Embracing ways of knowing

There is a systemic change occurring across post-secondary institutions through processes and practices that support Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation. A guiding principle from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada process states why this change is happening.

Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity (2015, p. 3).

We all have a role to play. As noted by Universities Canada, “higher education offers great potential for reconciliation and a renewed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.” (2015)

Similarly, Colleges and Institutions Canada notes that “Indigenous education will strengthen colleges’ and institutes’ contribution to improving the lives of learners and communities.” (2015)

The Indigenization of post-secondary institutions

BCcampus supported the co-creation of the open educational resources (OER), Pulling Together: A Guide for Indigenization of Post-Secondary Institutions. A professional learning series. This OER was a result of a collaboration between BCcampus, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, and a large community of educators and writers in B.C. The project was led by a steering committee of Indigenous education leaders from B.C. universities, colleges, and institutions, the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, and Métis Nation British Columbia. Teams of Indigenous and ally writers from across B.C. authored the content for the series.

These guides provide a way for all faculty and staff to Indigenize their practice in post-secondary education. The incorporation of Indigenous epistemologies into professional practice enables post-secondary institutions to continue to:

  • Develop the structures and processes by which Indigenous students experience their post-secondary education in resonance with their own lives, worldviews, and ambitions;
  • Help meet the goal, inherent in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, that non-Indigenous people be prepared to live well and work well alongside Indigenous peoples; and
  • Appropriately respond to social and economic development education and training needs of Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations across British Columbia.

These open learning resources are designed to:

  • Engage with various audiences, including administration and educational leadership, teaching faculty, student services personnel, researchers, and curriculum, and instructional designers.
  • Include resources and considerations on meaningful and authentic engagement. It is the hope of the Steering Committee and the project team that these resources inform, guide, and ultimately transform our work with all adult learners.
  • Supplement rather than replace training currently offered in institutions. It is the strength of local First Nation and Métis partnerships that will provide depth and breadth of learning for all employees within post-secondary institutions. This strength recognizes that place-based Indigenous knowledges, languages, and practices will be reflected in the localized delivery of Indigenized learning resources.

Learn more about the Indigenization project here.