Indigenous Content and Decolonizing Principles in the Classroom

Indigenizing, Decolonizing and Unsettling Classroom Curriculum & Pedagogy

The following section of this teaching resource offers a brief overview of what ‘decolonizing’ means in the university classroom and how it differs from Indigenizing course content alongside current debates and strategies, including tools and resources geared toward de-colonizing practices within university settings.

Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and Calls to Action (2015) [PDF], post-secondary institutions across Canada have been charged to take steps to address the historic and contemporary impact of colonialism on Indigenous peoples, including the role of education in genocide through the Residential School and child welfare systems. While the report outlines federal government responsibilities with regard to reconciliation, post-secondary institutions have focused primarily on three areas: Indigenous hiring, decolonizing curriculum and the institution, and Indigenizing both curriculum and the post-secondary institution itself.

For instance, the Indigenous Directions Action Plan at Concordia University outlines their approach:

Concordia encourages all faculties and departments to undertake self-assessments on the inclusion of Indigenous content in their course offerings and remain actively engaged in the ongoing decolonization and Indigenization of the University’s curriculum and pedagogy. This will ultimately lead all departments across the University to offer courses grounded in and reflective of diverse Indigenous histories, epistemologies, worldviews, research and pedagogical practices.

Indigenous Directions Action Plan, p. 15


Self-Assessment Quiz

Want to test your familiarity with this section’s content? The following self-assessment quiz (available below) offers scenarios to help you test your knowledge and identify how best to use and engage with the material introduced in this section:

Self-Assessment

Self-assessment questions for this section are available in the Appendix.

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Better Practices in the Classroom by Natalie Kouri-Towe and Myloe Martel-Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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