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Towards a Praxis of Listening & Learning: My Journey in Indigenous Education and Reflections for Moving… Kendall, Andrew 2018-08-22

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 I Towards a Praxis of Listening & Learning:  My Journey in Indigenous Education and Reflections for Moving  Toward Settler Educator Practices of Reconciliation.  By  Andrew Kendall MEd in Society, Culture & Politics in Education   The University of British Columbia, 2018   A CAPSTONE SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Educational Studies Program) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver, BC) August 22, 2018 © Andrew Kendall, 2018              II  Acknowledgments     I acknowledge the diverse Indigenous communities and peoples whose lands I have been fortunate to have lived, worked, and played throughout this journey of learning, including:  Robinson-Huron Treaty Territory and the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg (Sudbury, Ontario);  Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory;   And, the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl Uílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (TsleilWaututh) Nations (Vancouver, British Columbia).  I am grateful for the experiences, knowledge and personal growth I have gained while present on these lands.    I would like to first thank Dr. Cash Ahenakew and Dr. Tracy Friedel for their support, feedback, kindness, mentorship, and wisdom throughout this journey. Being able to learn from these two gifted scholars was an honour and privilege for which I am beyond grateful. For the community of Wiikwemkoong, my colleagues at Wasse-Abin High School who mentored me as a young teacher, and the students who taught me more than I could them – I hold on to those relationships and my experiences as I work towards becoming the best educator I can be. And to those I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside in the Office of Indigenous Education and NITEP at UBC, thank you for the immense learning in my time with you.    I also need to thank my friends and family for their endless support throughout my studies. Thank you to the many friends, especially Addyson, Rachel, Brandon, Danny, and Jessie for always listening and encouraging me through this process. To Janice, for always encouraging me to be my best self. To my sisters, whose constant support and friendship never fades. To my grandmothers, whose love and phone calls always turn downs into ups. To my grandfathers, whose love I feel surrounded by every day. And finally, to my parents, for not only your endless confidence in me, but for teaching me that above all, care for others should always guide our actions.         III  Abstract   Reconciliation calls settler-educators to confront coloniality; to take up action that reflects a responsibility to our moral consciousness; and to motivate societal praxis that respects Indigenous peoples’ cultures and knowledges. It is time educators take responsibility to answer this call.  As a settler-educator working within contexts of Indigenous education I continue to undertake what Paulette Regan (2010) terms, a “journey of unsettling,” whereby I am growing to understand my privileged position in Canada’s colonial society. Through such, I have searched to understand my role and responsibilities in the contexts I’ve lived and worked, and what that means for myself and others in Canada’s education system moving forward. Using Tribal Critical Race Theory, anti-race theory, and decolonizing pedagogy as theory, my research (autoethnography) examines concepts of reconciliation, sovereignty and self-determination, culturally responsive schooling (CRS), and allyship while exploring what reconciliation means for non-Indigenous educators; why non-Indigenous educators should be concerned with reconciliation; and how Canadian educators can help to build an authentic vision of reconciliation? To do such, we must understand the context of reconciliation in Canada, and the issues which surround it. This paper aims to address such questions from my perspective, as a white settler-educator involved in contexts of Indigenous education.   Keywords: Reconciliation, Indigenous Resurgence, Self-Determination, Culturally Responsive Schooling, Allyship, Autoethnography                 IV  Table of Contents Chapter 1: Introduction ........................................................................................................... 1 Overview ......................................................................................................................................... 1 Locating Myself: Who am I? And, where am I? ................................................................................. 1 Indigenous Education in Canada ...................................................................................................... 5 Indigenous Resurgence .................................................................................................................. 10 My Research .................................................................................................................................. 12 Research Questions ....................................................................................................................... 13 Chapter Synopsis ........................................................................................................................... 15 Chapter 2: Literature Review ................................................................................................ 17 Overview of Key Concepts ............................................................................................................. 17 Allyship .......................................................................................................................................... 19 Culturally Responsive Schooling/Education .................................................................................... 23 Settler Understandings of Self-Determining Education and Sovereignty ......................................... 26 Reconciliation ................................................................................................................................ 29 Opportunities for Connections in Future Research ......................................................................... 36 Research Area of Interest ............................................................................................................... 37 Chapter 3: Theoretical Frameworks ...................................................................................... 40 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 40 Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) ............................................................................................ 40 Anti-Race Theory ........................................................................................................................... 43 Decolonizing Pedagogy as Theory .................................................................................................. 49 Use of Theory ................................................................................................................................ 55 Chapter 4: Methodologies .................................................................................................... 57 Introduction and Methodology ...................................................................................................... 57 Methods of Inquiry ........................................................................................................................ 63 Data ............................................................................................................................................... 67 Ethics ............................................................................................................................................. 74 Positionality ................................................................................................................................... 75 Limitations ..................................................................................................................................... 80 Chapter 5: Analysis, Interpretations, Conversations .............................................................. 82  V Introduction to Analysis, Interpretations, Conversations: What are we looking at? ........................ 82 Allyship .......................................................................................................................................... 83 Culturally Responsive Schooling (CRS)/Education ........................................................................... 90 Sovereignty and Self-Determination ............................................................................................ 104 Reconciliation .............................................................................................................................. 113 Chapter 6: Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 127 Significance .................................................................................................................................. 128 References .......................................................................................................................... 132 Terms ................................................................................................................................. 140   1 Chapter 1: Introduction  Overview    The purpose of my research is to share and critically analyze my personal experiences in coming to an understanding of my own learning of the roles and responsibilities of settler educators in the educative work surrounding reconciliation. Using an analytical autoethnography approach, I will examine my journey, moving from knowing little about Indigenous histories; then to learning about Indigenous issues and connecting with calls for change, especially those emphasized in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action on education (TRC, 2015); to now finding myself in a place of understanding about the importance of critical reflexivity and positionality in regard to issues of coloniality that cause complex issues for Indigenous peoples, communities, and the wider Canadian society.1   Locating Myself: Who am I? And, where am I?   I recognize that it is perhaps somewhat symbolic that a great deal of my time as a Masters student has been spent during when Canada has been celebrating its 150th year of confederation. To me, this ‘celebration’ represented two things. The first being my own realization of what it means to be a settler - my ‘unsettling’ journey as some might call it (Regan, 2010). And second, Canada’s lack of critical consciousness regarding its colonial past and the current mirage envisioning the journey of reconciliation (Reagan, 2010; MacKey, 2012; Coulthard, 2014). I see  1 The terms Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nation(s), Métis, Inuit, and First Peoples, are used extensively throughout this paper. I reference these different terms throughout this paper in accordance to how they are used by the literature and scholars I cite. See “Terms” section for brief descriptions of these terms.   2 an inherent need for Canadians to truly recognize the violence of colonialism that continues to play out, the need to change our structures and systems as a result, and the importance of speaking and acting authentically in regard to reconciliation (Lowman & Barker, 2015; Reagan, 2010).  Before attending the University of British Columbia, I began teaching for the Wikwemikong Board of Education, located on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Great Spirit Island (Manitoulin Island, Ontario). During my time teaching at the community’s high school, Wasse-Abin Wikwemikong High School (WHS), I taught classes in physical education, health and wellness, food and nutrition, geography, and hospitality & tourism. I also coached a number of the school’s sports teams and was involved in helping with a variety of community events hosted by the school. I learned a tremendous amount while teaching at Wiikwemkoong’s high school, from my colleagues, students, and my interactions with the community and its members. I learned about some of the community’s history, their culture, traditions and ceremonies, and was also able to participate in activities and events which highlighted such aspects of the community. It was an incredibly humbling experience and helped me in my own journey of understanding and inquiry surrounding Indigenous histories, cultures, and pedagogies. As I reflect back, my experiences have helped to teach me, in practical terms, of what it meant to ‘decolonize’ my thinking, understanding of the world, and my teaching (Smith, 2013; Reagan, 2010). As I began to notice that the curriculum, and my own learned teaching methods were very colonial, I slowly realized more and more the importance of decolonizing my teaching for the well-being of my students’ learning, and the need to emphasize their culture within my classes as much as possible. Through senior colleagues I learned more about the community’s cultural  3 ways of knowing and being, mostly as it is related to my courses, and how to include community values in my classes. In gaining practical experience working and learning in the community I learned firsthand about histories and current realities I had previously studied or heard about in Indigenous communities in Canada. Such practical experience has shaped my perspectives, understanding, and learning since teaching in Wiikwemkoong. I continue to attempt to relate new learning to my experiences in the community in order to gain meaning, or speak with colleagues I am close with in order to get their perspectives. Reflecting back on this experience throughout my studies has further helped my understanding of the importance of integrating culture and Indigenous way of knowing into education. That being, in order for culture to survive and thrive, Indigenous education needs to break away from Western curriculum and emphasize Indigenous pedagogies as a part of being – not something to be simply ‘tokenized’ in the classroom (Simpson, 2014; Smith, 2013). Further, that in order for true and honest reconciliation to occur, and in order to claim to be a moral, open, and just society and nation state, Canadians at large must ‘air our dirty laundry’ as it were; we must confront the ugly and violent truths of our country’s past and present (Regan, 2010; Coulthard, 2014).    Throughout my time teaching in Wiikwemkoong I made many personal connections and established relationships with my students, colleagues, and the community. These relationships have inspired my research interests and search for knowledge, and drive my desire for a more just Canada – a relationship between Canadians and Aboriginal peoples that is centred upon what Kirkness & Barnhardt (1991) describe as the “Four R’s” - respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility.  4  As a white settler who is also an educator, I have grown concerned that Canadian society at large does not fully understand or comprehend what is meant by the term reconciliation. Unfortunately, I also feel that Canadian society, and Canada’s education system, is not fully listening to Indigenous peoples on the discourse concerning reconciliation. Such concerns were highlighted in the recent actions of the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Students’ Council, petitioning against what they call actions of “Reconciliation and Indigenization” which do not benefit nor effectively take into account the concerns of Indigenous students (Indigenous Students’ Council, University of Saskatchewan, 2018; Harp, 2018). Based on such, I follow others in their discomfort that engaging in a discourse of reconciliation that is one sided and does not fully consider the position of Indigenous peoples and Nations, is destined not only for failure, but will reinforce oppression, and assimilative modes of colonial domination over Aboriginal peoples – especially within educational realms (Alfred, 2010; Regan, 2010; Coulthard, 2014; Simpson, 2014).   I do not claim to be an expert on reconciliation and I am also aware of the privileged position I hold as not only as a white settler, but someone who has knowledge of reconciliation dialogue in conversations with Indigenous peoples and groups, and experiences working with Indigenous peoples and in settings and sites of Indigenous education. I know through my own discussions with friends and family members, former classmates, peers, and colleagues, that there is a lack of public education regarding reconciliation which contributes to the disconnect between Indigenous peoples and the broader Canadian public in regard to what authentic reconciliation looks and feels like. I myself will always be looking to learn more, and further my understanding of the local, provincial, and national concerns and needs of the diverse Indigenous  5 peoples and groups throughout Canada; however, I feel I have a responsibility, as a white settler already engaged in contexts and dialogue concerning Indigenous education and reconciliation to help educate other settlers, especially settler-educators, about reconciliation and the surrounding concerns and needs of Indigenous peoples, particularly in educational spaces.   Indigenous Education in Canada   While the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report in 2015 brought about ‘revelations’ for Canadians about the Indian Residential School (IRS) era and pointed attention towards the achievement gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners, Indigenous leaders have long been advocating for drastic change in the education and schooling of their people (TRC, 2015; Cardinal, 1969; Manuel, 1974; Kirkness & Bowman, 1992; National Indian Brotherhood, 1972). Residential schools were in existence for over a century, beginning more formally around 1884, with the final school closing in 1996. The abuse enacted on Indigenous youth during the IRS era came with not only physical and mental implications for attending students and their families at the time, but have shown to have had numerous long-term consequences for Indigenous peoples and communities (TRC, 2015; Joseph, 2016). This was a system of education which sought to disconnect children literally and figuratively from their identity as Indigenous people, and more so, taught students to be ashamed of their culture, language, spirituality, and ways of being of their families and communities. As was expressed through the testimonies of residential school survivors such as, Agnes Mills, who attended All Saints residential school in Saskatchewan:  6  And one of the things that residential school did for me, I really regret, is that it made  me ashamed of who I was.... And I wanted to be white so bad, and the worst thing I ever  did was I was ashamed of my mother, that honourable woman, because she couldn’t  speak English. She never went to school, and they told us that, we used to go home to  her on Saturdays, and they told us that we couldn’t talk Gwich’in to her and, and she  couldn’t, like couldn’t communicate. And my sister was the one that had the nerve to  tell her, “We can’t talk Loucheux to you, they told us not to. (TRC, 2015, p. 154) As well as Mary Courchene, who attended schools in Fort Alexander in Manitoba, and Lebret in Saskatchewan:  And I looked at my dad, I looked at my mom, I looked at my dad again. You know what?  I hated them. I just absolutely hated my own parents. Not because I thought they  abandoned me; I hated their brown faces. I hated them because they were Indians.... So  I, I looked at my dad and I challenged him and I said, “From now on we speak only  English in this house,” I said to my dad. And you know when we, when, in a traditional  home where I was raised, the first thing that we all were always taught was to respect  your Elders and never to, you know, to challenge them. And here I was, eleven years  old, and I challenged ... my dad looked at me and I, and I thought he was going to cry. In  fact his eyes filled up with tears. He turned to my mom and he says, ... “Then I guess  we’ll never speak to this little girl again. I don’t know her. (TRC, 2015, p. 154) The words of these survivors demonstrate the some of the pain suffered by children and families and reveals the attack on culture which residential schooling had.   7  The IRS system aimed to “kill the Indian in the child” (Harper, 2008) and teach youths that their Indigenous cultures and ways of being and knowing were inferior to those of the non-Indigenous society (TRC, 2012, 2015). As Prime Minister John A. Macdonald stated in the House of Commons in 1883:     When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he  is surrounded  by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and  training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write.  It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department, that Indian  children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the  only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where  they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men. (Canada, House of  Commons Debates (9 May 1883), 1107–1108, taken from TRC, 2015) Due to not only to the abuse students of the IRS system experienced, but also to these assimilative and racist policies that separated families and removed Indigenous youth from their culture and livelihoods as Indigenous people, the IRS system produced extensive emotional trauma and fragmented Indigenous societies - undermining the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples, families, and communities for generations. The emotional trauma caused through residential schools has contributed significantly to social issues which have afflicted Indigenous families and communities across generations and continues today (TRC, 2015). However, when discussing the issue of education for Indigenous peoples in Canada, residential schools are certainly not the only system of education which has oppressed Indigenous peoples.  8  Much of the treatment and oppression of Indigenous peoples can be attributed to violent and immoral racist policies, practices, and thinking on behalf of government, educational institutions, media, policy makers, and Canadians alike. Canadian society, be it through government policy, media representations, or educational institutions, has long educated its citizens to think of Indigenous people as inferior to Western society. This includes thinking of Indigenous peoples in negative ways, such as viewing them and their knowledges as ‘out-of-date,’ and not ‘fitting’ into what mainstream white society deems as ‘modern.’ Or further, blaming Indigenous peoples and communities for the situations they find themselves in when hearing about issues of “poverty and social dysfunction in Aboriginal communities [without considering] any historical context” to understand how or why such issues occur (TRC, 2015, p. 235).  Due in large part to this way of thinking, Indigenous peoples, their cultures, knowledges, and histories have long been silenced in the Canadian school system – through the limited presence of Indigenous educators and policy makers; a system which disregards the culture and lived experiences of Indigenous learners; a curriculum ignoring Indigenous knowledge systems as relevant sources of knowledge formation; and through the national stories of Canada as a tolerant and just nation built on narratives of peacekeeping and peacemaking. These are all issues which have proven to be an acute hinderance to the majority of Indigenous students’ abilities to succeed in a system of Western schooling which does not respect, acknowledge or account for their identities, knowledge systems, cultural traditions, and lived realities (Battiste, 2013; Regan, 2010; Cardinal 1969). These issues tragically persist in Canada’s educative system today. For many Indigenous peoples, such lack of respect afforded to their cultures and being has resulted, undeservedly so, in an education system which they cannot trust or rely on. This is perhaps  9 highlighted in a number of key statistics that indicate Indigenous peoples in Canada are not completing their schooling at the same rates as other Canadians.  As of the 2011 census, 29% of Aboriginal people had not graduated high school compared to 12% among non-Aboriginal Canadians. The high school completion rate for First Nations is 52.8% on reserve and 74.4% off reserve, 79.9% for Métis, and 51.5% Inuit. All below the 87.9% for the non-Aboriginal population (Statistics Canada, 2018).  It is also relevant to acknowledge that educational completion has economic implications, including related to employment rates and median total income (Statistics Canada, 2018).  Numerous studies and scholars have found that education which is cognizant and respectful of Indigenous students’ identities and relevant to their culture is most effective in helping them achieve educational success and grow vibrantly as Indigenous learners – and further, is essential in fostering resurgent Indigenous communities (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008; Brayboy, 2005; Toulouse, 2008). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has joined in a long list of calls for change to the education system in Canada. However, it should serve as a national wake-up call to the system of education which is not working, and has never worked for Indigenous peoples across Canada. It is important that Canadians realize that the system of education we have upheld in Canada was never intended to work for Indigenous learners and has been forced on them throughout Canada’s history (TRC, 2015; Cardinal, 1969; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015). The TRC challenges Canadians to act in developing a relationship with Indigenous peoples which honours and respects their ways of being. Reconciliation efforts risk reinforcing colonial modes of assimilation if Canada continues to pursue a form reconciliation without honouring a genuine relationship with Indigenous peoples and acknowledging their  10 rights to a self-determining education. In such a way, reconciliation calls on Canadians to lift barriers of colonial oppression to better reflect self-determining education that supports Indigenous acts of resurgence, and liberates all peoples and non-human entities from the ongoing, oppressive, exploitive framework and processes associated with settler colonialism (Alfred, 2010; Coulthard, 2014; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015).   Indigenous Resurgence  Indigenous resurgence, or cultural resurgence among other phrases, are common terms that arise in discussions concerning reconciliation, self-determination, and Indigenous education. The work of Indigenous scholars Taiaiake Alfred (2015; 2005), Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (2014; 2011), and Glen Coulthard (2005) are of importance when understanding Indigenous resurgence in Canada.  These scholars describe that Indigenous peoples have long been fighting for cultural survival under oppressive colonial structures implemented by a Canadian society, however, Indigenous cultural resurgence is more than cultural survival. As Coulthard (2014) contends, “Indigenous resurgence is at its core a prefigurative politics [with] the methods of decolonization [at its focus]” (p. 159). It is thereby about a regeneration and reinvigoration of “Indigenous political cultures, governances, and nation-building” (Simpson, 2014, p. 1). Alfred and Simpson assert that resurgence must be about confronting the “colonial mentality and reality” of current Indigenous livelihoods while undertaking actions which promote such regeneration of Indigenous peoples –  individually and collectively. Within such action(s), restoring “relationship[s] between elders, young people, the land and the community” is critical (Alfred, 2005, p. 179; Alfred, 2015, p. 11). They explain that resurgence “requires generations of  11 Indigenous peoples to grow up intimately and strongly connected to [their cultural ways of knowing and being]” (Simpson, 2014, p. 1). As such, resurgence is about regenerating Indigenous intelligence and thus begins with a “reclamation of the contexts where Indigenous systems operate” – including Indigenous peoples’ homelands, languages and spiritualities, and the political traditions and cultures of their people.  To use the words of Simpson:  [Indigenous cultural resurgence] is the rebuilding of Indigenous nations according to  [Indigenous peoples’] political, intellectual and cultural traditions. We [(Indigenous  people)] need to re-establish the context for creating a society of [conscious Indigenous  thinkers] because we need to recreate a society of individuals that can think and live  inside the multiplicity  of our culture and our intelligence. (Simpson, 2014, p. 13) And further:  Building diverse, nation-culture-based resurgences means significantly reinvesting in our  own ways of being: regenerating our political and intellectual traditions; articulating and  living our legal traditions; language learning; [and] creating and using our artistic and  performance-based traditions. (Simpson, 2011, p. 17-18)  As a settler myself, I do not mean to imply that settlers have an active role in the process of enacting Indigenous cultural resurgence, that is for Indigenous peoples and communities to determine and undertake for themselves. Rather, I am trying to convey that colonialism directly opposes resurgence through structural and systemic means, such as in schooling institutions and methods which do not account for Indigenous knowledges or methodologies with respect to how  12 they operate, nor in the political systems in which Indigenous communities are compelled to operate through. As such, Canadians have influence to change the system to support the freedom of Indigenous people to better pursue practices towards cultural resurgence. Due to this, part of reconciliation is forming a relationship which supports Indigenous peoples in a prospering future, and thereby, in their efforts to undertake activities of cultural resurgence (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Joseph, 2016).   My Research   In considering the complexities and confusion, especially among non-Indigenous peoples, surrounding the topic of reconciliation in Canada, my paper aims to provide a settler educator’s perspective in addressing two questions: How do I, a non-Indigenous educator, working within Indigenous education communities in Canada, understand reconciliation? Further, how can I, my colleagues, and Canada’s broader system of education be an ally of Indigenous resurgence? In considering the latter of these questions, it is my hope that my work might aid other settler educators in enhancing their own understanding surrounding the topics I raise within this paper.   I aim to address these questions in the sharing and critical reflection of personal memories and experiences which have stood out for me in my journey of learning, studying and working in Indigenous education. These memories will flow from a series of times in my life that include my upbringing in the public school system - first learning of Indigenous histories and becoming interested in Indigenous issues through an interest in social justice; followed by my undergraduate studies and learning about the histories of Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island; to my experiences working in a First Nations school in Northeastern Ontario; and now to  13 my graduate studies and work at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. I will analyze my experiences and memories using Tribal Critical Race theory (TribalCrit), anti-race theory, and a decolonizing pedagogy centered upon Indigenous ways of knowing – theories relevant within the current discourse of reconciliation (Battiste, 2013; Regan, 2010; Simpson, 2014; Alfred, 2015). These theories represent my theoretical framework and allow me to form a critical understanding of the formation and continuation of racism in Canada, along with how my own positionality as a white settler-Canadian is upheld. Further, they provide a basis for critiquing the Canadian education system in its current colonial structure, and in its failure to relevantly empower Indigenous peoples, and be representative of the concerns which face them along with their specific needs locally to nationally.   My research responds to the need for education amongst settler-educators when it comes to reconciliation, colonialism, and an ‘unsettling’ of the Canadian psyche (TRC, 2015). As such, I am interested in supporting this education and providing my own perspective as a settler-educator in addressing what reconciliation means for non-Indigenous educators; why non-Indigenous educators should be concerned with reconciliation; and how Canadian educators can help to build an authentic vision of reconciliation.   Research Questions   My paper will follow four main themes – allyship, culturally responsive schooling (CRS), sovereignty and self-determination in education, and reconciliation. Based on these themes, the research questions that will guide my research are as follows:  14 1. How have I come to understand ‘allyship’? And, what are the practices, roles, and responsibilities of an ‘ally’? a. How can other settler-educators undertake their own journeys of ‘unsettling’ where they can come to an understanding of how Indigenous peoples have been oppressed in our (Canadian) society, and why such oppression continues? 2. What is meant by ‘culturally responsive schooling’ (CRS)/education?  a. Why is it important that educators engage in practices that support culturally responsive schooling? b. What do culturally responsive educational practices look like in Canadian school systems? 3. How have I come to understand Indigenous ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-determination’?  a. What are Indigenous communities and peoples saying about their needs, priorities, and cultural well-being as they relate to education?  b. What does Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination look like in school settings? 4. How have I come to understand what ‘reconciliation’ means?  a. What is Indigenous ‘resurgence’ and how does it connect to reconciliation? b. As a non-Indigenous educator, what is my role in reconciliation? c. Why should non-Indigenous educators be concerned with reconciliation and resurgence?   15 Chapter Synopsis    In Chapter 2 I provide a literature review which focuses on the four sub-themes guiding my research – allyship, culturally responsive schooling, sovereignty and self-determination, and reconciliation. Each of these concepts will form the basis for one of my four research questions. To understand these concepts, I draw heavily on the use of scholars whose work is based in the Canadian and North American contexts. However, I occasionally include international Indigenous perspectives that have in themselves have helped to inform understandings and arguments in the Canadian context. One example is using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to inform understandings of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, and the issues which surrounds this topic.   Chapter 3 outlines an overview of the theoretical framework which informs my scholarly worldview and understandings surrounding the themes discussed in Chapter 2. I detail theories including Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit), anti-race theory, and decolonizing pedagogy which will also be used to inform the analysis surrounding my discussion of personal experiences in Indigenous education. This will be followed by an outline of my research methodology in Chapter 4.   In Chapter 4 I provide an overview of autoethnography as a research methodology and explain how I understand and use autoethnography to shape my research. I include an explanation of how my memories serve as my data and how I have gone about collecting research data. I discuss the ethics surrounding my research and how I will navigate ethical concerns, including the confidentiality of those I reference in my memories. This section ends with a discussion of my own positionality in this research and the limitations of my study.   16  Chapter 5 forms the basis of my study. Using autoethnography, I provide a discussion of personal memories guided by my research questions and the main sub-themes of allyship; culturally responsive schooling; sovereignty and self-determination in education; and reconciliation. Discussing each of my memories, I will supplement them by providing analysis of the personal experiences and the meaning I have gained looking back at them, using the theories of Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit), anti-race theory, and decolonizing pedagogy. My paper ends with a brief summation of my research in Chapter 6. I outline the significance of my research including final thoughts and next steps for reconciliation in Canada.              17 Chapter 2: Literature Review  Overview of Key Concepts   In this chapter I will review the literature around the educational issues that include, allyship; culturally responsive schooling (CRS); sovereignty and self-determination; and reconciliation within the Canadian context. However, I feel it important to acknowledge the background context of these conversations, and why they are so relevant to Indigenous educational issues in Canada.   A common stereotype I have come across that is associated with Indigenous learners is that they are disengaged, they “don’t care” or “aren’t interested” in their education (Simpson, 2014). I regretfully realized that in my past teaching experience I have somewhat thought in similar ways about some students who were ‘disengaged.’ I have come to understand the importance of questioning why Indigenous learners might be disengaged in school settings? l have learned that when thinking about this experience it is more helpful to look at the how school is failing to engage these youth, rather than the youths’ failure to accept, fit, or enjoy schooling that is forced upon them. Western educational settings, such as the schools and curriculum in which I grew up in, have and continue to fail in adequately taking into account Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and educational practices; instead highlighting Western knowledge and ways of being in superiority to those of Indigenous peoples. Oftentimes, whenever Indigenous perspectives are brought up in Western education it is mythicized as out-of-date, or irrelevant to current societal contexts – diminishing the validity and modernity of such Indigenous perspectives and knowledge (Battiste, 2013; Simpson, 2014). Another reason why Indigenous  18 learners may not be fully invested in Western forms of schooling is the violence in which such schooling has enacted on their culture, people, communities, and families. As previously discussed, schooling like Indian Residential Schools (IRS) and Indian day schools were dedicated to a “policy of assimilation,” and aimed to “kill the Indian in the child” (Battiste, 2013, p. 64; Harper, 2008; TRC, 2015). Violence in these schools took various forms of abuse, including physical and sexual, but also attacked the culture of Indigenous communities, removing children from their families and educating them that their cultures were backwards, lesser, and something to be ashamed of (TRC, 2015). While it may be true that instances of abuse varied between IRS schools, the curriculums and mere existence of such schools contributed to the assimilationist aims of the IRS system. Such education produced various forms of trauma for individuals who attended, which has resulted in harmful consequences across generations (Battiste, 2013, p. 63-68; TRC, 2012, 2015). The abuse shown to Indigenous peoples and the exclusion of their cultures in school has undoubtedly created mistrust, resentment, and a lack of faith in schooling and forms of Western education amongst Indigenous peoples, communities, and consequently, in Indigenous youth. It is important that educators are aware of this dynamic and are further aware that such abuse continues through both the lack of representation, and misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in curriculum and policy development today (Battiste, 2013, p. 29, 32-33, 186-191; Kirkness & Bowman, 1992, p. 5-14).  As a result, reconciliation efforts have called for transformation of educational content and pedagogy in order to prove respect for Indigenous knowledge. It must be understood that in order to connect with Indigenous learners, Canada’s education system needs to transform. To do so requires involving Indigenous peoples and perspectives in schooling and school planning;  19 curriculum; and in the design and delivery of a wholistic education. Doing so may help schooling achieve success in engaging Indigenous learners in education which authentically acknowledges their identities and is both responsive and relevant to their specific culture and ways of being, knowing, and learning (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992, p. 14-20, 103; Toulouse, 2008; Friedel, 2010).   Allyship   There is a growing scholarship on allyship which encompasses what it means to be a true ally, the roles allies can play, and the responsibilities people bear if they hope to be an ally of Indigenous peoples. Scholars such as Anne Bishop (2015), Martin Cannon (2012), Paulette Regan (2010), and Sheila Wilmot (2005) have brought attention to the idea that in coming to be an ally, members of the dominant society, non-Indigenous settlers in the case of my studies, must first come to a place of unsettling, where we can understand how Indigenous peoples have been oppressed in our society, and why it continues.   As Oneida scholar Martin Cannon (2012) describes:  [Allyship] starts, not in thinking about colonialism as an exclusively Indigenous problem  or struggle, but rather, in recognizing that every non-Indigenous person has a stake in  colonial dominance and reparations. It starts by thinking about, and working to disrupt,  the binary of self/Other that keeps us from acknowledging our differences and  connections, making us incapable of facilitating any real change or restitution for  colonial grievances. (p. 33)  20 Allyship is thereby about critically reflecting on our own position and privilege in society, along with the systems that support and uphold that privilege at the expense of others. As such, it also becomes about educating those around us and learning to confront and challenge our privileges and engage in actions of truth telling and other activities which aim to change (decolonize) both our practices and the structures of our settler society that exist; in order to genuinely include Indigenous peoples and their cultures on a structural level (Bishop, 2015; Cannon, 2012; Regan, 2010; Wilmot, 2005). In her book Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada, non-Indigenous scholar Paulette Regan (2010) proposes a number of questions those looking to be settler allies might ask themselves:  Does the action I am about to take, or the words I am about to speak or write, come  from the head, heart, and hands of a colonizer perpetrator or settler ally? How am I  working in decolonizing ways? What am I doing on a daily basis within myself and in my  relationships with my family, my community, my school, or my workplace that keeps me  living in truth? Are my actions leading toward more just and peaceful relations with  Indigenous people? (p. 236) Regan identifies that asking ourselves questions such as these, help us in our critical understanding of our own lived experiences and surrounding world. In reflection of these questions, she continues:  It is my critical hope that, in answering these questions, we will be deeply unsettled in  our minds, our hearts, and our spirits, and know that this is a good thing. The  21  transformative pathways in our garden are rich and fertile but need our time, attention,  love, and energy to flourish. This is the work of the settler ally. (Regan, 2010, p. 236)  Regan identifies that a large part of being an ally is to be critically reflexive of one’s position, privilege, power, and opportunities to enact change. Building on the importance of critical reflexivity and to further understand what an ally is, another non-Indigenous scholar, Anne Bishop (2010) notes in her book Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People,   “Allies” are distinguished by several characteristics: their sense of connection with other  people, all other people; their grasp of the concept of collectivity and collective  responsibility; their lack of an individualistic stance and ego, as opposed to a sense of  self; their sense of process and change; their understanding of their own process of  learning; their realistic sense of their own power – somewhere between all powerful  and powerless; their grasp of “power-with” as an alternative to “power-over;” their  honesty, openness and lack of shame about their own limitations; their knowledge and  sense of history; their acceptance of struggle; their understanding of that good  intentions do not matter if there is no action against oppression; their knowledge of  their own roots. (p. 95) As Bishop alludes to, it is important for allies to be critical of not only the world around them, but also their positioning, experiences, and interactions within their surroundings. Bishop (2010), Regan (2010), Cannon (2012), and Wilmot (2005) all note that allyship is unsettling work as allies will oftentimes find themselves in uncomfortable positions, however, this is part of the necessary  22 work in transforming the moral atrocities of Canada’s colonialism, changing such injustices, and creating decolonized spaces for Indigenous peoples.  In their article entitled Preparing to be Allies: Narratives of non-Indigenous researchers working in Indigenous contexts, Alison Brophey & Helen Raptis (2016) identify seven components of a respectful relationship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples. These include, “responsibility and trust, humility, a broad worldview, reciprocity, relational accountability, and self-identity” p. 239-240. They note that,  Being an ally is an on-going practice that is learned and developed through experience…  Engagement in practices and processes that are consistent with the work of allies,  including bridge-building, listening deeply as people speak from different world views  and enabling Indigenous voices to be heard. All of these practices [support settlers in]  their roles as allies who in turn [support] Indigenous peoples in their efforts to develop  towards decolonization and self-determination. (p. 249) Other scholars including Minkler (2004), Mihesuah (2005), Ball & Janyst (2008), and Weber-Pillwax (1999) also remind us that building relationships are a key part of becoming, and remaining, an ally. Brophey & Raptis (2016) highlight components to developing a healthy relationship between settler-allies and Indigenous peoples/groups/communities. Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt’s (1991) article The Four R’s – Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, and Responsibility, is particularly influential when discussing relationships between Indigenous and non-indigenous people and allies. In their article, they discuss ideas of “Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity and Responsibility” as pillars in helping Indigenous students be successful in higher educational institutions, however, these can also be seen as a guide to fostering healthy  23 relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples and communities in any context (Kristoff, 2010; Toulouse, 2008).  Respect includes, honouring and accepting Indigenous people for who they are as fellow human beings, respecting and acknowledging the legitimacy of their knowledges, culture, and ways of being and knowing. Relevance includes conducting work in direct relation to individual and community needs, concerns, knowledges, and cultural ways of being in mind. Reciprocity includes mutual learning and growth, i.e. “everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner.” Finally, responsibility includes the recognition of traditional territories and land acknowledgments, as well as recognition for community cultural protocols (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991, p. 7-15). More or less, allyship is about settler peoples opening our eyes to acknowledge the ugly truths of Canada past and present using our ears to listen to Indigenous perspectives, concerns, and needs, and finally, is about opening our hearts to support the needs of Indigenous peoples and come to a place where we are ready to confront our privilege and the oppressive structures of our society for the sake of morality, justice, fairness, and what is right.  Culturally Responsive Schooling/Education   Literature on culturally responsive schooling (CRS) is wide ranging and terminology used to describe it lacks consistency.  Commonly used names for CRS include “culturally responsive, culturally relevant, culture-based, and multicultural education” along with other references to curriculum, pedagogy and broader processes of schooling; however, Castagno & Brayboy (2008) identify that CRS is the most common term in literature concerning education and Indigenous youth (p. 946-947).   24  Castagno & Brayboy (2008) offer context to the variety, yet common themes, of the terms used surrounding the realm of CRS literature by referencing definitions of similar terminology, including culturally responsive education and culturally responsive curriculum. To provide context to these terms, they define culturally responsive education as,  education [which] recognizes, respects, and uses students’ identities and backgrounds  as meaningful sources for creating optimal learning environments. Being culturally  responsive is more than being respectful, empathetic, or sensitive. Accompanying  actions, such as having high expectations for students and ensuring that these  expectations are realized, are what make a difference. (Gay, 2000, as cited in Castagno &  Brayboy, 2008, p. 947) While culturally responsive education focuses on the environment and attitudes of the system of learning, culturally responsive curriculum differs in that it is about the learning content and a framework that guides the education of students:  Culturally responsive curriculum [is] that which (a) capitalizes on students’ cultural  backgrounds rather than attempting to override or  negate them; (b) is good for all  students; (c) is integrated and interdisciplinary; (d)  is authentic and child centered,  connected to children’s real lives; (e) develops critical thinking skills; (f) incorporates  cooperative learning and whole language strategies; (g) is supported by staff  development and preservice preparation; and (h) is part of a coordinated, building-wide  strategy. (Ismat, 1994, as cited in Castagno & Brayboy, 2008, p. 948) Castagno & Brayboy (2008) contend that these, and other commonly used terms previously mentioned, are all components of culturally relevant schooling (CRS), and as such join together  25 to encompass what CRS is. They further detail that, due to the varying literature, CRS lacks a concrete definition, however “CRS entails a number of important elements that relate to curriculum, pedagogy, school policy, student expectations, standards, assessment, teacher knowledge, community involvement… sovereignty [and self-determination], racism, and epistemologies” (p. 948) along with the goal “to produce students who are bicultural and thus knowledgeable about and competent in both mainstream and tribal societies” (p. 953).  This thinking is consistent with other scholars such as Ritchie, Wabano, Corbiere, Restoule, Russell & Young (2015), Kirkness & Bowman (1992), Deloria (1997), Battiste (2013), and Toulouse (2008) – who emphasize that in order for Indigenous youth to be successful in school, their schooling must encompass “who they are and where they have come from” (Toulouse, 2008, p. 1). Themes of CRS can be seen to be represented within the 1972 National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) (now Assembly of First Nations (AFN)) policy paper on education, entitled, Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE), brought forward by Cree scholar Verna Kirkness (National Indian Brotherhood, 1972; Assembly of First Nations, 2012). As she describes, Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE) is based on the principles of “parental responsibility and local control” (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992, p. 15). “It recognizes that [Indigenous] parents must enjoy the same fundamental decision-making rights about their children's education as other parents across Canada” and also “promotes the fundamental concept of local control that distinguishes the free political system of democratic governments from those of a totalitarian nature” (Kirkness, 2003,
p. 2). ICIE was (and is) a four-point policy “requiring determined and enlightened action in the areas of responsibility, programs, teachers and facilities” (Kirkness, 2003, p. 2).    26  In further understanding CRS, it is also essential to note the large body of scholarship which contends that because Indigenous cultures and spirituality come from the land, land is an essential part of Indigenous identities, ways of being, and therefore learning (Ahenakew, 2017; Alfred, 2015; Cajete, 2015; Cole, 2016; Deloria, 2001; Friedel, 2010; Grande, 2008; Simpson, 2014; Wildcat et al., 2014). As Tewa scholar Gregory Cajete (2015) states, the relationship Indigenous people share with the land is “at the root of Indigenous education” (p. 46, as cited in Ahenakew 2017). In understanding that any form of Indigenous education that is representative of, or responsive to Indigenous peoples and their culture, it is important to emphasize land as an integral part of Indigenous knowledge formation and learning. As Ahenakew (2017) states, it is important to remember “land as a first teacher” in the process of coming to know the world and ourselves (p. 81).  Settler Understandings of Self-Determining Education and Sovereignty   The literature from Indigenous scholars and leaders, especially within Canada, provides a succinct understanding of what Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination mean. In his influential book The Unjust Society: The Tragedy of Canada’s Indians, the late Cree scholar, leader and former president of the Indian Association of Alberta, Harold Cardinal (1969) speaks of self-determination as:   Controlling our choice of a path – the realization of the full potential of the Indian  people, or despair, hostility and destruction – is our belief that the Indian must be an  Indian. He cannot realize his potential as a brown white man. Only by being an Indian,  27  by being simply what he is, can he ever be at peace with himself or open to others.  (p. 170).  For Cardinal, and other Indigenous scholars and activists like Alfred (2010), Aquash (2013), George (1967, as cited in CBC 2017), Kirkness (2005), Manuel & Posluns (1974), Manuel & Derrickson (2015), and Simpson (2014), self-determination is about Indigenous peoples and communities being given the ability to hold control over their own social, political, and economic concerns. Something that Canadian governments and its Indigenous affairs branch has long refused to provide.   Much of the work concerning self-determination calls for Canada to relinquish paternalistic controls that government forces on Indigenous peoples and communities while also stressing the importance of Canada’s responsibility to reaffirm its commitments and obligations to honouring treaty rights (Cardinal, 1969; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Manuel & Posluns, 1974; TRC, 2015); as well as to recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development” (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015, p. 175). As Cardinal (1969) affirms, it is time for Canada to stop pushing outsider solutions which do not take individual communities and cultures into account – self-determination is about letting Indigenous peoples “face the future on [their] own terms” (back cover).    In considering what self-determination in the context of education might mean, Indigenous scholars such as Alfred (2015), Aquash (2013), Kirkness (2003), and Simpson (2014) provide a balanced understanding. As Potawatomi/Ojibwe Anishinaabe scholar Mark Aquash  28 (2013) notes, a positive education inclusive of self-determination “requires community involvement, action and control” and further, it “requires looking beyond the inclusion of First Nations studies and language courses as add-ons in order to create a uniquely culturally based environment” (p. 134). This echoes the aforementioned National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) policy paper Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE), which outlines that self-determining education for Indigenous peoples and communities should be focused on “parental responsibility and local control” (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992, p. 15; Kirkness, 2005). While established in 1972, it can be seen that petitioning for ICIE and similar education unfortunately continues to be relevant in Canada’s current political and educational landscape, and within the discussion surrounding self-determination and the resurgence of Indigenous languages and cultures in curriculums (Aquash, 2013; Kirkness, 2003; Toulouse, 2008).  Scholars like Taiaiake Alfred (2015) and Leanne Simpson (2014) further contend that a self-determining education is about relationships and connections to land. As Alfred (2015) notes, Indigenous education is about “recreat[ing] a set of relationships between elders, young people, the land, and the community” characterized by cultural teachings, and in which the language can be present. “Land-based cultural revitalisation [is] not only good for individuals but it is absolutely crucial to the cultural survival and the nationhood of our people” (p. 11). Simpson (2014) continues to state the importance of relationships and connections to the land in order to realize and experience self-determination within education settings. In her article Land as Pedagogy she contends that self-determining educational practices that allow Indigenous epistemologies to be present,  29  take place in the context of family, community and relations. It lacks overt coercion and  authority, values so normalized within mainstream western pedagogy that they are  rarely ever critiqued. The land, aki, is both context and process. The process of coming  to know is learner-led and profoundly spiritual in nature. Coming to know is the pursuit  of whole body intelligence practiced in the context of freedom, and when realized  collectively it generates generations of loving, creative, innovative, self-determining,  inter-dependent and self-regulating community minded individuals. It creates  communities of individuals with the capacity to uphold and move forward our political  traditions and systems of governance.  (Simpson, 2014, p. 7)  Through the aforementioned scholars, self-determination encompasses the freedom of Indigenous peoples to both control and determine their political, social, economic, and cultural practices, while also recognizing Canada’s responsibility to respect and honour both the rights of Indigenous peoples set aside in individual treaties and the Indian Act, as well as the rights referenced in the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  Reconciliation   The concept of reconciliation is a key theme for renewing relationships with Aboriginal  peoples within the Canadian federation. It articulates the relationship principles of  mutual recognition, mutual respect, mutual benefit (sharing), and mutual responsibility  as the basis for renewing relationships with Aboriginal peoples. (Marie Battiste, 2013, p.  78)  30  The concept of reconciliation is one of great relevance within the broader Canadian society in the years following the celebrations of ‘Canada 150,’ and especially within educational settings and discussions surrounding schooling and education (TRC, 2015, p. 241, 323-324, 327-328). Reconciliation continues to be a term which carries a number of varied meanings, and often “means different things to different people, communities, institutions, and organizations” (TRC, 2012, 2015, p. 16; Battiste, 2013; Joseph, 2017; Wagamese, 2009). Much of the public dialogue has discussed the concept of reconciliation as something with a destination, or as mentioned in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Summary Report (2015), a “conciliatory state” (TRC, 2015, p. 6-10; Alfred, 2010, p. x-xi;). However, as many Indigenous peoples, scholars, and those involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) have noted, reconciliation needs to be an ongoing process of building and maintaining a relationship based on authentic practices of mutual respect and restorative justice (Alfred, 2009; Battiste, 2013; Joseph, 2017; TRC, 2015; Regan, 2010).  In the 2015 Summary Report, the TRC noted that reconciliation begins with acknowledging and addressing the harmful truths of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples:   Without truth, justice, and healing, there can be no genuine reconciliation.  Reconciliation is not about “closing a sad chapter of Canada’s past,” but about opening  new healing pathways of reconciliation that are forged in truth and justice… Knowing  the truth about what happened in residential schools in and of itself does not  necessarily lead to reconciliation. Yet, the importance of truth telling in its own right  should not be underestimated; it restores the human dignity of victims of violence and  calls governments and citizens to account. Without truth, justice is not served, healing  31  cannot happen, and there can be no genuine reconciliation between Aboriginal and  non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. (p. 12) In understanding this as a starting point, the TRC moves on to define reconciliation further:   Reconciliation [is] an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful  relationships. A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making  apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with  concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change. Establishing respectful  relationships also requires the revitalization of Indigenous  law and legal traditions. It is  important that all Canadians understand how traditional First Nations, Inuit, and Métis  approaches to resolving conflict, repairing harm, and restoring relationships can inform  the reconciliation process. (TRC, 2015, p. 17)  Scholars such as Regan (2010), Alfred (2009), Corntassel (2009, as cited in Regan, 2010), and Coulthard (2014) reinforce the contention that reconciliation needs to be about truth telling, about confronting the past and restorying Canada’s history to include the hidden truths which exist. As it stands, Canada covers and disguises the dirty secrets, the ugly parts of our past through narratives which contend we are a country of progress, of peacekeepers, of a moral and kind society. However, settler Canadians, the dominant group in this country, continue to go about our lives and daily business in a nation built and sustained through systems and structures that fail to recognize Indigenous peoples and their cultures in equitable ways to our own Western ways (Lowman & Barker, 2015; Mackey, 2012; Regan, 2010).    32  For non-Indigenous Canadians, harmful stereotypes about Indigenous peoples are a barrier to truth and justice for which reconciliation must help settlers overcome. When thinking about Indigenous people and communities, stereotypes which breed negative thoughts are common to arise. This includes thinking of Indigenous peoples as ‘troubled,’ and focusing conversation and thought on common issues which plague Indigenous communities without adequate understanding of the context of such issues, as often seen through tragic and violent stories presented in the media and by government officials (TRC, 2012, 2015; Hutchins, 2018). Indigenous peoples and scholars conducting ‘work around reconciliation’ remind Canadian citizens at large of the need to look at the history of this country and interrogate why such things might be, while also listening closely to what indigenous peoples are saying about their own situations and the solutions to them. Relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Canada must be centered on respect, part of which requires the need for non-Indigenous Canadians to listen and interrogate the ways in which the state and settler society has always conducted ‘business’ or communicated with Indigenous citizens (Cardinal 1969; Ball & Janyst, 2008; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Mihesuah, 2005; TRC, 2015).   As Dene scholar Glen Coulthard (2014) notes, reconciliation efforts have largely been focused on “Indigenous subjects [as] the primary objects of repair, not the colonial relationship” (p. 127). Paulette Regan (2010) highlights this further in explaining the issues this causes for settler-Canadians’ relationships with Indigenous people, followed by what reconciliation should be about for settler-Canadians:   33  Historically and to the present, we [settler-Canadians] remain obsessed with solving the  Indian problem, even as we deflect attention from the settler problem. In doing so, we  ignore our complicity in maintaining the colonial status quo. The question now is  whether we will remain colonizer-perpetrators or strive to become more ethical allies in  solidarity with Indigenous people… Reconciliation is then a teaching/learning place of  encounter where acts of resistance and freedom occur. This involves nothing less than a  paradigm shift that moves us from a culture of denial toward an ethics of recognition.  (p. 236-237) Regan asserts that settler-Canadians should view reconciliation as a moral confrontation of our history, a critical self-reflection of our privileges and the injustice which our privilege causes for Indigenous peoples (2010). As settlers, part of our role in reconciliation is then about recognizing our complicity in maintaining colonialism – and further, recognizing that the way our colonialist society is structured, places barriers of injustice on Indigenous peoples. To be true to a morally responsible version of reconciliation, we must genuinely be open to take away these barriers and as such, give up privileges and ‘traditional’ societal practices in order to accept different ways of functioning as a society.  Whether one is an educator, a policy maker, a negotiator, a church layperson, a  professional or blue-collar worker, or an ordinary citizen committed to social justice,  reconciliation as resistance involves accepting personal and political responsibility for  shifting colonial attitudes and actions that do not serve us well in our relationships with  Indigenous peoples. (Regan, p. 217)  34 In this way reconciliation is something that all Canadians can work personally and collectively towards in order for a more just society, and for a Canada that acknowledges and respects Indigenous peoples’ freedom to live and act with their cultures, knowledges, and languages. As such, it can be seen “as a site and praxis of resistance and change” (Regan, 2010, p. 216). As the TRC (2015) states, “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one” (p. VI).  Scholars such as Regan (2010), Alfred (2009), Corntassel (2009, as cited in Regan, 2010, p. 235), and Coulthard (2014 p. 127) also highlight the importance of truth telling and further contend that reconciliation contains broad issues that continue beyond Canada providing material compensation, and apologies for past wrongs. They express caution at acts of ‘regifting’, of the provision of small monetary compensations (i.e. payments to those who experienced abuses while in residential school), and apologies for past wrongs as significant parts of reparations, because without real action that addresses systemic and structural issues, such gestures only perpetuate the violence of the colonial system. These scholars critique the political discourses surrounding reconciliation to point out that settler-colonialism is something which continues today. For example, while structures like the IRS system are not in place Indigenous peoples still struggle for authentic representation in public educational contexts, like in school textbooks, curriculums, and educator practices (Simpson, 2014). Once Canadians look at colonialism as a barrier to Indigenous healing, resurgence, and freedom, it can be realized that reconciliation is not simply about the past, or about providing apologies and monetary reparations for past wrongs – it is about decolonizing and changing our societal structures to begin to accept Indigenous cultures and worldviews on a structural level. In this way,  35 reconciliation is also about what Kahnawake Mohawk scholar Taiaiake Alfred describes as restitution:  Restitution is purification. It is a ritual of disclosure and confession in which there is an  acknowledgement and acceptance of one’s harmful actions and a genuine  demonstration of sorrow and regret, constituted in reality by putting forward a promise  to never again do harm and by redirecting one’s actions to benefit the one who has  been wronged. (Alfred, 2009, p. 182)   Providing apologies and monetary compensations to victims of the IRS and other abusive systems and policies are both important and just, however it should only be seen as one small aspect of reconciliation. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for example, while important, should not be seen as a way to forget the past and move on, but should mark the beginning of a path that moves Canada forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples. As Coulthard (2014) and Alfred (2015) contend, “genuine reconciliation is impossible without recognizing Indigenous peoples’ right to freedom and self-determination, instituting restitution by returning enough of [Indigenous] lands so that [Indigenous peoples] can regain economic self-sufficiency, and honouring [the] treaty relationships” (Coulthard, 2014, p. 127). As such, land is also seen as an important aspect of reconciliation since connecting with land is essential for the healing and resurgence of Indigenous peoples’ cultures, languages, and ways of knowing and being (Ahenakew, 2017; Simpson, 2014; Wildcat et al., 2014; Deloria, 2001). Therefore, providing the opportunity and means for Indigenous peoples, communities, and youth to reconnect,  36 reinvigorate, and restore relationships to land is an important part of reconciliation (Alfred, 2015).  Opportunities for Connections in Future Research   It is my hope that this paper adds to the literature on the roles, responsibilities, and continued education of settler Canadians in better understanding Indigenous peoples; the concerns which face them; their needs; and in providing an enlightened narrative of white settler identities and the cost which colonialism has had on not only Indigenous peoples in Canada, but also on our own sense of morality and being as a nation. For the moral, ethical, and just betterment of the broader Canadian society it is important for settler Canadians, especially those involved in education and other key sectors of politicized society, to think and act critically. In doing so we cannot willfully accept national narratives of ourselves as tolerant peacemakers when such things are simply not true when considered with the truths of Canadian history in mind (Mackey, 2012; Regan, 2010; Lowman & Barker 2010; Cardinal, 1969; Sellars, 2016). Throughout Canada’s existence Indigenous peoples have not only had the affliction of protecting their cultures and ways of being, but have had the double-burden of attempting to educate Canadians (the settlers and colonizers) on our own society and its violent nature, wrongdoings, self-indulgence, and lack of understanding (Bishop, 2010, p. 93; Schick & St. Denis, 2005, p. 306-307). It is time that settlers began to share in this burden, and educate ourselves about the consequences and issues surrounding our continued colonization of this land. Scholars like Regan (2010) Bishop (2010) and Wilmot (2005) have been influential in carrying this dialogue forward. I hope to add to this dialogue, specifically within the realm of Canada’s formal education and schooling system, to ‘unpack’ the roles and responsibilities of teachers and educators in  37 advancing critical dialogue in the development of citizens and a system of education which is open and respectful to various practices, perspectives, and knowledges – especially those of the First peoples of this land.    Research Area of Interest    My research interest is grounded in exploring the topic of reconciliation within educational settings and how to navigate the meaning of such a complex concept, while considering the roles and responsibilities of settler-educators in the required work of reconciliation. Within national educational realms, recent trends in policy development have begun to prioritize reconciliation, and with it, ‘Indigenization.’ This is especially so in institutions of higher education, ministries of education, and through school boards and individual schools themselves, all of which are increasingly incorporating ‘Indigenous’ sections into strategic planning (BC, 2018; CBC Radio, 2018; Ontario MOE, 2018; Universities Canada, 2017). Such policies often highlight and include references to ‘reconciliation,’ decolonizing education, and increased Indigenous content in curriculum and course offerings (CBC Radio, 2018; Pete, 2016).    Indigenous peoples have long been advocating for inclusion in policy, and while inclusion and recognition in policy is important for reconciliation and improving achievement gaps for Indigenous peoples, how Indigenous content, knowledge, and decolonizing education is included is perhaps equally important.  Based on my personal educational experiences, I follow others in my concern that institutions of higher education, ministries of education, and school boards are putting out these policies without adequately educating themselves and their members (principals, teachers, professors, course instructors, school staff, etc.) as to what such policies  38 imply and what using such words as “decolonization,” “Indigenization,” and “self-determination” mean to Indigenous peoples and communities. I fear that institutions use such language as a way to appease the process of reconciliation without being fully aware of what really needs to be done in order to follow through with what they are outlining. In this way I fear we are acting before listening. While I think these promises are sorely needed, I am skeptical of the authenticity that is intended. I do not necessarily believe institutions are insincere, but I do not believe they fully understand what they are promising when they use such language. I fear there is a misunderstanding. I fear that promises of Indigenizing our schools, curriculums, and practices do not intend to go as far as we imply they will and I foresee this as something that may only perpetuate the violence of assimilative policies and practices, and lack of respect given to Indigenous cultures and knowledges. Therefore, I recognize the need highlighted by prominent scholars such as Alfred (2015), Battiste (2013), Cardinal (1969), Manuel (2015), Regan (2010), Simpson (2014), and Smith (2010) among others, for more education amongst non-Indigenous educators regarding topics surrounding colonization, reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonial pedagogies, and Indigenous resurgence and self-determination. As such, I am interested in supporting this education and providing my own perspective as a settler educator in addressing what reconciliation means for non-Indigenous educators; why non-Indigenous educators should be concerned with reconciliation; and how Canadian educators can help to build an authentic vision of reconciliation.   Talking about the current challenges facing Indigenous peoples, including their relationships with Canadians and the Canadian state, TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair stated, “it was the educational system that has contributed to this problem and it’s the educational, we  39 believe, that’s going to help us get away from this” (TRC, 2012).  I believe and support Sinclair’s words. However, I am not alone in believing that in order to have an education that will be “the key to reconciliation,” settler educators need to be prepared with the skills, resources, and knowledge to provide equitable education – this is, unfortunately, a place the broader education system, and most educators, simply aren’t at yet (CBC, 2015; Alfred, 2010 in Regan 2010; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Coulthard, 2014; Mackey, 2012; Regan, 2010). That is why reconciliation education for settlers and settler educators is so vital.  In coming to a better understanding of allyship, culturally responsive schooling, sovereignty and self-determination, and reconciliation, my learning has been informed through theories which focus on understanding race, identity, and coloniality.  In the next chapter I discuss the theoretical frameworks which inform how I view, analyze, and build understanding surrounding the topic of reconciliation as a settler, colonizer, and educator.  These theories will inform my research and guide the understandings which result.          40 Chapter 3: Theoretical Frameworks  Overview   I approach my research problem and questions using the perspectives of a number of scholars who have been influential in forming my theoretical lens. In analyzing my memories and experiences I will use three main theories as a way to build an understanding and critical analysis of such experiences; Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit), anti-race theory, and decolonizing pedagogy considering Indigenous pedagogies as essential in the Canadian context.  Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit)   Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) emerged from Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a framework which “more completely address[es] Indigenous issues” and “the specific needs of tribal peoples” (Brayboy, 2005, p. 427, 428). TribalCrit “allows [for one] to address the complicated relationship between American Indians and the United States federal government and begin to make sense of American Indians’ liminality as both racial and legal/political groups and individuals” (Brayboy 2005, p. 427). While Brayboy speaks from an American perspective, commonalities of colonization and Indigenous issues both socially and politically, allow it to also be relevant within the Canadian context (Cardinal, 1969; Kitchen & Hodson, 2013). As Brayboy describes:   [TribalCrit] is rooted in the multiple, nuanced, and historically- and geographically-located  epistemologies and ontologies found in Indigenous communities. Though they differ  depending on time, space, place, tribal nation, and individual, there appear to be  41  commonalities in those ontologies and epistemologies. TribalCrit is rooted in these  commonalities while simultaneously recognizing the range and variation that exists  within and between communities and individuals. (Brayboy, 2005, p. 427) He references other branches of CRT which have been developed to more concretely address specific needs and challenges of other racialized groups. This includes Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) and Asian Critical Race Theory (AsianCrit) (Brayboy, 2005, p. 429).  As a framework TribalCrit takes much of CRT and shifts it to consider Indigenous perspectives and experiences. Similar to CRT, narratives and stories are valued data sources in TribalCrit, which makes this appealing in terms of my own autoethnographic research (Brayboy, 2005, p. 428). In terms of education,   CRT posits that racism is endemic in society and in education, and that racism has  become so deeply engrained in society’s and schooling’s consciousness that it is often  invisible. CRT confronts and challenges traditional views of education in regard to issues  of meritocracy, claims of color-blind objectivity, and equal opportunity. (Brayboy, 2005,  p. 428) While “the basic premise of CRT [is] that racism is endemic to society… TribalCrit emphasizes that colonization is endemic to society” although it also recognizes racism’s role in colonization and society’s social, political, and legal structures (Brayboy, 2005, p. 429-430). In referring to colonization, TribalCrit points to how Western “thought, knowledge, and power structures dominate present-day society” through the dismissal of Indigenous knowledges and practices as  42 “unsystematic and incapable of meeting the productivity needs of the modern world” (Brayboy, 2005, p. 430; Battiste, 2002 as cited in Brayboy, 2005, p. 430).   TribalCrit emphasizes nine main tenets which set the framework for those working within this theory. They include: 1. Colonization is endemic to society.  2. [National/government] policies toward Indigenous peoples are rooted in imperialism, White supremacy, and a desire for material gain. 
 3. Indigenous peoples occupy a liminal space that accounts for both the political and racialized natures of our identities. 
 4. Indigenous peoples have a desire to obtain and forge tribal sovereignty, tribal autonomy, self-determination, and self-identification. 
 5. The concepts of culture, knowledge, and power take on new meaning when examined through an Indigenous lens. 
 6. Governmental policies and educational policies toward Indigenous peoples are intimately linked around the problematic goal of assimilation. 
 7. Tribal philosophies, beliefs, customs, traditions, and visions for the future are central to understanding the lived realities of Indigenous peoples, but they also illustrate the differences and adaptability among individuals and groups.  8. Stories are not separate from theory; they make up theory and are, therefore, real and legitimate sources of data and ways of being.  9. Theory and practice are connected in deep and explicit ways such that scholars must work towards social change. (Brayboy, 2005, p. 429-430)  43 TribalCrit allows for a form a critical understanding of the concerns and specific needs of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Using this theory will provide a critical frame of reference in examining my experiences, centred on Brayboy’s (2005) “nine tenets” (p. 429-430).  Anti-Race Theory   In using anti-race theory, I come to understand this frame of thought using the works of scholars such as Bishop (2010), Henry & Tator (2000), Schick & St. Denis (2005), Wilmot (2005), and West (2001); while referring to scholars such as Cardinal (1969), Regan (2010), Mackey (2012), and Lowman & Barker (2015) in order to provide a more complete understanding of the discourses of racism which present themselves in Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Anti-race theory and thereby anti-racism, is centered on examining racism both in the historical context and how it continues to operate – providing a basis for exposing, critiquing, and taking action to resist, oppose, and dismantle discourses of racism built into society socially, politically, and legally (St. Denis, 2005, p. 295-298, 304-305; Henry & Tator 2000, p. 2, 30-31; Wilmot, 2005, p. 22-25, 147-151). It is about working to understand the oppression and learning about the experiences of racialized and oppressed groups of people (West, 2001; Schick & St. Denis, 2005, p. 296, 313; Henry & Tator, 2000, p. 164). Furthermore, for white settlers like myself, it is about critically examining and being reflective of our own identities, our ‘whiteness’, understanding what this means and the privilege that is borne with it (Schick & St. Denis, 2005, p. 296-300; Wilmot, 2005, p. 22, 29-33, 148-149).  Henry & Tator (2000) explain that racism is presented in a number of forms, including individual, institutional, and systemic racism. Individual racism, also known as existential racism,  44 is “rooted in [an] individual’s belief system and has been defined as the attitude, belief, or opinion that one’s own racial group has superior values, customs and norms, and conversely that other racial groups possess inferior traits and attributes” (p. 28). It is characterized by prejudiced attitudes which take form in both conscious and unconscious action. It could be overt actions or gestures, such as racist jokes, the use of derogatory and dated terminology, or pointed and confrontational speech. Unconsciously, it could be “glances, gestures, and encounters [like] the empty seat on the crowded bus next to the only person of colour; the inability to make direct eye contact with [an Aboriginal] person; [or] the ubiquitous question: ‘Where did you come from?’” (Henry & Tator, 2000, p. 28-29). Institutional racism is defined as:  the policies, practices, procedures, values and norms that operate within an  organization or institution (e.g. a school or board of education). For example… racially  biased attitudes and practices of teachers and administrators, Eurocentric curriculum,  racial harassment of minority students, streaming of minority students into non- academic programs, the assimilationist culture of the school, etc. (Henry & Tator, 2000,  p. 29) Finally, while similar to institutional racism, systemic racism,   refers more broadly to the laws, rules, and norms woven into the social system that  results in the unequal distribution of economic, political and social resources and  rewards among various groups. … [It] is the denial of access, participation and equity to  people of colour for services such as education, employment and housing. (Henry &  Tator, 2000, p. 29)  45 It is important to note that while both institutional and systemic racism “may be invisible or [subconsciously] practiced, regardless of intent, these forms of racism have the consequence of promoting, sustaining or entertaining differential advantage or privilege for White people” (Henry & Tator, 2000, p. 29-30).   As Bishop (2010) describes, we must move from understanding racism and oppression as a personal reality (brought on by individualistic acts such as name calling or exclusion), to a structural reality (p. 120-121). In order to truly examine racism in this country Canadians needs to move from looking at it as something that happens on an individualistic level, to something which has deep roots in how Canadian society is structured, and who our society privileges. It is especially important in the era of reconciliation that Canadians arise from our “dysconsciousness” of the oppression of Aboriginal peoples to acknowledge and confront our privileged position (Lowman & Barker, 2015, p. 46-47). In using the term dysconsciousness, I follow Lowman & Barker (2015) in speaking of white, settler Canadians’ lack of understanding about the race relations in Canadian society, and the privilege white, Euro-Canadians receive through being members of the dominant society. Our legal, political, and social systems are all borne out of colonialism which has never considered Aboriginal legal, political, or social systems in the structural formation of policy and practice in Canada’s institutional, legal, and political make up. It is in these ways – the colonial DNA of Canada, that Aboriginal people are made invisible, both literally and figuratively in our structures through, for example, curriculum content or use of Indigenous pedagogies in educational practices, lack of acknowledgment to land and place, and the presence of Aboriginal educators among other issues. In terms of misrepresentation, some examples are the inauthentic incorporation of Indigenous activities or  46 knowledges (i.e. checking off the curriculum expectations box, or centering Indigenous culture on “concrete objects like beads, buffalo and bannock,” appropriating symbols, stories, or knowledges without undertaking the necessary cultural permissions and protocols, or failing to respect the diversity of Indigenous groups by referencing Indigenous peoples and knowledges under one homogenous, ‘pan-Indian’ identity) (Battiste, 2013, p. 22, 29; Cardinal, 1969; Henry & Tator, 2000; Mackey, 2012).   While acknowledging the invisibility and misrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples and culture in the structural make up of our society, it is also important to acknowledge the privilege of ‘whiteness’ which is evident in Canada. As scholars like Schick & St. Denis (2005) and Mackey (2012) point out, our structural privilege is often hidden behind national narratives of “cultural difference,” “tolerance,” and “multiculturalism” (Schick & St. Denis, p. 298, 306-307, 313; Mackey).  Schick & St. Denis (2005) provide context to this in stating:   What these and other commonplace narratives do not account for is that access to  privilege – such as white skin privilege – greatly improves one's chances of  avoiding systemic discrimination and overcoming disadvantage. Furthermore, the effects  of racism are not addressed by outmoded, but perhaps well intended, themes that  promote a raceless or colour-blind version of Canada. Against these tropes, perhaps the  greatest challenge in the planning and theorizing for curricular practices in Canadian  schools is the discovery of how and why race matters. (p. 296) Schick & St. Denis (2005) further contend, “without acknowledging racism and race privilege [especially] in curricular practices, the effects of colonization [will] continue” (p. 296). Referencing the work of other scholars, they go on to say:  47  Having white skin privilege has generally meant that one does not have to think about  one’s racial identity: race and culture are things other people have as departures from  the norm. One privilege of whiteness – invisibly for the norm – depends on marginalized  identities which the norm can be compared. A dominant group is positioned to define  itself as a blank, unmarked space vs. a marked outside “other.” The unmarked norm is  the space of privilege, an identification that gets to define standards according to itself.  Hurtado and Stewart (1997) claim "privilege has the semblance of naturalness that in  itself defends it from scrutiny" (p. 300). That is why it is difficult, especially if occupying a  normative position, to scrutinize or examine one's own identity. This is precisely the  challenge that we and other anti-oppressive writers (Ellsworth, 1997) have identified as  significant in teaching and devising anti-racist curriculum – that addressing racism means  more than examining the experiences of those who experience racism. (p. 299) Finally, Schick & St. Denis signal that anti-racist work needs to focus on critical reflection, and discussions surrounding race and the confrontation of ‘whiteness’ as a main proponent of racism.   By ignoring the production of racial identities, whiteness is at once invisible and a  marker of difference. In Canada, discourses of race are ignored or seen as bad manners,  allowing a certain raceless Canadian identity as the norm. Without a critical analysis, an  information session designed to teach more about Aboriginal peoples reinforces  processes of Othering whereby the customs and people themselves are taken up as  exotic, quaint, or problematic, as something that happened in the past, a part of the  nation's celebrated history. Multicultural education that emphasizes cultural difference  and ignores the salience of race is inadequate for any form of cultural awareness  48  education intending to increase understanding between Aboriginal and white Canadians  in a post/colonial society. (Schick & St. Denis, 2005, p. 313) Schick & St. Denis are emphasizing that education itself emphasizes ‘Western’ and ‘white’ culture as the dominant culture. They contend that in order to address achievement gaps between various ethnic groups (i.e. that between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students) racialized students, and thereby Indigenous students, need to be given acknowledgment of their race due to the challenges, obstacles, and life experiences that separate them and their experiences –including those of their families’ –  from white students (Schick & St. Denis, 2005; Amos, 2011).  As Schick & St. Denis (2005) explain, because settler society is surrounded by the normalcy of a ‘white’ system that privileges white individuals, it can be hard for us (white settler Canadians) to see how the systems and structures we have been raised and educated in oppress others. What I hope white settler Canadians can come to understand is that whiteness, and white privilege are not only about a skin colour – when they are talked about in reference to oppression and racialization they are the markers of a system, a system established generations ago that aimed to assimilate Aboriginal people and eliminate their culture (Battiste, 2013, p. 63-67; Harper, 2008). This is a system in which very little has changed. It is a system which is based on ‘white’ culture and identity;  the culture, rules, and ways (norms) of Western society, not those of Aboriginal Nations and their cultures. As such, ‘white’ Canadians are represented much more identifiably and proportionately in both policy and in the physical sense than Aboriginal peoples in all forms of our public systems (education, justice/law, health, government (Cardinal, 1969; Sellars, 2016).   49  Euro-Canadians (of which ‘Canada’ the nation was built by) need to confront our ‘whiteness,’ our privilege, and further, where our privilege comes from and how it is upheld. Rather than being defensive about our own actions (i.e. “I’m not a racist,” “I’ve never done anything wrong to Aboriginal people,” “I didn’t choose to be white”), we must consider the oppression in which our society is built. We should learn to understand that racism is rooted in our society (our laws, our schools, our government), and as such, racism is rooted in our living and being. It is something the best, and most morally conscious of us live with. To uphold the status quo is to uphold our racism. Anti-racism, and thereby the education around it, focuses on confronting, challenging, and changing the Canadian status quo.   The use of anti-race theory in my paper allows me to confront issues of student engagement, success, and belonging by looking at issues of representation and misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and culture in Western forms of education in which I live and work. This critical understanding will help bring me to places of further understanding about engaging students and assisting them in finding success, while also confronting my own positionality and role in Indigenous education and education concerning topics of reconciliation and Indigenization.  Decolonizing Pedagogy as Theory   The final theory I am working with is a decolonizing pedagogy guided by Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, which is centered on critical pedagogy. In considering the broad field of critical pedagogy I look to the work of Paulo Freire due to his focus on oppressed groups of peoples – especially so in the realm of education. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1973/2012),  50 Freire discusses the importance of allowing people to be critical thinkers through an educational practice and pedagogy which allows learners to be “engaged in inquiry and creative transformation” (Freire, 2012, p. 84). Freire critiques the systematic and mechanical education which has shown itself in current systems of Western education – which he describes as the ‘banking concept’ of education. He notes that current educational structures, systems, and curriculums make education to be “an exercise of domination…[where] students are not called upon to know, but to memorize the contents narrated by the teacher” (Freire, 2012, p. 78-80). Freire explains how this form of education tends to dichotomize everything and lacks both intentionality and cognition on the part of the teacher and the student(s). It is “a system which achieves neither true knowledge nor true culture” and “anesthetizes and inhibits creative power” by denying learners an authentically abstract relationship to the world around them (Freire, 2012, p. 80-81). This type of education is satisfied with status quo, demonizes resistance, and teaches learners to ‘fit in’ with society rather than resisting and inciting change in oppressive societal structures or norms which are based on inequities and inequalities that value certain peoples, cultures, religions, and knowledges over others.   In order for learners to be conscious beings and lift cycles and systems of oppression, Freire calls for a type of pedagogy which resists oppressive measures of domination and helps people learn to act with ‘intentionality’ while understanding how to be critical of their own understanding, being, and relationship(s) in the world around them –  a “liberating education [that] consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information” (Freire, 2012, p. 79-85). He terms this type of practice as “problem-posing education” (Freire, 2012 p. 80). As Freire  51 describes, problem-posing education strives for the emergence of one’s consciousness and critical intervention in reality. He notes that education should be,  [a] practice of freedom… [and] authentic reflection [which] considers neither abstract  [person] nor the world without people, but people in their relations with the world. In  these relations consciousness and world are simultaneous: consciousness neither  precedes the world nor follows it… Problem-posing education affirms men and women  as beings in the process of becoming – as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a  likewise unfinished reality. The unfinished character of human beings and the  transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity. (Freire, 2012p. 81, 84) Freire (2012) summarizes his comparison of these two pedagogies as follows:  Banking education attempts, by mythicizing reality, to conceal certain facts which  explain the way human beings exist in the world; problem-posing education sets itself  the task demythologizing. Banking education resists dialogue; problem-posing education  regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality. Banking  education treats students as objects of assistance; problem-posing education makes  them critical thinkers. Banking education inhibits creativity and domesticates (although  it cannot completely destroy) the intentionality of consciousness by isolating  consciousness from the world, thereby denying people their ontological and historical  vocation of becoming more fully human. Problem-posing education bases itself on  creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality, thereby responding to  the vocation of persons as beings who are authentic only when engaged in inquiry and  52  creative transformation. In sum: banking theory and practice, as immobilizing and  fixating forces fail to acknowledge [people] as historical beings; problem-posing theory  and practice take the people’s historicity as their starting point. (p. 83-84)  The type of critical pedagogy in which Freire highlights can be connected to the work of numerous Indigenous scholars who highlight what decolonized forms of education might look like from an Indigenous cultural lens. Like Freire’s problem-posing method, a decolonized pedagogy critiques the lack of relationality, emphasis on the learner as subject, and absence of practicality in the learning experience, a lack of respect for Indigenous cultural identities, and lack of acknowledgment for present day obstacles due to a living history of colonialism (Battiste, 2013 Kirkness & Bowman 1992; Regan, 2010; Toulouse, 2008). In her article Land as Pedagogy (2014), Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson critiques the Western education system in Canada through her own upbringing in that system:  My experience of education, from kindergarten to graduate school, was one of coping  with someone else’s agenda, curriculum, and pedagogy, someone who was neither  interested in my well being as a kwezens [(“little woman/girl”)], nor interested in my  connection to my homeland, my language or history, nor my Nishnaabeg intelligence.  No one ever asked me what I was interested in nor did they ask for my consent to  participate in their system. My experience of education was one of continually being  measured against a set of principles that required surrender to an assimilative colonial  agenda in order to fulfill those principles. (p. 6) Simpson’s critique is one many other Indigenous scholars share (Alfred, 2010; Battiste, 2013; Cardinal, 1969; Kirkness & Bowman, 1992; Smith, 1999). Current forms of education in Canada  53 historically, and continually, have failed to account for the lived experiences, knowledges, values, and relationships – especially to land and family – which define Aboriginal cultures across Canada. Such schooling, by design, continues to promote an agenda of colonization and assimilation through the continued invisibility of Aboriginal peoples in educational curriculum, policies, and practices (Battiste, 2010).  As Leigh Patel (2016) describes:  formal schooling has had far more to do with the project of coloniality than it has with  learning, teaching, or co-existence. This is not to say that learning and human growth  doesn’t happen frequently within schooling settings, but it is often the result of  individuals who have committed themselves to swimming upstream, circumventing the  design of schools as sites of discipline and social reproduction, and created spaces  beyond hegemonic policies and practices. (p. 4) Scholars such as Tuck & Yang (2012), Battiste (2013), Smith (1999), and Patel (2016) assert that in order for Indigenous learners to succeed, they require an education that is respectful to and incorporates their culture; worldviews; ways of knowing and being; and is relevant to their lived experiences and relationships. As Mi’kmaw scholar Marie Battiste describes in her book, Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit (2013),   Decolonizing Indigenous education first and foremost must be framed with concepts of  dialogue, respect for educational pluralities, multiplicities, and diversities. It is about  self-determination, deconstructing decisions about curricular knowledge, and re- energizing education and knowledge to the contexts of people’s lives, a sui generis or  “one of a kind” education and learning. It is not a singular or total theory, but multiple  54  theories, strategies, and struggles. Its outcomes must account for the imposed tragedies  and indignities colonial education has placed on Aboriginal people and the need for  systemic awareness of everyone and the reconciliation and healing in educational  systems… It is also about restoring a balance in relationships and undoing hegemonic  authority over our lives. We are interdependent in our ecology and environment, and  we will have to develop institutions, policies, and practices that go beyond signaling  respect for cultural diversity and acknowledge their own interdependence with our  place and the people of this place. (p. 107-108)  Scholars such as Battiste (2013), Simpson (2014), Wildcat, McDonald, Irlbacher-Fox & Coulthard (2014), and Alfred (2015) echo this call and emphasize the importance of grounding learning to the land through experiences and relationships with the land. Drawing on the words of Leanne Simpson (2014), Wildcat et al. (2014) describe this in their article, Learning from the Land: Indigenous Land Based Pedagogy and Decolonization:   Settler-colonialism has functioned, in part, by deploying institutions of western  education to undermine Indigenous intellectual development through cultural  assimilation and the violent separation of Indigenous peoples from our sources of  knowledge and strength – the land. If settler colonialism is fundamentally premised on  dispossessing Indigenous peoples from their land, one, if not the primary, impact on  Indigenous education has been to impede the transmission of knowledge about the  forms of governance, ethics and philosophies that arise from relationships on the land.  As Leanne Simpson argues… if we are serious about decolonizing education and  55  educating people within frameworks of Indigenous  intelligence, we must find ways of  reinserting people into relationships with and on the land as a mode of education. (p. II) Through the work of the aforementioned scholars, I view decolonizing pedagogy as theory which accounts for the local Indigenous pedagogies, knowledges, and philosophies. It is an education and practice which both accounts for and confronts racism, coloniality, and further, collaborates with local Indigenous peoples on “where we have been, where we want to go, and how we hope to arrive at our destination” within education (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992, p. 103). I draw on the works of Marie Battiste (2013), Linda Smith (2010), Taiaiake Alfred (2015), Leanne Simpson (2014), Leigh Patel (2016), and Daniel Wildcat, Mandee McDonald, Sephanie Irlbacher-Fox & Glen Coulthard (2014) to inform my understanding of decolonizing pedagogy and an Indigenous worldview of education. Using these scholars helps enable a critical analysis of the issues of coloniality and oppression in existing structures of Western education, in the Canadian context. Decolonizing pedagogy as a theory will allow me to examine my practices, past and present, and how I might engage more fully in such a praxis. I will be able to examine my memories to identify how I have been colonized in my understanding of education and my teaching practices. Further, I will be able to look at areas and opportunities to consider practical examples of decolonizing practices in my teaching.  Use of Theory   The work of the aforementioned scholars within the conversations surrounding TribalCrit theory, anti-race theory, and decolonizing pedagogy is critical in how I come to understand my own positionality, research, and world view. These theories will allow me to form a critical  56 understanding of the formation and continuation of racism in Canada, along with my own positionality as a white settler Canadian. Further, they also provide a basis for critiquing the Canadian education system in its current colonial structure, and in its failure to relevantly represent Indigenous peoples, the concerns which face them, and their specific needs. Utilizing these theories alongside the works of scholars like Bryan Brayboy, Marie Battiste, Verna Kirkness, Paulette Regan, Leanne Simpson, and Verna St. Denis among others, will allow me to analyze my experiences of learning and working in and out of Indigenous education with a critical lens. To do so I will be using autoethnography as my methodology. In Chapter 4 I outline autoethnography, as well as how I come to interpret and plan to utilize it within the frame of my research.            57 Chapter 4: Methodologies  Introduction and Methodology   I am working with a critical paradigmatic approach to my research. In using a critical approach, I will question the cultural appropriateness of the Western system of schooling and curriculum used to educate Indigenous students, especially in an era where reconciliation discourse is so relevant in Canada’s education system (Universities Canada, 2018; Harp, 2018; TRC, 2015). In a similar sense, I will be critical of the discourses surrounding reconciliation within Canada’s public education system and challenge the authenticity of actions to support true reconciliation. I contend that in order for reconciliation to be honest and authentic, it must honour a relationship with Indigenous peoples that is reciprocal, respectful, relevant, and responsible (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991); takes seriously local to national Indigenous concerns, priorities, needs, and knowledge; and takes action which confronts colonialism and racial privilege.   In terms of my methodological approach, I am using autoethnography to detail my experiences of learning about and coming to understand the role of settler educators in reconciliation activities in Canada. I have chosen autoethnography largely because of its emotional and personal attachment to human experiences. I believe that autoethnography is able to provide real-world examples of situations and scenarios that other educators can relate to, or imagine in their lived experience. I consider autoethnography to be an appropriate and appealing method, well suited to convey my journey of learning while connecting practical teaching experiences to theoretical understandings of phenomena present in Canada’s  58 educational system. This connection, I believe, will be beneficial in both the sharing, and transfer of knowledge within my paper.   Autoethnography is still a relatively new and expanding methodology which has grown out of the field of ethnography (Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2011; Denzin, 2006; Wall, 2008). Autoethnography is referred to as a reflexive, and creative genre of research and writing which takes multiple forms and styles, including “analytical and social scientific;” “interpretive/humanistic;” “critical;” and “creative, performative, and evocative” (Adams, 2016, p. 62-63).2 Some autoethnographies, such as analytic, social scientific, and critical often “code and thematize personal experience” and use theory and literature to develop understanding on broader social phenomena (Adams, 2016; Anderson, 2006; Ellingson & Ellis, 2008; Wall, 2008). Leon Anderson (2006) describes this type of autoethnography as “using empirical evidence to formulate and refine theoretical understandings of social processes. [And further,] a way of understanding the social world and address areas of theoretical interest” (p. 387). Other genres of autoethnography, such as interpretive, humanistic, creative, performative, and evocative are often highlighted by embodied and artistic narrative accounts of personal and/or cultural experiences that “open up conversations and evoke emotional responses” (Ellingson & Ellis, 2008, p. 445; Adams, 2017). Ellis & Bochner (2006) explain that these more evocative storytelling types of autoethnography, focus attention on allowing “stories to do the work of analysis and theorizing” (p. 436).    As Sarah Wall (2008) explains:  2 It should be noted that these various “forms” of autoethnography and the terms used to describe them are oftentimes contentious and debatable between autoethnographers themselves (Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2006).   59  Autoethnographers vary in their emphasis on auto- (self), -ethno- (the sociocultural  connection), and -graphy (the application of the research process) (Reed-Danahay, 1997).  Although some consider a personal narrative to be the same thing as an autoethnography  (Ellis & Bochner, 2000), others use autoethnography as a means of explicitly linking  concepts from the literature to the narrated personal experience (Holt, 2001; Sparkes,  1996). (p. 39) Due to the nature of its broad scope and the differing viewpoints between scholars who attend to the field of autoethnography, the method is free from a specific, or defined way of performance (Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2011; Wall, 2008). It is a method and field of study which in itself lacks definitive definitions, clear cut stylistic procedures, or strict frameworks for researching, writing, and evaluating (Denzin, 2006; Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011; Wall, 2008; Charmaz, 2006).   The creative and expressive elements of the autoethnography can perhaps be interpreted as aspects which have helped it gain popularity among some social science and humanity based disciplines, most notably education, business, communications, health, psychology, sociology, music, and performance (Adams, 2017). Due to the multiple understandings and forms autoethnography takes, numerous definitions present themselves in the literature (Denzin, 2006). The following definitions contribute to an understanding of autoethnography.  Norman Denzin (2006) quoting Stay Holman Jones (2005, p. 765):   Autoethnography is a blurred genre . . . a response to the call . . . it is setting a scene,  telling a story, weaving intricate connections between life and art . . . making a text  60  present . . . refusing categorization . . . believing that words matter and writing toward  the moment when the point of creating autoethno- graphic texts is to change the world.  (p. 420)  Tami Spry (2001, p.710, in Denzin 2006):   [Autoethnography is] a self-narrative that critiques the situatedness of self and others in  social context. (p. 419)  Andrew Sparkes (2000):   [Autoethnographies] are highly personalized accounts that draw upon the experience of  the author/researcher for the purposes of extending sociological understanding. (p. 21)  While these definitions contribute to understanding what autoethnography is, I consider the definitions provided by Anderson (2006), Ellis & Bochner (2000), and Ellis, Adams & Bochner (2011) to be most significant to my research and method of performing autoethnography: Ellis & Bochner (2000):  Autoethnography is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays  multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural. Back and forth  autoethnographers gaze, first through an ethnographic wide-angle lens, focusing  outward on social and cultural aspects of the personal experience; then they look  inward, exposing a vulnerable self that is moved by and may move through, refract and  resist cultural interpretations. (p.739)  61 Leon Anderson (2006):   Analytic autoethnography has five key features. It is ethnographic work in which the  researcher (a) is a full member in a research group or setting; (b) uses analytic  reflexivity; (c) has a visible narrative presence in the written text; (c) engages in dialogue  with informants beyond the self; (d) is committed to an analytic research agenda  focused on improving theoretical understandings of broader social phenomena. (p.375)  Ellis, Adams & Bochner (2011):  Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and  systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.  This approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others and  treats research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act. A researcher uses  tenets of autobiography and ethnography to do and write autoethnography. Thus, as a  method, autoethnography is both process and product. (p. 1)   The various definitions of autoethnography, and varying ways of performing autoethnography lead to an unsettling vision of what autoethnography is, and what it is not (Adams, 2017; Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner 2006; Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011). As Adams (2017) and Wall (2008), Adams (2017) point out, part of autoethnographic writing and part of being an autoethnographer is communicating the process of how you the writer and researcher, preform autoethnography. Doing such provides a structure and formational understanding of  62 how your research methodology ought to be interpreted and evaluated. Consequently, it is important that I explain my understanding, and approach to autoethnography (Wall, 2008).  I consider that my method will take the form of analytical autoethnography, which is in itself a contentious term among autoethnographers (Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2011). By referencing this term, I am implying that I will reflect and code my personal experiences with literary concepts and theoretical perspectives in mind. As such, I will look “in and out of situations in order to examine and critique them with an analytical reflective critique” (Grbich, 2013 p. 120). I will use TribalCrit theory, anti-race theory, and decolonial pedagogy to analyze, develop meaning, and support how I come to understand my experiences.   I have chosen analytical autoethnography because I want to connect theory with my experiences in order to provide proof of a problematized educational system. Further, I believe that by providing and analyzing my own experiences, I will be able to demonstrate examples of how white privilege and ‘Othering’; issues of respect, relevance and (mis)representation of Indigenous peoples’ culture and knowledge; and colonization, are all issues that undermine and deeply affect the path of reconciliation and as such, need to be acknowledged and confronted in Canada’s education system (Regan, 2010; Brayboy, 2005; Battiste, 2013; Simpson, 2014; Simon, 2013). Finally, as a genre of research, autoethnography might be seen to, in some ways, link to Indigenous methods of knowledge formation and learning through its artistic nature, emphasis on story and creative writing/storytelling, and views of learning as something which happens in experience and relationality to the surrounding world. As such, I am drawn to autoethnography  63 as an approach outside of traditional research methodologies, which might better allow for a type of decolonized research to take form (Archibald, 2008). Methods of Inquiry   The ‘Findings, Interpretations & Conversations’ section of my paper will be guided by the four sub-themes outlined in my literature review – allyship; culturally responsive schooling (CRS)/education; Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination; and reconciliation. These sub-themes further inform the research questions I consider, and as such, will serve as the four sections of my ‘Findings, Interpretations & Conversations’ section in Chapter 5. For each of these sub-themes I will highlight a memory or series of related memories and analyze the experience(s) in conjunction with one of my outlined research questions.3 These questions include: 1. How have I come to understand ‘allyship’? And, what are the practices, roles, and responsibilities of an ‘ally’? a. How can other settler-educators undertake their own journeys of ‘unsettling’ where they can come to an understanding of how Indigenous peoples have been oppressed in our (Canadian) society, and why such oppression continues? 2. What is meant by ‘culturally responsive schooling’ (CRS)/education?  a. Why is it important that educators engage in practices that support culturally responsive schooling?  3 I have already begun to address most of these questions within my Introduction and Literature Review in Chapters 1 and 2 — including how I have come to understand allyship; CRS and education; sovereignty and self-determination; and reconciliation.  In Chapters 5 and 6, I continue to build on these understandings and provide further context alongside my experiences to more fully address my outlined sub-questions.   64 b. What are some examples of culturally responsive educational practices in Canadian schools and the broader system of schooling? 3. How have I come to understand Indigenous ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-determination’?  a. What are Indigenous communities and peoples saying about their needs, priorities, and cultural well-being as they relate to education?  b. What does Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination look like in school settings? 4. How have I come to understand what ‘reconciliation’ means?  a. What is Indigenous ‘resurgence’ and how does it connect to reconciliation? b. As a non-Indigenous educator, what is my role in reconciliation? c. Why should non-Indigenous educators be concerned with reconciliation and resurgence?  Using experiences throughout my own ‘decolonizing journey’ in my public school education through to my undergraduate studies, then my work as a high school teacher in the First Nations community of Wiikwemkoong, to now my graduate studies and work within Indigenous education contexts, I hope to convey what I have come to learn about what reconciliation means from my own privileged position in relationship with various Indigenous groups and communities.   The analysis of each of my experiences will come in three steps. First, I will describe the memory and tell my recollections of my experience (events, situations, etc.) including my feelings and thoughts at the time when necessary. Through the telling and looking back at this memory I will also describe my feelings of the experience as they are now and why I see the memory as  65 important. Finally, I will use my chosen theories to analyze and better understand the experience and the social phenomena at work.   In speaking about, and analyzing my experiences, I will be writing with what Shelia Trahar (2009) calls, an “interactive voice” (p. 8).    Interactive voice [is] one that reflects the intersubjectivity between [researcher] voice  and the narrator voice. Through the interactive voice, researchers examine their  voices—their subject positions, social locations, interpretations, and personal  experiences—through the refracted medium of narrators' voices. (Trahar, 2009, p. 8) In utilizing this approach, I will then be speaking with two voices, the first being a ‘personal reflective voice.’ Using this voice, I will be focused on looking at my memories from a personal perspective, describing my personal thoughts and feelings about the memory as I think about it now, what remembering the memory has taught me and why I feel it is important. I might also recall my feelings at the time of this memory and juxtapose them with current feelings, knowledge, and thoughts about the memory of the situation (Trahar, 2009). The second voice will be my ‘academic’ or ‘theoretical’ voice, my voice as a researcher and student in his M.Ed. studies. This voice will be focused on analyzing the memory through theories and concepts relevant in the literature. With this voice, I will use my current knowledge and theoretical framework to analyse my memory, thoughts, and feelings from previous experiences to develop theoretical understandings (Grbich, 2013 p. 122).    66  Using these different voices will allow me to consider my experiences with a critical reflexive view of myself and my experiences. Scholars such as Ellis, Adams & Bochner (2011), Anderson (2006), and Wall (2006) note that self-reflexivity is a fundamental aspect of autoethnographic research which separates it from other forms of social scientific and qualitative research. As Ellis, Adams & Bochner (2011) describe, “autoethnographers [consider that] research and writing” is about producing thought provoking texts which make the researcher and their readers consider and critically think about the world we live in (p. 11). As such, autoethnography is a socially-just act due to the introspective nature of the self-reflective philosophy which encompasses it (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011).   Citing Denzin & Lincoln (1994), Wall (2006) describes that autoethnography calls for researchers to go beyond providing personal positionality within their research and its objectives. She echoes Denzin & Lincoln’s call for a “genuine reflexivity” which includes the researcher questioning societal and cultural foundations, their own positioning, and their personal actions. In this way, reflexivity is a kind of self-introspection that examines the cultural experiences of the researcher to highlight the inquiry process, and formation of knowledge. In this way, autoethnography might be better seen as a ‘philosophy’ to learning, rather than as a methodology (Wall, 2006; Wall, 2008).  Anderson (2006) notes that reflexivity “entails self-conscious introspection guided by a desire to better understand both self and others through examining one’s actions and perceptions in reference to and dialogue with those of others” (p. 382). As such, it is important that reflexivity not only be about looking at our own positioning, but at examining the broader society around us and asking ourselves why both we and others, are positioned as we are, why certain phenomena happen as they do, and how society and  67 culture might change to be more just for all? Autoethnographers, as Ellis & Bochner (2006) eloquently put it, “want to dwell in the flux of personal experience” (p. 431). By ‘dwelling’ in our experience and examining it critically and carefully, we can better understand ourselves, others, our personal locations, and the culture of our society in general (Ellis & Bochner, 2006; Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011).  By providing personal experiences that have cultural links, self-reflexivity performed in autoethnography “offer[s] small-scale knowledge that can inform specific problems and specific situations” (Wall, 2006, p. 3). Through a process of self-reflexivity, autoethnography allows for a thorough examination of privilege, of equity, and of justice (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011). Within the analysis of my experiences, self-introspection and a philosophy grounded in self-reflexivity will be an important aspect of how I communicate not only my learning, but the broader implications of my research findings.   Data   The data used for my paper will derive from personal memory of my lived experiences in school both as a student and teacher in Canada’s public education system, as an undergraduate student, as well as from my time studying at the University of British Columbia. Throughout my studies I have continually drawn on the use of personal memory to provide context to my learning. In doing so, these memories have served as ‘exemplars’ which have helped relay practical understandings to develop meaning and knowledge of academic theory and concepts within literature.   68  In terms of my research, my memories will serve as the data in establishing an understanding around my research questions, when considered in conjunction with the concepts and theories I will draw on. I will gather this data using carefully selected memories which fit into the four main sub-themes of my paper, those being: allyship; culturally responsive schooling (CRS)/education; sovereignty and self-determination in education; and reconciliation. For each sub-theme I have conducted what Bochner (2017), Wall (2008), and others term as ‘memory work’ to undergo a process of “remembering;” whereby I carefully look back to evoke certain memories, retelling these stories to myself and writing them down. I then come back to them numerous times over, carefully contemplating them to re-remember details which at first may not have been clear –  rewriting the story each time.  As Bochner (2017) describes:   To remember is to recall something forgotten… Memories have to be evoked, and when  stirred, they arrive with gaps, distortions, and usually, in an episodic, story-ready form…  Memories are not replicas of experience, they’re what we have turned our experiences  into through the activity of remembering. (p. 72-73) Quoting Casey (1987), Bochner further adds, “in remembering, we come back to the things that matter… [remembering] transforms one kind of experience into another: in being remembered, an experience becomes a different kind of experience” (p. 73). Bochner describes that “we can never return as we were to the past as it was” and as such, remembering is a process of inquiry in itself, helping us realize and understand our experiences of the past in ways we did not understand them before (2017, p. 73; Wall, 2008). In this way they become ‘new’ experiences in themselves.  69  Through both my studies and preparations for this paper, including in my reading, literature review, and writing, memories have come forward which have allowed me to engage in a process of remembering – helping me better understand my experiences in ways I did not view them at the time they occurred. In fact, some memories I may have thought little of at the time they occurred, yet they now prove to be significant stepping stones in my growing base of knowledge. After re-examining the memories of my past experiences, I will weave through them to determine the most reliable, accurate, viable memories involving events, situations, or interactions that have been significant in my growing understandings of the sub-themes of my paper. Through this process I will carefully consider and engage with these memories to select certain experiences which can be seen to be most influential in answering my research questions, and responding to my research objectives (Bochner, 2017; Wall, 2008).   Due to common critiques of qualitative research and autoethnography specifically, I recognize that my own research may be vulnerable to criticism, especially to those in the field of the social sciences. While it is out of the realm of my paper to respond to broad critiques of autoethnography as a method, I believe it important to speak to possible criticisms of my data collection and use of my data.4 Both my data collection methods and data itself will be particular vulnerable to critiques due to the foundations of how they produce knowledge. Some may ask  4 Autoethnography is a widely critiqued method due to its qualitative nature, the aforementioned lack of defined ways to categorize and define it, and its intersections with ethnography, and autobiographical and narrative writing. While an advocate of the genre, Charmaz (2006) argues that without adequate definition(s), the relevance of autoethnography may only be diminished as an academic approach to research. Critics who hold it to social scientific and ethnographic standards often critique autoethnography for being “too artful and not scientific” whereby those critiquing from autobiographical and narrative standards critique it for being “too scientific and not sufficiently artful” (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011, p. 11; Wall, 2008; Anderson, 2006; Ellis & Bochner, 2006). Ellis, Adams & Bochner (2011) note that “autoethnographers take a different point of view toward the subject matter of social science” and as such, autoethnography should be seen as an emerging genre of critical analysis that continues to develop (p. 11).   70 how my own experiences count as academic research? What makes my experiences ‘special’ in comparison to those of someone else? How is my data comparable to data conducted in the field, using traditional methods (i.e. interviews, participant observation field notes, document and artifact analysis, and research diaries)? Especially so when I have not used field notes to document my experiences.    Like the autoethnographic literature before me, I can respond to each of these critiques knowing ‘traditional’ fields of academia and ‘traditional’ scientists may continue to refute or be confused with my methods and autoethnography as a discipline in general because it is so far removed from the ‘norm’ of what constitutes academic and further, ‘scientific’ research.  My first and I believe most important response would be that the many critiques of autoethnographic research, and those which I believe will be initial and common critiques of my research, are based in a Westernized, and even colonial form of knowledge formation and learning design. As such, these criticisms are based in traditional understandings and Western designs of what constitutes knowledge, research, data collection, data, and expectations for how each are supposed to look like. Through my research I am expressing my learning, telling memories of significance because they were significant points of learning for me which are likely relatable to the experiences of other settler educators.   Critiques about data collection will be that I did not perform any field work. Simply because I did not complete a formal ethics process, did not conduct a month of formal research work outside my studies interviewing or observing people, did not de-code formal interview transcripts, and did not carry out a ‘structured’ study does not mean I have not conducted fieldwork. In fact, I argue it to be quite the opposite. My fieldwork is the culmination of over three  71 years immersed in contexts and dialogues of Indigenous education in Canada. During this time I have undergone a process of inquiry by being involved in conversations with many people in a variety of contexts. I have been present in contexts of Indigenous education and have gathered lived experiences of witnessing and being in situations and dialogues where topics of allyship, culturally responsive schooling (CRS), sovereignty and self-determination, and reconciliation have been of relevance. By living with these experiences and coming to a place where I have grappled and attempted to make sense of these experiences in conjunction with theory, I wonder how my experiences could in fact not be viewed, or ‘count’, as academic research. I have lived with, observed, witnessed, and interacted with my research in ways that most researchers do not. Rather than going to a community to conduct several interviews, or take observational notes for several weeks, I have and continue to live and work in contexts where the questions I research are commonplace, and even daily personal confrontations.   The use of memory on its own has been critiqued by some who contend that it is necessary, if not essential, to include “hard” data sources, such as field notes in autoethnographic research for the purposes of validity and rigor (Wall, 2008). However, there is a growing range of autoethnographies which have begun to rely solely on memory of lived experiences as the data source, preferring to use what Wall (2008) refers to as “headnotes” over field notes (p. 45-46; Wall, 2006). Wall (2008) describes headnotes as “memories of the field [which] include impressions, scenes, and experiences of the field that are far too numerous to record and provide the sense of the whole that the ethnographer alone carriers around in [their] head” (p. 45). While other forms of social scientific research gather information from participants to be analyzed by a researcher, Wall (2008) contends that in autoethnography, by virtue of the researcher’s “long  72 acquaintance with [their] field of study and [individual] consciousness,” headnotes make it “possible for the researcher to perceive and record aspects of lived experience that no one else [can]” (p. 45). In this way she proposes that the researcher is the best person to interpret, describe, and help others understand the researcher’s experiences. She also notes how rereading fieldnotes might even alter and distort the “accuracy of memory” by rooting out transformational understandings and personal feelings which have developed over time. Consequently, Wall (2008) notes that for autoethnographers, headnotes may in fact be more reliable than fieldnotes.  Responding to critics who argue that relying on use of memory as the only source of data is unreliable or unacademic, Wall (2008) uses the work of Ottenberg (1998) and Clough (1998) to explain,   The privilege given to observations and “factual” descriptions is based on realist ideology.  The need to objectify data and record the facts in writing reflects the thinking of a  positivistic age when personal impressions were not seen as important (Ottenberg, 1990).  Given that there has been a move away from realism in ethnography toward a more  critical stance, it might be appropriate to give up on traditional data collection to some  extent (Clough, 1998). There is demonstrated value in relying on memory in ethnographic  work, so, like Ottenberg, I use my headnotes, my memories, when I write, even when I  cannot corroborate them with written data, because “I remember many things . . . [and]  I am certain that they are correct and not a fantasy” (p. 144).  (p. 45-46) Wall’s (2008) response resonates strongly with my own thinking regarding this critique. Because research does not adhere to traditional conventions of social science methodology does not mean other ways of performing research and knowledge formation should not be valued. This is  73 especially relevant in the contexts I have lived and worked due to the lack of respect given to Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing through their lack of visibility and integration in the Canadian school and education system, institutes of higher education, and by the Canadian government throughout Canada’s recent colonial history.5 While my research is not focused on an Indigenous methodological framework, I perhaps see some relatedness between them. Moreover, I view my data collection and data itself as a type of resistance to traditional, Western and colonial ways of conducting research. In such a way, I also see autoethnography as a type of decolonizing research which undercuts traditional Western methods of research, allowing for more open and accepting forms of knowledge formation (Whitinui, 2009; Ellis & Bochner, 2006). In fact, Bryan Brayboy (2005) refers to the legitimate sources of data and knowledge which stories provide for Indigenous and decolonized research spaces through his 8th tenet of Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit), stating, “stories are not separate from theory; they make up theory and are, therefore, real and legitimate sources of data and ways of being” (p. 430).6 Through the work of scholars like Wall (2008), Archibald (2008), and Brayboy (2005), I oppose the notion that I require physical evidence to inform my research, or to analyze a list of notes in order to validate my data, learning, and production of knowledge. My memories of the past are strong and vivid recollections, and have significant learning to provide through the feelings and  5 ‘Indigenous storywork’ for example, is knowledge and learning which is not based in the use of ‘hard’ data, yet to become a storyteller requires significant training and knowledge (Archibald, 2008). 6 It is also relevant to note the work of Moreira (2009), who cautions a genre of research like autoethnography in claiming to be a liberating framework for Indigenous peoples. He argues that autoethnography is still a methodology developed through settler and colonial knowledges and therefore cannot fully consider, or be reflective of Indigenous knowledges and ways of learning because it was not developed through such perspectives. I contend that autoethnography is a departure away from traditional colonial methods of research that allows for broader experiential knowledge formation, however,  also acknowledge and appreciate that it cannot fully or accurately compared with Indigenous research methodologies.  74 learning they invoke in and of themselves. This I know to be true from how I have learned through them, in conjunction with theory and literature.   Ethics   I realize that in discussing memories which include the conversations and interactions I have had with other individuals, ethical concerns surrounding confidentiality and the protection of identity are inevitably raised. Within my research I will protect the identities of those people I make reference to in my writing through a number of measures. For any individuals who I reference in the telling of my memories, I will remove possible identifying information from the story, so they cannot be identified. This will include their name first and foremost, and in doing this I will create alternate pseudonyms for any individual I name. I will also be cognisant in the sharing specific or personal information about the individuals I refer to, using as little information as possible in referencing them.   I also recognize that research which has involved and come into contact with Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada has historically lacked respect and an ethical moral grounding.  As such, it is important that research which includes Indigenous peoples be “done in a good way” (Ball & Janyst, 2008; Minkler, 2004; Mihesuah, 2005; Rigney, 1999). In considering respect towards my topic of research and with it, the Indigenous peoples with whom my research is related to, I look to the work of Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt (2001), who outline what they call the “Four R’s – respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility” for work and relationships undertaken with Indigenous peoples involved. Within my research I have attempted to maintain an ethical framework by honouring these four concepts. As a result, I have  75 worked to ensure my writing is respectful to Indigenous peoples by using language which honours the identities of Indigenous scholars I refer to, is respectful in my use of terms (such as Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and using the appropriate name when referencing or discussing a certain group), and is inclusive of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives of knowledge formation. This includes using language and terminology which recognizes the self-determining rights of Indigenous peoples (i.e. using “Indigenous peoples in Canada,” versus “Canada’s Indigenous peoples”). I have ensured that the focus of my research is relevant to current concerns and discourses within Canada and among Indigenous peoples and communities that I have been in contact with, while also citing predominantly Indigenous scholars, present in discussions within the Canadian context. I have attempted to ensure reciprocity by using my learning to engage in truth telling activity that firstly, aims to educate other settlers about our complicity in Canada’s colonial system; and secondly, advocate for educational practices which aim to empower Indigenous peoples and communities in ways which honour their culture and knowledges. Finally, I have aimed to be responsible in my recognition of the sources of my knowledge, including acknowledging the territories and lands where I have conducted my research and learning.   Positionality    As I began my Masters studies in September 2016, I of course anticipated that this academic journey would be one of great learning and intellectual growth, although I’m not sure I anticipated the transformative learning that I would undertake. Coming in I thought I had a well-established foundation of knowledge and critical realizations about Canada’s relationship with  76 Indigenous communities and the violent colonial histories which their people have endured at the hands of Canadian society. And while I also thought of myself as someone who would be a lifelong learner, I don’t think I really realized what that meant in terms of how one’s learning and frame of thought can be reshaped. Throughout the duration of my studies the ways in which I see the social and political dynamics of the world is much different from when I started, and more so, my development of a critical lens of thinking is constantly shifting based on my learning experiences. Albeit slowly, I am learning how to react, and respond to new realizations, and my growing understanding, and questions, of the world and environments I interact with. A series of questions which I have continually had to confront throughout my studies is, where do I locate myself in the conversations that I’m interacting with; and as it relates to my interests in Indigenous education, reconciliation, and self-determination, how do I position myself as a settler within these conversations? How do I position myself a member of the ‘majoritarian’ race and gender? As a non-Indigenous person wanting to continue to develop relationships with Indigenous peoples? As a Canadian who wishes to help get Canada on a true path to reconciliation? How do I navigate the trickiness of allyship to ensure I am participating in work that is needed? How do I contribute in these conversations in an ethical, respectful, responsible, authentic, and purposeful way? And subsequently, how should I be trying to (Simpson, 2014; Reagan 2010; Ball & Janyst, 2008; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991)?  Throughout my undergraduate studies in teacher education I had always pictured myself working with Indigenous students within Indigenous groups and/or communities, wanting to help make a positive impact in the lives of youth. Hoping that I might, in some way or another, help Indigenous communities in ‘fixing’ the social ills they face. I now realize why this is not the way  77 settler society needs to think of our relationship with Indigenous peoples. As I’ve come to learn, it is not the job, or the right, of settlers to fix Indigenous communities, or dictate how they should resolve their social issues. It’s about fixing Canada’s way of viewing this issue. It’s about removing Canada’s paternalistic oversight, withdrawing our control, and giving Indigenous communities back the rights to their future by allowing them to make their own determinations and decisions about their path forward. Most of all, as I’ve learned from Indigenous scholars like Cardinal (1969), Alfred (2015), and Simpson (2014), it’s not necessarily even about ‘fixing’ the issues, it’s about allowing Indigenous peoples to live, act, and govern in the ways they choose.   As a former teacher in an Aboriginal high school, I left teaching and imagined myself returning to the community of Wiikwemkoong to continue to do just that. Throughout my studies, I have grown skeptical, and even uncomfortable with the thought of going back to teach there. Not because I’ve lost interest, passion, or a sense of connection to the community, school, and those I formed relationships while there, but exactly the opposite; because I’m not sure that my being there, as a white male settler doesn’t continue to exert at least a symbolic presence of colonial authority in a place that should be about cultural resurgence and self-determination (TRC, 2012). I question whether or not – despite my intentions, frame of thinking, political and social views, and belief in self-determination – do I inherently represent colonialism? And further, is this fact unchangeable? As a result of this, I further consider my role in this struggle, do I work within Indigenous communities? Or should I be trying to dismantle colonial structures and modes of domination in the mainstream Canadian society (Simpson, 2014; Reagan, 2010; Lowman & Barker, 2015)? These are serious questions which cause me to consider my positioning, and my role within the conversations and programming revolving around Indigenous self-determining  78 education in Canada.   In my journey of coming to be involved in this conversation I have, and continue to, learn more and more about how I ‘fit’ as an ‘outsider’ and what that means for my roles, and ethical responsibilities as an educator and researcher (Reagan, 2010; Minkler, 2004; Mihesuah, 2005). As I consider such thoughts, I’m reminded of the idea of non-Indigenous ‘allies’ and the importance of such allyship in dismantling colonial authority. Allyship is a topic that has come up a lot for me throughout my studies, be it in readings, course content, or conversations. However, I recognize the delicateness, and therefore, complications and questions that come with the use of this word and others like it. Especially so when considering the claiming of allyship, and how someone is labelled as an ally (Brophey & Raptis, 2016). While I’m inclined to picture myself as an ally, I don’t believe I can claim the term for myself. Instead, I view myself as someone who is cognisant of the ills in which Canada and colonialism has, and continues to cause Indigenous peoples and communities; as someone who cares about the future of Indigenous peoples; and as someone who dreams of a reciprocal relationship between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. The trickiness of allyship is certainly something I struggle with, as previously alluded to when questioning my role in Indigenous conversations. However, as I consider my positioning and my possible ally-like role, I navigate this area of confusion by grounding my thoughts in the recognition of the relationships I’ve developed with people and communities in my hometown of Sudbury Ontario (traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg First Nations), the community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver BC (traditional, ancestral, and Unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including  79 the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl Uílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (TsleilWaututh) Nations) (Simpson, 2014; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991).    As I reflect on my experiences working with Indigenous communities, in conjunction with my ‘institutional’ learning up to this point, I see that the building of authentic, respectful, and reciprocal relationships is a central theme across Indigenous cultures, methodologies, and pedagogies. Relationships with the self, with others, and with the land. Furthermore, that as a non-Indigenous person, building relationships on foundations of trust, respect, and care are essential for working with Indigenous peoples and communities in any capacity (Joseph, 2017; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991). Working with communities, or in Indigenous education, whether it be research or in practical education, is about ‘centering’ Indigenous peoples, their needs, well-being, and their voices. To me, this means taking the time to listen to what Indigenous peoples are saying about their own needs and rights, whether that be in the literature, or from those with whom I’ve developed individual relationships. It means centering Indigenous concerns and ways of knowing, and not pushing an individual agenda based on settler beliefs and Western ways of knowing and being.  Within my research I see myself held accountable through the relationships I have developed with Indigenous peoples and communities. It is important to me that as an educator and researcher, future projects and positions I take on honour in respectful and ethical ways the relationships I have built with Indigenous friends, colleagues, and communities. This means doing work which acknowledges and respects Indigenous ways of knowing as legitimate knowledge; honours cultural protocols; and consults and listens to the opinions and needs identified by those I have built relationships with, along with the members of the communities for which I work with,  80 past and presently (Kovach, 2009; Mihesuah, 2005; Ball & Janyst, 2008).   As I come to understand my role, as a researcher, educator, and non-Indigenous Canadian citizen, I am reminded of conversations that I’ve had with Indigenous advisors, colleagues, and friends discussing my perceived ethical dilemmas of being a non-Indigenous person interacting in the conversations of Indigenous education and self-determination. In many of these conversations I’ve been reminded that there is a need for ‘allies’ of Indigenous communities. More so, for non-Indigenous people to speak-up and critique Canada’s narratives, histories, and aspects of society that continue to reinforce colonial realities. In order to do so, I recognize the inherent need to continue to develop and uphold my relationships of the past, present and  future, with Indigenous peoples and communities.   I envision my role as one assisting communities to enhance their visions of a better future and promote methods and programming that stimulate and advance self-determination, especially so in educational settings. In a similar way, I see my privilege as a settler valuable within the struggle for Indigenous self-determination, and efforts towards reconciliation. I feel I can use my privilege, and my voice, to teach other settler Canadians about colonial injustices within Canada, and critique colonial systems, structures, and policies (Lowman & Barker, 2015). As such, I want to respond to the need for settlers to acknowledge the violence of Canadian colonialism, past and present, and to assist other Canadians in looking at ways to authentically consider and confront questions of reconciliation.   Limitations    81  There are a number of limitations I see being presented by my paper. First, while the memories I refer to have been influential in my own learning, that does not necessarily mean that they will be influential to others. Knowing that readers of this paper will live and work in different ethno-cultural, political, socio-economic, and geographic contexts than myself serves to perhaps limit the relatability or relational understanding of my experiences to the contexts of their lives. However, it is my hope that the stories, experiences, and learning I share can serve to provide added meaning, context, or thought to the learning of those who read my paper.   My paper intends to be quite critical of Canadian society and education. As someone once enamored by Canada’s seemingly ‘open’ and ‘progressive’ nature, who has experience in speaking with other settlers who do not share my sentiments regarding race-relations, white privilege, and issues of respect and inclusion, I understand that settler fragility is something that can, at times, cause issues for open dialogue. Whether it be due to feelings of guilt, defensiveness, or resistance. I hope that readers can be open to first listening to the words in this paper and carefully consider the arguments I make, before reacting to them.  Finally, I look to the accessibility of this paper as a possible limitation. This paper is perhaps most intended for settler-educators, for whom both its length, and breadth of theoretical inquiry may provide challenges for its convenience, while staying true to the requirements of a Masters level graduating paper. To balance the academic and public access to the content of my paper I aim to create a condensed and more accessible version detailing my research and findings.  In the following chapter I will detail my research and findings, analyzing personal memories and experiences during my time learning and working in the Canadian school system,  82 including my time in settings, or in the context of Indigenous education. I will analyze my experiences in consideration of my research topic and questions, aiming to come to an understanding of what reconciliation might mean from a settler-educators perspective, as well as the roles, responsibilities, and practices of settler-educators in the work of reconciliation. Chapter 5: Analysis, Interpretations, Conversations  Introduction to Analysis, Interpretations, Conversations: What are we looking at?    I label this section with the word ‘Conversation(s)’ rather than how it is normally referred to in research as ‘Findings’ or ‘Discussion.’ I choose to do this in order to honour how I have arrived at and conducted my research. Over the past three years I’ve held conversations with students, colleagues, peers, advisors and mentors, family and friends, and even with myself, that have brought me to my research interest and provided me with the rich information that highlights my study.   In this section I present these conversations, hoping that the learning they have brought me is able to transform to and in the learning of others.  Through the use of a number of personal memories, I share stories and experiences in my journey of unsettling, related to allyship, culturally responsive schooling, sovereignty and self-determination in education, and reconciliation to highlight my understanding of each of these concepts. Through such, I aim to provide context and meaning to answer the research questions I have outlined, and address the roles and responsibilities of settler educators, like myself, in the educative work surrounding reconciliation.    83 Allyship    To be an ally requires that one have an understanding of the context surrounding the history of the peoples who they are working to be an ally for, including how such people have been oppressed and why the oppression continues. In such a way, an ally must be able to undertake a journey of unsettling – learning the truths about society and about themselves. In order to understand and thereby empathize with those who have been oppressed, an ally needs to be aware of their own societal positioning in historical and contemporary terms (Regan, 2010; Bishop, 2015; Wilmot, 2005). As a white male studying in an education program centered around social justice, with an interest in Indigenous education, I am often confronted with the questions, “why?” and “how?”   “Why are you interested in Indigenous issues?”   “How did you get so involved in Indigenous education?”  In order to answer these questions, I look at my journey through my education and how my unsettling journey came to be.  Starting as a young student in grade school, I first became interested in history. I enjoyed learning about my family’s past, the ‘history of Canada’ as it was told to me, and the past explorers and Prime Ministers of Canada. I found it interesting to learn about how my family and I got to be where we were and how things in my life came to be.  In such a way, I suppose I have long been trying to understand my identity and my positioning in the world and in history. I also enjoyed learning about the “Aboriginal people of Canada,” however, their story was only briefly touched on and did not adequately highlight the diversity of groups. As I moved on to middle school I learned about First Nations people meeting Cartier and trading with Champlain. I learned  84 about the Wendat (Huron) fighting alongside the French against the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and British. Their stories were however, mostly left out, serving as secondary characters in the ‘Making of Canada.’   In high school I began to develop a bit of a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ history, learning about creation stories and ‘myths’ about how different groups arrived in Turtle Island/North America. Considering this now, I see how racism presents itself in curriculum and national narratives. Being that the only significant aspect of Indigenous history I was taught in schools was about how Indigenous peoples might also be considered ‘settlers’ – despite the millennia of separation. Such history, as I now understand, only serves to delegitimize Indigenous ties to land and lessen issues connected to the removal of Indigenous peoples from land by governments and colonization processes (Lowman & Barker, 2015).  It was also during high school where I developed an interest in politics, social justice, and race relations. In part due to learning and reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and Nelson Mandela. At the same time Barack Obama had been in the early year of his first presidential campaign, which brought excitement and discussion concerning civil rights in North America. I also began to follow politics more closely, ending most weekdays perched on the sofa watching and discussing the nightly news with my Mom. Often featuring stories related to Indigenous issues, I was struck with the current societal issues faced by Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada. I did not yet understand why these people faced such conditions, especially in a country like Canada, but thought it sad and sympathized with the issues that faced them. I wished for government that would do more to help these people. As such, I paid attention to stories about Indigenous people and gradually learned more.  85  When I got to university I often framed my health and physical education, and education course assignments around topics related to Indigenous peoples and communities wherever I could. I also continued to take courses in Canadian history, registering in as many courses focused on Indigenous histories as possible. It was in university where I really began to more fully understand the history of Canada a lot differently, and largely through these Indigenous history courses and the engaging professors I had – themselves Indigenous. I learned about colonization and how it came to be in the making of Canada. I learned about atrocities in the settling of the West and the building of the Canadian railway. I learned about the treaties and the Indian Act, the flawed and forced creation of reserves. Above all, I learned that the history of Canada was not the glamorous one I once knew. It was in university where I only first learned about residential schooling, Indian day schools, and the Sixties Scoop. Through this journey I became appalled by Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples, and about the horrid truths Canadian society is built on. I felt the issues faced by Indigenous peoples could no longer be ignored, it was up to government to right the wrongs of the past.  After my undergraduate studies I began working in a high school on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Through this experience I learned a great deal about the issues facing Indigenous schools and communities. I gained experiences quite different than working in any public school I attended as a student or as a teacher candidate. I gained relationships and grew tremendously both as an educator and a person. Coming to graduate school after teaching at Wiikwemkoong has served as what I can only describe as a transformative experience. While learning about educational theory and pedagogy through the work of a wide range of scholars, alongside knowledgeable professors and peers has allowed me to reflect and analyze my  86 experiences at Wiikwemkoong to provide contextualized understanding. Through such, I can now say I’ve moved from sympathizing with Indigenous peoples regarding the issues they face, to empathizing with Indigenous peoples concerning calls for change. I better understand the ways in which colonization persists through the foundations of our government, society and institutions, and as such, the ways in which oppression operates in Canadian society today (Bishop, 2015; Lowman & Barker, 2015). I see that ‘helping’ Indigenous people is also about freeing ourselves (Canadians) from own oppressive nature and breaking through structures of colonization which harm Indigenous peoples and our own morality. It is not about Canadian people and society righting the wrongs of the past, because the past cannot be undone or forgotten. Rather, it is about acknowledging our wrongs, past and present, and working with Indigenous peoples to create a just and equitable future for all. Canada cannot uplift Indigenous peoples from the social issues which they face, Indigenous peoples deserve the right to lead and determine the path of their future. It is however, essential for change and the betterment of our society, that Canada supports such a vision through confronting colonization and settler privilege (Schick & St. Denis, 2005; Cannon 2012; Brophey & Raptis, 2016; Regan, 2010).   To understand colonization is to understand the privileged position white settlers hold. It is to examine how racism still operates in our society and in our own subconscious. It is important, in considering our own morality as people, that we openly and critically examine our position. For if our position as individuals, if our society and way of life actively oppresses someone else based on race and culture, it is only right that out of respect for our fellow humans, and for our own morality as conscious people, we allow for equality through confronting such privilege (Regan, 2010; Wilmot, 2005; Schick & St. Denis, 2005; West, 2001).   87  Looking back at my upbringing in Canada’s education system allows me to examine my own privilege, as well as the ways in which racism operates in education. As a white, English speaking male of largely Scottish, British, and French Canadian heritage I have come to understand that the system of education I was brought up in, and which exists in Canadian schools today, was a system in which neither I, nor my recent family and ancestors, were treated wrongly, made to feel negatively about our heritage, culture(s), family, or way of life. It was a system which grew with my ancestors and was designed and delivered with the norms of white, Western society in mind (TRC, 2015; Battiste, 2013; Simpson, 2014). While I don’t discount instances of abuse and corporal punishment in the mainstream education of Euro-Canadians, it does not have a history of systemic violence on white, settler Euro-Canadian identities, culture, and knowledge. This is the truth of my education, I never faced systemic abuse, I was never made to feel like my family or culture was something lesser or to be ashamed of. It is the truth of our education, because it was built by and for white Euro-Canadian culture. It is evident in the curriculum and practices of education (TRC, 2015; Harper, 2008; Bishop, 2010).  I was surrounded by peers and friends who were of similar background and identity, and as such, accepted white identity as the societal norm. For the most part, the curriculum I was taught and the people I was taught by shared my culture and always, made me feel my culture and identity was something to be celebrated and expressed. This was reflected in the courses I took, the content I was taught, and the practices of the schools I became educated in. My family and I were all treated, largely, with respect for our Euro-Canadian identity and had mostly positive experiences growing up in schools as it related to such identity. Based on my experience  88 I have no reason to resent schooling for undermining my cultural identity or to distrust teachers for making me feel lesser due to reasons of culture and identity (Regan, 2010; Wilmot, 2005).   In understanding that white, settler Canadians have been subjected to a system of education that reflects the norms of white Western culture, and celebrates such culture, it is easier for me to empathize with why Indigenous peoples have a different relationship with this Western system of education. A system which I, and most Canadians, were brought up in. A system which I know through experience, does not acknowledge or reflect Indigenous values, cultural norms, knowledge systems, or educational practices. Such was seen in my K-12 education regarding Indigenous histories, and even in my teacher candidate training where, while my professors were themselves very open and allowed for integration when it was presented, the structure of that curriculum did little to educate us as future teachers about Indigenous peoples and approaches to learning. This is how white privilege exists in our schooling. Valuing Western knowledge and ways over those of other cultures (Regan, 2010; Simpson, 2014; Alfred, 2010; Bishop, 2010; Schick & St. Denis, 2005).  Settler Canadians, especially white Euro-Canadians, must understand the system of education we have been raised in, and the society we have grown to be socialized in has been built through Western and racist ideologies that viewed Indigenous peoples and cultures as lesser, as backwards (TRC, 2015; Regan, 2010; Bishop, 2015). This thinking continues in the deficit centered approaches to thinking about Indigenous peoples. Viewing Indigenous peoples and communities through stereotypes and a group prone to negative societal issues. This was true in my growing understanding when I first began to see Indigenous issues highlighted in the news. Looking at them as an ‘unfortunate’ group rather than knowing the oppression that has led to  89 such issues. Such deficit thinking leads to the manifestation of stereotypes and other outwardly racist thinking (Bishop, 2015; Cardinal, 1969).  When I consider ‘allyship’ I look to the many conversations I’ve held with Indigenous peoples, or to the discussions I’ve been privy to during my time working and learning in settings of Indigenous education. Through such, Indigenous peers, colleagues, professors, scholars, and Elders, among others, have noted the need for settlers to engage in education surrounding anti-racism and (de)colonization. Settlers with knowledge of colonial history and experience working with Indigenous peoples must help be voices, and grow to take on leadership in the education of fellow settlers on the truths of our collective Canadian and Indigenous history, the violence of colonialism, and the privilege of white-settler society. Such conversations draw comparisons and share thoughts highlighted through the works of Cannon (2012, Regan (2010), and Brophey & Raptis (2016).   Early in my graduate studies, coming to hard realizations in my unsettling journey, I struggled in grappling with the realization of my privilege and the violence of colonization. I began to question my role in Indigenous education, considering the damage I might enact by being a colonizer present in Indigenous conversations and settings of education revitalization. I asked myself,  As a white male, do I inherently represent colonialism? Despite my intentions, frame of  thinking, political and social views, and so on, is this unchangeable? And what damage  might it continue to have? Do I have a role in helping Indigenous people? Or should I be  looking to another path? A person close to me explained that,   90  We (Indigenous peoples) need good people supporting us. We need people who will work  with us and who will support us in raising our concerns and educate others about the  truths regarding colonialism and Canadian society.  These words have stuck in my head through my studies. They remind me that settlers have moral responsibilities to Indigenous peoples and to ourselves to confront violence which persists in the structures of our society. This is especially so for educators. For those with knowledge of Indigenous and Canadian histories, we have an important role in educating other Canadians regarding such truths, and in building and sustaining relationships with Indigenous peoples based in what Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt call the “Four R’s;” respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility (1991).  Culturally Responsive Schooling (CRS)/Education   While attending one of my courses at UBC, a discussion arose during class where we discussed and pondered what authentic acknowledgment of Indigenous culture and knowledge looked like in schooling. Our discussion led us to believe that working in partnership with the local Indigenous peoples and communities is essential to ensure their culture is incorporated respectfully and responsibly, and that their ideas and needs are made visible in schools. This might mean, for example, inviting an Elder, drummer, or knowledge keeper to class; or regularly consulting with Indigenous parents and community members regarding school activities, and ensuring their visibility in decisions concerning policy formation. Our discussion also reinforced the notion that culturally responsive schooling (CRS) is about ensuring cultural integration across all aspects of schooling, including in teaching practices, curriculum, school activities and events,  91 school policy, and even school schedules. In order to do this, we realized the importance of asking ourselves: how can teachers and schools, in effect, be responsive to the cultures and lives of Indigenous peoples (Brayboy, 2005; Castagno & Brayboy, 2008)? The dialogue surrounding brought me to look back at my teaching practice, and in doing so, a variety of memories came about as I reflected upon my own practices as a teacher, and also how schools operate in themselves. The memory that follows is one that I feel is particularly significant to myself, in considering CRS.  While teaching at Wasse-Abin Wikwemikong High School, concerns in student attendance were certainly common amongst teachers and administrators at the school, and was a topic frequently discussed through various formal and informal discussions between staff. Many reasons accounted for the issues in student attendance. Student familial and parental commitments, varying situations in their social and personal lives, and belongingness within school were some broad factors that impacted school attendance for various students. Depending on the situation, the reason, and my connection with the specific student, I was sometimes told why they had been late or absent for class, or they didn’t feel like sharing why. This story centers around a senior level physical education (PE) course I was instructing.  In my course I had students aging from 16-20, a diverse range for high school and one I was not accustomed to in courses I had either been in myself, or done placement work in. It made for an interesting class dynamic that was sometimes difficult to engage students as a group, especially since attendance varied drastically from day-to-day.   One of the students in the course, Sam, missed a good number of classes both in our PE course and his other courses. By ‘traditional’ standards of schooling, Sam probably wouldn’t have  92 been termed a ‘great’ school student by most teachers. He often missed a class or two per week, didn’t always demonstrate satisfactory initiative in his course work, nor did he hand in all of his assignments. He did, however, always show up to class with a big grin on his face, making sure to say “Hey” and eager to talk about the big news from last night’s NHL game, or tell some sort of story – usually involving a fair bit of joking and laughter. It was in part due to this, and the fact he was involved with one of the school sports I coached, that I began to develop a strong rapport with Sam. Through such, we were able to joke and tease each other about our individual hockey teams having lost the previous night’s game, or something happening in class that warranted a bit of razzing or sly commentary. This was something I also tried to do with other students in order to build camaraderie and open myself up to them personally. I felt that building these types of connections better allowed me to be more upfront and have real and open conversations with certain students who responded well to this type of rapport building – and also helped students be more open and honest with me.   After some time, Sam had missed a good number of classes, both in mine and other teachers’ courses. I would often pester him about needing to get to class on time and especially not skip out on classes. Because I was also his coach I often checked with his other teachers about his attendance so he would not be forced off the team, as I did with all my players. Some of my colleagues would talk about him needing to attend class, catch up on coursework, complete the assigned work, and attend extra sessions they offered in order to demonstrate he could meet the course requirements. I was shocked to learn that other teachers were also concerned about “his attitude” towards them. Thinking back to coaching and teaching Sam, I can’t remember a single time there was a noteworthy issue of respect or having to be concerned with his behaviour. Sure,  93 he goofed around a bit in class, but overall he was always respectful, polite, and took to instruction relatively well in our PE course or during team practices.  After having already missed a good number of classes during the semester, Sam then missed a full week of all classes without notice. When he came back to class he greeted me with his usual big smile.  “Hey Mr. K” he said to me, looking sluggish and tired but still speaking in his usual cheerful  tone.  I stared at him with a puzzled look while raising my arms, hands open and palms up. I  replied, “Sam! Where the heck have you been?”   He looked at me and gave off his trademark goofy chuckle.  I continued, “Seriously dude, what the heck! You can’t miss this much class, you’ve already  missed a ton and you need these credits.”  Still smiling, but a little more serious, he responded, “Oh. Yeah, well I was out hunting  with my family.” The deer hunt runs for a number of weeks in the fall and while I had been aware of it being a popular activity amongst community members, I didn’t know that Sam had been out participating in something that was an important activity of his family’s.   After taking a moment to collect my thoughts I replied to him, “Sam… You should’ve told  someone you’d be gone for that.”   He chuckled as he said, “Yeah, sorry.”  “So how was it?” I asked him.   94  With a big grin even by his standards, he proceeded to tell me the highlight of his past  week – shooting his first buck and having to drag it out of the bush all on his own.   He told me about his experience, the moments leading up to him taking the shot, going through the process of retrieving the deer, and then being tasked with figuring out how to get the deer back to his uncle’s truck. While a fairly humble person, I could tell how proud Sam was of himself, and how much the experience had meant to him. He was so joyful in telling his story. While listening to him talk about the excitement and struggle of the experience, I realized that this was a big moment for him in his life. A coming of age moment it seemed. In that instant, I heard and thought about what he went through. How much he must have learned through this experience. All that learning was much more valuable than anything I, or any of my colleagues, could have taught or helped to teach him that week. How could anything I have done in my class remotely compared to this transformative experience? This was an experience in his life he would never forget, a story he could tell friends and family for the rest of his life. It made me think long and hard about the learning and education our students were getting, and so, when ‘assessing’ Sam’s learning I took the story he told me into consideration (Simpson; 2014; Alfred, 2014; Brayboy, 2005; Archibald, 2008). I didn’t count the days of class he had missed during this experience against his course standing. How could I after hearing his story, and about the learning that so obviously took place? It was easy to connect the learning he told me about to the health and physical education curriculum. His learning easily fell under learning outcomes outlined within the curriculum and I felt it was important that such learning be taken into consideration, even if it took place outside of the school.  95  However, the five days of school he missed were still on his attendance record for the semester. I don’t know what the other teachers thought of this, or if they had even known about the experience he had been on. Looking back, from my conversations with them I doubt they had, and I’m sure they weren’t impressed he had missed five days of class. I can’t quite remember exactly what effects that had on the completion of his other courses that semester; but I remember it wasn’t positive. I’m not sure if he received all his course credits, and wonder how much missing class that week impacted his final grades.  Thinking back to this memory from my teaching brings forward a lot of thoughts and questions about my teaching practices, as well as the practices within schooling in general. At the time I wasn’t sure of how to proceed with the situation. Some colleagues, and the school system looked negatively upon a student for missing so much class and being away from his ‘education’ for so long, however, the reason he was away was in fact very educational.  Looking back, I’m glad that I at least took his experience into consideration when going through his final assessment, however, I also feel I didn’t do completely right by Sam. I feel I should have used my position as a teacher to bring this issue to school administration, to try to make some sort of consideration in terms of his attendance. For someone looking at his attendance record, seeing the five days he missed could read as though he was not engaged in his learning like he should – no one would know that he was in fact deeply involved in learning during that time. Similarly, I wish I would have pointed this out to his other teachers, to suggest or propose that Sam be given the opportunity to take the story of his experience and translate it into some form that could be used in conjunction with the goals of the specific course. While an argument could be made to say that it was Sam’s responsibility to inform his teachers he would be away and for what reason,  96 or to bring the reasons for his absence and the experiences he had to his teachers himself, I look at it differently. If he had known he could get some sort of credit for doing so, I’m sure he would’ve tried to raise the issue with his teachers. I question the institution of school for what it is.  Was this a student ‘not caring’ about his schooling? Or was this more about a system of schooling that valued curricular education over experiential learning? How could we as a school have been more responsive to Sam’s situation to ensure that he was successful in his learning, while respecting the culture, ideals, values, and lived experience of him and his family as Anishinaabe people? Schools have the responsibility to teach the curriculum, I get it, but doesn’t school have a larger responsibility to the development of students? At what point is it necessary to consider how schooling can reflect learning more broadly? I feel educators have a responsibility to better consider questions like these in our school system (Battiste, 2013; Simpson, 2014; Toulouse, 2008; Ritchie et al., 2015).  This story about Sam reflects the colonial and racial forms of oppression and assimilation present in schools in a variety of ways. Numerous examples could be given from the experience I have shared, however, for the purposes of this paper I aim to focus on a specific few. Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) reminds us that the schools we have (the school I taught Sam in being one of them), are part of an education system built on colonialist ideologies. In such a way, schools as they are, perpetuate those ideals in their curriculums, practices, and implementation of a schooling that does not work for Indigenous students and communities (Brayboy, 2005; Simpson, 2014). In a similar way, anti-race theory posits that the institution of school, as it is, actively oppresses Indigenous peoples and students by valuing Eurocentric practices and knowledge’s over those of Indigenous peoples. Revisiting my experience of the situation in which  97 Sam found himself in, makes me consider the ways in which colonial schooling ignores the needs of Indigenous students like him. From his story we see an example of how the curriculum, teacher practices, and the practices and culture of schooling ignored, or failed to represent his needs as an Indigenous student, or function necessarily in respect to Indigenous ways of being.   In terms of the curriculum, both myself and Sam were operating within a framework for learning which did not adequately promote or support experiential learning practices, nor varied and diverse land-based education responsive to Indigenous cultural knowledge or knowledge formation (Simpson, 2014; Brayboy, 2005). As a young teacher trying to “check the curriculum boxes” I was certainly compliant in failing to provide diverse and localized learning practices. Often choosing to have units on basic physical education activities like basketball and soccer, for example. While the majority of students enjoyed these activities, student participation and enthusiasm fluctuated significantly. I full heartedly believe student engagement would have been enhanced with different activities that took localized interests, practices, and activities into account more fully. As I look back to that physical education course, the most engaging classes we had were during the untraditional and unconventional lessons, or when we were out of the gym and on the land. My memory of Sam’s situation made me appreciate and consider more broadly the value of such types of learning, and consequently the importance of ensuring learning that is culturally relevant. Such as experiential and land-based education content and practices (Alfred, 2015; Simpson, 2014; Ritchie et al., 2015; Wildcat et al., 2014).   It is also important to see how the curriculum fails to value Indigenous culture and knowledge through its invisibility. Such was so with a grade 9 geography class I was instructing. Of which, the curriculum and accompanying textbooks did almost nothing to account for  98 Indigenous knowledge of land. Emphasizing Western concepts of land and natural resources as property, and reinforcing colonial settler ideologies of Canada’s grounding to land (Mackey 2012; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2018; Geddes, Demaiter & French, 2015). Without an adequate background in geography I relied heavily on the course textbook as a guide for the learning, often failing to effectively critique, or see, some of the harmful lessons that were being taught through the invisibility of Indigenous perspectives. Within my teaching experience, curriculum failed to adequately account for Indigenous knowledge or highlight Indigenous knowledge formation strategies (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2018; Geddes, Demaiter & French, 2015). However, examining such also highlights the importance which educator practices play in mitigating a racist curriculum by providing learning through ways which are responsive to local Indigenous cultures. As an educator, I grew to understand the necessity in changing my practice in order to better support my students’ learning and successes (Battiste, 2010; Patel, 2016; Wildcat et al., 2014; Smith, 2010).   To confront colonialism and racism in our schools, educative practices, and curriculum, we can consider how we ourselves might decolonize our praxis as educators. Many Indigenous scholars note that to honour Indigenous culture and ensure the success of Indigenous students, education must shift to engage with pedagogy that aims to decolonize education and better reflect Indigenous modes of learning. Decolonizing pedagogy requires educators to be critically reflexive of our practices and to reflect a learning which considers the importance of relationality, and experiential and land-based learning. Through such, we can provide education which promotes inquiry and teaches students to think critically about the world around them. Looking back to Sam’s hunting experience shows the value which decolonized educative practices like  99 land-based experiential learning can provide. Reflecting on how much Sam gained both personally and intellectually from his hunting experience has made me reflect on ways in which I could have better planned to ensure students were given experiential learning opportunities. How I could have done better in decolonizing my practices to support the cultural learning traditions of my students. For example, students in my geography class often asked to go outside for class, and while I was not resistant in my desire to do so, I was most concerned on ensuring our class covered the required course content in the time we had. The easiest, and it seemed most efficient way to do so was within planning that stuck with conventional lessons and assignments. As a result, I did not make “going outside” a priority. While oftentimes, I suspected that some of the students suggested this because they simply wanted to be outside of the class more than anything else. I look at it now and realize, that I failed when given the opportunity to provide critical learning experiences reflective of my students’ needs, desires, and culture. I consider the work of scholars such as Simpson (2014), Alfred (2005; 2015), Brayboy (2005), Ritchie et al. (2015), Battiste (2013), Wildcat et al. (2014) and Ahenakew (2017) who discuss forming relationships with and on land as not just important, but essential to both Indigenous learners developing knowledge, and in considering Indigenous perspectives of knowledge in education.   Sam’s experience first brought me to begin to really understand the importance of land-based education as a way of not just getting students out of their desks, but to connect land to learning and bring in cultural learning practices in school education for the betterment of learning. This also led me to consider experiential learning more broadly and its value in connecting learning to life experience. Like that of Indigenous storytelling (Archibald, 2008).  100 Realizing the importance of both these practices in providing education relevant to Indigenous students, and understanding the necessity of linking learning to community values and knowledges, I began to talk and ask questions to some of my senior colleagues, who themselves were also community members. This served as an extremely humbling and rewarding choice in my practice. Discussions with these colleagues helped me in planning lessons that were supportive of local knowledge and customs. One such colleague even worked with me to co-teach a number of health lessons incorporating community knowledge and perspectives into the learning.   Aside from learning and receiving planning assistance from my colleagues, I also worked to find ways to connect my classes with the community, whether it be through guest speakers or community field experience. One such collaboration with the community included taking my health class to the local nursing home on a regular basis. I felt the ongoing field experience served to teach my students through practical means about health care, wholistic views of health, and social interaction which they would not have received through work done in the classroom or in-front of the computer screen. The most successful lessons I taught were always experiential in practice and took place in land-based environments. Similarly, learning which tied in some aspect of local relevance and community interest ‘stuck’ in ways other learning could not quite do. These experiences of my own emphasize how teacher practices which are culturally responsive make a difference in the learning, education, and success of students (Brayboy, 2005; Simpson, 2014; Alfred, 2015).  I look now and see how valuable respecting and honouring such practices of education are.  101 However, my experience of teaching Sam also proves why teacher practices outside of instruction are critical in providing culturally responsive education. Such was my relationship with Sam that we had established mutual respect and trust. I believe he felt comfortable in my classroom and with me as a teacher. Comfortable enough to come to class and have a genuine discussion about something that mattered in his life. This was seemingly so with his story about his hunting trip. By being able to discuss that openly and excitedly with me, it reflected in his standing in the course and ultimately ensured he was successful. I also look to his relationships with other teachers, and while they spoke negatively of his attitude, I could not have had a more opposing experience. I imagine that the honest nature, and camaraderie in my interactions with Sam created a situation of no-surprises where he felt respected, and vice-versa. If I had a certain concern with his course standing, such as a missing assignment or missing class, I would be open with him about my concerns, but would also not take it personally when he didn’t complete ‘my assignments.’ Through such, I believe these messages were taken with understanding and that he did not think “I was out to get him” (a phrase I’ve heard from students when talking about a teacher pestering them about missing work). Looking back at this situation, I am reminded of the importance of acknowledging both the individual and collective identities of students and the concerns, needs, and priorities which confront them. TribalCrit and anti-race theory call educators to be responsive to such identities. As a teacher I could have done better in being responsive to the situations of my students, I was not always as understanding as I was in Sam’s situation, and as such, look to my experience with him as a guide in better responding to my students’ circumstances to help them be successful in their learning (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). I also acknowledge that it may be difficult for teachers to form meaningful relationships with  102 each and every one of their students, as I know was difficult for me. However, searching to form such relationships, from my experience and the work of scholars like Brayboy (2005), Toulouse (2008), and Ritchie et al. (2015) among others, can be seen to have positive impacts in the learning, success, and development of students. It is something that educators should consider in their practices to be able to be responsive to students’ development as learners, due to the positive impacts which such relationships can have for students.  Looking at the practices of the school itself, a very simple thing to question that played out in Taylor’s story is that of the school schedule. As it stands, the large majority of public schools and those in higher education, follow Euro-centric schedules. This includes having breaks for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Victoria Day. However, this universal schedule fails to acknowledge times of the year where Indigenous peoples and communities have specific and important events going on. The deer hunt in Wiikwemkoong – using Sam’s story as an example. A schedule that respects, and as a result is flexible and considerate of local cultural events would be important in responding to Indigenous cultural values (Brayboy, 2005; Castagno & Brayboy, 2005; Simpson, 2014). More so, it could be a valuable practice in building trust and responsive relationships between Indigenous peoples and schools.   I also look back to the lack of intervention on the part of the school to deal with issues in attendance. Sam was not the only student with significant issues in attendance, many students at the school shared a similar experience in this regard. This was certainly something that did not go ignored by school staff. It was something discussed frequently and had been on the minds of teachers and administrators. However, it was a long-standing issue that was not being adequately addressed through ‘traditional’ (Western) school objectives in doing so, such as phone calls  103 home. As such, the issue of attendance had largely become normalized at the school and among staff and students. Attempting to call a student’s guardian(s) regarding concerns in attendance did not mean the issue would then be resolved. There were a variety of reasons for issues in attendance, however, perhaps one large indirect one, was lack of a strong connection or sense of belonging between the community and school. As touched upon earlier in this paper, the TRC (2015) and scholars like Cardinal (1969), Manuel & Derrickson (2015), Regan (2010), Simpson (2014) remind us the historical oppression of schooling which has caused Indigenous peoples to lose faith in current Western colonial forms of schooling. These scholars also consider that in order to resolve this, schooling needs to reflect the needs and priorities of local Indigenous peoples and thereby, families and communities need to be involved and feel connected within the process of schooling.  By building stronger relationships; involving the community in school planning; and working closer with parents and families of the community, schools could be responsive in not only providing education and practices which respond and connect with community values, but would also have improved methods for addressing concerns regarding student learning – such as student attendance (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992; National Indian Brotherhood, 1972).  TribalCrit reinforces the notion that for Indigenous students to be engaged and empowered in their education, and for them to be successful, their Indigenous identities must be acknowledged in their education. As Bryan Brayboy (2005) describes, “[Indigenous] philosophies, beliefs, customs, traditions, and visions for the future are central to understanding the lived realities of Indigenous peoples” (p. 430). Without integrating Indigenous ways into schooling, schools will never adequately succeed in providing a relevant and valuable learning  104 experience to Indigenous learners as Indigenous people. Educators therefore have an important role in providing a culturally responsive education and schooling through pedagogy which breaks away from the assimilative form of colonized education – in this way, we should consider how in our practice as educators we are colonized, and thus, how we might decolonize our pedagogy to better reflect hybrid teaching methods which consider both Western and Indigenous knowledge and practices. Sam’s story made me question how I was engaging students, and the type of education I was providing. It made me look at community ways of knowledge formation, and practices of teaching and learning, most notably, experiential, wholistic, and land-based education. I realized such ways of learning are important in transforming both educator practices and the education system as a whole so that our schools can better respond to the lives of Indigenous students, and even non-Indigenous learners in the era of reconciliation (Kirkness, 1992; Ahenakew, 2017; Cole, 2015; Toulouse, 2008).  Sovereignty and Self-Determination   When I initially decided I wanted to be involved in work related to Indigenous education I was driven by the need for Canada to “fix” the social, political, and economic problems that faced Indigenous peoples and communities across the country. As an educator I wanted to help Canada and Indigenous people in doing what needed to be done to make things right for Indigenous peoples. I have now learned this frame of thinking has, and continues to, dominate Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples; and is in fact inappropriate for a respectful working relationship with Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada. This paternalistic mindset has long been in place through government policy and the various federal departments  105 responsible for working with Indigenous communities.7 A paternalistic approach impedes Indigenous peoples’ rights as self-determining and politically conscious people to govern themselves and work in equitable partnership with Canada regarding the issues that face them. This form of relationship only serves to continue the assimilation and enslavement of Indigenous peoples and communities in a system driven by Western ideologies, which determines their needs and priorities without their input or consent. It is important that Canadians realize that for Indigenous people to survive and thrive as Indigenous, they must be able to live and act with their own values, knowledges, and ways of governance. As such, they must be afforded the ability and freedom to “face the future on [their] own terms” (Cardinal, 1969, p. back cover; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015).  While in my graduate studies at the University of British Columbia I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with two organizations that have given me a valuable perspective into what self-determination looks like, especially as it relates to education. NITEP (UBC’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program) has been in operation for over forty years and has graduated over four-hundred Indigenous educators. The program is designed for Indigenous people looking to teach in contexts of Indigenous education, and especially for those looking to teach in their home communities. Students obtain their education degree while having the additional experience of being educated with local to international Indigenous values, perspectives, and practices in mind (NITEP, 2018). I have been fortunate to work closely with  7 Under the Indian Act the federal government remains responsible for ensuring Canada’s legal relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Throughout history the federal department responsible for this has changed in name and form, including but not limited to, the Department of Indian Affairs; the Department of Indian/Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; and as of 2017, two branches known as the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Department Northern Affairs and Indigenous Services (Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada, 2012).   106 NITEP through my work supporting community engagement with UBC’s Office of Indigenous Education. The other organization, the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education (NCCIE) began in the Fall of 2017 and is a project formed through the First Nations University of Canada. The project aims to document programs of Indigenous education across Canada and serve as a collaborative space for knowledge and resource sharing. As a student researcher, my work was to document and conduct interviews with a variety of programs in the Southern BC region (NCCIE, 2018). Through both organizations, I was involved in events which brought together educators from the surrounding communities who work within Indigenous education contexts in order to discuss their visions for Indigenous education moving forward, along with the needs and priorities for Indigenous learners in BC and beyond.  One such theme which was frequently discussed and elaborated on at both events, as I remember the conversations, was that of Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE). A policy which originated in the 1970’s through the National Indian Brotherhood’s (now known as the Assembly of First Nations) policy paper on education (NIB, 1972; The Indian Tribes of Manitoba, 1971). This paper, outlined the priorities of Indigenous education, calling for parental responsibility and local control to be afforded to Indigenous communities in the education of their youth (Kirkness & Bowman, 1992). It remains an influential document today, setting the vision and framework for self-determining education amongst Indigenous communities in Canada (AFN, 2010). Other major themes of the conversations at both events included the need for increased language education; cultural knowledge in curriculum; education that is connected to land; increasing the number of Indigenous educators; making space for Indigenous voice in education policy; and enhanced education for settlers, teacher candidates, and current teachers/educators regarding  107 reconciliation, colonization and racism, and decolonizing education. As a facilitator of small group discussions, I was able to hear from a range of individuals on a more personal level regarding what they perceived the vision of Indigenous education ought to be. More so, I was able to learn from Indigenous people and educators about what Indigenous self-determining education means to them.   In the words of one individual I was speaking with:   To be successful and to grow and develop healthy and vibrant communities filled with  lifelong learners, we need our cultures to be the centerpiece of our educations. Most of all  we need schools to operate with the needs and priorities of our individual Nations and  communities in mind. We need to control our path to have honest Indigenous control of  Indigenous education. I grew up ashamed of my culture and who I was. I didn’t want to  know my people’s language. And I grew up with a lot of pain because of that. That’s why  we need education that reflects our culture. We need Indigenous teachers, and educators,  and policy makers that reflect our identity and our values teaching our children. We need  Elders in schools teaching the youth about our cultures. We need parents and families to  be involved. And we need land to be part of the learning. Our youth need all of this so that  they can grow and learn with their culture to be their best selves, and help our  communities and people thrive.  These words struck me. They help encompass my understanding that Indigenous sovereign and self-determining education is about education that is designed and delivered with the leadership of Indigenous peoples, in conjunction with local Indigenous community priorities at the center.  108 To do so is to work directly with local Indigenous communities, and ensure they have a leading voice in such work and conversations.   This person’s words also reminded me of another short story that really helped inform how I understand what sovereignty and self-determination mean. While attending a public speaking event a few months earlier, a panel discussion talked about the damage colonization and as such, colonizing education, has had on Indigenous peoples and culture. During the question period that followed a white member of the crowd stood and said:  I came here tonight because I want to know how I can help. I want to us to move forward  with this. I get that there has been all this harm done, but what can I do to help you  overcome the damage that’s been done? One panellist’s response was particularly informative. They replied, succinctly, but in a way that allowed the settlers in the crowd, myself included, an opportunity to engage with unsettled feelings and think critically about how we view our relationships with Indigenous people:   We don’t need your help. We can revitalize our education and cultural ways on our own.  Settlers need to understand that Canada has done enough damage trying to “fix” us.  You can help by offering us the respect to live and educate ourselves by how we choose.  Both of these experiences have served as valuable memories in my understanding of Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty. Through my work experiences with UBC’s Office of Indigenous Education and NITEP, and the NCCIE, I have been incredibly fortunate to have been witness to conversations and dialogue with knowledgeable Indigenous educators and leaders in Indigenous education, regarding the vision and practice of Indigenous self-determining education in Canada.  The same can be said for the discussions I have been a part of as a graduate student  109 in courses and events that I have attended throughout my studies. Through these varied experiences and conversations, many concerns and needs have been identified in order for Indigenous groups across Canada to enact educative practices of self-determination. One such step that needs to be overcome for Indigenous peoples to more fully engage with educational self-determination is for Canadian society to address racism in its relationship with Indigenous peoples (TRC, 2012, 2015; Regan, 2010; Alfred, 2005; Simon, 2013). This is evident through my experiences.  Both Indigenous individuals I spoke of in my experiences referenced Indigenous control over Indigenous education either directly or indirectly. Canada has long dealt with Indigenous peoples and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities through paternalistic approaches and policies that do not provide Indigenous peoples with sovereign control over their education. Through bureaucratic structures and funding models Indigenous communities have suffered because of inequitable funding (TRC, 2015), and education structures outlined by government that do not provide for a functional system (Bains, 2014). These approaches reinforce colonization and racism by denying Indigenous communities their right to control and self-governance – rights affirmed through the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Battiste, 2013). Further, in implying that it is Canada’s role to “fix” the concerns faced by Indigenous people and communities, Canadians fail to consider the voices of Indigenous peoples – their needs, priorities, and expertise in regard to how they consider the solutions to address how colonization has impacted their culture, and their social, economic and political livelihoods (Coulthard, 2014; Simpson, 2014; Cardinal, 1969). With this in mind, it is not to say that Canadians do not have a role, but it is different than looking at  110 the issues from Western and Euro-centric standpoints and turning to corresponding ways to deal with them that are not based with Indigenous cultural solutions in mind. Indigenous peoples and communities need solutions and education which is based in their local cultural ways of knowing and being, and is administered by their people (Battiste, 2013; Battiste, 1998; Alfred, 2015; Simpson, 2014). In such a way, the role of Canadians might better be seen as providing support and expertise to Indigenous peoples where and how they identify such a need. Further, to better understand this, Canadians have a role and responsibility in educating ourselves regarding our own settler issues. Issues surrounding racism in Canadian society and education, the truths of our history, colonization and the meaning of decolonization – along with its implications. Through such, Canadians can form better understandings of Indigenous issues related to such topics, and thereby form truly reciprocal relationships with Indigenous people that support them in undertaking their own self-determining practices, including within education (Regan, 2010; Bishop, 2010; Brophey & Raptis, 2016). In the context of these memories TribalCrit allows me to understand that as Indigenous peoples, Indigenous learners require an education based in their culture so as they can identify with their education and relate it to the context of their lives (Brayboy, 2005; Toulouse, 2005; Friedel, 2010). Anti-race theory has allowed me to understand that, even while settlers like myself have had good intentions in trying to ‘right the wrongs’ of colonialism, a system in which I am intimately linked to, it is not my choice to determine how to fix Indigenous peoples. Their needs and priorities are not mine to diagnose. As conscious and politically active people, they should be afforded the respect to govern themselves in regard to such concerns (Regan, 2010; Simpson, 2014). I can support them in how they choose to move forward (when and if they call upon me), but to act with authority in resolving such issues only  111 serves to reinforce a paternalistic, power-over relationship enabled by colonial control (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Cardinal, 1969; Simpson, 2014).   In terms of how the memories I spoke of might inform decolonial pedagogical practices in educational settings, I look to the words of the first individual I spoke of, when they said:   [W]e need education that reflects our culture. We need Indigenous teachers, and  educators, and policy makers that reflect our identity and our values teaching our children.  We need Elders in schools teaching the youth about our cultures. We need parents and  families to be involved. And we need land to be part of the learning. First and foremost, as schools and school boards, we might do a better job of ensuring that Indigenous people are involved as leaders and decision makers in our institutions. This could mean ensuring that there is Indigenous representation in discussions amongst senior levels of administration in our educational institutions. Having Indigenous representation directly involved in policy making, not just in consultation roles, but in the development of programming and institutional practices would also be essential. It might also mean preferential hiring in certain cases, to ensure that Indigenous students are supported by Indigenous educators, of whom are visible in schools. It certainly means ensuring Indigenous parents and community members are involved in school and school board policy formation and activity planning, and are consulted and involved in the integration of Indigenous values in schools.  By ensuring Indigenous peoples are represented in schools, not only can Indigenous students be better supported through staff who reflect and are knowledgeable about their identities, but educational institutions will be better able to adopt and institute policy which reflects the cultural and  112 educational needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples (Brayboy 2005; Battiste, 2013; Castagno & Brayboy, 2008).  As teachers, we might look to our practices to ensure that the educational needs and priorities of Indigenous students in our classes are met. This might be done by looking at the content we choose to teach and the ways in which we teach it. Using practices that reflect Indigenous knowledges and knowledge formation are perhaps one way. This could be ensuring that learning follows wholistic models, such as looking at health and using the medicine wheel as a guide. It could also be through incorporating land-based and experiential learning into class activities. Or ensuring that content is situated in the local environment and relevant to the lives of the students you teach. Even looking at storytelling methods of instruction, or using the circle method during group dialogue and discussion activities (Battiste, 2013; Brayboy, 2005; Simpson, 2013; Alfred, 2015; Wildcat et al., 2014). While these are only some examples, it is important that such methods are not used in tokenistic ways simply to have Indigenous content present. The teacher should genuinely be utilizing them because they add to the learning in beneficial ways. As such, it is important that teachers research how to best incorporate certain Indigenous knowledges and practices in their instruction (Battiste, 1998, 2013; Friedel, 2010). This might include working with or seeking out resources, reading and researching, and/or working with an Elder or Aboriginal resource teacher to learn about possible ways to incorporate Indigenous content. Ensuring that such practices are visible helps in providing an education that is inclusive, responsive, and shows value to Indigenous knowledge and culture in the classroom (Brayboy, 2005).  113  Involving Elders, parents, and families in schools is ensuring that local Indigenous needs and priorities are identified and targeting by schools. Not only can Elders provide valuable learning and cultural teaching for students, but they can bring knowledge to teachers and educators about appropriate integration of Indigenous knowledge and educative practices into classrooms. Working with parents and families allows them to be involved in the education of their children in order to better support them, while also helping schools adopt culturally relevant practices and create space for cultural safety and inclusion. Ensuring that Elders, parents, and families are actively included in the school creates a space of dual-responsibility, whereby school staff, students, and Indigenous communities all have a stake in education (Alfred, 2015; Kirkness & Bowman, 1992; Battiste, 2013). Ensuring for such involvement allows for a reciprocal relationship that is at the heart of reconciliation. Entrusting Indigenous peoples to have an equal voice in Canadian society, including in our educational organizations, allows them to act with sovereignty and self-determination. Colonization and racism present in Canadian society has made it so that Indigenous peoples are not afforded such freedom. Canadian educators have a moral responsibility to understand this reality, and to help create systematic change as a result (TRC, 2015; Regan, 2010; Cannon, 2012; Bishop, 2010; Wilmot, 2005).   Reconciliation   Reconciliation is at the heart of it all, is this idea of love. Of loving yourself. Of loving others.  And we all can be driven by that as we try to determine what reconciliation looks like. And  where, and how, and when it will start. Reconciliation is for all of us. We need you  114  [(Canadians)] to be a part of this great dream, this idea that we can live together in this  country. Together, as  one. (Chief Robert Joseph, 2016). Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador of Reconciliation Canada gave these comments during an event in 2016. I had the pleasure of hearing Chief Joseph speak at another event held for graduate students in Indigenous education in the Winter of 2017. His sentiments were quite similar to these. He spoke about the need to support Indigenous people, who have long suffered because of colonialism. Speaking himself, as a survivor of the residential school system. Chief Joseph emphasized that reconciliation is for all Canadians. It is about exploring our history and learning about the truths of our past, understanding that there is a violent history that needs to be uncovered to see the parts of our society that continue to create harm for people who are not members of the majoritarian culture. At the centre of reconciliation, he said, it is “about transforming relationships” and “about love for each other” so that we can move forward to create a better future for all of us (Joseph, 2017).   Looking back to his words, I can’t think of another experience where I learned so much about the essence of reconciliation. It is such a complex topic, however he seemed to be able to simplify it in a way for everyone to understand. That is not to say it is not in fact a complex topic. He himself mentioned the need for a lot of work to be done around it. The work for Canadians to educate ourselves about our history to better understand. The conversations that will need to happen. The trust that must be developed. Relationships that must be built. Authentic relationships that are respectful, relevant, reciprocal, and responsible (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991), and that support Indigenous peoples in the resurgence of their cultures – including the  115 regeneration of their languages, spiritualities, knowledge systems, political cultures, and relationships to land (Simpson, 2014; Alfred, 2005; Coulthard, 2014).   The emphasis Chief Joseph puts on relationships as a part of reconciliation coincides with the attitudes of other influential Indigenous leaders, such as Justice Murray Sinclair, Verna Kirkness, and the late Arthur Manuel, among others. Even scholars who critique current reconciliation discourse and framework refer to relationships as a central issue (Alfred, 2010, 2014; Coulthard, 2014; Regan, 2010; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015). Thinking about reconciliation in this way has led me to think about two particular experiences I have had relating to the formation of reconciliatory relationships.   While teaching in Wiikwemkoong, there was a particular student in one of my classes named Ashley. Ashley was an extremely polite individual who, when in class, did her work without much complaint, often participated in class discussions, and did relatively well on the assignments she submitted. However, despite being a high school senior in age, Ashley had not secured many credits and would likely need to spend another two to three years in high school in order to graduate. She missed a lot of class, or was usually late arriving to class. Due to my classroom’s location in the school, I would often peek my head out the front doors of the school if time allowed and look to the ‘smoking section’ just beyond the physical boundaries of the school property to see if any of the students who were supposed to be in my class were over there. Whether it was before my class or another time of the day, Ashley’s was a frequent face at this spot. I’d often yell over to the group, specifically calling out my students’ names to hurry to class.   116  One day, well into the semester, Ashley showed up late to class. I was giving the class time to work on some outstanding assignments, so she sat down and began getting herself organized to start her work. I always had respectful interactions with Ashley, whether I brought a concern or feedback to her, or vice versa. I felt I could easily approach her and air such concerns. I walked over to her desk, knowing she was late because she had been outside in the smoking area. I reminded her, as I frequently did, the need to get to class on time.   “Sorry sir!” she said to me. A common response I heard from her.   I then asked Ashley about her assignments – she had a number of them outstanding  that needed to be handed in and I commonly checked in with students regarding missing  course work.  “Oh I’m still working on them sir, don’t worry I’ll get them handed in!” she said.  I replied back, “Alright, I’m giving you guys some class time this week so get them in ok. I  care about you guys, I want to make sure you get you get all your stuff in so you can do  well in this course.”  She quickly responded, not cynically or sarcastically, but was candid in saying, “You don’t  really mean that sir. Teachers don’t really care about how we do.”  I was shocked, and I knew my face showed it. Here I was a teacher, who genuinely cared  for, wished, and wanted the best for my students. I thought that I did a good job of making  sure my students knew, even if I may have been hard on them at times, or had days of  frustration with their work ethic, that I cared and wanted them to be successful.  I stared blankly at her for a couple of seconds before saying, “Ashley… Are you serious?”  117 She looked back at me, somewhat red in her face, like the look of a child who’d just been caught saying something they shouldn’t have. She responded honestly, “Well yeah… none of you ever do. Why would you care about if we do well or not?”  I responded in a hushed tone, feeling somewhat discouraged, “Ashley of course I do. If I  didn’t care I wouldn’t bug you about missing class and being late and not getting your  work in. I want you to get a good grade in this class so you can graduate and do what you  want to do. Your teachers care a lot about you guys. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t. We  want to see you do well.”  What followed was a brief, but I thought valuable conversation for the both of us. I felt like she walked away knowing that I genuinely cared about how she did at school and about her growth as an individual – and I thought that this was reflected in her continued work and participation in our course for the remainder of the semester. I also feel because of what she said, I made a more conscious effort to make sure that my actions and words better reflected those of a teacher whom students would think cared honestly about them. While I was glad to have had this exchange with Ashley, I was myself left somewhat disheartened. Why did Ashley feel this way? I really cared about my students, their lives, and their well-being – in and out of school. I guess that I had thought my showing of this was perhaps more explicit than maybe it was. But I also thought about why Ashley thought all teachers didn’t care. Why did she assume this? And what made her feel this way?  Another student of mine, Lee, was similar to Ashley in that she was a senior student with few acquired course credits. She probably missed about a class per week, but was generally in and around school most days, coming and going somewhat freely. I had her in two of my courses  118 and so we saw each other quite a bit most days, although, I was never quite sure what version of Lee I would be seeing on a day-to-day, and even class-to-class basis. Her mood was constantly changing as she was easily frustrated and had a short temper. Sometimes she was talkative, energetic and eager to discuss a certain topic, or participate in some way. Other times she showed an eagerness and enthusiasm to learn, oftentimes through work she made for herself over what was assigned to the class. Other days she didn’t want to talk, was noticeably angry, or very short tempered. Because of this, I was often calling or chasing after her down the hall as she abruptly left class, or calling the office to let them know she had left class so someone was aware to look for her or speak with her. The reasons for the behaviour were not lost on me. She had an individualized learning plan and we often discussed a plan for her in situations in which she felt she needed to leave the room. However, the plan was loosely followed on Lee’s part. Along with that, she also had a difficult home and personal life in a variety of respects. She was a troubled kid with a hard life to say the least.   Lee would commonly have a hard time with a lot of the other teachers and because she did not take well to traditional school behaviour management strategies or conventional classroom rules, she really didn’t achieve the credit requirement in many of her courses. I worked hard with Lee to try to help her get through the two courses with me. I pleaded with her to do her work and relied heavily on positive reinforcement to encourage her when she did hand things in, or was excited about a certain assignment. I also worked with her to make learning accommodations so that she could do assignments and even activities that she wanted to in the place of others. This was also difficult because she often didn’t want to do work, or have someone watching her work. It was still not an easy road, but I did my best to push and encourage her to  119 be the best she could be, while trying to stay cognisant of her behaviours and hardships. Because of this I certainly pushed her buttons on a regular basis, trying to make sure that she was still given responsibility and accountability for her learning. I was there to help, but she needed to make sure she earned the course credit. So, when we got to the end of the semester and I was able to make sure she got her course credits I was quite happy. However, that was not without its share of difficulties.    As we got to the end of the semester, she hadn’t handed in a good number of assignments, but had been showing steady improvement in her work and some great initiative, especially in some summative course work. I was really proud of her for coming so far and I knew she was proud of herself too. Before exams we had made some sort of deal that if she reached a certain grade on her exams I would skew her course grades to work in the best favour. This seemed to motivate her to finish the semester off strong. On the day of the exam, she came to class and all seemed fine. As the exam was about to begin she got out of her chair and threw her things on the floor. She stormed out of class as she yelled obscenities and said she didn’t care about school so I should just fail her. As she went to leave the school, I chased her down the hall and got her to stop and speak with me. I eventually calmed her to point where she wasn’t yelling. In the moment, even though I knew it was hard for her to control, I was still so frustrated by her behaviour after she had come so far to get to this point, I talked to her about the great work she had been doing and convinced her to write her exam in the classroom of a senior colleague who didn’t have a class at that time.    120  After the exam was finished my colleague came and handed me her exam. For a number of reasons, including my interaction with Lee, it had been a tiring day already. I remember the short conversation I had with him.  “Thanks Jerry, really appreciate it. Not sure what was going on today. Did it go alright?”  “Oh yeah, of course. Not a problem….” He continued, “Wowww.”   “Huh?” I replied.  “Wow. Let me tell you. She has a lot of respect for you.” Said Jerry.  “Who? Lee?” I asked him. A little puzzled.   “Oh yeah. A lot of respect.” Jerry answered, nodding his head up and down.  “Why do you say that?” I asked him.  He responded plainly, “because you didn’t let her fail.”    While on the surface it might seem hard to connect these stories to reconciliation. However, when I think about reconciliation and my own reconciliatory practices, I think back to the emphasis put on relationships by people like Chief Dr. Robert Joseph. I think about the essence of ‘love’ which Chief Joseph reminds us needs to be present in reconciliatory relationships. In my work with Indigenous peoples and communities I’ve come to understand the importance in reflecting on my interactions and asking myself: Am I making sure I’m building a relationship reflective of the values of reconciliation? As such, I look back to ways I’ve formed relationships with students to remind me about how such relationships might look.    As I’ve learned, part of reconciliation is about ensuring that relationships within education are built on the understandings of, and responsiveness to, the lives of students (Regan, 2010; Battiste, 2013; RC, 2015; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991). In both stories I shared, it is evident that  121 Ashley and Lee both struggled in their relationship to school. Ashley felt the people teaching her did not care about her success. Lee, due to personal troubles, did not respond well to the traditional confinements and practices of schooling. For Ashley and Lee, they were both operating in a system which was not responsive to the concerns they had in their education, learning, and growth as individuals. However, it would also seem their success in my classes was impacted by having a responsive relationship as part of their education. For both Ashley and Lee, if they felt they were not valued as students in the school, then what would be the encouragement for them to value their schooling? Thinking teachers did not care about them, why would they care to undertake the work in those classes in a meaningful way? Understanding that Indigenous peoples lived realities are much different than that of non-Indigenous Canadians allows for an understanding that education needs to be able respond in different ways so it can be meaningful to Indigenous students (Brayboy, 2005; Simpson, 2014; Alfred, 2015; Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). Coming to this understanding is part of reconciliation. Treating and educating Indigenous students just as non-Indigenous students is not the answer to have them be successful. Indigenous students require education that is responsive and cognisant of their lives, culture, and the concerns which face them as individuals, and as Indigenous people. Just as the Canadian education system has historically been for white-settlers (Battiste, 2013; Kirkness & Bowman, 1992). Making education meaningful for students, and thereby, ensuring it promotes a praxis of reconciliation, means involving students in learning in ways which benefit their unique cultural and individual ways of learning. As educators it is important that we understand the contexts in which our students live and grow. As such, we need to understand why and how issues, concerns, and needs that affect them, are what they are. In a similar way, it is important  122 that students see they have people in schools who care about them as individuals and as learners – be they teachers, mentors, administrators, councillors, or other educators. Ashley and Lee’s stories demonstrate such a need. A need identified and reinforced by theoretical understandings of TribalCrit and anti-racism. To provide education where meaningful learning is made possible for Indigenous students, educators might look to the historical and modern-day contexts of Indigenous peoples in order to better inform the effectiveness of their practice (Brayboy, 2005; Regan, 2010; Toulouse, 2008; Simpson, 2014; Cardinal, 1969).  Looking at the problems Lee had in acquiring previous course credits, I feel it safe to make the assumption that the current structure of her education and learning, as it had been to that point, was not working for her. As such, I did not feel that forcing her to continue learning in such a way would result in her being successful. Similarly, in knowing she was often coming to class with personal struggles, that in most likelihood somehow related to generational trauma, it is easy to assume that ensuring she was attentive and eager to learn was probably not the first thing on her mind each and every day. As a teacher, it was my role to empower her learning so that she could be successful within the hardships and barriers that impacted such learning. Therefore, I felt that manipulating the curriculum, my planned activities, and my conventional teaching practices was necessary in ensuring Lee’s success in our courses. Similarly, the relationship of respect that was built with Lee shows that such work had a meaningful impact on her as a learner. Having knowledge of the situation surrounding Lee’s struggles in school, allowed me to be reactive to her situation and support her more fully in her ability to learn. I also feel that the care that was allowed for her through my empathy for her situation also served to benefit her learning, as well as my teaching – in ensuring the success of a student in my course. This is  123 an example of how being educated in regard to the concerns, needs, cultures and knowledges of Indigenous learners can have a direct and positive impact for educators. It should thereby be seen as important that educators understand the current system of education is not appropriate for Indigenous students; and further, is also not appropriate if Canada wishes to build a society responsive to reconciliation.  To understand the unique needs of Indigenous learners so that they may benefit through diverse and reciprocal education, and for Canada’s education and society to truly assume moral change, educators need to undertake learning regarding Indigenous histories, cultures, and knowledges. This also points to the need for schools, boards of education, teacher education programs, and institutes of higher learning to provide relevant and responsive education to their members regarding such topics. As a teacher candidate, I remember two instances where we were given ‘education’ on Indigenous peoples. The first was a “myths and facts” worksheet about Indigenous peoples that was used over the duration of one class. This activity only served to incite racist stereotyping and opinions brought up by classmates who had little knowledge of Indigenous histories. The second instance was a field trip to a school in an Indigenous community to observe the school environment. While I found the visit interesting, there was no context provided before or after our visit, and as such, the experience served to provide little training about education involving Indigenous peoples or their lived environments. In both instances, my peers and I were ill-equipped to teach Indigenous students. And while I had greater knowledge than most of my peers regarding Indigenous peoples, I had no experience and practical education in regard to teaching Indigenous students before beginning my teaching appointment in Wiikwemkoong. Knowing the learning curve I had in my teaching, I can imagine that of the  124 classmates of mine who knew even less about Indigenous peoples than I, yet went on to teach Indigenous students and in Indigenous communities. Classmates with whom I remain close with have often expressed to me their lack of understanding or knowledge in regard to Indigenous peoples, their histories, cultures, and knowledges. I am frequently saddened in wondering the impact such lack of understanding has on students in the classrooms of educators who are ill-informed.   Ashley and Lee’s hardships in school should not be seen as their failings to be successful students. Rather, I see it as a system of schooling which failed Ashley and Lee by lacking the progressive ability to provide an education which was inclusive of the type of learning they required, and which was respectful to their Indigenous identities. Building relationships which allow education to be responsive to students’ needs and individual situations helps breed success for students. I feel this is highlighted as so in my memoires of Ashley and Lee, but also refer to work by scholars such as  Battiste (2013), Kirkness & Bowman (1992), Castagno & Brayboy (2008), and Ritchie et al. (2015), who provide further truth to this.   When looking at current dialogue concerning reconciliation there is a system which chooses not to fully educate itself on what needs to be done in regard to authentic reconciliation. Many ministries of education, school boards, and schools continue to ignore the requests of Aboriginal peoples - that being, for collaboration, dialogue, and most importantly, power and control within education. Canada’s education system continues to push Western education systems, approaches, practices, and curriculum on Indigenous peoples using paternalistic control and power over approaches in the design and delivery of education. Throughout my studies I have seen, read, examined, or heard about strategic plans, policy documents, or ways in which  125 educational organizations are planning on infusing Indigenous content or Indigenizing themselves (Universities Canada, 2018). Overwhelmingly, however, I am left confused about how these organizations have developed these plans. Most reference having consulted Indigenous people or groups, yet I always consider the difference between consultation and collaboration. Did you consult with Indigenous peoples before developing your plan? Or did you develop your plan in direct response and collaboration with Indigenous peoples? It is important that such Indigenous peoples are made present in decision making in education and in our society. As such, settlers must be ready to listen, and work with Indigenous peoples to incite change which is genuine, and which accurately represents the needs of Indigenous peoples (Regan, 2010; Battiste, 2013).  Through all this we might look at reconciliation as being a “site of praxis for resistance and change” in education, which better serves Canadians in our relationship with Indigenous peoples on this land (Regan, 2010, p. 216; Coulthard, 2014; Alfred, 2010; TRC, 2015). Within education there is a variety of ways to ensure reconciliation remains a focus. As educators, ensuring that we provide learning that is relevant and respectful to the local Indigenous peoples of the lands we teach is important. This includes territorial acknowledgments in our schools and classrooms, and forming relationships with members of the local Indigenous community, such as Elders or Knowledge Keepers who might be willing to come to class to share their knowledge. It certainly includes respect for Indigenous knowledge, and therefore, incorporating such knowledge in authentic ways as to enhance the learning of our classrooms. In a similar way, it is also about providing decolonized methods for learning, adapting practical learning activities, strategies, and assessment in order to provide learning which students can relate to the context  126 of their lives. Through activities and relationships which promote an education cognisant of Indigenous peoples, the contexts which they live, and their cultures and knowledges, educators can demonstrate the “love” required to push reconciliation forward in Canada’s education system (Battiste, 2013; Brayboy, 2005).  Like many scholars who have written about reconciliation, Chief Joseph calls educators to interrogate our history, and our privilege in society. In doing so we can engage in reconciling behaviour and activities that supports the transformation of Canadian society to truly consider mutual respect for all; a society that does not benefit one group of people at the expense of another. Something which sadly continues in Canada. As educators, we are called to acknowledge this history in the education of future generations so that they can help rebuild a society on a framework of justice, mutual respect, and moral consciousness. We are called to be truth-tellers of Canada’s colonial history. We are called to conduct practices which respect Indigenous cultures through honouring the needs of learners and teaching through varied learning methods. We are called to form genuine reconciliatory relationships that honour our fellow people for who they are, by acknowledging difference as something to be celebrated.        127 Chapter 6: Conclusion   As I have gradually come to better understand reconciliation, the range of concepts which encompass it are apparent. Allyship calls for Canadians to be ‘unsettled’, to be critically reflexive in looking at our society and our history, interrogating our past to understand how we come to be positioned as we are now. To come to a place where reconciliation is possible, the larger Canadian society must first empathize with Indigenous peoples and the situations which they face due to colonial oppression (Regan, 2010; Bishop, 2015). In doing so Canadians can also realize that for the betterment of Indigenous peoples and communities, they must be allowed their rights to be involved in the design and delivery of the Canadian education system, and more so, their rights to control of self-determining education and governance in their communities (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; Battiste, 2013; Sellars, 2016). To provide education that is relevant to the lives of Indigenous peoples and allows for their success, requires an education which is responsive to Indigenous cultural knowledge and ways of being (Simpson, 2014). The TRC’s recommendations on education emphasize that in an education system that has never worked for Indigenous peoples, change can be brought about only by a self-determined education that supports Indigenous acts of resurgence (Battiste, 2013; TRC, 2015). Reconciliation calls on Canadian society to build relationships which support Indigenous peoples’ cultural resurgence, and moves both Canadian and Indigenous peoples, collectively, to a just and equitable future for all (TRC, 2015; Joseph, 2016).      128 Significance   In summary, educators have a role in reconciliation because of how education shapes our society, and a responsibility to participate in reconciliation activities which dutifully respect Indigenous peoples because it is the right thing to do. My paper is not intended to incite guilt, rather, my intention is to emphasize the need for critical reflection and critical interrogation of our past, our present, and the privileged position of settlers in Canadian society. There is a danger in the willful acceptance of narratives told to us about our identity and our history. Our morality as a proclaimed free, just, and democratic society should call us to live and act as conscious citizens, and as such we must critically engage with both our society and ourselves. Educators have an important role in empowering students to engage with a critical consciousness, so that they can live and act in a society which is so, and further, a society which can better engage in reconciliation.  The release of the TRC’s final report and ninety-four Calls to Action was eye opening for many Canadians, including myself. It was both shocking and informative, although, in many ways it shouldn’t have been. It showed me, as it should the rest of Canadians, that our past is an ugly and violent one. The horrific effects of colonialism run deep in our society and define the daily lives of all Canadians. Our schools, our justice system, our public services, our institutions and businesses, and our governments – all have stakes in colonization. To become the moral and just nation we see ourselves as, requires confronting our colonial past, present, and future. However, we should also be confronting our colonial roots because it is the right thing to do – to be fair, equitable, and supportive of the amazing and diverse Indigenous peoples we share this land with. In terms of my own positioning in this, educators have an important role to play within  129 reconciliation. Educators, and our school system, bear the responsibility of educating others around reconciliation – what it is and what it entails. In order to educate others, we ourselves must be educated, we must be knowledgeable and willing to take on this responsibility. Building relationships with Indigenous peoples and being prepared to confront our past and privilege is essential in this process. As the TRC (2015) details, settlers must be educated and be ready to engage in truth telling about our society in order for reconciliation to be viable – my paper responds to these calls. As a settler-educator who has knowledge working with Indigenous peoples and communities, within settings of Indigenous education, and within discussions on reconciliation, I see a responsibility to provide education to other settlers around reconciliation, what it is, what our roles and responsibilities are within it, and how to begin to move forward.  Paulette Regan’s (2010) work is of particular significance to me in understanding the importance of my role in unsettling other settler-Canadians, especially settler-educators, and engaging in truth-telling practices about Canada’s colonizing past. There continues to be important work to be done in educating Canadians to engage in a critical reflection of our nation, about relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities, and changing our practices to secure a future that is fair, just, and moral (Regan, 2010; Alfred, 2010). This means education involving professional development, courses, and training for current K-12 and higher education students, teacher candidates, current educators, and others who work in educational settings regarding anti-racism, colonization/decolonization, and Indigenous histories. My research is in part, responding to her work and the many others that have called for truth telling and respectful relationships in Canada (Battiste, 2013; Cannon, 2012; Cardinal, 1969; George, 1967, as cited in  130 CBC 2017; Lowman & Barker, 2015; Mackey, 2012; Manuel & Derrickson, 2015; and Manuel & Posluns, 1974).  If we love our country, we must do our best to make it all it can be. This means telling the truth about where we come from and who we are as Canadians. It means being critical of our society for its betterment. Being reflexive of ourselves, our practices, and our society – past, and present. It means supporting and standing up for each other. It means ensuring our fellow people of this land are respected. How can we make room in our hearts for this kind of love? A kind of love that looks to change our society for the collective development and betterment of all Canadians (Battiste, 2013; Joseph, 2017; West, 2001; Freire, 2000; West, 2015).  While attending a national forum for the NCCIE in Ottawa, I had the pleasure of witnessing Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Elder Verna McGregor welcome, and provide concluding thoughts to everyone in attendance on the lands of her people. Before we left she said to us, “sometimes the furthest journey is the one from our heads to our hearts” (2018). It has been a long journey, a journey many Canadians are still on and may be for some time. That does not stop the ones who have arrived there to begin the work. Reconciliation is, again, a complex topic. Interpretations are diverse among people, among Nations, and among regions. That is why education around reconciliation is so important. To fully engage we must have context, and to have context non-Indigenous Canadians must be willing to hear, and accept, truths about Canada they may not want to. If our hearts are open, we can be ready for this. Those of us who have reached this point are important in developing new relationships with Indigenous peoples that are grounded in respect, and honour the diverse cultures of the First Peoples of this land. 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(2014) Indigenous Autoethnography: Exploring, Engaging, and Experiencing “Self” as a  Native Method of Inquiry.  Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 2014, Vol. 43(4) 456–  487.Retrieved from <>.   Wildcat, M., McDonald, M., Irlbacher-Fox, S., & Coulthard, G. (2014). Learning from the land: Indigenous  land based pedagogy and decolonization. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3),  pp. I-XV. Retrieved from <>. Wilmot, S. J. (2005). Taking responsibility, taking direction: White anti-racism in Canada. Winnipeg:  Arbeiter Ring Pub.               140 Terms  Indigenous:    Indigenous is a term used to encompass a variety of Aboriginal groups. It is most  frequently used in an international, transnational, or global context. This term came into  wide usage during the 1970s when Aboriginal groups organized transnationally and  pushed for greater presence in the United Nations (UN). In the UN, “Indigenous” is used  to refer broadly to peoples of long settlement and connection to specific lands who have  been adversely affected by incursions by industrial economies, displacement, and  settlement of their traditional territories by others. (Indigenous Foundations, 2009)  Aboriginal:    The term “Aboriginal” refers to the first inhabitants of Canada, and includes First Nations,  Inuit, and Métis peoples. This term came into popular usage in Canadian contexts after  1982, when Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution defined the term as such. Aboriginal  is also a common term for the Indigenous peoples of Australia. When used in Canada,  however, it is generally understood to refer to Aboriginal peoples in a Canadian context.  (Indigenous Foundations, 2009)  First Peoples: “First Peoples” is a similar term used to refer to Indigenous or Aboriginal peoples, the people who first occupied land before the settlement of other cultures. In the Canadian context, it refers to First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and other peoples who identify in those groups but may not hold legal status. (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, 2016). “The plural “peoples” recognizes more than one distinct group comprises the Aboriginal population of Canada” (Indigenous Foundations, 2009).  First Nation(s):    “First Nation” is a term used to describe Aboriginal peoples of Canada who are ethnically  neither Métis nor Inuit. This term came into common usage in the 1970s and ‘80s and  generally replaced the term “Indian,” although unlike “Indian,” the term “First Nation”  does not have a legal definition. While “First Nations” refers to the ethnicity of First  Nations peoples, the singular “First Nation” can refer to a band, a reserve-based  community, or a larger tribal grouping and the status Indians who live in them. For  example, the Stó:lō Nation (which consists of several bands), or the Tsleil-Waututh Nation  (formerly the Burrard Band). (Indigenous Foundations, 2009)  Métis: “The term Métis refers to a collective of cultures and ethnic identities that resulted from unions between Aboriginal and European people in what is now Canada” (Indigenous Foundations, 2009). According to the Métis National Council (2018) ““Métis” means a person  141 who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation” (Métis National Council, 2018).  Inuit: “Refers to specific groups of people generally living in the far north who are not considered “Indians” under Canadian law” (Indigenous Foundations, 2009).  Indian: “The term “Indian” refers to the legal identity of a First Nations person who is registered under the Indian Act. The term “Indian” should be used only when referring to a First Nations person with status under the Indian Act, and only within its legal context” (Indigenous Foundations, 2009). 


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