The challenge is to listen more thoughtfully, ask informed questions, and step outside Eurocentric paradigms. Indigenous peoples have reclaimed their right to lead educational initiatives (Battiste, 2002) and these initiatives will lead curricula experiences. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education also commits to First Nations and Metis Education in-visioning: A provincial education system that respects and affirms First Nations and Metis ways of knowing along with the historical, contemporary and future contributions of First Nations and Metis peoples creating a culturally respective learning program for the benefit of all students (Ministry of Education, 2010). 

Sandy Bonny and Ranjan Datta

The University of Saskatchewan Science Ambassador Program; community-based science outreach as a site of collaborative cross-cultural learning

As cultural incongruities have been identified as a barrier to student engagement in science, the Government of Saskatchewan’s renewed Science Curriculum (2011) encourages culturally relevant science teaching via the integration and parallel presentation of Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge. This session explains the University of Saskatchewan’s Science Ambassador Program that aims to support culturally-relevant STEM education in remote Aboriginal communities by providing ‘Western science content expertise’ in the form of human Ambassadors (senior undergraduate and graduate STEM students) who ‘learn while they teach’ in relational interaction with local Aboriginal educators and Indigenous Knowledge keepers. The session explores the Ambassadors program placements, the hands-on science activities with peer-mentorship and community-engagement and Elders and community educators who co-teach lab-based and outdoor activities, bringing Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives; adoption of Indigenous pedagogies including peer-mentorship, storytelling, and sharing circles in science classrooms; facilitation of student science-fairs to share youth’s interests with local community, including parents and cultural educators; and integration of traditional skills related to animal processing, beadwork, and lashing with hands-on activities related to biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Science Ambassadors brought into the communities likewise benefit by joining in community cultural activities, providing youth with an opportunity to act as teachers, sharing skills like fishing, hide preparation, cooking, and gamesmanship in an extra-curricular context. In the short-term, there is evidence that Science Ambassadorships are encouraging enrollment and retention of remote Aboriginal students in high school science courses (including a 40% enrollment increase in The Pas, MB, over five years), and community-support is demonstrated by requests to host ambassadors, assuming costs for room and board, in successive years. In the longer-term, the program aims to support the participation of Aboriginal students in post-secondary STEM and related careers by lowering cultural barriers to engagement, re-scripting the integration of Aboriginal perspectives in STEM from its current status as a ‘resource problem’ in schools to a ‘fun collaborative project’ in which everyone is privileged as both teacher and learner. Doctoral Candidate Ranjan Datta, Science Ambassador April-May 2014, will contribute to this presentation sharing a firsthand perspective on his collaborative learning experience with Dene Elders and middle school Aboriginal youth in the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation, SK.

Deborah Lee 

Culturally Relevant Information Literacy Instruction 

Libraries may be the final frontier in terms of incorporating Indigenous worldviews, values and knowledges to decolonize academic space and teaching practice. Perhaps one reason is that there are so few Indigenous librarians; perhaps Indigenous peoples choose not to become librarians because the profession is steeped in Western tradition, culminating with mechanical classification systems that seem to be beyond comprehension and subject headings that use out-dated (and racist) terminology. Some might ask, “Where is there room for holistic thinking in libraries?” But there are some dedicated Indigenous librarians that have made a career out of serving an Indigenous clientele using culturally relevant library practices. A few of us have created our own subject headings and classification systems. Others have democratized collection development to build collections that are well-rounded and inclusive of both global and local knowledge systems. Still others have worked diligently to preserve their languages and cultures through library skills training and digitization projects. And almost all of us have found ways to teach library research skills that showcase our own deep cultural knowledge, which in turn creates a welcoming and learning environment for our Indigenous clientele. These ways of Indigenizing information literacy instruction sessions is what this session will focus on, but the practice of Indigenous librarianship always incorporates many aspects of culturally relevant library services. As the Indigenous Studies liaison librarian at the University of Saskatchewan for the last three years, I will outline and demonstrate various techniques that I use to decolonize library research instruction for this presentation. From customizing each teaching session for a wide range of courses and programs (including Native Studies, ITEP, SUNTEP, and the Masters in Northern Governance and Development courses) to synchronizing Aboriginal engagement activities within the Library to align with course assignments, the Indigenous Librarian can experience some success in meaningful decolonizing practices within the academic environment. 

Ryan Jimmy, Willow Allen, Carmen Gillies and Vince Anderson

Kindred Practice: Experiences of a Research Group Working Towards Decolonization and Indigenization in the Everyday

The idea of kindred spirits (or kindred practice) is somewhat alien to the logic of academic endeavour and the pursuits of academic units. The framework underlining such work may be more accurately described in terms of “expert” spirits and “productive” practice: virtues grounded in individual performance and measurable outcomes. The present conference frames a unique methodological vision, issuing from a unique interpretation of problems and obstacles that give rise to oppression of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and worldwide. For the four presenters – collaborators in a research unit – the notion of kindred practice coalesces around a sense that things could be improved, oppression can be confronted, and all life enriched by dismantling of the malignancy of colonialism and making space for Indigenous foundations of being. But these ideals cannot be realized without the hard work of illuminating ways settler colonialism has saturated every facet of our structures and psyches: an ether that is ever-present, but rarely named. Thus, kindred practice also means speaking (discomforting) truths to all forms of power – especially those we benefit from and reproduce.  Although aligned in purpose, we are positioned uniquely, making discussion of social power more than an abstract exercise; rather, it is a deliberate and de-familiarizing mode of being (and being for). In our collaboration, we navigate in and out of individual positions and experiences, all the while seeking to illuminate the nature of the problem we wish to confront and the outcomes we strive to empower. We have experienced colonialism and racism from varied sides of the calculus, and wish to lay bare views and values in order to engage the complex and diverse contexts in which advocacy is necessarily pursued. The proposed presentation will explore how four researchers working toward decolonization, anti-racism, and Indigenization have come to perceive their practice (and spirits) as kindred, and what this might offer to discussion around how effective learning and advocacy toward decolonization and Indigenization can be achieved.  

Tereigh Ewert-Bauer and Colleen Charles

Striving for Decolonization and Indigenization Through Staff and Faculty Professional Development: "Indigenous Voices" at the U of S

In its second and third Integrated Plans, the University of Saskatchewan committed to enhancing "Aboriginal Engagement," and as a result of this, many resources have been directed toward various student supports and programs. Mindful of the significance of relationships between students and faculty/staff, the Beadwork Committee of the College of Education and the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness, partnered (and with funding support from the University of Saskatchewan) to develop and deliver a unique staff and faculty development program called "Indigenous Voices." Having delivered the program twice, over two academic years, elicited participant feedback is revealing just how much faculty and staff need and want to learn about Indigenous histories, worldviews, ways of knowing and teaching, and cultures, and how important it is to strive to decolonize and Indigenize the post-secondary institution. The program’s principles have been to encourage learning experiences that are self-motivating, holistic, reflective, relational, participatory, collaborative, experiential, and social. Self-examination, and the interrogation of power and privilege have been crucial components of the program. The presenters will summarize the program model, highlighting some of the challenges faced when developing and delivering “Indigenous Voices,” and will share some qualitative data from the program evaluation, which uncovers the powerful personal and professional impact of this program. The remainder of the gathering will open the floor to suggestions for the program's evolution, and for reflection, discussion, questions, and comments from the participants.

Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas and Robert Hancock

LE,NONET: Supporting Indigenous Student Success at the University of Victoria

LE,NONET (“le-NONG-it”), a SENĆOŦEN term referring to “achieving success after enduring many hardships”, is a suite of programs designed to support Indigenous student success at the University of Victoria. Comprising both student support and academic components, LE,NONET seeks to improve retention and graduation rates of Indigenous students by supporting their ability to succeed in ways that are culturally sensitive, community-grounded, meaningful, and relevant. Originally developed as a five-year research project funded by the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation (2004-2009), LE,NONET now receives financial support from the Government of British Columbia and the university. We will present an overview of LE,NONET programs and services, and of the best practices that shape them, with an emphasis on three areas. First, we will describe the academic offerings (research methods and community engagement preparation seminar, research apprenticeships, community internships) and the student support offerings (bursaries, mentorship). This discussion will focus on the relationships between the academic and student support components in terms of the necessity of supporting Indigenous students’ mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. Second, we will highlight the community connections that are central to the LE,NONET mission, and the role that LE,NONET plays in the context of the university’s Strategic Plan and the Government of British Columbia’s recent policy and funding commitments to Aboriginal education. Finally, tying all of these threads together, we will reflect on the ways that LE,NONET programs support projects of Indigenizing the curriculum and decolonizing the university.  

Patrick Lewis, Jennifer Tupper, Alec Couros, Ken Montgomery and Katia Hildebrandt

The Digital Storytelling Project: Shifting Historical Consciousness through Treaty Education

In this paper, we share insights from a collaborative education research endeavour that takes seriously calls for reconciliation with Aboriginal people within a Canadian context of ongoing colonialism. As white settler scholars and researchers committed to working alongside Aboriginal peoples as allies in challenging normative colonial discourses, we situate our work on Treaty 4 land in Southern Saskatchewan. We do this to also recognize the significance of histories of places whose residues and wisdoms continue to in/form contemporary understandings and engagements with the land (Chambers, 2006; Scully 2012). We are attentive to the ways in which dominant stories of the nation seek to silence Aboriginal histories and perspectives and how these stories come to shape the historical consciousness of students in schools. Working with a group of elementary students, their teachers, and members of the community to support actualizing treaty education in the classroom, we draw upon qualitative research methodology and the methods used in participatory action research and digital storytelling. These methods are congruent with an inquiry learning approach in which student participants explored what it means to be a treaty person. We describe the engagement of our student participants with learning about treaties and the treaty relationship throughout the school year. More specifically, we are attentive to their deepened understanding of the history of the nation and the foundational importance of treaties to this history and to their identities as treaty people. Further, we explore the challenges of this work in the context of colonialism and with respect to ongoing systems of oppression that influence and in/form relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples in Canada. 

Lisa Korteweg and Alex Bissell

Building digital bridges for indigenizing education: Student generated iMovies as multimodal knowledge artifacts or strengths-based wâhkôhtowin

The purpose of our presentation is to share how we have utilized Indigenous student-generated digital narratives to indigenize secondary classroom curriculum and teaching in two urban high schools. Our approach was developed in response to evidence that mainstream teaching persists in marginalizing representations of Indigenous peoples and failing to recognize Indigenous students’ cultural sources of strength and resilience (Dion, 2009; Godlewska, Moore & Bednasek, 2011; Riley & Ungerleider, 2012; Shick & St. Denis, 2005). In mainstream classrooms, many Indigenous youth feel alienated and disengaged, resulting in consistent underperformance and elevated rates of absenteeism (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009; Richards & Scott 2009). At the same time, Indigenous youth continue to draw strength from their communities, families, traditions, and Indigenous knowledge systems to self-determine their identities (Feathers of Hope 2014; Hare & Pidgeon, 2011; Parent, 2009). Indigenous youth find themselves increasingly caught in a place of frustration between two disparate worlds—community and school—with little means or opportunity to communicate their perspectives and cultural strengths as valid curriculum within classrooms. Our presentation addresses two research sites that modeled how multimodal student projects could become digital bridges to indigenize teachers’ curricular practices. Similar to Beilke and Stuve’s (2004) work of student generated movies as “digital bridges” between inner-city Black youth and mainstream teachers, our study encouraged student digital narratives (iMovies) as vehicles for kindling Indigenous sources of knowledge as curriculum in the classroom. iPad technology was employed for its powerful ability to integrate images, videos, voice recordings, text, animations and background music to create polished knowledge artifacts that were visually impressive and personally meaningful (Flottemesch, 2013; Pirbhai-Illich, 2011; Wexler, Eglinon, & Gubrium, 2014). Social media was another important tool for students to locate images and stories from their home communities to then build their own knowledge sources. In this presentation, we discuss how Indigenous students self-determine their digital learning while gaining strength and instilling pride in their academic abilities. We also address how these projects can provide non-Indigenous educators a new frame or “points of viewing” (Goldman, 1996) Indigenous students’ unique identities and resiliencies as digital bridges to transform their own teaching towards wahkohtowin.

Davida Bentham and Janelle Pewapsconias

Sāpo Nistohtamowin: A Partnership Programming at the University of Saskatchewan between the Aboriginal Students’ Centre and the International Student and Study Abroad Centre

The Aboriginal Students’ Centre (ASC) and International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) partnered in September of 2013 to provide programming for the whole U of S campus community, with a focus on international and Aboriginal relations and cultural understanding. The mission of this programming is to provide a space and place to learn about Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures (cultural intelligence), dispel myths, ask questions, promote commonalities and respectfully understand our differences (appreciative inquiry). This partnership has provided a student lead opportunity to actively engage and create space for cross-cultural understanding and appreciation to flourish. Further, this programming is putting university policy, and areas of priority, into practice. The partnership programming has two parts: programming specific to international and Aboriginal students and the Building Bridges Series. Programming specific to international and Aboriginal students provides a fun and relaxed space for these students to meet, have fun and get to know one another. The Building Bridges series is programming open to the whole campus community and is a succession of learning through stories and truths. The programming starts with a series of workshops that introduced participants to issues of colonization, privilege and systemic racism. The second half of the programming is sharing circles in which, over shared food, participants engage in conversation around specific topics. The Sāpo Nistohtamowin Program feedback highlighted the empowerment participants felt after attending events. Participants said they felt a sense of belonging, were proud of their culture and reflected on the events during the subsequent weeks. We wish to continue this momentum by continually enhancing the project, and improving the relationships between Indigenous, Canadian and Newcomer peoples. We wish to help our participants to learn and understand root causes of inequality. Using the analogy of a growing tree, we know a tree must have adequate conditions for strong roots. A healthy tree grows upward; gaining rings throughout its years and tells a story of seasons past. We wish to help our Nation grow into a healthy and flourishing community, “from the roots up”! 

Marie Battiste and Sa’ke’j Henderson

Reframing the Human: Animating the Mi’kmaw Humanities in Atlantic Canada

This session narrates a study of Mi’kmaw humanities in Atlantic Canada, meant to transform education institutions under the aegis of postcolonial critique and Indigenous creativity, as economic and historic convergences, complicities, and complexities. Through the lenses of law and education, we narrate our personal paths of critique of the Eurocentric humanities and a relational community-based research project with and among Mi’kmaq that unfolds a humanity richly etched in Mi’kmaw thought, language and story. We begin with Mi’kmaw humanities that has proceeded from a contestation of the humanities framed as Eurocentric to Indigenous peoples’ humanities as deep, diverse, rich, animated in those who speak those languages, share those teachings and live fully as collective peoples in a dynamic and vibrant system of holistic learning within place and beyond. The story of how ‘human’ and ‘humanity’ has been appropriated in a contrived knowledge system of Eurocentrism that has been powerfully hidden in plain sight. How this occurred begins with European scholars fabricating a closed ideology about the human as a false description (what is) and incomplete normative (what ought to be). As such, the conventional schemas for humans are fundamentally flawed and biased with academic institutions mobilizing these myths and preferences in the discipline of humanities. We assert everyone needs a more realistic concept of humanity and human nature. The reclamation of Indigenous voice and vision is then a call for an awareness of the ancient humanities ignored, marginalized, hidden in plain sight in the teachings and languages and communities of Indigenous peoples. We also share the Mi’kmaw Archives, an important outcome of the Mi’kmaw humanities research, a website of Mi’kmaw public works that generate and support academic research and study of Mi’kmaw productivity in multiple disciplines.

Isobel Findlay and Len Findlay

Teaching the Baskets: Community-Engaged Learning as Indigenizing Practice in Post-Secondary Education

We offer this proposal as “kindred spirits” who seek to be ethical allies with Indigenous scholar-activists in an institution residually colonial and resurgently neo-colonial. Our institutional homes are in the Eurocentric humanities and monocultural Business Studies, although our scholarship has long benefited from community-engaged learning (Sandmann, 2008). Working as part of the Indigenous Humanities team (Battiste, et al,, 2006; Battiste et al., 2013), we have aimed to “unpack” and “kindle,” in a two-row project of re-educating ourselves and others, and reimagining education as enriching differences and enablement for all. We focus on our research on the Mi’kmaw humanities, the unlearning that had to occur, and the new learning and teaching underway under the aegis of basket-making as pedagogy, sustainability, relationship building, and the fusion of physical and knowledge ecologies for the production of skills and meanings at the heart of resilient and knowledgeable communities and economies. We will show how selectively humane learning and expanding trade in the early modern world provided the academic and economic foundations for racializing and dispossessing practices which long preceded and were by no means fully curtailed by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. In Canadian universities and colleges today, business is in the ascendant and the humanities are under siege or in decline. However, this shift remains profoundly Euro-Canadian despite appeals to the post-colonial and the global, as an extractive economy demands compliance from its extractive academy. However, Indigenous knowledge holds answers for and antidotes to the twin trajectories of destroying the land and imprisoning the land’s most reliable and respectful stewards within discourses of deficiency and nominal consultation. Holistic, fully contextual, and communitarian Indigenous practices are helping us recover “the learning spirit” (Battiste, 2013) in territory and as territory.  

Click to view abstracts for Concurrent Session 2
Poster Session Abstracts

Jane P. Preston, Jill A. Martin, Tim Claypool, William Rowluck and Brenda Green

Exploring Leadership Via Indigenous and Western Worldviews 

This poster presentation reflects the theoretical aspects of our SSHRC funded research, where we compared and contrasted the perceptions and practices of Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, and Saskatchewan principals who foster educational achievement for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. Through this poster, we illustrate some aspects of Indigenous and Western worldviews and explain how these epistemologies can inform the leadership of Canadian principals. To illustrate aspects of the Indigenous worldview, we use the Medicine Wheel. It is important to state that features of the Medicine Wheel are depicted in a variety of ways by different Indigenous cultures. Moreover, though, Elder Francis Whiskeyjack stated, “Many people have different interpretations in their medicine wheel and they are all right. No one is wrong” (2000, ¶ 3). Our poster represents one interpretation of the Medicine Wheel, which contains four equal quadrants and four cardinal directions—north, south, east, and west. The directions correspond to spring (yellow), summer (red), fall (black), and winter (white). A unified, multihued version of the ethnicities of humankind is also represented through yellow, red, black, and white (Wilson, 1994; Whiskeyjack, 2000). Many additional details pertaining to the Medicine Wheel are depicted in the poster. With regard to Western epistemology and leadership, we employ Bolman and Deal’s (2008) four key leadership frames as a theoretical lens for leadership. Consequently, we analyze the Western leadership data through: (a) the structure frame (cognitive dimension), (b) the human resource frame (emotion dimension), (c) the political frame (physical dimension), and (d) the symbolic frame (spiritual dimension). The term frame symbolizes different vantage points, perceptions, filters, or worldviews that leaders predominantly use to gather information, make judgments and decisions, and accomplish goals. Authors’ Note: We gratefully acknowledge the Social Science and Humanities Research Council for funding for this project.

Lori Hanson, David Plemel, Kylie Riou, Navpreet Bal, Xochitl Hanson Pastran, Jessica Figley and Isla Redhead

De-colonization as an Action on the Social Determinants of Health 

In 2013, during a Community Health & Epidemiology 412 field study course in Nicaragua, students participated in a series of pre-planned workshops on de-colonization carried out by Fundacion Entre Mujeres (FEM). The stated objectives of these collaborative, exploratory workshops were: 1) to reflect on the process and effects of colonization in Nicaragua, 2) to discuss the history of indigenous people, and 3) to begin to formulate ideas for processes of decolonization in agriculture, health and identity. Additionally, the course instructor wanted to challenge the students to think differently, and to become more critical on how North/South colonial relations continue to influence 'global health', a field of study that has become a contested terrain due to seeping neo-colonial practices. Methods: The main methods included a series of workshops, facilitated by Fundacion Entre Mujeres, and attended (as participant observers) by University of Saskatchewan students. Workshops were held in rural communities, with organized rural campesina women that are leaders and members of FEM in northern Nicaragua. Outcomes/Discussion: Guided reflection on colonization and decolonization with community women revealed important insights on the importance of local and traditional knowledge on health and agriculture, including the importance of saving seeds, of using organic fertilizer, and of recovering knowledge of natural medicinal plants. Participants saw harmful agricultural technologies and toxic medicines as linked to the loss of indigenous identity and linked to colonization efforts that continue to manifest as discrimination against rural farmers' ways of life. Medical students reflected on how Western medicine colonizes and de-values indigenous practices. Discussion/conclusion: The campesinas' thoughtful ideas are contributing to FEM's ongoing work. FEM's conclusions include: that reflection on deep structural roots of inequity is a necessary step in advancing autonomously in their developmental work and is necessary in challenging development 'norms' that re-colonize minds, hearts and the land. The campesina women encouraged the University students to share what they had learned. The students proposed that more be done to recognize de-colonization as an “Action on the Social Determinants of Health” in Canada and elsewhere. The instructor continues to attempt to de-colonize her teaching - both pedagogically and in the framing of global health. 

Jo-Anni Joncas

Diverging postsecondary careers: The case of First Nations women who had teenage pregnancy in Quebec 

This poster presents the first steps of a research project about the postsecondary careers of First Nations women who had teenage pregnancy in Quebec. First Nations have a high university dropout rate, as only 5.6% have a university degree compared to 16.6% for the rest of the population (MELS, 2009). As is the case for the non-Aboriginal population, there are more Aboriginal women than men who get a postsecondary degree. Nevertheless, there are fewer Aboriginal women obtaining a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree, than non-Aboriginal women (Guimond, Fonda, Jetté & Sirois, 2012). Some studies explain these rates by the diverging pathways of Aboriginal women through the education system. In Canada, Aboriginals have high rates of teenage pregnancies (Devries et al., 2009; Luong, 2009; Ordolis, 2007; Yee, Apale & Deleary, 2011). Teenage pregnancies are frequently mentioned as a factor to explain these career differences. Moreover, several researches argued that teenage pregnancies are an important factor of school dropout (Garner et al., 2013; Luong, 2009). Only a few researchers examined the university careers of First Nations women who had teenage pregnancy. Following these facts, this study has two purposes: 1) Explore the university career of 25 First Nations Innu women who got pregnant during adolescence, and 2) Analyze the impacts of education policies (federal, provincial and local) on their university career. To achieve these purposes, the author uses a comprehensive approach. In a qualitative/interpretative epistemology, this approach recognizes the power of the actor in the construction of their experiences. The methodology follows the Indigenous research paradigm (Restoule et al., 2010; Styres et al., 2010; Smith, 2003; Stocek & Mark, 2009; Wilson, 2001, 2003). The basic principle that guides these methodological choices is the fundamental belief that knowledge is relational and shared (Smith, 2003; Steinhauer 2002; Stocek & Mark 2009). Battiste (in Denzin, Lincoln & Smith, 2008, p.500) characterizes Indigenous knowledge as "a dynamic knowledge constantly in use as well as in flux or change." Therefore, the choice of methods will aim to promote a knowledge creation process in concert with stakeholders, to emphasize the interaction between actors and to reject the hierarchical relationships between participants. This better understanding aims to promote their retention and academic success and can help to adapt school services and educational policies addressed to these students.

Michelle Hogan, Robert Blyth and Tracy Walker

Report of the Task Force on Turtle Island Rose Depopulation

This scientific research poster based on the story of ‘Nanabush and the Roses’ will demonstrate that Indigenous knowledge contains the scientific method of inquiry used in the natural sciences such as physics and chemistry. The story of Nanabush and the Roses is a well-known Anishinabek story that describes the disappearance of the roses, as well as the subsequent struggle to find them and determine why they had vanished. By presenting this story as a scientific research study, we will demonstrate that it contains the template for experimental research using the scientific method of inquiry. This poster will present the Report of the Task Force on Turtle Island Rose Depopulation. Previous observations of the rose had indicated that it had a large population and displayed a variety of high intensity colours. Despite its abundance and vivid physical appearance, contemporary scholars had understudied the rose population. For an unknown period of time, the rose population had appeared to decline without study of the phenomenon. At the beginning of the study period, it had been noted that there were no roses present in the immediate geographic area. Anecdotal information had indicated that the colour of the rose had declined in intensity before its disappearance. Little was known about the epidemiology of rose depopulation. A multidisciplinary task force was convened to study the problem and a sample was obtained for examination. The study utilized mixed-methods research by combining quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Research objectives identified by the task force were: to locate and enumerate the rose population, and to determine the relationships between identified potential forensic and epidemiological indicators and rose depopulation using multivariate analysis.

Val Arnault

miyo maskihkiy: good medicine

“In all that has happened in my life, I still cannot believe I am on the verge of accomplishing what I thought would remain a dream.” Jonathon Starr, Starblanket First Nation, First Year Resident, College of Medicine. Utilizing traditional and culturally appropriate methods the University of Saskatchewan has successfully recruited and increased Aboriginal students over the past 30 some years in various colleges and department across campus. The University has several specific successful Aboriginal programs/strategies, committed faculty, and dedicated staff to increasing Aboriginal enrollment and retention. This poster presentation will give an overview of the Aboriginal programming and initiatives in the College of Medicine and the School of Physical Therapy. The increase in Aboriginal programming and student initiatives is due to a strong Aboriginal strategy and dedicated resources, human and financial, supported by the College of Medicine. One of the commitments is the hiring of an Aboriginal Coordinator to develop and enhance programming and initiatives related to successful student recruitment and retention. The Aboriginal Coordinator plays a strong role in student advising, coordinating an Aboriginal Mentorship Program, the Pre-Health Science outreach activities, as well as scholarships and bursary information. The increasing numbers of First Nations and Metis students studying in Medicine and Physical Therapy at the U of S is due to successful programming and strong student-led initiatives.

Jackie Maurice

The Lost Children: A Nation’s Shame

This poster is a story within a story. It is one woman’s journey, Jacqueline Maurice, who places a searchlight on a child welfare era where thousands of Aboriginal and Metis children were placed into foster care and/or adoption situations throughout Canada, North America and the world. This child welfare policy and practice era is known as the Sixties Scoop and specifically, the Adopt Indian Metis program in Saskatchewan, Canada. The poster illustrates key points from a book of the same title in Dr. Maurice’s riveting life experiences facing multiple traumas, foster homes, losses, oppressions and atrocities while in foster care. From accounts of Dr. Maurice’s amazing process from being a nobody’s child with no family, no connections and especially, no good byes or no “I love you” to resilience, strength and courage and being an educator, mentor and role model, she speaks to survivors, youth, parents and grandparents as well as community members, leaders, educators, professionals and policy decision makers. This poster is targeted for individuals who are beginning and/or continuing their search for a sense of place and healing journey and, for allies in healing. The importance of her work is a devastating and stark reminder that currently, thousands of children in North American and worldwide are directly and/or indirectly experiencing children aid societies and child welfare policies and practices which are tragically becoming known as a Millennium Scoop.

Poster Session - Thursday at 5 pm  in the Education Library