Doctor of Philosophy in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (PhD)
Indigenous Women in Documentary Film: Women Creating Echoes from the Centre: InNiNiNew IsKweWak KaKioChiTat KaPaSwePaNik AnTa TeTaWitCh
This study explored ways to integrate processes of reconciliation into educators’ teaching practice. The focus of this narrative inquiry was to engage educators in a series of land-based activities that prompted them to consider how the notion of “land as first teacher” (Haig-Brown & Dannenmann, 2008) might contribute to interdisciplinary approaches to land education, ecological recovery, and reconciliation in their classroom praxis. Research took place on the University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver campus, situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The 4Rs of respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility described by Kirkness and Barnhardt (1991) provided an ethical community protocol that directed the study.Over the span of four months, a participant group consisting of four graduate students, three undergraduate students, and two course instructors from the UBC Faculty of Education, engaged in a series of land-based activities on various public sites on or near the UBC campus that acknowledge and re-inscribe Indigenous presence. Following each activity, participants were asked to reflect on a series of guiding questions. Data sources included pre-study questionnaires, reflective journals, semi-structured interviews, and my own field notes and observations. Findings of the research suggested dominant discourses regarding the use of land and ethics towards the land were effectively challenged over the course of the study. Participants expressed how they might re-shape their instructional approaches to include processes of reconciliation in a multitude of ways, and expressed commitment to build their own personal and professional knowledge, and awareness of Indigenous perspectives to help further these processes. The study builds on a body of research exploring the effectiveness of decolonizing teacher education programs. It advances land education as a pedagogical model, and thus addresses the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (2015b) calls to action for increased Indigenous content for learners at all levels. Further, it attends to the urgent need for reconciliation that runs deep in our country, by promoting mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples (TRC, 2015c).
Guided by the central tenets of Lester-Irabinna Rigney’s (1999) Indigenist paradigm; resistance,political integrity and honoring Indigenous voice, I take up the Ucwalmicw loom and blanket weavingas metaphor and praxis to honor Samahquamicw engagement in this PhD project. To contribute to the significant work already being done to define and transform Aboriginal education into the ever emerging tapestries of Indigenous education, the research questions that guide the work disseminated here were:1. In what ways can Ucwalmicw knowledge system processes disrupt mainstream understandings of Aboriginal education?2. How can the facilitation of Ucwalmicw processes and protocols contribute to transforming classrooms for all students?To maintain political integrity in responding to these two research questions I engaged with mySamahquamicw community members in ways that center on and honor Ucwalmicw voice. TwoSharing Circles were facilitated in the Q’aLaTKú7eM community. We shared meals together, andcommunity members were reciprocated with hand-made gifts for sharing their knowledge and timewith me. Local protocols guided our collective knowledge seeking, making and sharing which, forimportant reasons, included the need to facilitate a survey in lieu of the third planned Sharing Circle.In trusting again in our ways, I came to walk the talk of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw protocols whichrequire beginning and proceeding in good ways towards wholistic approaches to teaching and learning.Within the pages of this dissertation, I illustrate how Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions can and havemobilized Indigenous education policies drawn from a selection of nation-wide and provincial reports and accords. While the degree of harm that Aboriginal education continues to inflict on its students varies across student populations, tackling, with Ucwalmicw intentions, the issue of what is and is not considered in the curricula and, equally important, the pedagogies of university programs means doing so for the benefit of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike. To contribute to emerging models of Indigenous education with a good heart, mind and spirit requires doing so for Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a (all my relations).
Indigenous languages are at risk of extinction all over the world. While revitalization approaches range from documentation, to early childhood immersion, to school-based approaches, to adult and community language classes, approaches focused on adult Indigenous language learners are sparse. Many Indigenous adults did not have an opportunity to learn their ancestral language due to geographic dislocation from home territory, adoption, migration, urbanization, or discontinued language use between generations. While many of these adults are determined to regain this part of their heritage, very few cases have been documented. This study begins to fill this knowledge gap through its contribution of an autoethnographic account of the author’s language learning journey with nîhiyawîwin (the Cree language) over more than ten years. The journey was documented through journal writing and other language learning records, which were used to create the autoethnography. The primary aim of this study was to examine the motivations, processes, effects, and outcomes of the author’s journey into urban nîhiyawîwin learning. While the autoethnographic approach focuses on only one story, this research contributes to a broader understanding of adult Indigenous language loss and recovery in Canada. This dissertation contributes to the creation of new knowledge in four distinct ways: it adds to the largely untold story of urban adult Indigenous language learning in Canada; it expands the foci of the Indigenous language revitalization movement to include Indigenous adult learners; it aligns Indigenous language revitalization efforts with the decolonization movement; and it provides the opportunity to inform second-language researchers and practitioners about adult Indigenous language learning. Several implications arise from this research, including justification for Indigenous language learning as a new academic field of study, and policy recommendations are made pertaining to funding and legislation.
This study used the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society’s (BCACCS) Draft Quality Statement on Aboriginal Child Care (quality statement) as a starting point to identify Indigenous values for early childhood programming and describe how Aboriginal early childhood practitioners implement these values in Indigenous early childhood practice. Building on the view that in early childhood education, we must move ‘beyond quality to meaning-making,’ (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999), this study explored a working definition of ‘Indigenous quality care,’ comprised of five values reflected in the quality statement and supported by Indigenous early childhood education literature: Indigenous knowledge, self-determination, a holistic view of child development, family and community involvement, and Indigenous language. Using an Indigenous research methodology, I conducted audio-recorded telephone interviews with ten Aboriginal early childhood practitioners in British Columbia to identify how they operationalize the five values in practice. Findings from this study describe the successes and challenges Aboriginal early childhood practitioners face implementing programs that reflect Indigenous values for early childhood development. This study contributes to the ‘reconceptualist movement for quality care’ (Pence & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2008) by further identifying how Indigenous notions of ‘quality’ differ from their mainstream counterparts, and sharing how mainstream notions of quality care continue to pervade the field and create challenges for Indigenous early childhood practice. Findings from this study also contribute to Indigenous early childhood education literature by sharing concrete strategies the Aboriginal early childhood practitioners in this study used to implement Indigenous values for early childhood education and care.