Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into our Teaching Practice, not Indigenizing

Cornhusk doll – Anna Bartosik

This past Friday was National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. I am sharing a link to Sheridan College’s Alchemy faculty newsletter, in which I wrote a piece last year.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has identified Calls to Action which address educators (item 62):

“We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to…

Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”

The TRC also asked the government of Canada to revise the Newcomers to Canada toolkit to reflect the diverse histories of the peoples of Canada.

When teaching newcomers to Canada, or when incorporating knowledge about Canada’s history in the language teaching classroom, it can be tempting to create materials to teach students about First Nations M├ętis Inuit, or the Indian Act, for example. Coursebooks from Canada are far and few, and most teachers have a portfolio of curated materials. In my post, I ask teachers to reconsider and not develop teaching materials, but use existing content.

Please take a look at the digital lesson I developed, based on a classroom visit and the story “Why the cornhusk doll has no face.”

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