Continuing the thought-provoking dialogue launched in the acclaimed anthology Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians, leading Native scholars from diverse disciplines and communities offer uncompromising assessments of current scholarship on and by Indigenous peoples and the opportunities awaiting them in the Ivory Tower. The issues covered are vital and extensive, including how activism shapes the careers of Native academics; the response of academe and Native scholars to current issues and needs in Indian Country; and the problems of racism, territoriality, and ethnic fraud in academic hiring. The contributors offer innovative approaches to incorporating Indigenous values and perspectives into the research methodologies and interpretive theories of scholarly disciplines such as psychology, political science, archaeology, and history and suggest ways to educate and train Indigenous students. They provide examples of misunderstanding and sometimes hostility from both non-Natives and Natives that threaten or circumscribe the careers of Native scholars in higher education. They also propose ways to effect meaningful change through building networks of support inside and outside the Native academic community. Designed for classroom use, Indigenizing the Academy features a series of probing questions designed to spark student discussion and essay-writing.
In the past few decades, the narrow intellectual foundations of the university have come under serious scrutiny. Previously marginalized groups have called for improved access to the institution and full inclusion in the curriculum. Reshaping the University is a timely, thorough, and original interrogation of academic practices. It moves beyond current analyses of cultural conflicts and discrimination in academic institutions to provide an indigenous postcolonial critique of the modern university. Rauna Kuokkanen argues that attempts by universities to be inclusive are unsuccessful because they do not embrace indigenous worldviews. Programs established to act as bridges between mainstream and indigenous cultures ignore their ontological and epistemic differences and, while offering support and assistance, place the responsibility of adapting wholly on the student. Indigenous students and staff are expected to leave behind their cultural perspectives and epistemes in order to adopt Western values. Reshaping the University advocates a radical shift in the approach to cultural conflicts within the academy and proposes a new logic, grounded in principles central to indigenous philosophies.
Post-secondary education, often referred to as "the new buffalo," is a contentious but critically important issue for First Nations and the future of Canadian society. While First Nations maintain that access to and funding for higher education is an Aboriginal and Treaty right, the Canadian government insists that post-secondary education is a social program for which they have limited responsibility.In The New Buffalo, Blair Stonechild traces the history of Aboriginal post-secondary education policy from its earliest beginnings as a government tool for assimilation and cultural suppression to its development as means of Aboriginal self-determination and self-government. With first-hand knowledge and personal experience of the Aboriginal education system, Stonechild goes beyond merely analyzing statistics and policy doctrine to reveal the shocking disparity between Aboriginal and Canadian access to education, the continued dominance of non-Aboriginals over program development, and the ongoing struggle for recognition of First Nations run institutions.
What is understood as the humanities celebrates the educational and humane disciplines of philosophy, history, theology, languages and literatures. Undeniably Eurocentric, the humanities overshadow disciplinary knowledge, ignoring core capacities of all societies and cultures—a kind of cognitive imperialism that is its own authority to define its cognitive traits and preferences as normal and desirable; all other ways of thinking, learning and understanding the world are viewed as deficit. It’s the cognitive equivalent of racism.
In ways that affect everyone, many generations of indigenous peoples have endured the Eurocentric education forced on them, not just in residential schools, but also in provincial public and federal schools and in postsecondary institutions. Eurocentric approaches have cost indigenous peoples plenty: erosion and even loss of many of the indigenous languages; loss of spiritual identities and traditions linked to their ways of knowing; disconnections from Elders, lands, livelihood; and spiritual communicative connections to the land and much more.
Visioning a M’kmaw Humanities urges an agenda of restoration within a multi-disciplinary context for human dignity and the collective dignity of Mi’kmaw peoples. It is about generating a vision of society and education where knowledge systems and languages are reinforced, not diluted, where they can respectfully gather together without resembling each other, and where peoples can participate in the cultural life of a society, education and their community. It aspires to bring new perspectives to our living in relation with each other and with our place, giving new sensibilities to how Mi’kmaq and other indigenous peoples have come to know and appreciate these relationships and the deep holistic learning they have in them.
Verna J. Kirkness grew up on the Fisher River Indian reserve in Manitoba. Her childhood dream to be a teacher set her on a lifelong journey in education as a teacher, counsellor, consultant, and professor. Her simple quest to teach ""in a Native way"" revolutionized Canadian education policy and practice. Kirkness broke new ground at every turn. As the first cross-cultural consultant for the Manitoba Department of Education Curriculum Branch she made Cree and Ojibway the languages of instruction in several Manitoba schools. In the early 1970s she became the first Education Director for the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) and then Education Director for the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations). She played a pivotal role in developing the education sections of Wahbung: Our Tomorrows, which transformed Manitoba education, and the landmark 1972 national policy of Indian Control of Indian Education. These two major works have shaped First Nations education in Canada for more than 40 years. In the 1980s she became an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada where she was appointed Director of the Native Teacher Education Program, founded the Ts''Kel Graduate Program, and was a driving force behind the creation of the First Nations House of Learning. Honoured by community and country, Kirkness is a visionary who has inspired, and been inspired by, generations of students. Like a long conversation between friends, Creating Space reveals the challenges and misgivings, the burning questions, the successes and failures that have shaped the life of this extraordinary woman and the history of Aboriginal education in Canada.
Culturally Relevant Aboriginal Education provides teacher candidates and in-service teachers with relevant information to help them integrate Aboriginal, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content, customs, and traditions into the classroom, providing students with a broader perspective of Canada and its population. Teachers need to be creative, dynamic and sensitive when developing teaching approaches and programs on this topic, and the underlying purpose of this module is to extend the skills and knowledge of teachers in the teaching of Aboriginal children and the teaching about Aboriginal people.
American Indian/First Nations/Native people have been historically under-represented in the ranks of college and university graduates in Canada and the United States. From an institutional perspective, the problem has been typically defined in terms of low achievement, high attrition, poor retention, weak persistence, etc., thus placing the onus for adjustment on the student. From the perspective of the Indian student, however, the problem is often cast in more human terms, with an emphasis on the need for a higher educational system that respects them for who they are, that is relevant to their view of the world, that offers reciprocity in their relationships with others, and that helps them exercise responsibility over their own lives. This paper examines the implications of these differences in perspective and identifies ways in which initiatives within and outside of existing institutions are transforming the landscape of higher education for First Nations/American Indian people in both Canada and the United States.
Following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, Canadian universities and colleges have felt pressured to indigenize their institutions. What "indigenization" has looked like, however, has varied significantly. Based on the input from an anonymous online survey of 25 Indigenous academics and their allies, we assert that indigenization is a three-part spectrum. On one end is Indigenous inclusion, in the middle reconciliation indigenization, and on the other end decolonial indigenization. We conclude that despite using reconciliatory language, post-secondary institutions in Canada focus predominantly on Indigenous inclusion. We offer two suggestions of policy and praxis- treaty-based decolonial indigenization and resurgence-based decolonial indigenization-to demonstrate a way toward more just Canadian academy.
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