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Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
MooNaHaTihKaaSiWew / Unearthing Spirit, a MoshKeKo AsKi InNiNeWak (Swampy Cree) framework explores ways in which our positionality as Indigenous documentarians enables a comprehensive understanding and awareness of story. I employed systems of knowledge of my Ancestral lands to develop a theory to contribute to the study of visual sovereignty, the protection and protocols when working with Indigenous story. My research consisted of the study of Indigenous documentary discourse and explores the role of Indigenous cultural experiences and positionality in documentary practices and how it leads to the development of concepts of story, protocols, and Indigenous identity. My study advances my framework as a pedagogical model in academia but is much more than a model to be dissected; it is a way of life for the InNiNeWak. It also addresses the significance of Indigenous documentary practices when engaging with our communities and stories. The focus of this inquiry engages with how Indigenous documentary requires an extensive exploration of the influence of modality, creative range, and experience on methodologies. My research examines how positionality shapes the creative process as documentarians engage with core concepts, themes, and forms. An inquiry process was set in an Indigenous research paradigm that privileges the research considered and utilized scholarship regarding Indigenous research methodologies and storytelling, acknowledging that Indigenous representation shapes and contributes to Indigenous documentary theory.
This study draws on Anishinaabe teachings and Indigenous methodology such as storywork (Archibald, 2008) to engage urban Indigenous youth in discussions on how they use technology to connect with identity, culture, and language and consider how this may inform cultural and linguistic preservation and revitalization efforts in the future. Beginning each discussion with ceremony, sharing circles and one-on-one conversations were used as methods within this research, further supplemented by field notes. Following traditional protocol in the design, implementation, and writing process ensured participant stories were treated with reverence and minimal interference on the part of the researcher. The stories of participants were organized by considering important pieces of information as stars, and groupings of similar stars as constellations. Reading the sky emerged as a way to acknowledge previous work in language revitalization and consider new directions based on the teachings shared by the youth. The stories shared within this process demonstrate youth’s desire to participate in the creation of digital learning repositories for community members. Social media emerged as an area for increased focus on teaching and learning within Indigenous communities, suggesting prioritizing relationships and online communities is a promising strategy for engaging youth in language and cultural learning opportunities.
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.