Pathways into Indigenization

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Image shows a frozen lake, with frozen bubbles, surrounded my a mountain peak, lots of trees, and no shoreline.
The frozen lake at Mineral Lake Recreation Site. Popular for swimming, paddling in the summer, and ice skating in the winter (Thompson, 2022).

What are the Five Pathways into Indigenization?


The Pathways into Indigenization were created by Dana Wesley (MA) and Shaun Longstreet (Ph.D) to guide the College in efforts towards Indigenization and Reconciliation. The Pathways provide five entry points into doing this important work at the College. 

This page builds on the Pathways, which mark different entry points into Indigenization. Staff are encouraged to start where they are personally. Fundamentally, we all start from a basis of self-awareness of our own intercultural horizons, a willingness to learn, and openness to engage other perspectives. At any rate, there is a continual need to build upon a foundation of cultural safety and racial equity. When one is competent with the basic elements of the pathways into Indigenization, then incorporating more complex and nuanced elements of the pathways will be more likely to succeed.

The five pathways are outlined below. For the first four of the 5 pathways, there are expandable sections with brief resources that could be used to build upon one’s knowledge and competencies. The Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning has a line-up of activities and sessions every semester that tie into the 5 pathways. We are also keen on having one-on-one discussions with faculty on any of the pathways into Indigenization.


1. Cultural Safety and Anti-Racism



To foster a more inclusive and equitable learning environment, all staff must first practice critical self-awareness and progress towards cultural safety. This journey should then extend to the practice of cultural humility, where individuals recognize the value of diverse perspectives and actively seek to learn from different cultures. Additionally, incorporating universal design principles into teaching and student support services will help ensure accessibility, equitable and a more culturally safe college. It is essential to critically examine and challenge the influence of white normativity, privilege, and assumptions in college services, policies and curricula. Antiracism actively seeks to challenge and deconstruct structures and practices that foster discrimination.

Examples of actions toward Cultural Safety and Anti-Racism can include:

  • Develop a professional development learning plan for yourself that includes ongoing and sustained tasks for informing and locating yourself within ongoing conversations related to anti-racism, positionality, privilege, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Revise your curriculum to decenter white normativity in content and perspectives. Use diverse perspectives throughout and look out for assumptions that White European ways and knowledge is the normal, or only, perspective.
  • To foster inclusivity, encourage active participation from all, provide accessible materials, respect pronoun preferences, and use inclusive language, avoiding exclusionary terms or humor.
  • Avoid having a ‘special’ week of content from people of colour and then go back to all-white content. Grouping peoples of colour (and/or women’s) content or perspectives into a single week is a strong indicator that this content and these voices are exceptions to the norm.


2. Decolonization



Decolonization dismantles systems rooted in colonization, which have historically favored the knowledge, practices, and values of settler communities and institutions at the expense of Indigenous Peoples. This requires self-awareness, cultural humility, and an awareness of institutional inequities. Decolonization confronts and decenters Eurocentric and settler practices that shaped and continue to influence the educational system. By undertaking this process, instructors open up curricula to encompass a wider array of perspectives, allowing for a more inclusive and diverse range of viewpoints and values to be incorporated into the educational framework. Every staff person can examine college services, procedures and policies to take action and address inequities within them.

Examples of actions toward Decolonization can include:

  • continuing to build on Pathway 1.
  • Take the Toward Decolonizing Pedagogies short course offered by the CITL
  • select a course to examine how it normalizes Eurocentric perspectives and/or privileges the views of those who hold power in society.
  • select a college service, procedure, or policy to examine and take action and address inequities within them.
  • as recommended by Allan et al., (2018), bring humility into your practice by:
    • Asking your questions with the understanding that some of the work required to answer them is yours,
    • Ask whose truths are valued and represented in your curriculum and discipline, what counts as knowledge, and why this is; and
    • Be aware of the space you take and the space you give. “Make space, take space” (Janey Lew, personal communication, 2017) entails giving yourself time to explore and appreciate Indigenous worldviews and taking the time to understand and disrupt beliefs and misconceptions.


3. Incorporate Indigenous Voices and Content



To foster inclusivity and respect for Indigenous communities, College staff may incorporate Indigenous voices and content within a variety of contexts. This entails actively seeking out and including the perspectives and scholarship of Indigenous Peoples. It is imperative for non-Indigenous staff to approach this entry point with a great deal of respect, humility, and intentionality, remembering the historical marginalization and ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous communities. Non-Indigenous individuals must refrain from speaking about, or on behalf of, Indigenous Peoples, as this perpetuates the erasure of their autonomy and reinforces colonial power dynamics. It is also essential for the college to create spaces that amplify and uplift Indigenous voices, without overburdening Indigenous colleagues. The College honours the diversity and individuality of Indigenous cultures and knowledge systems.

Examples of what Incorporating Indigenous Voices and Content can include:

  • Building on Pathway 1 and 2 to carefully consider appropriate use of Indigenous content in your teaching
  • Actively seeking out and including the perspectives and scholarship of Indigenous Peoples into course redesign
  • Working with Indigenous Education and the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning to engage in the Dialogues with Indigenous Peoples’ program
  • Responsively creating space for Indigenous knowledge from Elders and other Knowledge Holders, as elaborated upon by Allan et al. (2018)

4. Integrate Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing



Meaningfully incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing in services, procedures and curricula is an opportunity for deeper learning for all students’ educational experiences. Instructional staff may contribute to this by intentionally designing activities and assessments, that not only accommodate but also encourage Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing. Non-instructional staff can add to and/or rethink services, processes and policies that encourage more holistic and land-based ways of thinking and doing. A deeper appreciation for diverse worldviews and cultural traditions is gained by incorporating and/or highlighting Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and practices. Engaging in activities that encourage multiple touch points, such as participating in Dialogues with Indigenous Peoples, creates valuable opportunities for the college to directly interact and learn from Indigenous communities.

Examples of what Integrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing can include:

  • Advancing on practices started in Pathway 3 to advance and deepen the presence and impact of Indigenous Voices and Content within a course
  • Consulting with members of the Indigenous Education team when designing class activities and assessments
  • Routinely sharing amongst your departmental or unit team what actions each member has been engaging in so that strategies are shared, students’ experiences are connected, and new opportunities are identified in taking a collaborative approaches


5. Indigenous Pedagogy


Indigenous pedagogy encompasses a variety of approaches. For example, the use of narrative practice or story work, as described by Q’um Q’um Xiiem (Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Stó:lo). Indigenous pedagogies emphasize a more holistic approach to learning by integrating oral traditions, stories, and land-based teaching methods. They highlight the importance of understanding and respecting the relationality between people, plants, animals, and the environment. All college staff have a role in education. Supporting Indigenous pedagogy can nurture a deeper appreciation for diverse knowledge systems and foster a more comprehensive understanding of the world.

Examples of what Indigenous Pedagogy can include:

  • use of narrative practice or story work, as described by Q’um Q’um Xiiem (Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Stó:lo)
  • redesigning courses and programs to centre oral traditions, stories, and land-based teaching philosophies