THE WARP AND WEFT OF IT ALL: UCWALMICW EDUCATION EMERGING OUT OF THE ABORIGINAL EDUCATION TAPESTRY by Joyce Schneider, Kicya7 Samahquamicw B.A., University of Northern British Columbia, 2002M.A., University of Northern British Columbia, 2007A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Educational Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) September 2018 © Joyce Schneider, Kicya7 Samahquamicw, 2018 ii The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: The Warp and Weft of it all: Ucwalmicw Education Emerging out of the Aboriginal Education Tapestry submitted by Joyce Schneider, Kicya7 in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies Examining Committee: Mona Gleason, Educational Studies Co-supervisor Jan Hare, Indigenous Education and Language and Literacy Education Co-supervisor Shauna Butterwick, Educational Studies Supervisory Committee Member _______________________________________ External Examiner iii Abstract Guided by the central tenets of Lester-Irabinna Rigney’s (1999) Indigenist paradigm; resistance, political integrity and honoring Indigenous voice, I take up the Ucwalmicw loom and blanket weaving as metaphor and praxis to honor Samahquamicw engagement in this PhD project. To contribute to the significant work already being done to define and transform Aboriginal education into the ever-emerging tapestries of Indigenous education, the research questions that guide the work disseminated here were: 1. In what ways can Ucwalmicw knowledge system processes disrupt mainstream understandings of Aboriginal education? 2. How can the facilitation of Ucwalmicw processes and protocols contribute to transforming classrooms for all students? To maintain political integrity in responding to these two research questions I engaged with my Samahquamicw community members in ways that center on and honor Ucwalmicw voice. Two Sharing Circles were facilitated in the Q’aLaTKú7eM community. We shared meals together, and community members were reciprocated with hand-made gifts for sharing their knowledge and time with me. Local protocols guided our collective knowledge seeking, making and sharing which, for important reasons, included the need to facilitate a survey in lieu of the third planned Sharing Circle. In trusting again in our ways, I came to walk the talk of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw protocols which require beginning and proceeding in good ways towards wholistic approaches to teaching and learning. Within the pages of this dissertation, I illustrate how Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions can and have mobilized Indigenous education policies drawn from a selection of nation-wide and provincial reports and accords. While the degree of harm that Aboriginal education continues to inflict on its students varies across student populations, tackling, with Ucwalmicw intentions, the issue of what is and is not considered in the curricula and, equally important, the pedagogies of university programs means doing so for the benefit of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike. To contribute to emerging models of Indigenous education with a good heart, mind and spirit requires doing so for Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a (all my relations). iv Lay Summary This PhD project shows how using Samahquamicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing methods can activate Indigenous education policies in ways that honor local values and intentions behind coming to know. Guided by the loom and blanket weaving as metaphor and practice, I apply Q’aLaTKú7eMicw community contributions in this inquiry into how to transform Aboriginal education in post-secondary learning environments. This dissertation demonstrates how matters of a diversity of nations, languages, and aspirations can begin to be addressed by mobilizing approaches put forward by local First Peoples’ communities. Further, tackling, from an Ucwalmicw perspective, issues of what is and is not considered in the curricula and teaching practices of university programs requires that I do so for the benefit of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike. The outcomes of the study demonstrate the value of an all my relations approach to transforming education systems with a good heart, mind and spirit in ways that benefit all students. v Preface This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, J. Schneider. This work was approved by The University of British Columbia Behavioral Research Ethics Board, Certificate number H13-00058, on February 27, 2013. Previously published work by this author as cited in chapter two of this dissertation consists of the following: Schneider, J. (2014). Taking an Indigenist approach to research: Engaging wise ways of knowing toward a vision of Stl’atl’imicw education. Indigenous concepts of education: Toward elevating humanity for all learners. (Ed.) van Wyk, B. & Adenjii-Neill, D. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, Pp. 125-137. vi Table of Contents Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary .................................................................................................................................. iv Preface ............................................................................................................................................. v Table of Contents ............................................................................................................................ vi List of Tables .................................................................................................................................. viii List of Figures ................................................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................................... x Dedications ...................................................................................................................................... xi Chapter 1 Honoring Protocols: Making Introductions ....................................................................... 1 Chapter Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 1 Wordarrows ............................................................................................................................................... 2 Ucwalmicw: The People of the Land .......................................................................................................... 11 Kicya7: Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw ............................................................................................... 13 Project Overview ...................................................................................................................................... 17 Local Contributors – Ucwalmicw Community Engagement ........................................................................ 17 Study Intentions ....................................................................................................................................... 19 Setting the Loom: Weaving as metaphor and process ............................................................................... 22 The protocols, processes and purposes behind Ucwalmicw blanket weaving ............................................ 24 Chapter Summary ..................................................................................................................................... 31 Chapter 2 Indigenous Education: The Ever-Emerging Tapestry ........................................................ 33 Chapter Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 33 First Peoples’ Knowledge systems ............................................................................................................. 34 Aboriginal Education: State approaches to solving the “Indian Problem” .................................................. 42 Indigenous education: Weaving Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Aboriginal education ...................... 51 Chapter Summary: Ever-changing tapestries ............................................................................................. 70 Chapter 3: Guiding Principles: Indigenist Theories .......................................................................... 73 Chapter Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 73 Why Indigenist Theories? .......................................................................................................................... 74 Indigenist Guiding Frameworks ................................................................................................................. 75 Rigney’s Three Indigenist Principles ............................................................................................................................. 79 Chapter Summary ..................................................................................................................................... 91 Chapter 4 Ucwalmicw Knowledge seeking, making and sharing ..................................................... 93 Beginning in an Ucwalmicw way The Great Flood Story ............................................................................ 93 vii Chapter Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 94 Why Indigenist/Indigenous Methodology? ............................................................................................... 95 Walking the Indigenist talk in my PhD program ...................................................................................... 102 The Research Questions .......................................................................................................................... 104 Ucwalmicw Approaches and Community Engagements and Contributions ............................................. 105 Community Engagement: Q’aLaTKú7eMicw ............................................................................................ 105 Visions of Samahquamicw education ...................................................................................................... 116 Community Survey July 19, 2014: Mission, BC ......................................................................................... 119 Chapter Summary: The Loom is Set ......................................................................................................... 125 Chapter 5: Warping the Loom with Good Intentions for Indigenous Education ............................. 126 Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................................... 126 Warping Yarn, Ball 1: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) (1996) ........................................ 128 Warp Strand 2: Association of Canadian Deans of Education Accord on Indigenous Education (2010) ..... 135 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action (2015) ............................................................ 141 British Columbia Auditor General Report (2015) ..................................................................................... 148 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................................................... 152 Chapter 6: Ucwalmicw Weaving on the Warp of Indigenous Education (Weft Yarns) .................... 156 Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................................... 156 Weaving Intersections ............................................................................................................................ 158 Articulating and Weaving Ucwalmicw teachings into Indigenous Education policies and recommendations ............................................................................................................................................................... 159 Being and doing in good ways with intention: red weft yarn ................................................................................... 159 Trusting again in our ways: blue weft yarn ................................................................................................................ 166 Walking the Talk- Live it!: teal weft yarn ................................................................................................................... 173 Wholistic Perspectives and Approaches: yellow weft yarn ....................................................................................... 178 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................................................... 188 Chapter 7: Reading and Gifting the Dissertation Blanket .............................................................. 190 Dissertation Overview ............................................................................................................................ 190 The 2-Bar Loom and weaving as metaphor and praxis ............................................................................. 191 Gifting the Dissertation Blanket .............................................................................................................. 196 Scholarly “Give Back” ............................................................................................................................. 197 Discussion: Towards Significant Transformation ..................................................................................... 198 Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 205 viii List of Tables Table 1 July 19, 2014 Survey Results ................................................................................................... 121 Table 2 Weaving Intersections .............................................................................................................. 158 ix List of Figures Figure 1 Honoring Protocols ..................................................................................................................... 1 Figure 2 Ucwalmicw Territory ................................................................................................................ 11 Figure 3 Setting the loom ........................................................................................................................ 22 Figure 5 Bottom Roller Bar ..................................................................................................................... 28 Figure 4 Top Roller Bar ........................................................................................................................... 28 Figure 6 Left Post .................................................................................................................................... 29 Figure 7 Right Post .................................................................................................................................. 29 Figure 9 Weft Yarns ................................................................................................................................ 30 Figure 8 Warp Yarns ............................................................................................................................... 30 Figure 10 Completed Blanket .................................................................................................................. 31 Figure 11 Indigenous Education: The ever-emerging tapestry ................................................................ 33 Figure 12 Guiding Principles ................................................................................................................... 73 Figure 13 Ucwalmicw ways .................................................................................................................... 93 Figure 14 N'Skets ..................................................................................................................................... 93 Figure 15 Samahquam Cultural Center ................................................................................................. 105 Figure 16 Modelling Ucwalmicw Pedagogies ....................................................................................... 112 Figure 17 Community Sharing Circle Flip Chart .................................................................................. 118 Figure 18 AGM Survey Sheets .............................................................................................................. 120 Figure 19 Foundational Warp Yarns ..................................................................................................... 126 Figure 20 Ucwalmicw Weft Yarns ........................................................................................................ 156 Figure 21 Medicine Wheel .................................................................................................................... 172 Figure 22 Completed Blanket ................................................................................................................ 190 Figure 23 Twine weave ......................................................................................................................... 194 Figure 24 Twill Weave .......................................................................................................................... 195 Figure 25 Next Blanket .......................................................................................................................... 204 x Acknowledgements I am an uninvited visitor filled with gratitude for the privilege of living, working and learning upon the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam Peoples. The Musqueam territories include: the lands, lakes and streams defined and included by a line commencing at Harvey Creek in Howe Sound and proceeding Eastward to the height of the land and continuing on the height of land around the entire watershed draining into English Bay, Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm; South along the height of land between Coquitlam River and Brunette River to the Fraser River, across to the South or left bank of the Fraser River and proceeding downstream taking the left Bank of the main stream and the South Arm to the sea, including all those intervening lands, islands and waters back along the sea shore to Harvey Creek; AND (emphasis in the original) the sea, its reefs, flats, tidal lands adjacent to the above described land and out to the center of Georgia Strait. (Musqueam Indian Band, 1976, Para. 1) The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples have, “from time immemorial occupied, used and gained their livelihoods from the lands, waters and seas as described above” (Musqueam Indian Band, 2011, Para. 2). The Musqueam and their ancestors have never in any way ceded their ancestral territories to “any foreign government or power” (Musqueam Indian Band, 2011, Para. 4) by treaty or any other agreement. Moreover, the Musqueam have never considered the small tracts of land, known as reserve land, as payment for “their lost rights over the territory now known as Vancouver, North Vancouver, South Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, New Westminster, Burnaby, and Richmond” (Musqueam Indian Band, 2011, Para. 5). The Musqueam people strive to maintain control over their own ways of being, doing and knowing as not only their Indigenous right but as their human right to do so. I raise my hands, as is traditional to these lands on which I live, with great respect for the Peoples and the more-than-humans of these lands. I respectfully acknowledge my supervisory committee, Drs. Mona Gleason, Jan Hare and Shauna Butterwick for their long-term patience and guidance over the course of this PhD study. Though I resisted implementing it (thus the need for long-term patience), I needed and gratefully appreciate their ongoing insistence that I stay within the parameters of this research project. I have come to terms with the need to write papers on the surplus of outcomes that needed to be excluded from this PhD dissemination process. Your consistent support of my need to infuse my Ucwalmicwness into all aspects of my learning and research journey are most appreciated. Kukwstum̓ckál̓ap to all of you for your wisdom, experience and many meaningful and insightful contributions to how this work eventually came in to being. xi Dedications I dedicate this thesis to the Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw – those who came before me, those who are presently immersed within education systems and those yet to enter mainstream classrooms. This work would not have been possible without your caring contributions both within and well beyond the community engagement activities for this PhD project. I appreciate, respect and love all of you. It is for Ucwalmicw futurity that this work will continue. I raise my hands to the many Indigenous and non-Indigenous champions of Indigenous education who came before me, who are working hard today and who will continue to weave Indigenous voice and ways into the tapestries of Indigenous education. This is a vast and long-term process facilitated by the ongoing dedication of Elders, community practitioners, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and activists too numerous to name here. Without their hard work and persistence there would not have been any warp strands for me to weave into today. Kukwstum̓ckál̓ap! 1 Chapter 1 Honoring Protocols: Making Introductions Chapter Overview I begin by honoring Ucwalmicw protocols that guide me to start all relationship building in a good way and that includes the making of introductions. I begin with the thesis glossary, employed here as wordarrows, to mitigate the harm that uncritical use of the colonizers’ language can perpetuate. I mobilize Gerald Vizenor’s (1978) concept of wordarrows by deconstructing and/or making explicit key terminology and concepts that surface often not only in this dissemination document, but also in Aboriginal education literature. I further enact the practice of wordarrows by intentionally aligning the headings, subheadings and images in an alternating left to right pattern throughout this thesis to evoke the rhythms and feeling of weaving back and forth between my academic and Ucwalmicw spirits that were present throughout this process. I do so to make known, from the start, the Ucwalmicw loom and weaving framework and praxis from within which I work. I introduce the Ucwalmicw Peoples and the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributors with and for whom this project was initiated before situating myself in this work. I give an overview of why, how and where this study was facilitated and present the intentions behind doing this work. I make the case for taking up an Ucwalmicw guiding framework in this PhD project by introducing the loom and weaving process, both as metaphor and practice, theory and method. This approach contributed greatly to my ability to complete this work from a good place with good intentions. I close the chapter with an overview of chapter two: Indigenous Education: The ever-emerging tapestry, Acutely aware of the fact that I am not here alone, I invite you, the reader, to weave yourself into this dissertation blanket by utilizing all of your human capacities for coming to understand. Given from the mind, heart and spirit, it is my hope that you receive the processes Figure 1 Honoring Protocols 2 and experiences shared here in the same way. I invite you to twill and twine your own ancestral ways of coming to know into these understandings and teachings shared with only the best of intentions. In the spirit of reciprocal relationship-building, I further ask, as I ask the students in all my classes, that you share a new understanding that has come to you through this work with a friend or family member. We are all connected and connecting through the sharing of our stories, our experiences and our learning. Wordarrows The language that we use shapes the way we think. Postmodern deconstructivists have illuminated the link between the dominant society’s usage of language to silence the voices of those who are marginally located. It is the tool by which a meta-narrative of “truth” and normalcy” is perpetually reproduced. In centers of knowledge production like universities, the language of research becomes powerful and pervasive. (Kovach, 2005, p. 25) For reasons described by Kovach in the opening quote, I engage upfront with the need to deconstruct the words and concepts that are taken up and/or not perpetuated in Aboriginal education, report and recommendation-making literature. To contribute to the transformation of systems that educate First Peoples and Settler Canadians alike, I problematize terminology that perpetuates the colonial mindset. I further provide explanations for the suggested use of alternative language that may serve as a reminder that certain facts have been sanitized, if not entirely erased, by the choice of words utilized by many scholars, educators and policy makers. Like Yunkaporta (2009) I introduce my worldview to make clear the assumptions I am working from and seeking to address, for “…in identifying my language for this [thesis] I am identifying myself to the reader. This is a point of protocol” (p. V). Opening the thesis in this way aligns with Gerald Vizenor’s (1978) concept of wordarrows, which tells us that words are like arrows shot at colonial and colonizing narratives. Wordarrows have transformative power that can provide a new discursive space (McLeod, 2001). Every word we choose to use does something, and we need to be ever mindful of the ideas we perpetuate and/or validate through the words we use. Am I contributing to the maintenance of the colonized/colonizing, superior/inferior mindset in the academy? Or am I contributing to processes that work to challenge and put out of commission omnipresent concepts and terminology that effectively erase the validity of diverse worldviews and practices that many students carry with them into university classrooms? 3 aboriginal: “To capitalize the words 'Native' and 'Aboriginal' is most likely an editorial decision. However, there exists a capitalization convention in the case of words denoting human groups with respect to nation and nationality such as in 'Canadian people' or 'German minister.' Not complying with those conventions reflects the dominant attitude of Euro-Canada: denying First Nations their status as distinct peoples/nations” (Retzlaff, 2005, p. 615). I use this term in this way, with a lower case ‘a’ only in direct quotes, followed by [sic]. aboriginals/Aboriginals: I use this misnomer, which unlike the term above is pluralized, in direct quotes only followed by [sic] to demonstrate the fact that a great diversity of nations originate on Turtle Island and it is more appropriate to use Aboriginal Peoples to acknowledge that fact. I do not want to contribute to the perpetuation of the idea that there is one homogenous group of ‘Aboriginals’. Aboriginal: This term is a state construct that serves a purpose: it references the “Indian”, Métis and Inuit peoples as recognized by Canada in section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act. Section 35(1) affirms and protects the existing rights, title and treaty rights of these state defined groups. I do not refer to my Nation or myself as being Aboriginal, I self-identify as my ancestors did and that is as Ucwalmicw (People of the land). However, because certain rights and protections are entrenched in this highest law of Canada, we cannot discard it and I use it in reference to such legislation. Aboriginal education: The definition of Aboriginal education that I am working from is based on a review of reports, literature, practices and experiences of systems imposed upon First Peoples post-contact. Aboriginal education is a colonizing project and I use this term to distinguish it from Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Indigenous education, both of which are approaches to learning from and teaching with Indigenous pedagogies, content and intentions. I further use this term to indicate that I am speaking specifically to those remnants of assimilating curricula and processes that remain to varying degrees across institutions that are also doing transformative work in numerous ways and disciplines. Ally/allies: I align completely with Russell Means’ (2011) definition of ally; anyone who resists and struggles against the destruction of land, water, air, Helper Beings, languages and cultures is an ally to First Peoples and to diverse ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing. Everything does something: For example, while the Canadian federal government’s 2008 Apology for the intergenerational traumas caused by residential schools (IRS) is highly criticized for a variety of reasons, it did initiate some Canadians to question the extent of their knowledge regarding historic and contemporary acts of colonization. It confirmed for some disbelievers that residential schools were in fact forced upon First Peoples’ children, families and communities in this country and others. Raising awareness towards facing realities like these are starting points in the relationship healing and building processes. The Apology did not acknowledge the state’s attempts at genocide or stop the ongoing colonizing project, but it does the important work of cracking many mainstream Canadians’ impressions of Canada as a tolerant, kind and polite nation. 4 Findings: From Ucwalmicw perspectives, I have not “found” or discovered anything and it is inappropriate to label what my community has shared with good intentions as “findings.” I am more comfortable with naming the understandings that come to me upon implementing the sharings of my community as the actual findings of this process. First Peoples: This is the term that I use most often to keep us mindful of whose homelands we are in. Placed upon our ancestral territories by the Creator, First Peoples sustain strong and spiritual connections to our homelands. No legislation or other form of state construct can change the fact that we originate on Turtle Island. When not appropriate to cite a specific nation in my writing, teaching, and/or discussions – I use the term First Peoples, capitalized to demonstrate respect for the diversity of Nations I am referencing. First Nations: “In 1980, hundreds of Chiefs met in Ottawa and used “First Nations” for the first time in their Declaration of the First Nations. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood became the Assembly of First Nations, a political voice for First Nations communities in Canada. Symbolically, the term elevates First Nations to the status of "first among equals" alongside the English and French as 'founding nations of Canada” (http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/first-nations/, Para. 4). Futurity: “Futurity refers to the idea that members of a society ought to be able to experience that their own efforts and contributions to their society play a part in making it so that a vibrant future is possible for the coming generations and in the perceptual experiences of young people living today” (Whyte, Caldwell, & Schaefer, 2018, p. 13). Transforming Aboriginal education into Indigenous education has everything to do with First Peoples’ futurity. Gift/Gifting: From an Ucwalmicw perspective, “gift” is an action not an object. It is the process of reciprocation that creates and sustains harmony and balance in relationships. We gift Elders to demonstrate appreciation and respect for what they have gifted to us- their time and wisdom. It is not the object that is central but the mindful act of maintaining reciprocity and harmony in the relationship. I therefore use the word as a verb in this thesis to reflect Ucwalmicw understandings of this important process. Good ways: Beginning, being, and doing in good ways is to know and live protocols of respect, reciprocity, non-interference to foster relationship building and sustaining that centers on spirituality and harmony with all my relations. Helper Beings: First Peoples’ worldviews of land, plants, animals, air, water and fire do not see these life-giving and nurturing forces as resources, but as relatives or helper beings that are sovereign entities with roles and responsibilities, paramount to those of humans. My students ask if humans are Helper Beings and I believe we are not because as Russell Means put it, “Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other creatures are willing to give up their flesh that we may live” (2011, para. 32). Helper Beings (or relatives) can survive without us, we cannot survive without them. “Indian": While this inaccuracy is seen as offensive by many First Peoples, it is enshrined in the Settlers’ laws and legislation that are bound by precedent to early State proclamations and 5 policies in regard to First Peoples, in particular, Aboriginal Title. An important example is the Royal Proclamation, which was implemented not to protect First Peoples’ interests but the Crown’s in that it determined that no one but the State could negotiate land title with the “Indians". The Royal Proclamation acknowledges Aboriginal Title as existing prior to contact necessitating treaty making at the sovereign nation-to sovereign nation level. This 1763 Proclamation is enshrined in Section 25 of Canada’s Constitution Act (http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/royal-proclamation-1763.html) and continues to be the foundation of present day land claim cases. Therefore, as inappropriate as the word “Indian” is, it does something very important and I continue to use it in reference to such bodies of law and legislation. “Indian problem”: This concept represents a single story (articulated below) perspective that many Settler Canadians have regarding First Peoples. It is a perception that is fostered by the perfect stranger (articulated below) culture that I see engineered and maintained by what is and is not taught in mainstream education systems. The single story perspective knows only the stereotypical representations of First Peoples that perpetuates the idea that they/we are nothing but a problem that is in the way of ‘progress and development’ and of ‘great expense to Canada and its tax paying citizens’. Many educational programs and much contemporary literature continues to focus on ‘fixing the Indian problem’ with little or no recognition of the role that the Settler problem (articulated below) plays in obstructing transformation. Indigenist: This project contributes to the articulation of a critical approach to knowledge seeking, making and sharing processes that center on Indigenous voice and ways, political integrity and resistance. I have personally experienced all of these features as being necessary to my maintaining and expressing my Indigeneity within academia. This concept is further articulated in the theory chapter of this thesis and guides the methodological approaches enacted and disseminated in chapter four. Indigenous: This term references First Peoples in a global context and “…came into wide usage during the 1970s when Aboriginal groups organized transnationally and pushed for greater presence in the United Nations (UN)” (http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/?id=7400). The term originates as a strategic approach to making visible, towards rupturing, ongoing colonizing projects and terminating the negative effects they have on Original Peoples and their Motherlands Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKSs): A diversity of systems of coming to know and understand that are thousands of years old, experiential, local in nature, with distinct purposes that center on land, spirituality, relationships and harmony, among numerous other features. These systems grow out of the ancestral homelands of First Peoples and “…must be practical and purposeful… These ways of knowing are both cerebral and heartfelt” (Kovach, 2005, p. 28). More in-depth descriptions of IKS are provided in chapter two of this dissertation. In-Shuck-ch/N’Skets: This is the sacred mountain of the Ucwalmicw Peoples’ origins. It is spelled here first in English and I use this form when referring to organizations that use this spelling. The second spelling is in the Ucwalmicts language and I use this form in all other 6 references to the mountain. It can be found on maps of British Columbia under the colonial name of Gun Sight Mountain. Knowledge seeking, making and sharing: I do not separate education from research in this thesis as might be expected within academic conventions because I am working from within an Indigenist worldview that sees all things as being interconnected and interdependent. I use knowledge seeking, making and sharing interchangeably with education and research to demonstrate my belief that the processes referred to in this document are applicable to all phases of coming to know and understand which are inter-related and all part of the whole picture, whether they be learning, teaching or researching. Kukwstum̓ckál̓ap: (cook-shtum-cal-up) One person thanking more than one person in the Ucwalmicts language. Mainstream: I see mainstream as centered on monocultural ways that are, for the most part, privileged and fostered within all systems that ‘serve’ or ‘accommodate’ First Peoples. These systems are agents of individualism, consumerism, nationalism, and ultimately driven by capitalist values and aspirations, all of which are not Indigenous to Turtle Island. Mainstream, in my opinion, is to believe in and live by the idea that there is but one way of knowing, being and doing in this world, that there is one definition of success that we all must strive towards. Moreover, these ways are not spiritually, or relationship centered. Metaphor: Alongside the use of story, I take up metaphors in the facilitation and dissemination of this research project. The use of metaphor is a central practice in Indigenous oral traditions. Indigenous knowledges, histories, laws, experiences, teachings and values were/are embedded within Nation specific metaphors. The saying “all my relations” is not just a saying. Every time we hear the phrase, we are reminded of the roles we each play in maintaining harmony and balance in complex sets of relationships. Transcribed on mountains, helper beings, and even on the wind, we are immersed within the teachings that surround us in our daily lives through metaphor. Framing this written document as a loom and weaving process kept me ever-mindful of the need for action in this coming-to-understand project. Mono-culturalism: I do not like to use this term because I do not believe there is a monoculture. My concerns have more to do with a capitalistic, individualistic way of thinking, being, and valuing that is swallowing up and seeking to replace a diversity of beautiful languages, cultures and ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing. That, to me, is not culture because the work of cultures is to foster a sense of belonging, making connections, and responsibility that help shape one’s identity. Individualism and capitalism work very hard to sever those connections and replace them with the pursuit of getting into the haves as opposed to being in the have-nots’ segment of society. Nation: “The concept of the ‘nation’ is a European or Western one describing a Western view of a political, cultural and economic entity. Using this term to describe traditionally clan and family-oriented societies is one attempt of First Nations peoples to negotiate their way into the Canadian (political) consciousness” (Retzlaff, 2005, p. 621). This term is used to ensure clarity 7 when communicating with state and judicial systems about the rights, title and responsibilities of the First Peoples of Turtle Island. Native: I opt to not use this label because it does the work of erasing the diversity of First Peoples. Using ‘native’ perpetuates the belief that many Canadians continue to carry and that is that there is/was one ‘native’ nation, language, and culture. Re-educating requires the reiteration of many things, beginning with the names by which we reference First Peoples. Non-Interference Story: “Indigenous methods, such as storytelling, [are] a legitimate way of sharing knowledge…” (Kovach, 2005, p. 28). To honor Indigenous voice and ways I utilize storytelling as a valid and appropriate way to illustrate an example of pre-contact knowledge systems in chapter two of this thesis. The Non-Interference story is embedded with multiple layers of understanding and I have mobilized it in First Nations Studies 101 classroom discussions prior to engaging with the history and effects of the Indian Residential School system. Original Peoples: Along with First Peoples, I utilize this term when not referencing a specific nation. It reminds us that we are living, working, learning in and benefiting from the territories and ‘resources’ of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island. This fact can never be erased- not even by Treaty. Our/their: Because I am writing about numerous Indigenous knowledges, experiences and ways that are common between a great diversity of Nations, I shift between the use of their and our in my writing. I further use the term our when presenting the outcomes of this project because I view this work as being the result of the contributions of Samahquamicw and therefore it is not my but our study. Use of this term honors the paramountcy of the collective and includes those who have come before and those yet to come. “Perfect Stranger”: Susan Dion (2008) coined this position after her inquiry into how teacher candidates viewed their responsibilities to incorporate Indigenous content and/or processes into their teaching practices. Dion found that a majority of those surveyed emphasized that because they had no knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, they did not have the capacity to incorporate Indigenous content and pedagogies into their teaching repertoires. This position is, as Dion argues, “…informed simultaneously by what teachers know, what they do not know, and what they refuse to know… and for many, a response to recognizing that what they know is premised on a range of experiences with stereotypical representations” (p. 331). I agree with Dion that many Canadians prefer this position of “perfect stranger” to First Peoples and this greatly affects the learning environments with which Ucwalmicw learners engage. Plain Weave: “A plain weave is the process of pulling the weft thread (horizontal thread) over the first warp thread (vertical thread), then under the second, over the third, and so on until you get to the end of the warp threads”(http://www.theweavingloom.com/weaving-techniques-the-plain-weave/). This provides a very tight weave and was used on the border of the thesis weaving to demonstrate the resistant- to-change Aboriginal education framework from which Indigenous education is emerging. 8 Politics of distraction: These come in many forms and places and all play important roles in sustaining the project of colonization. Jeff Corntassel (2012) gives us pause to think deeply about how chasing after Indigenous rights is, in fact, a politic of distraction because it can divert us from living everyday as First Peoples. Graham Smith (2003) calls this distraction “watching the wrong door” as Indigenous Peoples are “kept busy” with activities that keep us from engaging with the deeper structural issues that sustain the status quo in Aboriginal education (p. 2). I view much of the literature and policy making on Aboriginal education as politics of distraction because the focus centers on adapting systems so that Indigenous students can ‘succeed’ in these colonizing institutions. Q’aLaTKú7eM/Q’aLaTKú7eMicw: The first spelling references the site on which some members of Samahquam of the Ucwalmicw currently reside, it is located within our ancestral territories at one of the sites on which we exited the canoe in our Ucwalmicw Great Flood origin story. The second spelling, which includes the addition of the letters ‘icw’, indicates I am referring to the Samahquamicw people who reside at the place called Q’aLaTKú7eM. Reconciliation: While many institutions are working to implement the TRC 94 Calls to Action (2015), it is important to note that, for many Indigenous Peoples, reconciliation is a highly contested concept. Winona LaDuke (2011) offers a definition that contributes to the all my relations pedagogical approach to teaching that is forming through the implementation of Ucwalmicw contributions to this project. LaDuke notes that reconciliation is about mutual healing and she illustrates this through story. An all my relations or Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a pedagogy is concerned with all students and bringing respect, balance and harmony to all relationships. Education systems will reconcile the past and present harms it inflicts upon Indigenous and non-Indigenous students when policy and practice mobilize this concept. Samahquam/Samahquamicw: The first spelling refers to one of the communities belonging to the Ucwalmicw Nation and the second spelling refers to the people who belong to the Samahquam community. I am Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw. Settler: This complex term refers to non-First Peoples who settle on and benefit in some way from the unceded and treaty territories and resources of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island. Many Settler Canadians, of diverse ancestral origins, profit in ways that the Original Peoples themselves do not/cannot. I use this term not to further divide Canadians and First Peoples, not to center on difference, and not to group diverse peoples and worldviews together, but to keep visible the ongoing political reality that is foundational to our inabilities to build respectful relationships. I do not promote a Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a pedagogy to dismiss, ‘get over’ or absolve single story attitudes or to make it possible for Canadians to distance themselves from the colonizing projects that work to varying degrees to privilege them. All need to know and come to terms with who we are beyond the identities constructed, perpetuated and/or imposed upon us by settler-colonialism/nationalism. The term Settler can be a source of discomfort for perfect stranger Settlers, and avoidance of those feelings has sustained the centuries old barrier to respectful relationship building with the Original Peoples of Turtle Island. However, to self-identify and mobilize as a Settler Canadian Ally, one can begin the process of coming to understand what it means to be Canadian, on these lands, in relation to First Peoples. This requires coming to terms with (reconciling) the truths about how Canada’s historic and 9 contemporary colonizing projects impede our abilities to come together to affect social and political change and justice for all. Settler problem: Regan (2010) calls on Settler Canadians to turn the lens inwards, to consider the ‘settler problem’ that they may knowingly or unknowingly play a contributing role in. There would be no ‘Indian problem’ without the ‘settler problem’ that is complacent in seeing mainstream ways and values as being superior to those ways that are Indigenous to Turtle Island. The approaches to truth-telling presented in this thesis and in my classroom lectures are shared with only good intentions that seek to make visible how students are, by design, trained to see only the ‘Indian problem’ that continues to divide Canadians and First Peoples. Single story: I end the first class in all the FNST 101(Introduction to First Nations Studies) and EDUC 440 (Aboriginal Education in Canada) courses that I teach/taught with viewing The Danger of a Single Story video (Adichie, 2009). Adichie discusses how seeing or knowing only the stereotypes of any group of peoples is dangerous because it is perpetuated by systems of power that flatten the great expanse of experiences and complexities of entire Nations. Adichie notes that while there may be some truth in stereotypes it is critical to understand that they are not the only story of any group. A single story perspective sees difference as deficit as opposed to seeing the beauty of diversity. A single story perspective sees them and us as opposed to we; it sees superiority and inferiority. It divides. The ‘Indian problem’ is one example of a single story perspective. Stl’atl’imx/Ucwalmicw/Ucwalmicts: Many community organizations that represent the 11 Ucwalmicw communities use the name Stl’atl’imx (southern dialect spelling) or St’at’imc (northern dialect spelling). However, in my community engagement sessions for this project, I learned that Stl’atl’imx is the name of a specific place in our territory and our proper name is Ucwalmicw. I use these two terms interchangeably because Stl’atl’imx has come to mean and is understood as referencing the Ucwalmicw Peoples. Changing the “w” at the end of the name of the People to “ts” indicates we are referring to the language of the people. Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a: This brief statement reminds us that everyone and everything is interrelated and interconnected. What affects one, affects us all. This phrase represents a complex set of guidelines for ways of being that center on spirituality and reciprocity which contribute greatly to building and sustaining harmony and balance in all our relationships. This includes all humans, all animals, plants, waters, the earth, air, cosmos, ancestors and those yet to come. In the Ucwalmicts language we say Tákem nsnek̓wnúk̓w7a (tack-um-in-shnook-new-kwa) for all my relations. Transformative: The Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw are represented by the frog and the frog is a symbol of transformation due to the metamorphic life cycle of this amphibian. Ucwalmicw perspectives of transformation are akin to how drastically the frog egg changes to a four-legged being that can survive on land and in water. The National Indian Brotherhood, now Assembly of First Nations, 1972 policy paper calls for equally substantial changes in Aboriginal education that see Indigenous student success that does not come at the expense of their Indigeneity while also acquiring the skills necessary to navigate the societies in which they are immersed. 10 Tribe/Tribal: I use these terms only in direct quotes followed by [sic] towards dismantling perceptions of First Peoples as being wandering bands of people with no governance, political, social, spiritual, legal, land stewardship and/or economic systems in place. First Peoples were/are responsible for vast areas of land, with distinct and intimately known territories, and movement with the seasons was a crucial component of tending to those lands, waterways and relatives in deeply harmonious ways. Being part of and not above the environments that sustain us, First Peoples’ expansive knowledges, governance and land stewardship systems reflect and are rooted in each Nation’s being in rhythm with the entirety of their ancestral territories. Twill: A weave where the weft yarn is cast over two warp yarns and under one, over two and under one creating a diagonal pattern (http://moa.ubc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sourcebooks-Weavers.pdf). Photo: (Gustafson, 1980, 98). Twine: The twining weave takes up two weft yarns, one passing in front while the other passes behind each warp strand. This makes for a tighter weave and is conducive to creating patterns in the tapestry/blanket (Figure 3 Twining). Retrieved from: http://www.burkemuseum.org/blog/coast-salish-weaving-tools-technologies. Warp: This weaving term refers to the foundational vertical yarns that mark the beginning of the weaving process, that is after all protocols and preparatory work have been completed. This yarn runs vertically up over the top rolling bar down and under the bottom roller bar, back up and over the top bar and down again across the width of the two roller beams. The number of wraps one does with the warp yarn determines the width of the finished weaving. Weft: Think, “weft is left to right” to remember that the weft yarns of the weaving process are the horizontal yarns that weave the pattern, color and/or texture into the blanket. Weft yarns are woven in from the left to right and right to left then left to right again until the desired length, pattern and/or story of the tapestry or blanket is complete. Western: refers to “… a mind-set, a worldview that is a product of the development of European culture. People are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook; they are acculturated to hold it (Means, 2011, para. 37). Western, to me, means colonizing and colonized; it references dominant, mainstream ideologies and practices that are consumed with perpetuating these ideologies and ideas across the globe. Education systems play a significant role in assimilating the masses into these Western perspectives that perpetuate individualism, naturalism and sever us from all relationships important to becoming fully human. White: Use of this term makes me feel as uncomfortable as using the word “Indian" to erase the diversity of Original Peoples makes me. I see it as a generalizing term that lumps a great multiplicity of peoples with a plethora of worldviews and mindsets into one group and I therefore use it only in direct quotes followed by [sic]. I believe the worldview people are referencing when they use this term is the Western colonizing mindset and values described in this glossary under the term Western. 11 Wholistic: Like Debassige (2010), “I include the “w” at the beginning of the term holistic because I too concur with Antone, Gamlin, and Turchetti (2003) when they make the distinction as follows: ‘Wholistic describes the Aboriginal philosophy in which ‘everything is related’ by virtue of shared origins and in which, by extension, the human being is considered an entire whole; that is, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally as an individual, in one’s family and extended family, one’s people, and with the cosmos in sacred relationships” (p. 10). Adding the “w” reminds me to be ever mindful of the “whole”, and not just the “holes” (or gaps) in the Aboriginal education tapestry. Wordarrows: We launch wordarrows at the colonial narrative every time we use our Indigenous stories, languages and pedagogies (Vizenor, 1978). Wordarrows create transformative space in which First Peoples resist “…the destruction of our collective memory” (McLeod, 2001, p. 31). I suggest that we must also dismantle the terminology and language of Aboriginal education because as McLeod notes there is power in the words we use. We must consistently employ terms and concepts that expose the ideas hidden beneath sanitized terminology that is designed to sustain the status quo. Making space in the introductory chapter of this thesis to deconstruct frequently used terminology is an example of wordarrows in action. Ucwalmicw: The People of the Land To honor the teachings shared with me by my Samahquamicw community, I acknowledge the traditional and unceded, ancestral territories1 of the Ucwalmicw. Located in the southern interior of what is now known as British Columbia, Canada, see Figure 2: Ucwalmicw Territory, our territory, extends north to Churn Creek and to South French Bar; northwest to the headwaters of Bridge River; north and east toward Hat Creek Valley; east to the Big Slide; south to the island on Harrison Lake and west of the Fraser River to the headwaters of Lillooet River, Ryan River and Black Tusk. (St’at’imc, 2016, para.9) The Ucwalmicw homelands are 2.2 million hectares in size (St'at'imc Government Services, 2015, p. 3) and the Nation is comprised of eleven communities. The lower or southern Stl’atl’imx includes the five communities of Samahquam, Xa’xtsa, Skatin, N’Quatqua, Lil’wat. The northern St’at’imc includes the six 1 www.biodiversity.org/assets/Taking-Natures-Pulse/figure-6.jpg Retrieved July 26, 2015 Figure 2 Ucwalmicw Territory 12 communities of T’it’q’et, Ts’kw’aylacw, Xaxli’p, Bridge River, Cayoose Creek and Seton Lake. “Ci wa lh kalth ti tmicwa (the land is ours). The St’at’imc hold Title, rights and ownership to our territorial lands and resources. We are Ucwalmicw (the people of the land). We are a nation, not an interest group” (St’at’imc, 2016, para.12). The Ucwalmicw Nation has never abdicated our responsibilities to our ancestral territories and at the time of this thesis weaving, no treaties had been signed to extinguish our rights and title. Ucwalmicw ways of life remain rooted in the places, waterways and mountains of our territories. Many of us continue to travel our ancestral lands from within the rhythms of our local environments to gather and reciprocate gifts of salmon, deer, cedar, devil’s club, xúsum2 and numerous other foods and medicines. Due to centuries of imposed spatial and ideological diaspora and because housing, employment, education and access to other important services are not available in many of our communities, the majority of Samahquamicw must travel from outside our home territory to engage in these rights and responsibilities. The Samahquamicw communal sites of today are located in a number of ancestral locations within the southern Stl’atl’imx territories. The largest is situated at Q’aLaTKú7eM (recently known as 33 Mile and/or Baptiste-Smith) and there are presently around fifteen houses and a fairly new cultural centre/band office located in this community. In 2014, Samahquam had a population of 366 people with 112 living on reserve and 254 living off reserve (AANDC Canada, 2015). Samahquam has five federally registered reserve sites within our unceded territories. There is a band-operated school, the Head of the Lake School, in Skatin serving grades kindergarten to nine, that is less than 15 kilometres past Q’aLaTKú7eM on the Duffy Lake Road. However, the majority of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw children attend schools in Mt. Currie and Pemberton. As 68% of the Samahquamicw population resides off-reserve (AANDC Canada, 2015), many attend public schools in Chilliwack, Mission, Hope, Burnaby and Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). There is no university located within the vicinity of Samahquam. The communities of Samahquam and Skatin are the remaining two of four southern Stl’atl’imx communities that initially started the treaty process with British Columbia and Canada in 1993. The In-SHUCK-ch Nation3 Interim Government has published numerous plans 2 Ucwalmicts for soapberry. 3 This name references the sacred N’Skets, which is an important mountain in our territory and Origin Story, that was taken on to represent these two of eleven Ucwalmicw communities currently engaged in the treaty-making process. 13 and documents outlining what they see as our community’s educational needs post treaty ratification. This organization’s research demonstrates that we have a great need for human resource education and development in all employment areas from small business ownership to land use planning, to housing inspection, as well as full time social and family service workers, administrative and service delivery staff, teachers, and health workers (In-SHUCK-ch Nation, 2006). Post-secondary education is clearly of great significance to the Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw and nearing the final stage of the treaty making process makes more urgent this need to fill in the gaps of Aboriginal education. Weaving Q’aLaTKú7eMicw study contributions into current practices is all about contributing to the creation of learning environments in ways that will receive Samahquamicw students in good and practical ways. Kicya7: Samahquamicw of the Ucwalmicw Through enacting the Indigenist principle of resistance I mobilize my Indigeneity in as many ways as is possible from within Western teaching, learning and dissemination processes. I turn now to honor Ucwalmicw/Indigenous protocols that require me to introduce myself to make explicit where I am from and what my experiences are to demonstrate how I am positioned to contribute to the discussions at hand. Absolon and Willet (2005) confirm that, “we resist colonial models of writing by talking about ourselves first and then relating pieces of our stories and ideas to the research topic” (p. 99). I further resist colonial expectations of thesis writing by first introducing myself through story where I make explicit experiential understandings of Aboriginal education and the effects it has had on all aspects of my humanity, not just the intellectual but the spiritual and emotional components of my Indigeneity as well. She was born and raised away from her ancestral Stl’atl’imicw community. Her mother was a beautiful young Samahquamicw woman, too gentle and soft-spoken to speak against the abusive German Canadian who was her father. She did not know if there was a place for her in this world, she did not know if she was lovable or if she had anything to contribute. She grew up ashamed of her Ucwalmicw ancestry – that which was the very core, the heart, and soul of who she was – as her own father and society told her she should be. So deeply rooted was this shame that it led her to be deathly shy and terrified of being the center of attention. She learned to become invisible and existed pretty much unbeknownst to her grade one through twelve Catholic school classmates and teachers. She became so comfortable in her invisibility that she chose to 14 wear it everywhere she went for it protected her from the gaze of those who resented her for having a Samahquamicw mind, body and spirit. Her skícza74 did not carry the Ucwalmicw ways of being or language for, from the age of 2, her mother had resided in the newly opened Coqualeetza Indian Sanatorium where she was treated for tuberculosis. Upon release from the sanatorium her skícza7 was sent directly to St. Mary’s Residential School where she stayed until graduation at which time she married and moved north with her husband, away from family, away from community, away from her language, culture and the land. She rarely heard her mother speak about her childhood years and/or experiences in residential school so she grew up not knowing what that part of her skícza7’s life felt like. She knew nothing about what was lost over those years and she had much to learn about the colonizing effects that education systems continue to affect upon her own and other First Peoples’ lives. Eventually she moved away from her mother and was raising four beautiful children of her own before thoughts of returning to school began to cross her mind. In her first semester of college, the English 100 instructor exposed her and her classmates to video footage of children in a residential school dormitory. She does not remember what the connection of the video was to the English course, but she recalls feeling fortunate that the room was dark when the class watched the film. Tears sprang from her eyes as she saw for the first time what it meant for her mother, aunties and uncles to have spent years in such a system. Her spirit crumbled as she internalized a heart-wrenching scream baffled as to how human beings could treat any child this way! She wished with all her might that she could go back in time to hug and love her young skícza7, stá7ta7 and seqsísqa75 and tell them over and over again how beautiful, brilliant, precious and loved they were and to make them promise her that they would never ever forget that. This moment in her life also filled her heart with understanding and empathy for the numerous First Peoples’ communities that endured and continue to suffer from the trauma of this abusive past… however, not all students felt this way… In another first-year college classroom – the group discussions between non-Indigenous and Indigenous students became heated and the words were coming out of her mouth before she even knew it— “We can’t just get over it! We can’t forget about our history when we continue to live with the fallout from it!” It would take 12 more years of education and connecting with family and community members for her to realize that we do not forget our history, we carry it with us; and we cannot forget that which continues to pummel us in contemporary times…. One of the most important things that she did over the course of her education was to return to her ancestral community to learn what it meant to be an Ucwalmicw woman. When she could not find the teachings within the university classroom or library she returned to the ancestral territory of her mother to learn and experience the ways of knowing, being and doing of the community to which she belonged. It is through these visits home that she came to trust for 4 Ucwalmicts for mother. 5 Ucwalmicts for aunts and uncles. 15 the first time in her life that she had much to be proud of, that she did have a place in this world, that she had much to contribute and that she also had many responsibilities. Áma sq̓it! Kicya7 nskwátsitsa6, éntsa Ucwalmicw. Good day. My name is Kicya7, I am Ucwalmicw. I belong to the Samahquamicw community of the Ucwalmicw and our ancestral language is the southern dialect of the Ucwalmicts language, which I recently learned is likely to be extinct by the year 2036. My grandparents are Kicya7 Annie Jim (Samahquam) and Smitty Jim (Skatin) and the name Kicya7 was given to me at a ceremony in Mt. Currie (Lil’wat) on December 15, 2008. Eight other women in our community received the name that day as well, demonstrating the importance of my grandmother Annie’s ancestral name, which means mother to all. Kicya7 was a true Elder, meaning that she walked the talk of being and doing in good ways with good intentions. All loved being around her because of the joy she showed whenever she saw us, she was always welcoming and loving. Kicya7 not only knew the history of our territory and peoples, she defended them fiercely. My kwékwa77 was also a cedar basket weaver and, as far as I know, the last in my family to weave baskets. The last cradle she wove for my now twenty-seven-year-old cousin is still being shared with and enjoyed by new babies in our family. Sadly, the story that opens this section of the chapter speaks to the type of family histories of most, if not all, First Peoples in Canada today. Dr. Georgina Martin (Secwepemc) calls this forced disconnect between culture, language, identity, belongingness and land, “legislated interference” (2014, p. ii). It is these imposed interruptions that sparked my interest in post-secondary education when I chose to begin my undergraduate studies at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, BC. The following year, I began my Bachelor of Arts journey by declaring a major in First Nations Studies (FNST) and a minor in Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). I soon realized that learning who I was as an Ucwalmicw person was taking priority over my political science interests as I focused on connecting with Samahquamicw family, community and ancestral ways in all of my undergraduate program assignments. This thirst for Ucwalmicw knowledge later led to my master’s study being grounded in that which I had not yet had the opportunity to engage with in 6 http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Northern-Statimcets/phrase/263907494d88baec/My+name+is+___________ Retrieved July 27, 2015. 7 Ucwalmicts for grandmother. 16 my FNST programs. While my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNBC were both in First Nations Studies I had not participated in Indigenous pedagogies, therefore my master’s project, Whispering the Circle back: Participating in the oral transmission of knowledge, centered on and was facilitated from within oral tradition approaches to coming to know and understand. In addition to many years of engaging with education systems as a student, I have been a sessional instructor with Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Aboriginal Bridging programs (ABP) since September of 2007, a sessional instructor with SFU’s First Nations department since January 2014 (FNST 101: Introduction to First Nations Studies, FNST 403: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Modern World and most recently FNST 286: First Peoples in BC), a sessional instructor with the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Teacher Education Office (TEO) from May 2014-July 2015 (EDUC 440: Aboriginal Education in Canada) and a sessional instructor in the Fraser International College (FIC) since September of 2014 (FNST 101: The Cultures, Languages and Origins of First Peoples in Canada). All of the courses listed center on learning from First Nations’ peoples and our histories and ways of being, doing, valuing and coming to know. Following the point that we can only know and write with authority on that which we have experienced (Absolon & Willet, 2005; Wilson, 2007; Kovach, 2009), I introduce this PhD thesis by connecting the study to myself through story and sharing details of who I am and how I came to be here. I reference my life, learning and teaching experiences to provide an important and necessary experiential snapshot from inside Aboriginal education8, to provide the context for and key motivating factors behind this research. These experiences coupled with aspirations for the health and wellbeing of First Peoples in our own homelands initiated and sustain my ongoing interests in and commitment to broader approaches to the transformation of education. Through my master’s and PhD programs and my teaching experiences, I understand the importance of practice and of experiential learning and these precepts of Indigenous knowledge systems are critical to the work of transformation. Taiaiake Alfred (2005), a Haudenosaunee scholar and activist who greatly inspires and motivates me, as does settler ally, Paulette Regan (2010) have both argued that it is how we untangle ourselves from colonizing knowledge systems that is 8 I use the term Aboriginal education to signal to the reader that I am referring to the literature, policies and practices that tend to focus on adapting policy, pedagogy and/or practice for the better inclusion and increased success rates of Indigenous students. 17 critical to the processes of transforming colonizing education. We must mobilize Indigenous pedagogies to better internalize and come to understand that there are ways of seeing, being, doing, knowing and valuing in the world other than those that are currently privileged in contemporary models of coming to know. Project Overview Guided by the central tenets of Lester-Irabinna Rigney’s (1999) Indigenist paradigm, namely, resistance, political integrity, and privileging Indigenous voice,9 Samahquam community members and I engaged Ucwalmicw methods to draw out the protocols and processes of Stl’atl’imicw knowledge seeking and making that could contribute to the ever-emerging tapestry of Indigenous education. This process was guided by the following research questions, 1. How can Ucwalmicw processes of knowledge seeking, making and sharing disrupt mainstream understandings of Aboriginal education? 2. In what ways can the facilitation of Ucwalmicw ways of seeking, making and sharing knowledge contribute to the transforming processes of Indigenous education? Within the coming to know, weaving and writing processes of this thesis, I demonstrate how applying Ucwalmicw protocols and pedagogies in the mobilization of Indigenous education recommendations facilitate respectful and localized approaches to making change. The Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions shared in this dissertation weaving offer relationship-building centered approaches to the positive work already well underway in transforming the delivery and outcomes of education systems. Local Contributors – Ucwalmicw Community Engagement In order to respond to the first research question as to how Ucwalmicw processes of knowledge seeking, making and sharing might disrupt mainstream understandings of Aboriginal education, it was necessary to first confirm what those processes are. Two Sharing Circles (held in Q’aLaTKú7eM on December 22, 2013 and February 2, 2014) and one community survey (administered at an Annual General Assembly in Mission, BC on July 19, 2014) were facilitated. 9 I prefer to consider this precept as the honoring as opposed to privileging of Indigenous ways and I use honor Indigenous ways from this point forward. This is likely due to the negative connotations attached to common understandings of the concept of privilege that I believe is highly dependent on the colonial project. 18 The subset of questions 1-3 below was asked and considered in a Sharing Circle format over the two above-noted sessions in the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw community Cultural Centre. These guiding questions were designed to determine what Samahquamicw Peoples identify as Ucwalmicw ways of coming to know. 1. What are the protocols around knowledge seeking and making in regard to Ucwalmicw education? 2. What are the processes of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking and making? 3. What is our vision of education for Samahquam? These queries were posed to the community so that we could begin by defining what the protocols and processes of coming to know are for the Ucwalmicw peoples. It is these Indigenous ways that center on balance, harmony and the importance of relationships that have much to contribute to current models of transforming Aboriginal education into Indigenous education. This is evident in the way that community contributors preferred to be identified in the upcoming written and oral disseminations of their knowledge sharing. The name chosen by the 20 contributors who participated in the two Sharing Circles noted above is Q’aLaTKú7eMicw. These participants felt that because we came to these understandings through group dialogue and collective remembering that it was appropriate to self-identify as the collective, Q’aLaTKú7eMicw. I differentiate between the two Sharing Circle contributions by adding the date in which the knowledge was shared (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2013 or Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2014). To further clarify which information came from the survey responses, I cite that information as Samahquamicw, 2014 because the on and off reserve community members were present and participated in that process. I opt to differentiate the information because the methods used in Q’aLaTKú7eM were not the same as the survey approach in Mission. We are all Samahquamicw, but not everyone who participated in the survey process was at the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharing circles. The two approaches are clarified in chapter four: Ucwalmicw Knowledge Seeking and Sharing of this thesis. Responding to the second research question, “In what ways can the facilitation of Ucwalmicw ways of seeking, making and sharing knowledge contribute to the transforming processes of Indigenous education”, required the implementation of community sharing to determine the answers. These Ucwalmicw ways were shared with me with intention, that is, with 19 the understanding that I would apply them and learn from my experiences with doing so. This is the pathway to deeply understanding how Ucwalmicw protocols and pedagogies can function in a diversity of learning environments with which Samahquamicw students are/are not engaged. “When someone gives or shows you something, they are also giving you permission to use or do it” (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2014). This Ucwalmicw teaching makes explicit the intentions behind what is shared with us. The experiential coming to know responses to this second query are disseminated in chapter six: Weaving Ucwalmicw Ways into Aboriginal Education Policies and Recommendations. Following an Indigenist paradigm, a contemporary approach that emanates from within Ucwalmicw practices was employed in this project. A collection of Ucwalmicw protocols and processes guided present-day approaches to bringing community together for the purposes of knowledge seeking, making and sharing. The methods taken up are local in nature and honor the fact that Ucwalmicw ways are not, and have never been, static. Times have changed, as have our reasons for seeking and sharing knowledge and our audience has expanded to include communicating with the non-Indigenous communities in which we are immersed. Therefore, ancestral protocols like opening sessions with prayer, drumming and smudging were honored to prepare the contributors and me to engage in good ways with the upcoming work. Community members contributed their thoughts and teachings in Sharing Circles while I recorded their words on flipcharts posted on the walls around us. The flipcharts were reviewed, adapted and/or added to as seen fit by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw at the end of each session. We shared meals together, I offered hand-made gifts to reciprocate for the time and knowledge shared, and each day concluded with drumming and singing. More detailed information regarding the two Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sessions and the Samahquamicw general membership meeting survey process is provided in chapter four: Ucwalmicw Knowledge Seeking, Making and Sharing. Study Intentions Even amidst the shifting perspectives and recommendations that I have sought and continue to seek to address, as an Ucwalmicw10 student and educator I continue to see and experience gaps 10 Ucwalmicw (and/or Stl’atl’imx) is the name of the First Peoples’ Nation that I belong to, anthropologists refer to us as the Lillooet of the Interior Salish. Samahquam is one of the 11 communities of Ucwalmicw and Q’aLaTKú7eM is 20 in the ways that Indigenous education is considered and delivered in the majority of classrooms. This is extremely problematic considering the degree to which the Samahquamicw depend upon mainstream systems to educate our Nation members in ways that do not require us to leave our Indigeneity at the classroom door. A plethora of report and recommendation documents continue to reference the central tenets of the federally endorsed Indian Control of Indian Education Policy Paper (ICIE) (1972) that sought to ensure this for all Indigenous students. Towards transforming Aboriginal education into Indigenous education, I provide four foundational strands into which community contributions may be woven. Therefore, this dissertation loom is warped with good intentions as put forward by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), the Accord on Indigenous Education (Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) 2010), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action (2015) and An Audit of the education of Aboriginal students in the B.C. Public school system (OAGBC, 2015). Although each document advocates for transformation, it will likely not come to fruition so long as change-making processes continue to center on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student success rates (ICOIE, 1972; RCAP, 1996; ACAATO, 2004; ACDE, 2010; Laboucane, 2010; Friesen, 2013). While these documents make mention of the need to educate all Canadians about First Peoples’ histories and systems, the majority of attention continues to focus on meeting the ‘unique’ needs of Indigenous students. This approach, I argue in this dissertation, is problematic because it perpetuates colonial worldviews that see First Peoples as being the problem as opposed to the system itself. It is this entrenched and accepted understanding of transformation that this PhD project ultimately addresses. Coming to understand what it means to self-identify as Canadian in relation to the First Peoples, lands and resources of this continent is, for the most part, overlooked and/or ignored in current systems of education. Most, if not all, students in the First Nations Studies courses I teach enter the classroom with the belief that it is only Indigenous peoples who are colonized. I know this because at the beginning of every semester, I ask each group, “Who is colonized?” Student responses range from the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada to Indigenous peoples around the world. Students are invariably surprised to learn that they too, by design, are implicated in the colonizing project. Institutional tendencies to focus only on Indigenizing spaces and curricula one of the residential sites within Samahquamicw territory. Adding ‘icw’ to the end of the word is like adding ‘ian’ to the end of Canada to indicate identifying as Canadian. 21 so that they are more welcoming and accessible to Indigenous students serve to concretize the “Indian problem” perspective of First Peoples’ “success” (or non-success) in mainstream education. Regan (2010) attributes such tendencies to the settler problem and so long as the difficult to face aspects of our shared histories and contemporary situations remain non-existent in public classrooms, Aboriginal education will, by default, continue to perpetuate the problem. This in turn will continue to foster the colonizing myths of superior and inferior peoples and of ‘valid’ and ‘invalid’ ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing within our societies. While creating welcoming and Indigenized spaces for Indigenous students is imperative, it is but one strand in the overall tapestry of responses essential to transforming Indigenous education. It is not just the presence, or lack thereof, of Indigenous faculty, staff and content in the curricula that directly affects Ucwalmicw experiences in mainstream systems. There are many other strands requiring our attention and action. Towards addressing the gaps generated by these tunnel vision perspectives of transforming Aboriginal education, I draw upon the local, community contributions of the Ucwalmicw. To ensure respectful engagement with my Samahquamicw people, I was guided by an Indigenist framework that centers on the local protocols and practices of the participating community. Proceeding in this manner demonstrates my appreciation for ways of coming to know that are so instrumental to my seeing the need for a humble and wholistic perspective of, and Ucwalmicw approach to, facilitating substantial change. 22 Setting the Loom: Weaving as metaphor and process The…loom is first a mirror to reflect who you are now, then a window to imagine who you would like to become, and finally a doorway through which you will step into the realization of that vision (Merrill & Estell, 2007, p. 1). Images of Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) and state defined and imposed approaches to Aboriginal education are reflected in this loom as mirror. Through the loom window, we envision how Ucwalmicw ways could be woven in to further strengthen the transformative approaches to education reflected in the loom as mirror. The understandings that have come to me through implementing Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharings represent stepping through the doorway of the loom to actualize the visions viewed through this thesis frame. The loom and dissertation blanket weaving are metaphor and they are process. The loom metaphor provides the structure for the writing of this thesis. Transforming Aboriginal education does not take place in policy and recommendation making; our actions are necessary to create meaningful and enduring change. The weaving metaphor represents the undeniably interwoven historical, current and future relationships between First Peoples and Settler Canadians. I heed the calls of Alfred (2005) and Regan (2010) to center on process by activating the guiding principles of Rigney’s (1999) Indigenist paradigm through metaphor and through the weaving process to demonstrate that transforming Aboriginal education does not occur in one corner of the classroom if, and only if, there are Indigenous students present. To engage in this PhD dissemination process in an Ucwalmicw way, I not only use weaving as metaphor, I also physically engage with it to wholistically come to understand the significance of the bodily and spiritual act of weaving. I honor Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing by learning and practicing blanket weaving while simultaneously writing the dissertation that is guided by the loom and weaving processes. I do this so that the physical, emotional and spiritual capacities to learn can contribute to my abilities to consistently write Figure 3 Setting the loom 23 from a good space with good intentions. The act of weaving engages all aspects of the weaver. annie ross11, Cherokee/Mayan weaver extraordinaire, tells us that it is in the making that we are made (ross, 2010). Weaving the blanket while writing the dissertation contributes to my own transformation and provides me with key experiential and deep understandings of how Ucwalmicw ways can contribute to enhancing education systems. This act mobilizes the Indigenist principle of resistance as I resist being consumed by and contributing to academia’s self-privileging perpetuation of dominant ways of thinking, being, doing, and representing. Indigenist Dissertation Loom and Weaving: Guiding framework To honor the teachings gifted to me by the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributors, I have opted to represent this study and our12 ‘findings’ in a manner that perpetuates Ucwalmicw ways of coming to understand and share knowledge. I insert the word ‘findings’ in single (scare) quotes to denote the fact that these are not findings from an Ucwalmicw perspective, but the sharings-with-good intentions of the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw. These gifted teachings, some of which are thousands of years old, require implementation and reflection for the meaning making process to begin. It is in reflecting on my experiences with mobilizing Samahquamicw teachings that I come to understand. This means that I do not merely intellectualize that which has been shared with me in the knowledge seeking process. Additional, experiential steps are required to deeply understanding the intentions behind Ucwalmicw sharings. Referencing Q’aLaTKú7eMicw teachings through the Ucwalmicw practice of weaving pays tribute to Indigenous protocols and practices from within a colonial institution that typically assumes the perpetuation of Western systems of knowledge production. These status quo approaches reflect the more “…predictable structure...that the academic world recognizes and reproduces” (Purnell, Beaulieu, Dick, & Phelps, 2008, p. 227). To share Ucwalmicw teachings in Ucwalmicw ways requires the use of a different form and the 2-bar loom provides the structure 11 I do not capitalize annie ross’ name to respect her personal preference for how her name is printed. annie ross is a faculty member in Simon Fraser University’s First Nations department. 12 When using the word “our”, I am referring to the understandings that have come to me through my engagements and communing with Samahquamicw family and community members in not only my master’s and PhD programs, but also in my community work and participation in community events and activities; such as, contributing to and participating in ancestral offerings and naming ceremonies. I am referring to our collective work and contributions. 24 needed to weave Ucwalmicw practices into the tapestry of Indigenous education in good ways; Moore (1995) cautions us on the dangers of employing the preferred practices of academia, from an Indigenous perspective, we continue to function in this new system by participating in the very social formations that were instrumental in our own oppression. To participate in them means denying, at least to some extent, the value and authenticity of the Indigenous social formations that have been replaced and suppressed by the colonial formations. (p. 5) I will not contribute to the further suppression of Indigenous ways in the sharing of Ucwalmicw work, and therefore, I take up metaphor and wool blanket weaving as respectful, more meaningful ways to put forth the teachings shared with me. This approach to honoring Indigenous voice and ways further facilitates my ability to maintain political integrity, self-determination and resistance throughout this PhD project. The Indigenist paradigm provided the space in which Ucwalmicw protocols and priorities could take the lead in and guide this potentially colonizing PhD process. I am responsible for Ucwalmicw contributions and for maintaining their integrity over making them intelligible in academic circles. Metaphors provide a culturally appropriate and anti-colonial way to do this. Before taking up this metaphor and practice, I honor it by providing important, contextual information to make explicit the fact that these are spiritual, emotional, physical and not merely intellectual practices that inform the wholistically coming to understand processes of this PhD and life learning project. I turn now to providing this contextual information. The protocols, processes and purposes behind Ucwalmicw blanket weaving While the cedar basket weaving of the Ucwalmicw peoples is more commonly known and practiced in contemporary times, I have not seen or heard much about the goat- wool blankets once weaved in our communities. Elder Aunty Laura Purcell told me that we used to weave blankets from dog hair and goat wool and that my grandfather, Smitty Jim, was a mountain goat hunter. Teit (1906) notes that Ucwalmicw blankets “… seem to have been woven in the same style as among the Fraser Delta Tribes [sic]” (p. 210) and Gustafson (1980) reports that young girls learned to weave around the age of ten and were guided by their grandmothers. The making of blankets was a community-wide activity, with men and women working together to gather the 25 wool from mountain goat nests, to trade for the woolly dog fur, to build the looms and tools and to spin the wool and weave the blankets (White & Cienski, 2006). Used by the more affluent members of the community, the Salish13 Peoples prepared wool weavings for use as bedding and cloaks and made others for ceremonial purposes (Wells, 1969). The Coast Salish Nobility wool blankets served, “…many roles in traditional life; they were used for ceremonies, as currency, as potlatch gifts, as payment of ceremonial workers, and as dowries” (White & Cienski, 2006, para. 1). Squamish Nation Hereditary Chief, Janice George-Joseph, speaks to the power of the cloak as being not only protection from the elements but, perhaps more importantly, the provider of spiritual protection for the person wearing it (Diamond Head Films, 2011). ross (2010) expands on this understanding, traditional teachings about making things are spiritual, physical, and mental, and in turn strengthen those aspects in the maker. The making is multifaceted, necessitating… a degree of mental wellbeing and spiritual openness with internal calm. The item produced is then able to carry forth good feelings and strength, to help its owner/wearer through challenges in life. (p. 57) It is in making these gifts of strength and protection that the weaver too becomes strong and protected. We receive and/or maintain that which we gift to others. Good intentions woven into the blanket also foster good outcomes for the weaver. The spiritual nature and power of the weaving process and the finished blanket are garnered through intentional and specific acts: Before handling the treasured goat wool, the weaver underwent ritual purification. Normally, it took a woman a month to weave the blanket and during this period, as it is with other specialists working with sacred materials, she was celibate. The prayers and songs women used during the month-long weaving process ensured ancestral energy strengthened the garment. (White & Cienski, 2006, para. 14) When we drum and sing our songs and when we pray we are calling upon our ancestors to watch over and be with us as we undertake this sacred task. The ancestral wisdom, strength and energy present around the weaver are woven into the blanket or cloak on the loom. This process thereby expands the notion of ‘our’ to include our ancestors and those yet to come who will enjoy the warmth and protection of the completed blanket. 13 This is an anthropological reference for a diversity of First Peoples whose ancestral territories are in what is known as the interior plateau regions of Turtle Island. 26 Oliver N. Wells (1969) writes that Salish wool weaving is not as well-known as the weaving of other Nations, such as the Navajo, due to the ease of access to Hudson’s Bay blankets which, sadly, led to blanket weaving falling out of practice. While wool weaving is not as prevalent as it was in the past, the purposes behind ceremonial cloaks and blankets continue. It is not uncommon to witness at community events today the gifting of blankets to show respect for and to honor the leaders in our Nations. I have learned that wrapping a blanket around someone’s shoulders symbolizes wishes of warmth, strength and protection for the receiver while acknowledging the good work that they do. That person need only wrap them self in the blanket to receive these gifts when needed. I take the time and space in this dissemination process to describe the deep meaning and spirituality behind the preparation of materials, weaving, the weaver, community and gifting of the finished blanket because it is these ways of approaching the act of weaving that inform how I must proceed with writing the thesis blanket. There is much significance behind the making and gifting of our blankets and I must fully honor that when accepting the gifts of the Ucwalmicw loom and weaving process. The weaving metaphor is fitting for a number of reasons, the main one being that weaving is a practice that involves body, mind and spirit. This realization led me to acknowledge the need to not only write the thesis blanket but to also actually weave it. Therefore, “Cúz̓lhkan lhúlhucwen ku slap̓”14 while I write, to keep me mindful of and connected to this need for wellbeing and spiritual openness throughout this Indigenist academic process. It is not appropriate to use weaving as metaphor only. Making this blanket makes me; it strengthens all aspects of my humanity as I become Ucwalmicw by weaving good thoughts, intentions and aspirations into this much more than academic process. Lavallee’s (2007) teachings speak to the fact that I will be weaving myself into this work and for the outcomes of it to be positive and beneficial, it is important that I keep this in mind throughout the writing process. Physically weaving the blanket while writing the thesis simultaneously highlights the intentions behind coming to know both from an Ucwalmicw and a Western academic perspective. Weaving the blanket provides the space for my transformation as an Ucwalmicw person. The writing of the research onto this thesis loom provides the space in which to share how Q’aLaTKú7eMicw teachings can be applied for the benefit of all learners. This is very important to the people of 14 “I’m going to weave a blanket” http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Northern-Statimcets/word/1a4fd0c01d13d0e1/weave+something+%28to%29 Retrieved March 3, 2016. 27 Q’aLaTKú7eM who greatly inform not only this work, but who I am as an Ucwalmicw woman. Coming to know from Indigenous perspectives is all about processes that build and sustain harmony and balance in relationships. Community contributions are shared from that place. It is my intention to ‘read’ the completed wool tapestry at my doctoral defense for, as Lavallee (2007) notes, “using symbols in research is an ideal approach that truly reflects an Indigenous method” (p. 135). I further intend to read the woven blanket to my Samahquamicw community before gifting it to them to reciprocate for their kind sharings and wishes for me and Ucwalmicw education. I will wrap our dissertation blanket around Samahquam with the best of intentions for meeting our educational needs in the best of ways. The Dissertation Two-Bar Loom Before describing how each aspect of the loom and weaving process relates to and guides the thesis writing process, I present the components of the loom and weaving activities on their own as they relate to the actual weaving of a blanket, garment or tapestry. There are different types of looms, but it is the two-bar loom of my ancestors that guides the weaving and writing process presented here. There are four sides to the two-bar loom structure, two vertical support beams and two horizontal rolling bars onto which the weaving of the dissertation blanket is done. The stationary support (vertical) beams run parallel to the foundational warp yarns and the rolling bars run parallel to the weft (left to right-horizontal) yarns. The top and bottom roller bars rotate in the slots provided in the stationary, vertical beams and allow the weaver flexibility in positioning the section of blanket being worked upon. The weaver can easily roll the completed section of the blanket onto the back of the loom to position their work at eyes’-height no matter how near they are to completing the tapestry. This type of loom allows the weaver to create longer blankets within a shorter loom frame. I demonstrate next how the loom frames this dissemination process and then make explicit which features of the study are represented by the warp and weft yarns that will weave together to present the PhD dissertation blanket. 28 The two-bar loom provides the frame on which to weave Ucwalmicw pedagogies and purposes (weft yarns) into Indigenous Education principles and recommendations (warp yarns). The four sides of the loom represent the first four chapters of this thesis and provide the context onto which the dissertation is woven. In Figure 4: Top Roller Bar, the yellow horizontal bar represents chapter one of the thesis that begins with wordarrows. before moving on to introduce the Ucwalmicw Peoples and myself as Samahquamicw peoples who bring a diversity of experiences and aspirations to the dissertation topic. In this first chapter, I also introduce Rigney’s (1999) guiding principles of Indigenist theory and methodology; I present an overview of and the purposes of the study and provide the research and community engagement guiding questions that inform the dissertation process to come. I then describe how the loom and weaving metaphor and practice represent and guide the dissertation weaving. The blue bottom roller bar of this dissertation loom represents chapter two, Indigenous Education: The Ever-emerging tapestry (See Figure 5: Bottom Roller Bar). This chapter provides the history and context of how we came to be where we are in Aboriginal and Indigenous education today. I review policies and practices of forced assimilation through segregation and integration and then provide an analysis of responses to these assimilating models and practices that have been and continue to be implemented as a result of the federal government’s 1973 endorsement of the National Indian Brotherhood’s (now Assembly of First Nations) 1972 Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE) Policy paper. I close the chapter by articulating how this project can contribute to an expanded understanding of transforming Aboriginal education. An overview of chapter three is then provided. Figure 5 Top Roller Bar Figure 4 Bottom Roller Bar 29 Chapter three, Guiding Principles: Indigenist Theories is signified by the teal left vertical post) of the loom (See Figure 6: Left Post). This theory chapter provides an in-depth consideration of Rigney’s (1999) three guiding principles, plus two additional tenets that were necessary for me to live out the Indigenist theoretical framework. This chapter demonstrates how Indigenist theory makes space for local approaches to coming to know and share knowledge which guided me to center on Ucwalmicw ways throughout this project. Chapter four, Ucwalmicw Knowledge Seeking and Sharing provides our loom with the equally important and necessary right vertical post (colored red) in Figure 7: Right Post. In this chapter, I share the Ucwalmicw methods used in this project and provide a summary of the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions. Together these four chapters define the parameters of and the context for this PhD study. They provide a wholistic framework to proceed from in that they are all intertwined and interconnected in intellectual, spiritual, physical and emotional ways. Who I am, who the Ucwalmicw are, connects in multiple ways not only with the weaving metaphor and process, but also with the teachings shared by Rigney (1999) and most certainly with the contextual history provided in the literature reviewed in chapter two. These four chapters provide the frame on which to weave Ucwalmicw teachings in to Indigenous education recommendations. Figure 6 Left Post Figure 7 Right Post 30 Weaving as process and metaphor With the dissertation loom set, we are ready to take up the yarns that will weave the dissertation story onto the loom. In Figure 8: Warp Yarns, we see that chapter five, Warping the Loom with Good Intentions for Indigenous Education, provides the foundational yarns of the dissertation weaving process to come. The warp yarns wrap vertically around the top and bottom roller bars and represent four examples of recommendation documents published after the federal government’s endorsement of the 1972 ICIE policy paper. I provide an overview of each document as it relates to Indigenous education and identify two key strands from each to act as the foundational warp yarns of this dissertation blanket. It is fitting that these taut and stationary strands represent Indigenous education recommendations because without the weft yarns, without the weaving action, they too remain static, incapable of facilitating transformation on their own. It is appropriate to use the warp yarns to represent these Indigenous education reports because they are important and provide the strength and support needed to withstand the act of weaving to come. Chapter six, Weaving Ucwalmicw Ways into Indigenous Education forms the horizontal weft yarns seen in Figure 9: Weft Yarns. These strands are woven in from left to right and right to left and back again and are the yarns that bring life, energy and perspective to the tapestry. The weaving in of the weft yarns tells the dissertation story, they make visible the intentions of the weaver and they build upon the strength provided by the warp yarns and the loom itself. I begin chapter six by articulating the meanings behind the chosen Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions before demonstrating how they can twill and twine into and activate the underlying principles of Figure 9 Warp Yarns Figure 8 Weft Yarns 31 Indigenous education. Chapter six models how local knowledge systems can be woven into classroom environments in ways that promote and foster respectful relationship building. Chapter seven, Reading and Gifting the Finished Blanket, is the closing chapter of the thesis and is represented in Figure 10: Completed Blanket. In this chapter, I ‘read’ the completed dissertation blanket by reflecting on how Chapter six responds to the research guiding questions. I demonstrate how this project can build upon the transformative processes that are becoming increasingly evident in public education systems. In the discussion segment of this chapter I reflect on how the implementation of Ucwalmicw protocols and pedagogies made manifest a Tákem Nsnekwnúkw7a (All my relations) pedagogy that provides a gentle and caring way in which to expand upon current approaches to making change for Indigenous students. I close the chapter with some discussion on the practice of gifting in Ucwalmicw ways and current thoughts on what the next blanket will cover. Chapter Summary In the initial drafts of this writing process I sought to present an entirely Indigenous perspective, an Ucwalmicw centered viewpoint of this weaving framework and dissertation. However, through accepting the gifts of feedback from my committee I find myself now viewing this project from the wholistic perspective that my community members were also pointing me towards in our Sharing Circles and survey sessions. I cannot consider Ucwalmicw education outside of or without the Aboriginal education framework that it is inevitably weaving into, just as I cannot consider transforming education outside of or without the entire student population. Focusing on Indigenous students is important work that must continue on. However, that is but one small piece of what needs to be done. While the deeply meaningful and spiritually centered two-bar loom frames the blanket I am weaving for Samahquam, the tightly woven border of the Figure 10 Completed Blanket 32 blanket itself represents the boundaries and constrictions from within which Indigenous education is emerging. The tapestry that is framed by that border represents Indigenous Peoples’ ongoing resistance to Aboriginal education systems and the Indigenous education policies and Ucwalmicw protocols and practices that operate within and challenge these systems. The designs, textures and colors of the dissertation blanket weaving represent the vibrancy and possibilities of honoring Indigenous voices and local ways in this ever-emerging tapestry of Indigenous education. Having articulated the top roller bar that represents the introduction to the people, the project and its intentions, we proceed on to the second chapter of this dissertation. In chapter two, embodied by the horizontal, bottom roller bar of the dissertation loom, I review a diversity of approaches to and contexts of Indigenous coming to know pre-and post-contact to make visible the reflections of Aboriginal education present in this dissertation loom. 33 Chapter 2 Indigenous Education: The Ever-Emerging Tapestry This practical framework for weaving is, as we will explore, also a framework for refocusing our awareness in order to transform how we envision our lives (Merrill & Estell, 2007, p. 14). Chapter Overview The dissertation loom provides the framework, or contextual information, that informed the design and textures of the PhD tapestry woven in to it and presented here. Chapter one, which represents the top roller bar of the loom, honors Indigenous protocols around beginning in a good way through making introductions. Beginning and being in a good way is all about knowing and honoring protocols. Protocols are actions that remind us of who we are and what our responsibilities are in the building and sustaining of respectful relationships with all beings. Weaving on the loom reminds me to refocus my attention to center on Ucwalmicw ways, to reflect, to smudge, and to approach the dissertation writing process in the same way so that visions for transforming Aboriginal education remain clear and strong. In this second chapter, represented by the bottom roller bar, Figure 11 Indigenous Education: The ever-emerging tapestry, I untangle an array of purposes, protocols, policies, practices and learning environments that provide important contextual information for this project. I invoke Indigenous pedagogy by beginning with a story of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKSs) that offers one example of the thousands of years of IKSs that thrived before the imposition of foreign institutions. I then tease out the central tenets and vigors of these complex and wholistic approaches to coming to know and understand by weaving in a diversity of teachings as shared by Indigenous Knowledge carriers/practitioners; Barman, Hebert and McCaskill (1987); Cajete (1994); Battiste and Henderson (2000); Castellano (2000); Castellano, Davis and Lahache (2000); LaFrance (2009); Aluli-Myers (2003 & 2008); McGregor (2004 & 2009); Little Bear (2009); Anuik, Figure 11 Indigenous Education: The ever-emerging tapestry 34 Battiste and George, (2010); Simpson, (2011) and Wilson, (2013). I do so to demonstrate that IKSs are alive and well with much to weave in to the tapestries of Indigenous Education. A synopsis of post-contact state education policies, practices and purposes is provided before presenting a sampling of Indigenous responses that follow up on the National Indian Brotherhood’s (NIB) publication of Indian Control of Indian Education Policy Paper (ICIE) (1972). I reference the many and substantial contributions of Indigenous scholars/practitioners; Marie Battiste (2002; 2005; 2010), Jo-Ann Archibald (2016), Jan Hare (2002; 2011), Hare and Sarah Davidson (2016), Jeannette Armstrong (2000), Angelina Castagno and Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (2008), Leanne Simpson (2011), Seth Agbo (2002), and Deborah McGregor (2004; 2009). To narrow the scope of this potentially unmanageable project, I summarize key aspects of the Wilson and Battiste (2011) environmental scan of models that support Aboriginal post-secondary education. I then situate the contributions that this study has to make to the ongoing transformation of Indigenous post-secondary education through making explicit how Q’aLaTKú7eMicw offerings connect with the models outlined by Wilson and Battiste. First Peoples’ Knowledge systems To honor Indigenous voice and to keep us mindful of the thousands of years of spiritual, social, governance, economic, health, environmental and educational systems that existed on Turtle Island15 prior to the arrival of the first wave of settlers, I begin this contextual chapter with a presentation of the underlying protocols, pedagogies and purposes behind Original Peoples’ coming to know and understand. To answer Rigney’s (1999) call for political integrity in the dissemination process, and ever mindful of the fact that if I am not resisting, I risk succumbing (West, 2000), I honor Indigenist protocols and practices by first presenting this overview of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKSs) through story. “Storytelling… is a lens through which we can envision our way out of cognitive imperialism…where we can experience the spaces of freedom and justice” (Simpson, 2011, p. 33). Ucwalmicw pedagogies enacted through story telling in this PhD dissertation writing are more than acts of resistance, they represent and ARE 15 Indigenous term often used in reference to what has come to be known as North America. 35 the resurgence of Ucwalmicw ways of knowledge seeking and sharing within my coming to understand processes. Non-Interference Story She was only 10 years old but already she knew much about the world. She knew she was loved, safe, that there was a place for her and that she had much to contribute. All the wisdom of her ancestors was being passed on to her through stories, dreams and ceremonies that engaged her mind, body and spirit. She spent her winter days listening to the stories of her Ucwalmicw people and with each telling she understood more of what they had to impart. Many hours of the day were spent watching her skícza716 and sta717 do the work she herself would practice through play and she had responsibilities that were fitting for a ten-year-old, such as returning to the river the buckets of zúmak18 insides collected by the women who so expertly cleaned this main source of life. She took pride in knowing what was expected of her and why it was important that she fulfill those responsibilities. She enjoyed the singing, drumming and dancing that taught her about the connections between the families, communities and Nations – about honor, respect and about sharing as well as the importance of laughter and enjoying the company of others. She participated in the rituals that built, amongst other things, discipline and gratitude, routines like rising on each new day to give thanks to the four directions for another day of life and then proceeding to honor that gift through the entire day. She was exposed from a very young age to the importance of the land, the plants, air, animals and waters that gave and sustained her and her family’s and community’s health and well-being. She knew which plant life was to be picked and which would make her sick if touched or ingested. She had a sound understanding of what to harvest when and how and she enjoyed digging roots with the sta7 in the early spring. She watched the more-than-humans for signs of impending danger or inclement weather and she valued the wisdom and strengths of each of these relatives as they informed how she and her community would live off the land and with each other. For this reason, she and her people gave thanks to each plant and animal that gave itself for the life of her community, reciprocating for each through the offering of gifts, by using every part of the plant or animal and by returning to the earth those small portions that could not be utilized. No part of any gift was ever wasted. Her connections to the territory were woven into the story of the sacred sqwem19 – the story that told her where she came from, what her connections to ancestors, territory and neighboring peoples was while it taught how to walk a good path in harmony with all. She understood and honored the responsibilities and history that came with carrying the name the 16 Ucwalmicts word for mother. 17 Ucwalmicts word for aunt. 18 Ucwalmicts word for salmon. 19 Ucwalmicts word for mountain. 36 Elders gave her not long ago and with speaking the Language that carried the wisdom of ancestors from time out of memory. Knowledge was a gift left at her feet for her to take up20 and carry with her and she knew that understandings would come when they were needed for she had experienced this several times already in her young life. From the first stories she had ever heard she came to know the importance of valuing others regardless of their age, gender or personality. She truly valued the little ones who looked up to her, the older youth from whom she learned much about what was to come, the adults who modeled the roles she would fill in her own adult life and the Elders whose soft and loving eyes warmly welcomed her whenever they saw her. She learned that all beings and things had smáwal̕21 – and all had responsibilities and equal rights to be, none more important than the other. This teaching was the foundation of the respect that she held for herself, for everyone and everything. At this tender age, she was also fully aware of the protocols around death and how to behave during feasts and ceremonies. She participated in the drumming and singing that carried the families through the grief of their great loss so that they would not trap their loved one here by getting stuck in this great pain. She further participated in the drumming, songs and dances that gave thanks for and celebrated the many gifts of life. She prepared for the fast approaching puberty ritual that would mark her transition into the next stage of her life in the community- where she would join the women and take on the same roles and responsibilities that they lovingly carried and fulfilled. Responsibilities that would one day require her, as an Elder, to share her own life stories and experiences — such as the story about the day she opened the shiny metal box she found on the riverside just last fall. She would always remember how it had washed up onto the sísxets22 right in front of her as she stood watching the sun dip slowly behind the sacred sqwem and how the sounds of motion coming from inside had enticed her to carefully slide open one corner of the box to see what was making the strange noise. She was amazed to find within the confines of this tiny package a complete and different world—a world that revolved around a tiny, slowly turning mechanical wheel. She wondered at the persistence of the little beings inside that pushed and struggled and strived to stay in sync with the revolving wheel. Those who were not kept busy by this task appeared to be intent on convincing others to get in time with the wheel – some pushed – some taunted or made promises of a better life while others used belittling remarks and gestures to coax the beings that fell away to get back in line. Unlike the cajolers who stood straight and tall, overarching and sure, she noticed the slumping, shriveled appearance of those being forced to take a path not chosen by them and she sang a song of healing and encouragement for them all. In each corner of the metal box was another slowly turning mechanical wheel. Each was smaller than the other – and all four together were smaller than the main central wheel. She 20 Elder Gerry Oleman, Ucwalmicw. 21 Ucwalmicts word for spirit. 22 Ucwalmicts word for shore. 37 noticed that the center of each of the smaller wheels was also surrounded by strong and confident beings that strived to run in time with the motion emanating from the center. Each of the four corner wheels also had its own groups of cajolers and sullen, spirit-broken beings resisting less and less the push into the center. The only difference that she noticed with the smaller wheels was found in that they also had an outer ring of beings that were being swept into the outer orbits of the large, central wheel. She wondered if perhaps these beings had simply given up to float spiritless to whichever corner of these worlds they ended up in… and she worried that they might never find their way back home. She wondered why being in sync with the center was so important that some of the tiny beings felt inclined to hurt and force others to follow this path that they had chosen for themselves. And she wondered where this strange little package came from and suspected it was likely a trick sent by nkyap23 to teach her something important. Although she found the tiny world trapped inside that little metal box beautiful, interesting and very, very curious she worried about what might happen should the lid stay off through the night and, honoring the teachings of non-interference, she placed the lid securely back on the box and set it gently upon the water to continue its travels down the river as she turned to the scent of zúmak roasting over the fire24. Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the rigors of which are embedded throughout the preceding story/metaphor, were well established and functioning before the arrival of the first wave of Settlers. “First Nations people have long understood that education is a lifelong continuum of experience gleaned from interaction with one another, with all of nature (seen and unseen), as well as with all of the cosmos” (LaFrance, 2000, p. 101). Central to First Peoples’ knowledge systems is the need to maintain harmonious and reciprocating relationships between humans, more-than-humans, and with the environments (McGregor, 2004) that sustain all: It is important to understand that in the Aboriginal worldview, knowledge comes from the Creator and from Creation itself. Many stories and teachings are gained from animals, plants, the moon, the stars, water, wind, and the spirit world. Knowledge is also gained from vision, ceremony, prayer, intuitions, dreams, and personal experience. (p. 388) McGregor is sharing that when we are observant, mindful of and connected to our surroundings, when we respect and honor the fact that everything is interrelated and that “…all 23 Ucwalmicts word for Coyote. 24 Schneider, J. (2014). Taking an Indigenist approach to research: Engaging wise ways of knowing toward a vision of Stl’atl’imicw education. Indigenous concepts of education: Toward elevating humanity for all learners. (Ed.) van Wyk, B. & Adenjii-Neill, D. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, Pp. 125-137. 38 are energy and spirit” (Little Bear, 2009, p. 9), we become receptive to learning from plants, animals and the stars. Ancestors come to us when needed and, interestingly, they have visited me in my dreams during the writing phases of both my MA thesis and PhD dissertation. The title of my master’s thesis was whispered to me in a dream about painting my hand drum and an ancestor showed me how to warp my dissertation loom when I was struggling with getting it right. Castellano refers to this as “revealed knowledge” which is a gift of spiritual origins (Castellano, 2000, p. 24). To be open to learning from ancestors, and all living things is to be connected to all my relations (McGregor, 2009). Indigenous knowledges are “…the expression of the vibrant relationships between people, their ecosystems, and other living beings and spirits that share their lands…” (Battiste & Henderson, 2000, p. 42). Knowledge comes to us “…through the quality of our relationships, and the personalized contexts we collectively create. The meaning comes from the context and the process, not the content” (Simpson, 2011, p. 42). It is through being in relation to all things that we come to understand the intentions behind knowledge seeking, making and sharing. All of Creation is of value and deserving of respect as is demonstrated in a diversity of Origin Stories in which even the tiniest of Helper Beings makes human life and survivance possible. It is the muskrat, “…the most humble of the water creatures…” (McGregor, 2004, p. 387) who is able to bring up a paw full of mud, making it possible for the world to come into being upon the great Turtle’s back in the Anishinaabe Re-Creation Story. It is the little black water spider that retrieves fire from the Sycamore tree in the Origin Story of the Cherokee Fire People as shared by Crit Callebs (Nivi, 2013). All my relations are helpers and teachers in Indigenous systems of coming to know. Building and sustaining harmonious relationships with all beings requires reciprocity, meaning we too must be humble and giving. All my relations, meaning “…the broadest sense of kinship with all life” (Cajete, 1994, p. 91) is rooted in the understanding that everything is animate and has spirit and “…knowledge, from an Indigenous perspective, is the relationships one has with ‘all my relations’” (Little Bear, 2009, p. 7). These are the understandings to which Indigenous Knowledge seeking, making and implementing are twined. Local in nature, Indigenous Knowledge Systems are concerned with the surviving and thriving in good and balanced ways of individuals, communities and nations in specific environments: 39 Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is part of the collective genius of humanity. It represents the accumulated experience, wisdom and know-how unique to nations, societies, and or communities of people, living in specific ecosystems of America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It represents the accumulated knowledge of the earth’s people that represent over 5000 languages and cultures contained in more than 70 nation-states…this knowledge has to be understood from an Indigenous context. (Little Bear, 2009, p. 7) Information, histories and values are recorded on the landscapes of our territories. The Ucwalmicw Flood Story, for example, comes to mind every time I cross Kicya7 Bridge. “Our Elders tell us that everything we need to know is encoded in the structure, content and context of these stories…” (Simpson, 2011, p. 33) and the Flood Story that is tied to the sacred N’Skets Mountain which sits at the end of Kicya7 Bridge, reminds me of my connections and responsibilities to place, peoples and more-than-humans throughout the ancestral lands of my Nation. Barman, Hebert, and McCaskill (1987) concur, noting that the importance of acquiring skills that lead to the learner’s survival within a particular environment greatly informs the diversity of content and context-specific knowledge sharing that occurs in diverse systems of Indigenous coming to know. Barman et al (1987) write that in Indigenous Knowledge systems children observe ways of being that promote good attitudes and the knowledge needed “…to function in everyday life within the context of the spiritual worldview…inculcating awareness of the proper conduct within a person’s family, clan, community and nation” (p. 3). The intentions behind coming to know and understand center on becoming fully human (Cajete, 1994) and do not stop at the honing of intellectual skills. The integration of place, product, person and process is achieved in ceremony and prayer (Colarado, 1988). Experiential understandings lead me to agree with McGregor, who states that “IK is also the process of learning this knowledge and the personal development that occurs along with this process” (2004, p. 392). It is in the doing that we find the intentions and meaning behind teachings that are shared with us and it is through experiential learning that we are transformed. Indigenous knowledge systems are perpetuated through observation, experience and knowledge mobilization and shared via the oral tradition (Hare & Davidson, 2016). Knowledge comes to us in wholistic and cyclical ways through lifelong learning processes and practices (Barman, Hebert, & McCaskill, 1987; Castellano, Davis & Lahache, 2000; Little Bear, 2009). 40 Histories, values, laws and experiential stories of how to be are embedded within our languages, (Burrows, 2008) metaphors, written on the constellations and the land and transcribed in our rituals, on our hearts and in our weaving patterns and choices of yarn colors. As Hare explains, “Our dance, music and ceremonies are ‘text’ that spell out meanings with each beat and step about who we are, and our place in this world” (2002, p. 261). These systems of meaning-making and transmitting knowledge, worldviews and ethics are validated “… through actual experience, stories, songs, ceremonies, dreams, and observation” (Little Bear, 2009, p. 10). An example of these Indigenous forms of literacy, including the use of metaphors, that I share with my students, involves the teachings of the four foundational Helper Beings; Earth, Water, Air and Fire. It is in being raised with the understanding that the Earth is our Mother that we grow up seeing her as a very dear relative, she who gives and sustains our lives. Viewing Mother Earth in this way establishes an interrelational connection that is built on love and respect. When explaining how wind is seen as the “…intermediary plane which connects the spirit world to our own” (AFN, N.D. Para. 1), I share how every time I feel the wind on my face I am reminded that I am also a spiritual being. I am connected to and must be ever mindful of the spirit world. Indigenous teachings are ‘written’ upon those beings and things that surround us in our everyday lives. We are immersed in the teachings and this is how we come to be IN relation with knowledge and all my relations. McGregor expands on this idea when she shares that “IK is not just about knowledge about relationships with Creation or the natural world; it is the relationship itself. It is about being in the relationships with Creation; it is about realizing one’s vision and purpose and assuming responsibilities accordingly” (2004, p. 391). Viewing the Earth as Mother leads me to respect and honor her and that in turn stimulates a sense of responsibility for her in me. I must reciprocate for the life that she gives. Respect is a key guiding principle alongside knowing one’s responsibilities, which are internalized and manifest in our lives by Indigenous Knowledge Systems that teach us to see our Mother every time we set foot on the ground and to connect with our spirituality whenever we feel the wind upon our face. Indigenous Knowledge systems are wholistic in nature, concerned with the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical nurturing and growth of the learner to the benefit of all life. Indigenous Elders, practitioners and scholars believe that to identify, comprehend, and nourish the learning spirit requires educators to recognize that all learners are "spirit, heart, mind, and body" (Anuik, Battiste, & George, 2010, p. 65). All are a part of creation, and have a purpose 41 that is, most importantly, driven by their spirit. And, “…just as spiritual life [is] part of daily activity rather than confined to a church, education [is] woven into everyday activities…living and learning [are] integrated” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 8). This approach to practical learning facilitates and models having a good attitude and aptitude for right action25 (Southam, 2013) in our daily lives. All aspects of our humanity and our learning are inter-related and interdependent. Coming to understand has everything to do with ‘becoming fully human’ and knowing our responsibilities to everyone and everything. This establishes and maintains the all my relations intentions and protocols behind coming to know and understand. We honor Knowledge as a gift from the Creator (McGregor, 2009) through mobilizing teachings in our lives so that we may be transformed by the spiritually centered processes of coming to understand. We are immersed in the ‘documentations’ of IK that are transcribed on the land (Hare, 2002) and we are woven into the teachings as they are woven into us. These are the systems that First Peoples continue to carry within and perpetuate and these are the systems that have much to contribute to the emerging tapestries of Indigenous education. To distinguish between the systems that I am referring to in this dissertation, I use Indigenous Knowledge Systems when referencing the diversity of ways of coming to know that are reflected in the pre-contact systems briefly described above. These structures are as diverse as the Nations from which they come, and this is due to the role that land and environment play in the development of Indigenous systems. The land is diverse across Turtle Island, therefore the languages, cultures and systems that grow out of them are equally diverse. Though state designed and operated Aboriginal education seeks to erase and replace these systems of coming to understand, Indigenous Knowledge continues to grow from the “…accumulated body of knowledge of the remaining Indigenous groups in the world which represent a body of ancient thought, experience and action that must be honored…” (Cajete, 1994, p. 78). IK systems are lived and practiced. They offer a diversity of ways in which learners might be immersed in the protocols and processes of coming to know that honor and respect all life. I turn now to provide contextual information on what I see as Aboriginal education for the purposes of disseminating this project. I use this term to indicate that I am referring to the 25 Dr. Shawn Wilson teaches that right actions are about mobilizing knowledge so that it might become wisdom and of benefit to the collective- behaving properly when gaining knowledge is not about individual prosperity, but the collective well-being of the current and seven generations to come. 42 systems of education imposed upon First Peoples with the clear intentions of supplanting Indigenous Knowledge Systems as a key tool in the colonizing project. I do so because the term and concept Aboriginal, like Western education systems in the homelands of First Peoples, is a state executed construct. The next section of this chapter provides an overview of the policies, practices and intentions behind Aboriginal education. Aboriginal Education: State approaches to solving the “Indian Problem” Interference Story …. Although she found the tiny world trapped inside that little metal box beautiful, interesting and very, very curious she worried about what might happen should the lid stay off through the night and honoring the teachings of non-interference she slowly lowered the lid to cover the box when a flash of lightning struck a tree in the forest behind her and the following clash of rolling thunder startled her. Losing grip of the tiny world in her hands, it fell onto the water as she turned to run to the warmth and safety of the s7ístken26 fire. Little did she know that the tiny beings that toppled out were scrambling on to the shore of her community and as their feet touched the sacred waters the beings began to grow in size and determination as they wondered at the beauty of this strange, uninhabited and new world, each rushing to stake his claim… Staking one’s claim in this ‘empty and vacant new world’27 soon proved to be a far more arduous task then what the newcomers might have anticipated. The Nations of Original Peoples that held strong and spiritual connections to their ancestral lands and resources (or relatives from an Indigenous perspective) of Turtle Island soon became the “Indian problem”28 that stood between settlers and their hunger for land, wealth and power (York, 1992). Contrary to commonly held beliefs, control over Indigenous territories was not acquired as the spoils of some great war, because “…Canada could not afford an Indian [sic] war…” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 7). For this reason, access to land and resources was assumed through the assertion of 26 Ucwalmicts word for pit house. 27 This concept of Terra Nullius was and continues to be utilized as a form of self-justification for settler encroachment upon very much inhabited and wholistically cared for territories. Foundational to this concept is the belief in one superior way of being, doing and knowing which made invisible the highly functioning, well-established systems of governance, spirituality, education, economics, etc. that flourished in pre-contact Turtle Island. Manifest Destiny lured settlers here by appealing to their sense of a God-given right and duty to ‘civilize’ the ‘savage’ and bring ‘progress’ and ‘development’ to the entire continent (Miller R. , 2011). 28 This term is placed in scare quotes because it represents a single story, superior/inferior perspective of First Peoples based on stereotypes and ignorance. 43 foreign British declarations and legislation and through the imposition of policies and practices that protected colonial interests in land by declaring that only the Crown could negotiate with First Peoples for title29 to their ancestral territories. With the transfer of the British North America Act of 1867,30 Canada assumed fiduciary responsibility for First Peoples while simultaneously adopting policies of assimilation (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003; Wilson & Battiste, 2011) as the most efficient route to erasing the connections between First Nations and their territories. The main instrument for this undertaking of forced absorption into Canada came to be the Indian Residential School System, which, as legislated by the Indian Act 1876, was implemented for the express purpose of enfranchising its Indigenous students. To attain a grade eight or higher level of education meant the “Indian" had been ‘civilized’ into Canadian society and therefore, as a citizen, no longer the responsibility of the federal government (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). Indian Residential Schools: Segregate to Assimilate and Dominate The first institutions of Aboriginal education operated near Quebec City between 1620-1629. Administered by the Recollects (Miller, 1996) and the Jesuits (Milloy, 1999) Indigenous children were taught “…religion and the French language, so that they ‘would be made French in heart and mind’” (p. 14). By 1820, the Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Peregrine Maitland, proposed ‘civilizing’ all First Peoples through “instruction and industry” (Milloy, 1999). Maitland’s recommendations for doing so were implemented over the next 30 years in schools created specifically for Aboriginal children (Milloy, 1999). In 1842, the Bagot Report proposed the establishment of as many labor and industrial schools as possible marking the official starting point of the residential school system in Canada (Ryerson University's Aboriginal Education Council, 2010, p. 2). Five years after the Bagot Report was published, the Department of Indian Affairs asked Egerton Ryerson for suggestions on how to implement residential schooling for Aboriginal children (Ryerson, 1847, p. 73). Ryerson’s response is telling: 29 See Royal Proclamation 1763 http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/royal-proclamation-1763.html 30 http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/constitution/lawreg-loireg/p1t13.html Section 91(24). 44 It is a fact established by numerous experiments, that the North American Indian cannot be civilized or preserved in a state of civilization (including habits of industry and sobriety) except in connection with, if not by the influence of, not only religious instruction and sentiment but of religious feelings (1847, p. 73). Due to his influential status, Ryerson “…was taken seriously by the Department of Indian Affairs and most of his suggestions were implemented in the educational system for Aboriginal children” (Ryerson University's Aboriginal Education Council, 2010, p. 3). Established across this country, Indian residential schools were designed for the sole purpose of separating Indigenous children from “…the influences of their parents and their community, so as to destroy their culture” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 1). In the words of Captain Pratt in 1891, “[t]he solution of the Indian problem hinges upon the destruction of the present systems and in the devising of means that will disintegrate the tribes [sic] and bring them into association with the best of our civilization” (Lajimodiere, 2012, p. 8). Church and state worked hand-in-glove to implement mutually beneficial policies of “… eradicating Indian [sic] cultures through their children’s schooling into the dominant society” (Barman, Hebert, & McCaskill, 1987, p. 1). It was believed that this approach to Aboriginal education would make light the work of transitioning Indigenous Peoples into Western ways when applied early in the child’s development. Between the late 1880’s and the early 1900’s, when the system came into full force, almost 70% of First Nations’ children were removed from their loving families and communities, from their childhood homes and territories as colonial law required First Peoples to send their children to Indian Residential and day schools31 (Hare & Barman, 2000). The First Nations’ child in these institutions of indoctrination was always hungry, lonely and bereft of parental/familial love, nurturance and guidance (Hare & Barman, 2000). A stark contrast to the Indigenous Knowledge Systems that prevailed pre-interference, these children were expected to learn in often hostile environments from, typically, sub-standard teachers who had no instructional training and who were generally more concerned with saving souls than with the tutelage of their wards (Hare & Barman, 2000; Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003). 31 These were local schools located on the reserve. Teachers were usually the local minister, priest or nun. These schools were usually segregated, even if the children were near a public school (http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/IRSR10-Part1.pdf). 45 Many would not survive what Wilson and Battiste (2011) refer to as the “assimilation and enfranchisement model” (p.11) of Aboriginal education with “[f]ifty per cent of the children who passed through these schools… not liv[ing]to benefit from the education which they had received therein” (Quoting Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs, Duncan Campbell Scott, 1913) (Truth and Reconciliation, 2012, p. 29). Furthermore, because children were often punished severely if caught speaking their ancestral languages or practicing traditional ceremonies, those who ‘survived’ did so at the expense of their very identities and the relationships so vital to their own Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Even under these all-too-often traumatizing conditions, reports of the oblates who worked with them indicate those First Nations’ children who endured did academically well in these schools and sometimes better than their non-Indigenous counterparts.32This prompted a hasty change in policy and practice when settler society felt threatened by the possible employment competition of First Peoples’ graduates (Truth and Reconciliation, 2012, p. 29). In 1897, the Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, reported that, “We are educating these Indians to compete industrially with our own people, which seems to me a very undesirable use of public money” (Barman, 1986, p. 120). Aboriginal education policy and purpose then shifted to that which ensured the assimilation of the Indian child but only to the extent that he/she would not rise above the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder (Barman, 1986; Schissel& Wotherspoon, 2003). The new “half-day system” that ensued (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003; Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012) led to instructional hours and activities for First Peoples’ children being cut in half. More emphasis was placed on building the skills required for the station in, preferably on-reserve, life (Hawthorn, 1967) deemed appropriate by the colonial mindset. The bulk of the Indigenous child’s oft-long school day came to be devoted to prayers and to chores that ensured the upkeep of the school (Hare & Barman, 2000). This shift in policy and practice guaranteed that most “… would receive an inferior education” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 16). By 1930, 97% of residential school students had not achieved an education beyond Grade 6 compared to 67% in the broader 32 Non-Indigenous orphans, deviant and/or neglected “immigrant” children of poor settlers were enrolled in Industrial Schools premised on the Residential School model with the intentions of training these students so that they might become contributors to Canadian society (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012). 46 general student population (Truth and Reconciliation, 2012, p.16). This ‘gap’ in Aboriginal education persists to this day. Further, due to the free labor potential that the wards of these schools provided, students spent more time outside the classroom than they did learning. Under the pretext of work experience, First Nations children and youth did everything from hauling wood, picking rocks from farmers’ fields, and harvesting the crops of local, non-Indigenous communities (Miller, 1996). These schools soon came to be seen as a source of revenue for the growing settler populations and this system of free child labor led to residential schools being highly sought after by newcomer communities (Miller, 1996). This first imposition of Aboriginal education functioned as “…social laboratories in which a people’s beliefs and ways could be refashioned…” (Miller, 1996, p. 119) and represents a key mechanism for the “...economic and cultural absorption...”of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003, p. 44). The Residential School policy of segregation sought to, as Pratt is well known for saying, “kill the Indian and save the man” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012) through spatial and ideological diaspora (McLeod, 2001). The schools’ focus “… on replacing the spiritual understandings of place with versions of Christianity and modernity” were an overt attempt to “…replace tribal [sic] identities with modern nation-state identities and erase the traditional territorial maps from the minds of Aboriginal students” (Marker, 2015, p. 484). The central motivating factor was to exile First Peoples from their/our territories, languages, stories and cultures to disconnect us from our inherent relationships with and responsibilities to all our relations, land, family, community and nation to the extent that we were fully assimilated out of our rights and titles (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003; Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012). It is important to situate the origins of Settler state ideas of Aboriginal education and the role that it plays in the “…subjugation …and cultural genocide…” (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003, p. 35) of First Peoples when considering what education was, is, and what it seeks to do. I argue this because I continue to see that remnants of these intentions remain willfully intertwined within the foundational yarns of Indigenous and non-Indigenous schooling. These first impositions of state philosophies of ‘educating’ First Peoples were facilitated through practices of segregation; that is separating children from not only Settler society, but also from family, love, nurturance, and ancestral Nation identity. The goal of these first attempts at Aboriginal 47 education was seeing, as Duncan Campbell Scott envisioned in 1920, every “…single Indian [sic] in Canada…absorbed into the body politic” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 12). We can see that Indian residential schools were not about ‘becoming fully human’. Aboriginal education was not about relationships centered in spirituality and harmony. These institutions of education were most concerned with molding the “Indian" into a broken Canadian citizen, floating spiritlessly and unattached to the lands and Helper Beings of our ancestors. Aboriginal education, from the start, has been about erasing the “Indian problem” by erasing all of the relationships that sustain our spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual wellbeing. Provincial/Public School Systems: Integrate to assimilate The next phase of Aboriginal education was well under way by 1960, as the government of Canada grew weary of administering (Hawthorn, 1967) and funding the costly residential school system that was not achieving the desired results. After a century of working with and funding churches of all denominations to impose the Indian residential and/or day school systems on First Nations, it became clear to the government of Canada that the First Peoples of this continent were proving extremely resilient to these costly attempts at forced assimilation. This realization, coupled with the landmark report, A Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada - Economic, Political, Educational Needs and Policies, more commonly known as the Hawthorn Report of 1967, led to the Liberal government’s attempt to pass the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy,33 more commonly known as the 1969 White Paper. Hawthorn’s report cited the need to move away from the segregation of First Peoples to their integration within provincial public schools (1967). Canada used this recommendation to further justify its policies of full assimilation as proposed in the White Paper (Agbo, 2002; Assembly of First Nations, 2009). This legislative maneuver detailed, among other things, the disintegration of the Indian Act34 within five years to transfer the federal government’s fiduciary responsibilities for First Nations’ programs and services, including education, to the provinces (Battiste, 1995; Carr-Stewart, 2009; Paquette & Fallon, 2010). Hawthorn’s recommendations to integrate First Nations’ children into provincial schools aligned nicely with the federal 33 The document is accessible at: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100010189/1100100010191 34 http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-5/ Retrieved July 26, 2015. 48 government’s desire to get out from under the administrative burden of, and the expenses attached to, the building and upkeep of separate systems of education for First Peoples. Again, in the interests of economy, Indian Affairs sought to collaborate with Boards of School Trustees to build and operate schools that would serve both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students (Raptis, 2008). Amalgamation of mainstream and Aboriginal education systems would be less financially draining on federal coffers while speeding up the process of assimilation by immersing First Nations children within the Canadian student body. Due to the Depression and World War II, this move was of great interest to the economies of the provinces that were in dire need of financial support. Building public schools became more likely when the province was open to supporting the integration of Indigenous students which, due to its fiduciary obligations to First Peoples, required funding support from the federal government (Raptis, 2008). This offloading of responsibilities was made possible through an amendment to the Indian Act that allowed the federal government to legally transfer the schooling, including some post-secondary education, of Indigenous peoples to the provinces. British Columbia (BC) “…amended the School Act to allow school boards and the province to enter into cost-sharing agreements with Indian Affairs for both tuition and capital costs for educating Aboriginal children” (Raptis, 2008, p. 121). Fifty-seven integrated school agreements were endorsed across the country, twenty-two of which were in the province of BC (Raptis, 2008). As the intentions behind this new approach to Aboriginal education continued to be the “…progressive integration of the Indians [sic] within the entire Canadian family from sea to sea…” (Hawthorn, 1967, p. 41) no serious steps were taken (or necessary from the colonizing perspective) to prepare provincial teachers for the influx of First Nations’ students into their classrooms. No inclusions or enhancements were made to the curricula and/or pedagogies of these public-school systems that were now responsible for the absorption of Indigenous students into Canadian ways of knowing, being, doing and valuing. While this new tactic was “…termed ‘integration’, as opposed to ‘assimilation’…the old goals of enfranchisement remained” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2012, p. 19). An absence of discussions and/or inclusions of Indigenous languages and cultures in the processes of integration led Hawthorn to conclude that the aim was to allow the diversity of Indigenous languages to disappear (1967). Enfranchisement, in the case of First Peoples, thereby meant full assimilation into everything 49 Canadian. Full integration was the only path to First Peoples becoming ‘full citizens’ (Raptis, 2008, p. 119) with equal, not unique, rights and status. This approach to Aboriginal education continued to center on the social engineering of First Peoples, and it is not surprising to learn that, “BC Aboriginal children’s truancy and drop-out rates were … as high as fifty-five percent and their achievement rates very low” (Raptis, 2008, p. 124). Educators and school staff attributed these ‘failures’ to the Aboriginal learner and their families, citing traditional lifestyles that only required hard work in “fits and starts”, parental indifference to schooling and/or lack of at-home support for learning as being the main contributing factors (Raptis, 2008). Others, however, saw the bias in curricula and teachers, alongside a lack of Indigenous teachers and representation on local school boards as equally to blame (Raptis, 2008). In the 1960s, “textbook revision was under way and [Indian Affairs Education] branch officials negotiated with the provinces to purge public school curricula and texts of negative images and stereotypes” (Raptis, 2008, p. 128). By 1970, the Department of Education was developing teaching materials that better represented the lives of First Nations students for use in the education of Indigenous students (Raptis, 2008). These changes to curricula appeared to have little effect on the success rates of First Peoples’ and many felt it was because, “…the Aboriginal child faced two conflicting pressures: ‘one to ignore non-Indian [sic] society, the other to accept it,’ resulting in an impossible learning situation” (Raptis, 2008, p. 129). This type of pressure was inevitable in classrooms that privileged Western methods, values and perspectives: Integration viewed as a one-way process is not integration and will fail. In the past, it has been the Indian [sic] student who was asked to integrate: to give up his identity, to adopt new values and a new way of life. This restricted interpretation of integration must be radically altered if future education programs are to benefit Indian [sic] children. (National Indian Brotherhood, 1972, p. 25) This attempt at Aboriginal education in Canada is also failing miserably in a number of ways because it is, “… nothing more than co-education that lends support to the contention that integration efforts were synonymous with the federal government’s earlier assimilationist schooling agenda” (Titley, 1981, p. 20). The degree to which adaptations were/were not made to 50 curricula and teacher preparedness resulted in the Indigenous students suffering identity crises and exposure to racist discrimination in these environments that made invisible the histories, strengths, beauty, cultures, languages and contributions of First Peoples’ ancestries and contemporary lives. Failure to acknowledge and honor Indigenous Peoples and their ancestral connections to the territories on which these schools continue to perpetuate colonial mindsets, further exposes First Peoples to “…processes of cultural assimilation” (Hare & Barman, 2000, p. 349) that constitute “both epistemological racism and cultural genocide” (Cole, 2000, p. iii). Raptis (2008) speaks to the growing sentiment that sought to change the tapestry of formal Aboriginal education and notes that as, “…Canada’s [post-war] ‘equality revolution’ unfolded, provincial authorities increasingly affirmed their support for achieving educational parity for Aboriginal children by adopting much broader notions of schooling to include linguistic, cultural, psychological and social services” (p. 137). While understandings like these may appear to be good-intentioned, the fact is they originate in and foster a “cultural deficit” perspective (Raptis, 2008) that continues to measure success by students’ abilities to achieve in Western/monocultural institutes of learning for the purposes of becoming full and contributing Canadian citizens. Aboriginal education is woven into this dissertation blanket using policy and practice strands that demonstrate the questionable intentions behind these models of absorption. These approaches to erasing First Peoples’ relationships with Turtle Island in the ideological, spiritual and spatial sense have caused intergenerational damage that continues to influence the social and cultural lives (Little Bear, 2009) and futurity of First Peoples in Canada. These projects of assimilation have, from the start, severely eroded Indigenous family and knowledge systems (Hare, 2002), consistently elicited protest from Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and entrenched a lingering “…distrust of formal education…” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 13). Aboriginal education has fostered “…multi-generational suspicion of schools as instruments of assimilation” (Bell, 2004, p. 12) in many First Peoples and our communities. All forms of state designed and facilitated Aboriginal education have negatively impacted the Indigenous Knowledge Systems that flourished for thousands of years prior to the interference of the colonizing project. For this reason, First Peoples’ scholars and practitioners have consistently put forward Indigenous theoretical and pedagogical alternatives to ensure that IKSs are not further disrupted by Aboriginal education. The next segment of this chapter 51 references some of these ideas that are being woven into Aboriginal education to counter assimilationist outcomes. Indigenous education: Weaving Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Aboriginal education Having articulated the understandings of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Aboriginal education that I am working from in this dissemination process, I consider the ongoing responses and practices put forward and implemented by Indigenous knowledge carriers and practitioners. I refer to this next shift in educational patterns that involve Indigenous Peoples as Indigenous education. Wilson and Battiste (2011) refer to this as the Systemic Change Model approach specifying that it “… seeks to generate a more comprehensive inclusion of Aboriginal content throughout the post-secondary institutions that have adopted it…” towards, “… affecting Aboriginal student outcomes” (p. 16). Changing Aboriginal education into Indigenous education through including Indigenous content, pedagogies and the hiring of Indigenous teaching and administrative staff is occurring, to various degrees, across the K-12 and post-secondary landscape in Canada. I provide a brief overview of Indigenous calls for transformation and the great strides being made across all levels of education to illustrate the ever-changing patterns emerging across the tapestry of Indigenous schooling. However, due to the urgent need for post-secondary education that was made clear in Samahquam community skills inventories, this PhD project focuses on the contributions that Ucwalmicw protocols and practices have to make in the university setting. Indigenous responses to Aboriginal education policies It is not surprising to arrive at the realization that education that seeks to assimilate is problematic. As Castellano, Davis and Lahache (2000) state, Education extended by colonial society was designed to lift Aboriginal peoples from their savage state and introduce them to the benefits of civilization. The error of these ethnocentric views and the invasions of Aboriginal societies that they supported have been successfully challenged only in the present generation. (p. xi) 52 While Indigenous scholars and practitioners have always turned to “…ancient knowledge and teachings to restore control over Indigenous development and capacity building” (Battiste, 2005, p. 2), Castellano et al note that the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges in the schooling of Indigenous Peoples only began to receive recognition in the 1970s (2000). Prior to that, “…school textbooks across the country depicted Aboriginal peoples as being either savage warriors or onlookers who were irrelevant to the more important history of Canada: the story of European settlement” (Truth and Reconciliation Canada (a), 2015, p. 286). We see the beginnings of First Peoples being presented in more positive ways in school curricula in the 1980s, however those representations were few and far between and were often overshadowed by the fact that more space was made to focus on First Peoples’ as being riddled with problems. By centering on the social, spiritual and economic ‘challenges’ that ail First Nations, this new take on the “Indian problem” was/is provided with no reference to the historical and contemporary forms of colonization that create and perpetuate this plethora of so-called dysfunctions. Moreover, only one definition of success in education and mainstream society is considered valid within these schooling systems that do not prioritize humility, collaborations and/or respectful relationship building that centers on spirituality and maintaining harmony (Little Bear, 2009). TRC Canada (2015(a)) states that this approach leads to First Peoples being, “…characterized as a social and economic problem that must be solved” (p. 287). Inserting Indigenous peoples into the curriculum in this manner endorses the single story perspective that too many non-Indigenous students carry with them into mainstream classrooms. The next decade in Aboriginal education takes up the ‘protestor, militant’ representations (TRC, 2015(a)) of First Peoples, again, without providing need-to-know contextual information about Indigenous rights and Title. Canadians who continue to assume that they won Turtle Island in some great war, would have very little patience for Peoples who are blocking roadways and impeding the daily lives of Canadians for ‘no good reason’. What is absent in the curriculum serves to corroborate the single story and perpetuates, at the very least, an ongoing sense of resentment towards Indigenous peoples and communities that stand up for their rights and territories. These half-truth approaches to representing Indigenous Peoples in the curricula do more than impede relationship building, they cause harm. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action reports that, “[a]lthough textbooks have become more inclusive of Aboriginal perspectives over the past three decades, 53 the role of Aboriginal people in Canadian history during much of the twentieth century remains invisible” (TRC, 2015, p. 286). Also absent over these decades of schooling are the many protocols, pedagogies and purposes of Indigenous Knowledge systems. Participation in these formal institutions sees Indigenous learners undergo processes of spiritual, intellectual and emotional unraveling as these school environments detach coming to know processes “… from living: so, the experience alienates us from our surroundings and, therefore, our culture” (LaFrance, 2000, p. 101). Becoming fully human in relation to all beings around us is not the central concern of education systems that promote individualistic and capitalistic understandings of success. Wholistic and experiential learning of how to build and sustain harmonious relationships within our environments is not of concern in Aboriginal education and LaFrance’s (2000) critique expands upon this idea of alienation, in many instances, the learning is not related to the students’ everyday lives or culture. Students are taught to individualize their understanding. Our Thanksgiving Address and our culture says that “we come to one mind.” However, Western education says, “come to my mind” (Western expert in any given field); “to his mind” (Darwin’s theory); “to their mind” (any given theory accepted by a collection of Western experts). There is no “our mind.” Consequently, we cannot, culturally, be educated in a Western way and remain who we are…” (p. 101) Aboriginal education disconnects; it erases the importance of the collective and the beauty of diversity. Indigenous education reconnects, values and promotes all our relations and the magnificence of multiplicity that exists within them. Simpson (2011) recognizes the need for Canada to “engage in a decolonization … and a re-education project that would enable its government and its citizens to engage with Indigenous Peoples in a just and honorable way …” (Simpson, 2011, p. 23). Further to this point, Castellano et al (2000) note that “…aggressive gate-keeping of ‘standards’…” (p. 251) continues to interrogate the validity of IKSs, Indigenous pedagogies and the intentions behind Indigenous coming to know processes. For this reason, the “…worldviews that govern the thinking of society…” (p. 251) need to be decolonized so that diverse understandings of knowledge seeking, making and sharing can contribute to the wholistic development of the student and mainstream society. It is time to interrogate the unquestioning majority (Castellano et al, 2000) in relation to the significant roles that they play in the perpetuation of the colonizing project. This can be done through the inclusion of Indigenous 54 Knowledge Systems “…in the country’s overall educational agenda [which] will broaden the learning experience for all students” (Hare, 2011, p. 107). Indigenous education centers on and mobilizes Indigenous pedagogies, protocols, knowledges and peoples as key contributors to the transformation of Aboriginal education. As Battiste argues: the task for Indigenous academics has been to affirm and activate the holistic paradigm of Indigenous knowledge to reveal the wealth and richness of Indigenous languages, worldviews, teachings, and experiences, all of which have been systematically excluded from contemporary educational institutions and from Eurocentric knowledge systems. (2005, p. 1) The greatest challenge we face in doing this work is consistently designing an “… educational context that respects and builds on both Indigenous and Eurocentric knowledge systems” (Battiste, 2005, p. 1). Nonetheless, as can be seen in the upcoming examples, this work is being done and Castellano et al (2000) remind us of the need to sustain ongoing conversations in regard to “…rethink[ing] Aboriginal education…” towards articulating what “…is ‘Aboriginal’ about Aboriginal education…” (p. 97) while deeply considering what is and is not being taught to whom and why. Transforming Aboriginal education Before taking a closer look at the tapestries of transforming the above referenced projects of Aboriginal education, I pause here to highlight the diversity of Indigenous student and community populations that these systems serve. While I include and discuss some nation-wide policy-making events in chapter five of this dissertation, in keeping with the rigors of Indigenous knowledge seeking, making and intentions, I offer more detailed information at the local level, in this case, the province of British Columbia. That said, narrowing in on BC also presents its challenges, as there are 198, some say 203, distinct First Nations in the province alone, all of which have their own approaches to and aspirations for education. Further, due to the imposed diaspora that all First Nations have experienced, there are the additional circumstances of on-reserve/off-reserve communities, displaced First Peoples who, for various reasons, live away from their communities, as well as Métis and Inuit populations residing and attending 55 educational institutions in BC that require thoughtful consideration in the articulations and practices of Indigenous education. The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) and the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) report that 232,290, or 17%, of persons who identify as Aboriginal in Canada lived in British Columbia in 2011, comprising 5% of the total population of that province (Stats Canada, 2014). One quarter of the BC Aboriginal population resides in the city of Vancouver. Of the BC Aboriginal population, 66% identify as First Nations, 29% as Métis, less than 1% as Inuit and the remaining 4% identify as other Aboriginal and/or having more than one Aboriginal identity. It is reported that 66% of all First Nations Peoples lives off reserve. Also, important to note is the fact that 45% of Aboriginal peoples residing in British Columbia are under the age of 25, compared with 27% of the non-Aboriginal population (Stats Canada, 2014). In 2011, 50% of Aboriginal people between the ages of 25 and 64 had a certificate, diploma or degree from a trade school, college or university: 46% were First Nations, 57% Métis and 49% were Inuit compared to 66% of the non-Aboriginal BC population (Stats Canada, 2014). Stats Canada also reports that 29% of First Nations, 17% of Métis and 31% of Inuit people in this age group, did not have any certifications, diplomas or degrees in comparison to 9% of the non-Aboriginal population in British Columbia. Because 2/3 of the Aboriginal population lives off-reserve, most learners attend public schools and universities in urban and off-reserve locations. A small portion of those who reside on-reserve have the option to attend locally controlled or band-operated elementary and secondary schools located in their communities. Not all First Nations communities have schools and very few have locally controlled post-secondary institutions, so, it is not uncommon for on-reserve students to travel on a daily basis to attend public schools or to re-locate to attend a university. It is statistics like these that motivate me to apply Samahquamicw contributions to public systems of education that serve the larger segments of Indigenous populations. While the diversity of ancestries and circumstances can make weaving Indigenous Knowledges into Aboriginal education more difficult, a variety of approaches to mitigate these challenges is being implemented across all levels of education. I present a small sampling of them here to set the context for the contributions that this PhD has to offer. 56 Public Elementary and High School classrooms Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements Initially administered by the Ministry of Education Aboriginal Education Enhancements Branch to support BC school districts and Indigenous communities, the Branch sought to develop these agreements (AEEAs) in all 60 of BC’s school districts. AEEAs were designed to ensure the effectiveness of Aboriginal education funding policies, to develop a policy framework to support Aboriginal student achievement, and to analyze and report on data (Bell, 2004, p. 24). AEEAs are unique to each school district and developed in collaboration with local Aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education. However, “…commencing in the fall of 2016, the Ministry will no longer be involved in the development of EAs, believing that school districts and Aboriginal communities understand their value and no longer need Ministry support” (British Columbia, N.D., Para. 1). These agreements guide how key stakeholders will work together to, …highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development and success. Fundamental to AEEAs is the requirement that school districts provide strong programs on the culture of local Aboriginal peoples on whose traditional territories the districts are located. (British Columbia, N.D., para.3) This approach to improving the environments in which First Peoples learn relies on the contributions of local Indigenous communities and resource persons to respectfully include and implement First Peoples’ voices and aspirations. AEEAs further require each school district to provide strong local culture programming and this mechanism provides schools with a starting point to addressing the diversity of Nations that may be present in their classrooms. It is an ancestral protocol common amongst First Peoples to acknowledge, honor and respect the ways of the Peoples and territories in which they live, learn and work. Collaborating on and implementing AEEAs represents a respectful way to activate Indigenous education in local ways. Indigenous Knowledge Systems center on the significance of local knowledge. 57 In 2017, 93% of BCs sixty school districts had signed AEEAs,35 through which “…new relationships and commitments were made to improve the educational success of Aboriginal students.”36 Working with local First Peoples to define success and outline pathways to it, provides the space for Indigenous education to interrogate and counter the prevalence of monocultural curriculum and pedagogy that can foster a sense of exclusion for many students. Implementation of AEEAs can create settings in which students can relate to curriculum, community and Nation in a formal learning environment while maintaining their sense of identity and pride. These in turn are foundational to success in all areas of the student’s life. In 2016, Kitchenham, Fraser, Pidgeon, and Ragoonaden facilitated an inquiry for the BC Ministry of Education, investigating the outcomes of 22 BC school districts’ AEEAs. Their findings include the need to ensure that time and attention are provided to establish trust and relationship building. Archibald and Hare (2016) agree, noting that inclusion leads to academic success and that forming alliances further affects positive outcomes for Indigenous students. Kitchenham et al encourage enhanced professional development for all school employees, the broad communication of the school’s AEEA and making explicit how the Agreements connect with employee duties and Ministry goals. As Archibald and Hare (2016) make clear, “British Columbia’s school district Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements and Local Education Agreements … appear to have consistent but small growth patterns when there is a vibrant relationship between Aboriginal people (families, communities, organizations) and school/district staff and leadership” (p. 19). This finding demonstrates the significant role that relationship building and maintenance continues to hold in Indigenous perspectives of coming to know. Culturally-based education or Culturally-responsive schooling A second course of action taken to increase Indigenous student retention and success rates in public education systems is the culturally-based education (CBE) or culturally-responsive schooling (CRS) orientation. This strategy is designed to “… foster learning environments that honor the cultures and languages of Aboriginal students [to] not only augment their sense of 35 https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/factsheet-reconciliation-at-the-heart-of-relationship-with-aboriginal-peoples 36 http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/aboriginal-education/aboriginal-education-enhancement-agreements/school-districts-with-an-enhancement-agreement 58 identity but improve their chances to be academically successful” (Cherubini & Hodson, 2008, p. 1). This modification of the educational tapestry hinges on decades of research conducted to define the role that culture plays in academic outcomes for First Peoples. Attributing poor academic results to the lack of a sense of belonging in mainstream systems that do not reflect or validate the students’ lives, CBE and/or CRS are widely viewed as a promising approach to addressing the inherent issues of Aboriginal education (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). Raham (2009) illustrates how “(o)ne body of research suggests that a strong cultural identity is the most consistent promoter of success for Aboriginal students” (p. 25) and this adapted approach to Indigenous education supports the strengthening, as opposed to suppression, of students’ cultural identities as a pathway towards academic success (Kanu, 2006). Reinforcing the ancestral identities of Indigenous learners requires adjustments in pedagogical practices, curricula, teacher worldviews, and the prioritization of school-community relationships (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). According to Demmert and Towner (2003), culturally-based education programs promote and facilitate the inclusion of six crucial features: 1) recognition and use of Native [sic] languages; 2) pedagogy that stresses traditional cultural characteristics and adult-child interactions; 3) teaching strategies that are congruent with traditional culture and contemporary ways of knowing and learning (opportunities to observe, practice, and demonstrate skills); 4) curriculum based on traditional culture that recognizes the importance of Native [sic] spirituality and uses the visual arts, legends, oral histories of the community; 5) strong Native [sic] community participation, including parents, elders and others in the planning and operation of the school; and, 6) knowledge and use of the social and political mores of the community. (pp. 9-10) These qualities of a culturally-based or responsive method of education seek to fill in the gaps caused by Aboriginal education that disconnect First Peoples from the Indigenous Knowledge systems that sustain our communities. It is evident how the AEEAs explored in the previous section of this chapter align with and facilitate CBE/CRS through making important connections with local First Nations’ communities. Kanu’s 2006 inquiry into how CBE/CRS is being implemented reports a range of applications that fall across a spectrum of building upon the student’s culture as a teaching/learning strategy, to the infusion of culture across entire curricula. Battiste (2002) maintains the “central purpose of integrating Indigenous knowledge 59 into Canadian schools is to balance the educational system to make it a transforming and capacity building place for First Nation students” (p. 29). Raham’s study of best practices in Indigenous education compiled in 2009 for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) (INAC) reports that “…the majority of provinces have committed to measures to ‘integrate content that reflects FNMI [First Nations, Métis, Inuit] histories, cultures and perspectives throughout the provincial curriculum and related resources’” (p. 26). Raham further reports that the six features referenced above are being infused into more First Nations’ run schools then in public systems. There is a growing acceptance of CBE in Canada, however the fact that only some provinces and school districts have mandated its implementation (Raham, 2009) demonstrates that the trend to include such elements unevenly across provincial and territorial systems continues (Battiste, 2002). The challenges of working in the urban context, where schools serve students from many ancestral backgrounds, also continue to present themselves. In response to this diversity, a variety of initiatives are being implemented to respect distinct cultures and to support relationship building between First Peoples and non-Indigenous peoples (Castellano, Davis, & Lahache, 2000). Examples of how culturally-based education is being put into practice include variations of the following: the observance of traditional celebrations and ceremonies, the delivery of land-based experiential learning activities, the provision of weekly language or culture classes, a growing incorporation of cultural supplements in standard curricula, the infusion of cultural components across entire curricula, the establishment of credit courses, and the hiring of Indigenous teaching and support staff (Raham, 2009): In 2015-16, the BC Ministry of Education completed a K-9 curriculum redesign that has Aboriginal perspectives and resources embedded in each subject area and each grade level from kindergarten to grade nine. The grades 10-12 graduation program is still in development stages but there are hopes that Aboriginal perspectives will be included in these grades as well. Already, there are provincial high school Aboriginal courses or resources for Math 8,9; English First Peoples 10, 11, and 12; and BC First Nations Studies 12. (Archibald & Hare, 2016, p. 13) These substantial shifts across mainstream education demonstrate that the central tenets of ICIE (1972) are slowly but surely coming to life. Indigenous education patterns are emerging across larger segments of the Aboriginal education tapestry and they are doing so from within the still colonizing framework of education. The application of Indigenous knowledges and 60 resources across curricula can benefit the non-Indigenous learner as well through cross-curriculum exposure to the idea that there is more than one way of being, doing, knowing and valuing. Coming to understand and appreciate diversity can expand on the limitations and erasures that accompany striving to belong to a system that promotes and values the rights of the individual over building and sustaining harmonious relationships. Band-Operated Schools Before focussing on Wilson and Battiste’s 2011 environmental scan of Aboriginal education at the post-secondary level, I provide an overview of the work being done in locally-controlled or band-operated schools that also serve Indigenous learners. While the focus of this project is on mainstream systems that serve Indigenous students at the university level, to provide an overview of the emerging patterns of Indigenous education, it is important to include the work being done in on-reserve schooling as well. As will be seen in chapter six, some of the practices outlined in Bell’s 2004 scan of best practices apply equally to the environments of concern in this study. Locally-controlled/band-operated education While implementation of local control following the Liberal government’s 1973 endorsement of the NIB Indian Control of Indian Education policy paper (ICIE) has been slow and uneven, positive changes are also being realized in First Nations’ locally-controlled/band-operated schools. Initial issues with legislative barriers in the Indian Act that restricted federal transfer of educational control to anything other than public school boards, provincial/territorial governments or religious or charitable organizations, have since been overcome. Through the negotiation of numerous agreements, the provinces of Nova Scotia (1997), New Brunswick (2008), Manitoba (2009), Alberta (2010), Prince Edward Island (2010) and Saskatchewan (2010) now have the legal foundations in place to strengthen “…the framework for the provision of high quality, relevant education for First Nations students...” (Carr-Stewart, 2009, p. 10). Each of these jurisdictional agreements replaces the education provisions of the Indian Act and provides legal recognition of First Peoples’ authority over their own education. In British Columbia, we have the Tripartite Educational Jurisdiction Framework Agreement signed by Canada, BC and 61 the First Nations Education Steering Committee in 2006. The purpose of this agreement is “…to identify the roles, responsibilities and commitments of the Parties relating to the improvement of educational outcomes for students in First Nation Schools in British Columbia…” (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 2012, para.15). All such collaborations represent substantial examples of First Peoples-initiated reform to improve Aboriginal schooling. This next section highlights the many best practices being implemented in a diversity of pre-kindergarten, elementary and secondary school situations in Western and Northern Canada as outlined in Bell’s 2004, Sharing Our Success: Ten Case Studies in Aboriginal Education. Cognizant of the “…multiple overlapping contexts…” (p.12) of Indigenous education, the report “…covers a broad range of issues and highlights strategies and conditions that help Aboriginal students to succeed” (Bell, 2004, p. 12). The schools, located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Yukon, fall under the following categories: three were under the authority of school districts, one under the Yukon Department of Education and six were band-operated (Bell, 2004). While the results of this case study extend beyond the band-controlled schools, the findings presented in the report and summarized here were common across all ten schools. The author disseminates insights that were gathered through connecting with Elders, parents, students, community members, teachers, principals, and school board or education authorities. Bell’s findings illustrate that while there was a diversity of approaches and circumstances found between the schools studied, six common features that facilitate success emerged across the study participants. The six domains include: leadership, school climate, staff, funding and resources, and community and programs. A brief overview of this information is provided here to illustrate how Indigenous perspectives and approaches are contributing much to the ever-emerging patterns of Indigenous education tapestries in multiple contexts. Leadership: From Indigenous perspectives, leaders are those who “… lead by example, and when speaking… express the thoughts of their people… leadership was seen as a skill employed to meet a specific need rather than general authority to command others” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 297). This was the most frequently referenced characteristic across the ten schools that contributed to the study and factors of it include the creation of a shared vision and purpose rooted in a pursuit of continuously improving and “…building a culture of success” (Bell, 2004, 62 p. 312). It was also noted that local ownership and control of the school, alongside long-term strategic planning, are paramount to school success. The actions taken by leaders are critical because they can persuade, “…others to set aside their individual concerns and to pursue a common goal that is important for the welfare of a group” (Bell, 2004, p. 297). When concern for the collective is central it guides leadership to be and do in good ways with good intentions. School climate: This feature requires high levels of trust and expectations. Considering the lingering distrust referred to in preceding sections of this thesis, it is not surprising to hear that a welcoming, hospitable and generous climate goes a long way with community Elders, parents and students no matter where the schools are located. Nurturing relationships inside and outside of the classroom is key. Bell reports that having high expectations of students further contributed to the building of a successful school climate and the example shared is the setting and maintaining of an 85% attendance rate. It was noted that this led to retention and enhanced credits achievements. I would argue that the establishment of comfortable and safe environments that attract students and foster a sense of belonging leads to higher attendance rates which contributes to a decrease in knowledge/learning gaps which is conducive to achieving higher grades. Students who do not feel socially exiled are better positioned to succeed in the academic aspect of their education. Staff: Schools that employ caring, dedicated, and/or Indigenous teachers and staff who stayed long term were cited as playing significant roles in the well-being of the school. Furthermore, those who support and facilitate professional development enjoy further success. Funding and Resources: Bell references the need for parent and community partnerships in this determining factor of success indicating that they are a critical means of “…increasing the available educational resources for students” (2004, p. 313). While this domain highlights the significance of funding, the importance of community resources cannot be stressed enough due to the reality of consistent underfunding endured by locally-controlled education. It is the contributions of families and communities that make up for these ongoing shortfalls. Community: Community engagement, local ownership and excellent communication between the school and community were cited as being critical to the success of the school. As indicated above, public schools are engaged with this process through their participation in AEEAs in the province of British Columbia. As will be presented in chapter five of this dissertation, sixty post- 63 secondary institutions are signatories to the Accord on Indigenous Education (2010), meaning all have committed to implementing these same types of connections with local communities towards improving Aboriginal student success. Programs: The most common denominators found in programs that contributed to the success of the school are the inclusions of Indigenous content and a focus on literacy and early literacy interventions. Programs that take up wholistic approaches, are respectful of local culture, and meet individual learning requirements while providing “…a ‘seamless’ or full-service delivery system” (Bell, 2004, p. 313) are examples of success in band-operated schooling. Bell notes that while the degree to which each of the six domains was evidenced across all ten schools was not equal, “…the potency of each of the above categories appeared to be an important element of the school’s success and the presence of each success factor was significant to the whole” (2004, p. 313). One of the factors common between all the schools in this case study was the fact that all provided positive environments that were founded on attributes of acceptance and respect. The practice of supporting student success through wholistic approaches plays a key role in the success of the schools (Bell, 2004). These enhancements that lead to successes in elementary and high school experiences for Indigenous students translates into increased interests in and engagement with post-secondary education for First Peoples. Post-secondary institutions Status Indians were first funded to attend post-secondary institutions in 1968, with budgets allocated for “…technical, vocational, college and university training and in the 1970s, [Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada] AANDC began to fund Indian [sic] students for post-secondary education in the provinces” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 13). State thinking at the time was that university education for First Peoples was a privilege and not a legal obligation to be fulfilled by Canada (Pidgeon, 2014). For this reason, post-secondary funding for First Nations has always been viewed as a policy issue, which has been “…persistently contested by First Nations leadership” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 13). By the middle of 1960 approximately 200 Status Indians were enrolled at Canadian colleges and universities and by the mid-1970s, this number had risen dramatically. After endorsing the ICIE policy paper in 1973, the federal government began making grants available to universities for 64 the delivery of programming that enhanced Indigenous students’ abilities to succeed in select programs such as teacher training, social work, and law; With money flowing, many universities were quick to pick up on these programs and to make them run parallel to their own…[and] at the same time, First Nation leaders and educators recognized the need to act quickly to gain control of post-secondary education for First Nation students. (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 14) During this same time period, Canadian universities were also developing and implementing Native teacher education and First Nations Studies programs in response to the changing perspectives on Aboriginal education (Pidgeon, 2014). The first Indigenous community-controlled institution of higher learning, the Blue Quills First Nations College, was opened in 1971 in Alberta (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). Wilson and Battiste’s, Environmental scan of educational models supporting Aboriginal post-secondary education demonstrates that substantial changes are also occurring across university learning environments. However, “while most post-secondary institutions are increasingly committed to finding ways of helping Aboriginal students succeed, they have not kept pace with First Nations community-based programming or institutions in terms of how Aboriginal successes have been achieved” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 10). While there is much policy and recommendation making in this regard, the degree to which each university and/or program incorporates these guiding principles is dependent upon individual staff and faculty member preferences and capacities. Pidgeon’s inquiry into institutional responsibilities and accountabilities to post-secondary Indigenous education reveals there is an implementation gap when it comes to these policies and guiding principles, a need to mobilize “words into actions” (2014, p. 17). Wilson and Battiste’s (2011) analysis identifies and articulates six models of Aboriginal education, four of which seek, to varying degrees, to increase the retention and success rates of Indigenous students. Pidgeon (2014) indicates that “higher education is one of the keys for Indigenous peoples’ capacity-building, empowerment, and self-determination” (p.7) and as Samahquamicw looks to formal education to fill the capacity needs of our pre-treaty ratification community, I summarize below the three models that relate specifically to public post-secondary 65 institutes. The three models that apply directly to this study are the First Nations Student Support Model, the Dual Programming Model and, the Systemic Change Model. First Nations Student Support Model This first approach to making university environments more conducive to the success of Indigenous students centers on the unique needs of First Nations that must be addressed to improve academic outcomes. Strategies include connecting students with their cultures, “…to the extent that institutions were willing to accommodate” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 14) and, typically, from within the margins of the monocultural educational models that are prevalent in post-secondary institutes. The expected outcome of this student support model is the transformation of “…students’ deficiencies into competencies and successful completion” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 14). Meeting the students’ cultural needs is facilitated through providing access to Indigenous Elders, as well as ceremonies, rituals, and cultural activities. Some universities have introduced skill building supports as well as counseling, tutoring and/or literacy- training type services that meet the criteria as established by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, previously AANC) funding. Pidgeon (2014) argues that institutional responsibilities to Indigenous education requires universities to take on leadership roles that extend beyond and “…supersede current federal agendas” and funding criteria (p. 14). In other cases, institutional attention focusses on the recruitment of Indigenous faculty and staff, Indigenous student centers, houses or labs, childcare services, Elders in residence, peer mentoring and/or scholarship/bursary programs for Indigenous students with financial needs (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). Wilson and Battiste note that this “… ‘add-and-stir’ variety of programming predominates in post-secondary institutions in Canada. In this model, Aboriginal content and programming are added, leaving all other aspects of the institution the same” (2011, p. 14). This failure to acknowledge and address the need to attend to structural issues is an example of what Smith calls “watching the wrong door” (Smith, 2003, p. 2). While this approach provides much needed spaces of familiarity and belonging for Indigenous students, it simultaneously hinders the likelihood of facilitating institutional change (Pidgeon, 2014). Furthermore, this rather narrow approach can lead to the marginalization of Indigenous students who might opt to remain within specific areas of study within Indigenous faculties and/or within the limited availability of 66 courses and programs where Indigenous content, experiences and/or contributions are respectfully infused (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). This might be construed as the streaming of Indigenous students away from disciplines that are less-inclined to incorporate Indigenous content and pedagogies. While the First Nations Student Support Model goes a long way in providing access, support and creating spaces that are welcoming to Indigenous students, the main issue with this model is that “…it does not address systemic issues…” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 15) that are key contributing factors in the ‘success’ rates of First Peoples’ students. While there may be spaces that welcome and honor Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing in the universities that access these funding programs, the truth is these spaces are few and far between. The rest of the institution, for the most part, continues to ignore, marginalize and/or perpetuate single story perspectives of Indigenous histories and contemporary experiences within its curriculum, pedagogy and classroom environments (Pidgeon, 2014). This focus on the deficiencies of, and the necessary accommodations needed by, Indigenous students makes invisible the need to transform the institution itself, which fails to acknowledge the need to rectify the larger student body’s, preconceived beliefs, values, and attitudes that foster an unsafe classroom environment for Aboriginal students in them or address the privileging of Western and colonial knowledges and languages, instructors limited knowledge of Aboriginal histories and contexts, and insensitivities that may arise in classrooms about Aboriginal peoples’ contemporary contexts (developed within colonialism and Eurocentric superiority). (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 15) Dual Programming Model While similar to the student support approach, this model differs in that it further considers the effects that systemic barriers and institutionalized racial discrimination can have on student experience. In keeping with its endorsement of the ICIE policies, the federal government makes funding available to support participation in certain disciplines. This is done through the creation of cohort-type programming within First Nations Studies, education, law, nursing, social work and other faculties that are open to change. “Aboriginal content is integrated … providing a conceived program that transitions students into the university, introduces a cultural component into the academic program, offers support services…” to produce graduates “…who may or may not have had classes with other non- 67 Aboriginal students” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 15). For the most part, these cohorts are made up of Indigenous students, typically capped at 12-18 learners, with all navigating the same coursework together. In the cohort transition program that I have taught in for the past ten years, students are provided the opportunity to attend mainstream lectures for their FNST 101 course and their Health Sciences 100 level class. In this model students experience the larger class sizes prior to leaving the smaller, close-knit courses of their transition programs. The cohort model has been particularly successful in training Aboriginal teachers and social workers in Canada. For example, more than 1500 Aboriginal teachers have been trained in Saskatchewan using this approach (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). While limiting student exposure to it, this model also fails to address the systemic issues that continue to impede First Peoples’ engagement in post-secondary institutions. I have seen how students who take part in such cohort models are often stigmatized based on a belief that programs are adapted or “dumbed down” so that Indigenous students can complete them. The reality is the curriculum is in fact more wholistic in nature, delivering the same content with the additions of cultural content and/or connections with Indigenous communities. Sadly, the misconceptions continue to stigmatize program participants as receiving an easy pathway to their post-secondary degree (Wilson & Battiste, 2010). Opting to Indigenize courses for Indigenous cohort programs alone severely limits transformation and Pidgeon (2014) challenges institutions to mobilize policy and practice “…such that Indigenous knowledges become part of the institutional fabric and culture” (p. 25). Systemic Change Model Inclusion of Indigenous content across the universities that are implementing it, is central to the Systemic Change Model. Indigenous knowledges, languages, perspectives, content and curricula are introduced to varying degrees across a diversity of programs and disciplines. Wilson and Battiste indicate that this model is “…still in its infancy of development …[and] has been evolving as a response to constitutional reform in 1982, and the transforming relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian government” (2011, p. 16). Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act,37 the highest law of Canada, affirms and recognizes the rights of First Peoples to maintain their/our languages, cultures, title, and treaty rights. This problematizes the assimilative approaches of education systems that do not even acknowledge 37 See: http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/constitution_act_1982_section_35/ 68 the ancestral territories on which they sit let alone implement the ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing Indigenous to them. Federal and provincial statutes regarding education had blatantly ignored these Indigenous rights prior to 1982. In 1988, working to meet its fiduciary responsibilities for Indigenous education in a manner that aligns with Section 35 of the Constitution, the Indian Students Support Program (ISSP) was established. Now known as the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), this source of funding continues to be provided to this day (Pidgeon, 2014) and is available for all levels of post-secondary education to Status Indians and Inuit students… [to contribute to] tuition support, travel support (for students who must leave their home communities to attend post-secondary programs), book allowance, and support for living expenses. AANDC also provides financial support to Status Indian and Inuit students enrolled in University and College Entrance Preparation (UCEP) programs, designed to enable students to attain academic levels required for other degree and diploma programs. (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 17) While few universities have committed to a model of systemic change, Wilson and Battiste make note of the growing interest in transforming the system at the time the environmental scan was completed. Increasing awareness of the importance of knowing and valuing a diversity of knowledge systems is advancing understandings around the inadequacies of tokenistic approaches that incorporate IKSs within Indigenous only learning environments. University-wide acknowledgment and taking up of responsibilities and being accountable for facilitating meaningful change across the institution is required for transformation to occur (Pidgeon, 2014). “By doing so, post-secondary institutions become accessible to – and capable of meeting the needs of – an increasingly diverse student body” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 17). From a Tákem Nsnekwnúkw7a perspective that last point reminds me of my Ucwalmicw responsibilities to all my relations when promoting, designing and/or implementing these transformative processes. It is important to note that the student support and dual programming models can be and often are simultaneous components of changing the entire system. In fact, they play an important role because they do trigger interest and raise awareness around the systemic barriers and issues that can affect Indigenous students, faculty and staff. These models should, however, be seen as part of a much larger and ongoing process. All faculties and departments in universities that engage with the systemic change model are encouraged to alter their recruitment, scholarship and 69 other support policies and practices to better ensure Indigenous participation in disciplines across the university (Wilson & Battiste, 2011). Another component of systemic change that is becoming more pronounced in academia is the advancement of anti-racist/anti-oppressive training and curriculum development. Building on the understandings of the dual programming model this approach considers the role that the institution and its non-Indigenous faculty, students and staff play in the outcomes of Indigenous student populations. Students are also telling me about courses that center on the processes of decolonizing self and of professors in non-FNST courses who are countering colonialism through acts like acknowledgement of the territories and requiring critical thought in regard to how course content presents and/or represents First Peoples. These types of actions, …engage the whole institution in rethinking white [sic] privileges and exploring ways to undo notions of Aboriginal deficiency and dependency. Going beyond simple changes to the ways in which the institutions interact with Aboriginal students and, instead, making significant systemic changes at all levels of the institution…” (Wilson & Battiste, 2011, p. 17) The support and contributions of authentic allies are necessary to making change at all levels of the university. Pidgeon’s (2014) inquiry discloses that her study participants’ understandings of what authentic allies are and what they do as being those “non-Aboriginal people who have a critical consciousness about Aboriginal issues … and act by creating spaces for developing critical consciousness in others…” (p. 15). This is the work that needs to be done concurrent to student support and dual programming models. Addressing the systemic issues that continue to go unchecked in those classrooms and programs that exist outside of these model approaches is critical to substantially transforming the academy. While institutional and curricula changes are increasingly recognizing the validity of IKSs, it is not clear that current reforms are addressing matters of relationships nor are they enacting a philosophy of all my relations. It goes beyond making changes for First Nations across the academy to include facilitating change for all students, faculty and staff. This line of thinking is almost non-existent in the Indigenous education literature and reports that I have reviewed. While many make cursory reference to the need to decolonize the institution, the bulk of discussion focuses on the adaptation of institutions and curriculum that serve Indigenous students 70 for the benefit of Indigenous students. The dissertation project shared here is the beginnings of my heeding Wilson and Battiste’s call to facilitate change for all students. Just as there are many waves of colonization, there are many waves of anti-colonizing actions happening and yet to come. The availability of digital resources that support the development and facilitation of AEEAs, culturally-based education and systemic change are becoming more commonplace and made available through a diversity of institutions and organizations. Some local BC examples include: Ministry of education websites (for example: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/teach/teaching-tools/aboriginal-education), First Nations’ School Associations’ (like: www.fnsa.ca/resources), as well as university teacher education program links (for example: http://www.indigenouseducation.educ.ubc.ca). Teacher candidates and already in-service educators who choose to conduct even the briefest of inquiries will find that there are many more, making it increasingly possible for faculty and staff to begin the processes of accessing the information, support and Indigenous resource persons/practitioners they need to respectfully incorporate Indigenous content and pedagogies into the university setting. Chapter Summary: Ever-changing tapestries In this chapter, we consider the many emerging landscapes of Indigenous coming to know, beginning with our own ancestral systems of non-interference that are as diverse as the Nations and territories from which they grow. These Indigenous approaches to knowledge seeking, making and sharing are concerned with tending to the whole person in their journey towards becoming fully human. Indigenous methods of teaching and learning which are spiritually centred, refer to not only all aspects of the individual learner, but to all the relationships and environments of their lives. The significance of striving for harmony and balance in all our relations is a key rigor of, and central intention behind, Indigenous Knowledge Systems. After thousands of years of practicing and honing these systems of respect and responsibility we begin to see a new image emerging in the tapestry as foreign ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing are forced upon our Nations. As made mandatory by federal law in the late 1880’s, all Status “Indian" children were expected to relocate to their designated Indian Residential School. Indigenous families and communities were torn away from each other as 71 well as from themselves as they experienced ideological, spiritual and spatial diaspora as the direct result of this first attempt at forced assimilation. These once closely interwoven Indigenous families and communities became akin to, as described by the late Anishnaabe Elder Peter O’Chiese, “…someone dropping a complex and snugly fitting puzzle, causing it to shatter into a million pieces” (Anderson & Bell, 2016, p. 99). Indigenous Knowledges, protocols, practices and values were not permitted within these institutions that sought to erase all signs of Indigenousness. This policy and practice of segregation from family, land, cultures, languages and Settler populations eventually morphed into policies and practices of cultural genocide through integration when the IRS system failed to disconnect First Peoples from their rights and titles to their ancestral homelands. In this new approach, the intentions continued to be the full and final assimilation of all Indigenous peoples through formal education. For this reason, integration into public schools was a one-way process with First Nations students expected to do all of the integrating. No attention to or implementation of Indigenous Knowledges and pedagogies was required in these schools that took over the reins of erasing Indigenous languages, cultures, values and identities. While neither of these approaches was fully funded and/or resourced, the outcomes, while not as comprehensive as desired by the state, inflicted serious damage upon the traditional knowledge seeking, making and sharing processes of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island. Our connections to ancestral knowledges, ways and values, as well as to our spirits and sense of ancestral pride, began to unravel under the pressures of the omnipresent teachings of Aboriginal education. However, as Hare and Davidson note (2016), it has been our Indigenous Knowledge systems’, “… cultural traditions and values, and ancestral languages that have ensured the survival of Aboriginal people since time immemorial…” (p. 241). The resiliency of Indigenous Peoples has ensured that education does not come at the complete annihilation of our Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing (Hare & Davidson, 2016). This understanding continues to activate numerous Indigenous scholars and practitioners to steadfastly engage with and contribute to the transformation of Aboriginal education dialogue, policy making and practices. It is their ongoing determination and commitments to living and perpetuating ancestral teachings that weaves Indigenous education into this tapestry of First Peoples’ experiences with coming to know and understand. It is at the behest of these scholars, practitioners and organizations like the Assembly of First Nations that transformative policies 72 and practices are increasingly implemented towards ‘fulfilling the promise’ of education. Castellano, Davis and Lahache (2000) concur noting that there have been many positive changes in all areas between administration, content and pedagogy in Aboriginal education. It is becoming increasingly common for First Nations communities to manage their own schools and more Indigenous teachers are graduating from Indigenous teacher education programs. Pidgeon acknowledges that, “[t]his diversity in Indigenous academic programs and curriculums continues to evolve today” (2014, p. 9). The guiding principles and aspirations of the AEEAs, culturally-based education and systemic change models highlight the vigor with which “…the transformation of Aboriginal education is being pursued in practice. There is no question that the task is difficult… It is a testament to the commitment and vision of Aboriginal Elders, parents, educators, and community leaders that innovation persists…” (Castellano et al, 2000, p. 100). As this section of the dissertation begins to demonstrate, transforming Aboriginal education is an ongoing process that takes time and dedication and occurs to varying degrees, across a broad range of learning environments serving a diversity of Indigenous students. 73 Chapter 3: Guiding Principles: Indigenist Theories …weaving is the art of making choices and integrating those choices into a whole fabric (Merrill & Estell, 2007, p. ii). Chapter Overview The selection of material used to build the vertical posts of the dissertation loom is critical to the weaving process to come. The left and right pillars work together to provide the integrity and strength on which to twine Q’aLaTKú7eMicw intentions into the ever-emerging tapestry of Indigenous education. These vertical posts must honor Ucwalmicw ways to maintain political integrity and facilitate self-determining approaches to contributing in beautiful and strengthening ways to the change that is happening. The left vertical post (Figure 15: Guiding Principles) contains the Indigenist paradigm teachings of Lester-Irabinna Rigney (1999). An Indigenist paradigm aligns succinctly with the protocols and practices local to the community that employs it. In this third chapter, I demonstrate the applicability of Indigenist theories for this study and articulate the central tenets of an Indigenist paradigm as offered by Rigney in his 1999 work, The Internationalization of an Indigenous anti-colonial critique of research methodologies: A Guide to Indigenist research methodologies and its principles. I outline Rigney’s three Indigenist principles: resistance, political integrity, privileging Indigenous voice (1999; 2006) and weave in two additional precepts for consideration, as per Rigney’s call to contribute to the dialogue on Indigenist theory. Through implementing this paradigm in my studies and teaching, it became evident to me that self-determination is the critical motivator behind Rigney’s three tenets, so I include that in my chapter three discussions. Furthermore, I came to realize that it is my responsibilities to Ucwalmicw, to all my relations, that kept me aligned with Indigenist ways, especially when it would have been easier and quicker to follow the templates of Western academia in this process. I, therefore, suggest these two additions to Rigney’s principles and I Figure 12 Guiding Principles 74 situate all five precepts in the literature through the incorporation of the contributions of various Indigenist scholars who write to and enact these principles in their work and lives. I conclude this third chapter with an overview of how these Indigenist theories inform my/our approach to the community contributions phase of this work by requiring the use of Ucwalmicw methods which are detailed in the right vertical post (chapter four) of the dissertation loom. Why Indigenist Theories? While Indigenous education consistently emerges from the tapestry of Aboriginal education, I am ever cognizant and cautious of the still- actively- seeking-to- colonize institutions that are rooted in and functioning on continued denials of our very existence (Smith, 2012). Many of our communities continue to weave across the gaps that assimilative models of education tore and continue to tear into our Indigenous identities and systems. Indigenist practices mobilized within my academic work enabled me to experience a deep and wholistic understanding that I likely would not have realized by utilizing a non-Indigenous research paradigm. By enacting an Indigenist approach, I weave my Ucwalmicw spirit into my dissertation writing and blanket weaving as they weave my Indigeneity into me. This is how weaving works. All yarns are engaged and changing/changed by the process. I mobilize the Indigenist paradigm and methodology with a strong sense of responsibility to my Ucwalmicw people and ancestors because, as Charleston (1994) writes, …Our tribes [sic] are at a very critical point in our history again. We can stand by and wait for our children and grandchildren to be assimilated into mainstream [..] society as proud ethnic descendants of EXTINCT tribal [sic] peoples… or, we can protect our tribes [sic], as our ancestors did, and ensure a future for our children and grandchildren AS [my emphasis added] tribal [sic] people. (p. 28) A quarter of a century later, this expression of urgency continues to hold true and numerous Indigenous scholars have critiqued Aboriginal education for the negative toll it is taking on Indigenous communities. Although his theorizing is situated within an Australian context, Rigney’s articulations of Indigenist approaches to research provide principles that Indigenous Peoples around the world can apply to address the gaps and to ensure the futurity of 75 all Indigenous Nations. As he argues, “Indigenist research seeks to chart our own political and social agendas for liberation from the colonial domination of research and society” (Rigney, 2006, p. 39). Taking up the prevalent colonizing approaches to coming to know that are available to us in the academy serves to further widen the gaps in our IKSs. Choosing an Indigenist research paradigm for my/our work is a heart-felt and heart-led act of intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical survivance. Indigenist Guiding Frameworks Rigney (2006) notes that an Indigenist paradigm, “… has no one singular method for research transformation and/or praxis…it is a clear commitment to recognize the diversity of Indigenous ontology … while bringing reform to the process of knowledge production itself…” (p. 41). I appreciate the versatility of a framework that can respectfully honor and guide a multiplicity of Nations and the ways of being, doing and knowing that are specific to each. This in and of itself has the potential to reform knowledge seeking, making and sharing (research and education in Western academic terminology) because it is not a one-size-fits all approach to anti-colonial38 research methods. Alfred (2009) agrees, Indigenism is an important means of confronting the state in that it provides a unifying vocabulary and basis for collective action. But it is entirely dependent on maintenance of the integrity of the traditional Indigenous cultures and communities from which it draws its strength. (p. 112) It is in honoring the diversity of nations and ways of coming to know that an Indigenist framework makes space for my Ucwalmicw spirit to thrive within the research process. I have witnessed and experienced the bracketing out of vital aspects of the researcher and study contributors (for example spiritual, experiential and collective knowing) as major gaps in Western academia, gaps that can be mitigated through utilizing an Indigenist paradigm. Smith (2012) corroborates this idea when she argues that Indigenous paradigms, specifically Kaupapa Maori research, provide, 38 I follow Chinweizu’s (2007) understanding that, “Anti-colonial education is about challenges to contemporary forms of (post-colonial) education as vestiges of neo-colonial brainwashing (as cited in Dei, 2008, p.11). 76 a focus through which Maori people, as communities of the researched and as new communities of the researchers, have been able to engage in a dialogue about setting new directions for the priorities, policies, and practices of research for, by and with Maori (p. 185). It is the practices of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing that are sought out in this study as valid and meaningful ways in which to contribute to the ever-expanding beauty of the Indigenous education tapestry that has been emerging out of Aboriginal education since the 1970s. The Indigenist paradigm principles of political integrity, resistance and privileging Indigenous voice are foundational to the ideas expressed by Rigney, Alfred and Smith. There is some debate as to who can facilitate Indigenist research. Wilson (2007) writes that, an Indigenist paradigm can be used by anyone who chooses to follow its tenets. It cannot and should not be claimed to belong only to people with “Aboriginal” heritage… it is then the choice to follow this paradigm, philosophy, or world view that makes research Indigenist, not the ethnic or racial identity of the researcher. (Wilson, 2007, pp. 193-194) Smith’s (2012) writing reflects Rigney’s discussion on this perspective, indicating that due to the political nature and import of Indigenous communities’ self-determination in the research process, it is imperative that Indigenous Peoples conduct Indigenist research whenever possible: There must be a social link between research and the political struggle of our communities. This link needs to be in and through those Indigenous Australians who are simultaneously engaged in research and the Indigenous struggle. Only in this way can research responsibly serve and inform the political liberation struggle. (Rigney, 2006, p. 117) Experiential understandings of Indigenous realities are seen by many as being foundational to one’s ability to facilitate Indigenist research that, “…must lead to politics. The worth of a ‘social theory’ must not be measured simply in terms of its philosophical and ontological claims, but rather, in terms of the ability of theory to offer a social and political corrective” (Dei, 2008, p. 8). Due to the fact that this study seeks to contribute to the transformation of Aboriginal education, this Indigenist paradigm precept suggests that it is a promising approach. Martin 77 (2003) writes that as an Indigenist researcher she positions herself first as an Aboriginal person and then as a researcher. Through first making known who she is and how she is related to the research topic, she “…clearly presents the assumptions upon which [her] research is formulated and conducted…” and in doing so, begins by mobilizing the “…elements of Indigenist research” (p. 204). Smith (2012) acknowledges the complexity around this question and suggests the response is equally complex, noting that when non-Indigenous researchers are involved in Indigenous research, “…they would have ways of positioning themselves as a non-Indigenous person” (p. 186). Rigney, agrees with Wilson (2007) noting that Indigenist research is that which is facilitated by those who self-identify as Indigenist. Rigney expands the discussion by noting the importance of context in promoting both perspectives depending on the circumstances. In some cases, Boyden’s (2014) submission that Indigenist research is “…designed to be conducted by Indigenous people within their communities” (p. 429) must be adhered to in order to maintain the political integrity of the community contributing to the study. Due to the history of non-Indigenous scholars monopolizing research on Indigenous peoples in Australia, Rigney advocates for the privileging of Indigenous researchers when conducting Indigenous research to disrupt, “…the socially constructed identity of the ‘archetypal Aborigine’, as a controlled and oppressed being…” (2006, p. 36). While Original Peoples are not the only ones who can utilize an Indigenist framework, it is imperative that Indigenous Peoples facilitate the work being done with their/our communities whenever possible due to the historical and on-going colonizing nature of non-Indigenous research paradigms. Agreement is evident among Rigney (2006), Martin (2003), Wilson (2007), and Boyden (2014) in that all acknowledge that Indigenist research with Indigenous communities must be facilitated by Indigenous researchers who have experiential understandings of Indigenous realities and aspirations. While I agree with this point, I also see great value in Rigney’s and Wilson’s perspectives that see Indigenist principles as also being an applicable and valuable tool that can be taken up by any researcher who adheres to the central tenets of Indigenist paradigms, working with any community. Non-Indigenous researchers can work from within the Indigenist paradigm when they, “…uphold its principles for Indigenous self-determination” (2006, p.41). Indigenist protocols and processes offer an approach to working respectfully with a diversity of communities be they Indigenous or non-Indigenous. I view five central tenets of political 78 integrity, resistance, honoring Indigenous [i.e. community] voice, self-determination and responsibilities as de-centering the agendas and priorities of the institution. Therefore, researchers following the Indigenist paradigm can effectively work with any marginalized or underprivileged community using this framework. I argue that any researcher could benefit (decolonize themselves) by utilizing the Indigenist paradigm with any group or community in which a power imbalance exists. An Indigenist pathway to coming to know and understand could alleviate the issues raised by Weber-Pillwax (2004), any research that is carried out with people is carried out within the context of an existing community. When a researcher assumes that the ethics guidelines of a hypothetical ‘research community’ can take precedence over those of a real community of people (real faces and real bodies) situated in space and time, this surely constitutes a breach of ethics and ought to raise serious questions about the research project itself. (p. 80) Because Indigenist knowledge seeking, making and sharing de-centers the status quo, “…the inclusions of Indigenist ideas for methodological reform are functions that promote the redistribution of power” (Rigney, 2006, p. 42). These power imbalances exist in a great diversity of communities and each has much to contribute to the ‘study’ of their community and to facilitating the project in mutually beneficial ways. An Indigenist approach to research could be of great significance and benefit to all and aligns well with the social and political change advocated for throughout this dissertation. Research that facilitates the privileging of Indigenous voice, resistance, political integrity, self-determination and responsibilities of the researcher and the communities with whom they engage could certainly contribute greatly to the transformation of knowledge production that led Rigney to articulate an Indigenist paradigm. This critical approach and perspective has the potential to expand current expectations of academia in that studies implementing this model would center on broader intentions that are concerned with manifesting “...transformation within every living entity participating in the research…” (Wilson, 2007, page 195). This means that the institution, the researcher and project contributors are all transformed because of the work they have collaborated on together. This is, after all, the ultimate goal of Indigenist research and a common underlying feature of Indigenous knowledge systems: to become fully human for having engaged with knowledge seeking, making and sharing processes. Indigenist paradigms 79 are all about the coming to know processes and the relationships formed and sustained in them, as is the study disseminated here. Having made the case for choosing an Indigenist paradigm as an appropriate guide for this inquiry into transforming Aboriginal education for Ucwalmicw students, I illustrate the three Indigenist principles outlined by Rigney; political integrity, resistance and privileging Indigenous voice, articulations that he notes represent, “…research in progress and a transmission of ideas to promote further debate... “(1999, p. 110). At Rigney’s invitation, I also make a case for the consideration of the two additional precepts, self-determination and responsibilities, as being central to an Indigenist approach to knowledge seeking, making and sharing. It is our experiences with the colonizing project that make necessary the mobilization of an Indigenist paradigm because Indigenous ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing have, for the majority of our engagements with Aboriginal education, been marginalized and/or absent. In the next section of this chapter, I spend time with each of the tenets of the Indigenist paradigm, illustrating how Rigney and other scholars are writing about and acting upon these principles. Rigney’s Three Indigenist Principles “Resistance as the emancipatory imperative in Indigenist research, political integrity in Indigenous research and, privileging Indigenous voices in research” (Rigney, 1999, p. 116) are the ways of being that I first practiced living in my student and educator lives. These precepts inform and make possible the diversity of methodologies mandatory to anti-colonial knowledge seeking, making and sharing. Indigenist principles inform and guide an approach that simultaneously weaves together the knowledge seeking process with Indigenous survivance, promoting processes that integrate, as opposed to detach or segregate, the researcher from their history, experiences, ways of knowing, being and valuing. Facilitating research from within an Indigenist paradigm benefits from an experiential knowledge of the research context and questions because this is how one connects in a meaningful and more purposeful way to the study (Rigney, 1999; Wilson, 2007). Indigenist methodologies further provide a pathway to understanding that does not focus on the ‘problem’ that dominant approaches typically center on in Aboriginal education. Alternatively, Indigenist research requires the inclusion, or truth telling, of historical and contemporary forms of attempted genocide inflicted upon First Peoples who 80 participate in mainstream research and/or education systems. As Rigney makes clear, “this approach challenges the power and control that traditional research methodologies exerts and directs attention toward ones that are compatible with Indigenous worldviews” (2006, p. 43). I begin by situating the Indigenist principle of resistance. Indigenist Principle #1: Resistance To focus our education on learning the non-Indigenous paradigms that are prevalent in most classrooms and then mobilize them in our research projects with our communities is to invite the cultural genocide of our own ways of coming to understand. Rigney writes that Indigenist research is concerned with engaging with stories of survival and resistance as it strives to, uncover and protest the continuing forms of oppression confronting Indigenous Australians. Moreover, it is research that attempts to support the personal, community, cultural, and political struggles of Indigenous Australians to carve out a way of being for ourselves in Australia in which there can be healing from past oppressions and cultural freedom in the future. (1999, p. 117) As Rigney further points out, “Indigenist research arises out of Indigenous social experiences, which celebrate the courage and determination of Indigenous people to survive. Therefore, Indigenist research acknowledges Indigenous peoples as resisters to racialization not victims of it” (Rigney, 2006, p. 43). The exhausting work of resisting assimilation into colonial mindsets that consistently cajole us into seeing and living in the world in non-spiritually centered ways dissipates when we turn to our own Indigenous/ Ucwalmicw frameworks of being, knowing and doing. For example, “Inside ceremony, one is no longer a colonial subject, or even a resistor to colonization. One becomes spirit and one with Creator, and one’s understandings of life are shifted. This undoing of the colonial by the act of ceremony is a decolonizing act” (Iseke, 2013, p. 48). Resistance shifts our attention to the right door (Smith G. , 2003) so that we do not succumb to the many distractions that lure us toward success as defined by mainstream political, economic and education systems. Being in ceremony ensures that we do not wake up one day to find ourselves on top of the wrong mountain, where we may be enjoying the successes that come with successful navigation of Western ways, only to find we have lost our Ucwalmicw languages, ceremonies and values (Twin Cities PBS, 2010). Whereas resistance on its own can 81 be spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically draining, being in ceremony has the opposite effect. We survive and more importantly, thrive, by practicing our Ucwalmicw ways. As these ways are not typically known, let alone practiced in many of the environments in which First Peoples learn, teach, work and live, resisting what is most often privileged in these institutions, (i.e. individualism, neo-liberalism, mono-culturalism, hierarchies) is important to our futurity as Indigenous Peoples. deCosta (2005) concurs and indicates that to be Indigenist is to be an “indigenous activist”, one who is inspired by tradition to “...resist [the] invasive and deracinating forces” of imperialism, colonialism and globalization (DeCosta, 2005, p. 1). It is through Indigenist research that we, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can confront and counter the numerous illegitimate actions of state, corporate and institutional power. When we become aware of the need to resist we begin to dismantle the cognitive hegemony of colonial ideas and values by centering, honoring and engaging with our own ancestral frameworks that are grounded in the values, worldviews and practices of our Indigenous Nations (Churchill, 2003; Rigney, 1999, 2006; Alfred, Coulthard, & Simmons, 2006). This is what an Indigenist approach to resistance entails from within the academy. While it can be exhausting work, as West states, “[t]he stress of ‘the resistance’ is as important as one’s heartbeat, for if you are not fighting you are submitting. This is an unfortunate outcome, but nevertheless a real outcome” (2000, p. 109). When we do not actively resist we potentially open ourselves to “…colonial ideas, values and beliefs…seep[ing] into our cultures and psyches” and we run the risk of reproducing and perpetuating them in our communities (Alfred et al, 2006, p. 2). “A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive” (Means, 2011, para. 35). Today’s Indigenous warriors understand and practice resistance as a means of transcending these forces. In this sense, “resistance” is no longer a sufficient term to describe what is happening among our people; personalities are being reconstructed, lives re-made and communities re-formed in a process more akin to “regeneration”. (Alfred et al, 2006, p. 2) There is a simultaneous action that co-exists with such resistance. What we defy is replenished by something else and in this case, as Alfred et al (2006) note, we, as First Peoples, are re-generated when our own ways and values take precedence in all areas of our lives, including our approaches to knowledge seeking, making and sharing. It is through honoring this 82 Indigenist precept of resistance that I strive to learn our Ucwalmicts language with my daughter and granddaughter and incorporate what I am learning into my teaching and writing practices. It is in the spirit of resistance that I seek out and learn to weave so that I may fully experience what the metaphor/act of this Ucwalmicw practice has to teach me. It is in resisting that I, in relation to my Ucwalmicw community ways and responsibilities, determine how and why I will come to know, understand and teach and it is through these acts of mindful resistance that I am transformed by it. Resistance as a political act is but the first step— it is much more than resisting for resistance sake. I consistently challenge the colonial and colonizing framework of Aboriginal education so that I am ever cognizant of, and contributing in good ways to, who I am becoming. Mobilizing Indigenist ways of coming to know within academia facilitates, as Martin puts it, “…our continued assertion to take control of our lives and protect ourselves, our lands, our past, our present, and particularly our futures” (2003, p. 214). My learning, teaching and research dissemination journeys can further oppress my Ucwalmicw spirit or they can protect, heal and re-generate it towards Ucwalmicw survivance. Living and working in mainstream society, I find that I must be ever-vigilant when it comes to resistance because it is too easy to be swept away by the values and ways that my life is currently immersed in. This would be different if I lived back home in the community because I would be surrounded by Ucwalmicw ways and values. This is why resistance is ongoing; this is why it is key to Ucwalmicw survivance. Much is at stake. This first tenet carries great weight for me. I understand it in this way: while I cannot do anything to change the past, what I choose to do or not do today can have a very real impact on our present and future as Ucwalmicw. This was crystallized for me by a FNST 101 student inquiry. After our first class together, the student asked me for suggestions as to how he might successfully navigate the course given that it appeared it would be delivered from an anarchist perspective.39 This student was concerned with participating in a class delivered in ways he had no familiarity with, ways that ran counter to what he was familiar with and expecting to see in his post-secondary experience. His question challenged me to think deeply about the role and significance of resistance in my life and it led me to realize two things: first, that teaching from 39 My response to the student’s question is as shared in point 2. His query prompted me to reflect deeply on why I choose to teach the way that I do and that re-reminded me of my responsibilities to the futurity of Ucwalmicw Peoples. The student understood and respected my situation and responsibilities and contributed thoughtfully and appropriately throughout the semester. He did very well in the course. 83 an Indigenist approach is not anarchy but politically essential on Turtle Island. It is my Ucwalmicw responsibility to the Indigenous territories on which the class is taught and to my ancestors and descendants that I take very seriously. Second, there is nothing else that I can do. If I am not resisting the perpetuation of colonized and colonizing mainstream approaches to knowledge seeking, making and sharing, especially in a First Nations Studies course, I am risking being swept back into the center of that large and hungry mechanical wheel that continues to spin around all of us. I have learned from this student’s question, that I must make explicit from the start that the FNST courses that I teach are all about countering and not perpetuating colonial thought and practices. Students are equally expected to counter colonizing practices in all of their course requirement activities and submissions. Indigenist Principle #2: Political Integrity Indigenist knowledge seeking, making and sharing “…upholds the political integrity of Indigenous peoples as sovereign…” (Rigney, 2006, p. 40). To honor and maintain political integrity in the research process is to work from within “…Indigenous ontological and epistemological views about the world that directly translate to Indigenous philosophies, languages, cultural and spiritual values and beliefs” (Rigney, 2006, p, 40). This means that the political is not separate from the social, from the spiritual and/or from the intellectual. Integrity is possible when approaches to coming to know and understand honor and mobilize this fact. Rigney explains that political integrity is necessary to bring veracity and trust into research conducted with, by and for Indigenous communities. “Indigenous autonomy and control over Indigenous knowledges, languages and cultures are fundamental to Indigenist research” (2006, p. 40) which strives to ensure our Indigenous ways are passed forward and lived for generations to come. The Indigenist paradigm rises out of histories of Indigenous communities around the world that have not had a facilitating role in the research process which is often followed up by no access to or control over the findings. The Indigenist approach to knowledge seeking, making and sharing is accountable first to the community and “…it is recognized that the integrity of any Indigenous people or community could never be undermined by Indigenous research because such research is grounded in that integrity” (Wilson, 2007, page 195). The Indigenist paradigm is rooted in Indigenous values and intentions that manifest good outcomes for all involved in the 84 processes of knowledge seeking. Just as we take great care in when and how we harvest medicines and then how we process and utilize these gifts from Mother Earth, I must also be mindful and take great care in how I gather, process and utilize that which Q’aLaTKú7eMiwc chose to share with me. This is key to maintaining political integrity. Indigenist research centers on the gifts offered to transform humanity as opposed to capturing ‘new’ knowledge towards completing our PhD’s, furthering our careers, our department and/or our institution. I am accountable to my Nation’s intentions and wellbeing first and foremost. Indigenist research “…provides the intellectual context, language and rationale for research as whole-of-life and fundamentally political engagement with the world” (Boyden, 2014, p. 430). Research and education that reach beyond the intellectual, with intentions to bring harmony and social justice into not only the classroom, but also society at large, is political in nature because it defies the status quo which can be perpetuated by those who do not question the intentions behind many mainstream research and education projects. To maintain political integrity is to challenge what is currently ‘acceptable’ and deemed ‘valid’ in regard to how we facilitate research and how we design and deliver education. Smith contributes to this idea of the whole-of-life understanding to assert that maintaining political integrity in Indigenous research includes the need for researchers to approach the processes and community with a clear spirit, a good heart and the capacity to do everyday things like fix the generator for the community (2012). While there is little that I can do to stop the onslaught of infringements on Ucwalmicw territories, including my own community’s participation in the British Columbia Treaty process, there is much that I can do to stave off colonization’s push to bend and control my Indigenist/Ucwalmicw spirit. I am in control when it comes to who I am becoming through all of my educational pathways. I do not forfeit my power to be Ucwalmicw simply by walking into the university classroom, whether I do so as a student or educator. Self-identifying as Ucwalmicw, using Ucwalmicts, and acknowledging the territories are not merely political statements but political acts that remind me of how I need to be, do, and value in my learning, teaching and community lives. And it is in sustaining a strong sense of Ucwalmicw identity that I recognize that “…the struggle for identity becomes inextricably linked with political struggles for sovereignty and the ongoing battle against cultural encroachment and capitalist desire to control native land, resources, traditions, and languages” (Grande, 2000, p. 489). Struggles that may be seen as anarchist because they expose and interrogate the status quo that most students 85 are familiar with and expect when they enter a university classroom. Maintaining political integrity in my student and teaching practices is not an easy thing to do; it is by striving to meet the responsibilities that come with receiving the intentions behind Ucwalmicw knowledge sharing that I am better able to do so. While the weaving of Indigenous worldviews and ways is increasingly finding more space across all levels of education, it will take time and persistence to ensure that Aboriginal education fully transforms into Indigenous education. An Indigenist approach to this work provides a respectful, relationship building method to discovering and accepting truths about what Aboriginal education is and what it does. Political integrity is possible when these projects question perspectives that see education as a form of social-engineering in First Peoples’ lives. This approach to coming to understand begins with resistance and all students could potentially benefit from the realization that, perhaps, they too need to resist because they are exposed to the same colonizing aspects of Aboriginal education that persist in many classrooms, programs and institutions. The Indigenist precept of political integrity put into action prompts the consideration of how Aboriginal education is also affecting all our relations. In what ways are non-Indigenous students and their identities effected when they are exposed to the very same curricula, theories, pedagogies, and benchmarks or expected outcomes as their Indigenous counterparts? These are the truths that all students need to come to terms with if we hope to create and sustain classrooms in which Ucwalmicw and all Indigenous students may express their Indigeneity without hesitation or fear. Aboriginal and Indigenous education continue to be politically charged. An all my relations’ pedagogy is one approach to mobilizing political integrity in a system that is currently watching the wrong door and therefore content with a single prong approach that relies upon absorbing more Indigenous content, practices and staff as the means of transforming the institution so that Indigenous students can ‘succeed’. Indigenist Principle #3: Privileging40 (Honoring) Indigenous Voices Rigney’s third Indigenist principle centers on and promotes the requirement to privilege Indigenous voice and values (1999). He suggests that this be done by centering research and 40 I prefer to consider this precept as the honoring as opposed to privileging of Indigenous ways and voices and I use honor Indigenous ways from this point forward. This is likely due to the negative connotations that I attach to the concept of privilege that I believe is highly dependent on/attached to the colonizing project. 86 educational processes on numerous and diverse local (read wise) approaches that value and are rooted in the communities from which they spring. Unlike best practices, a wise approach indicates that the methods utilized come from experiential understandings of what works well with a particular group (Wesley-Esquimaux & Calliou, 2010). DeCosta’s (2005) point that Indigenist activism comes from spaces grounded in a diversity of ancestral traditions supports this supposition. Churchill contributes much to discussions on honoring and/or enacting Indigenous ways, stating that he is “...one who not only takes the rights of Indigenous peoples as the highest priority of political life, but who draws upon the traditions–the bodies of knowledge and corresponding codes of value–evolved over many thousands of years by native peoples the world over” (2003, p. 275). This Indigenist scholar enacts resistance and political integrity from a space and outlook that guided his ancestors in the past (Churchill, 2003). Inspired by what he considers “... the only historical examples of proper attitude and comportment on this continent” (p. 276), Churchill embraces and honors the values and traditions of his Nation and is activated from that sacred place. Centering Indigenous ways and voices in our studies and teaching pedagogies allows the Indigenist researcher or educator to “speak back” to those privileged research and education paradigms that “…have contributed to the social construction of Indigenous [Peoples] as oppressed” both historically and currently (Rigney, 2006, p. 39). These social constructions persist in many Aboriginal education classrooms and have real and lasting effects on Indigenous students who participate in them. Centering Indigenous voice provides a pathway from which we can counter the “Indian problem” perspectives that continue to inform many academic understandings of and approaches to Aboriginal education. Additionally, working from Indigenous worldviews can also weave much into the diversification of processes and intentions behind coming to know, making education more beneficial for all. Most significantly, honoring Indigenous voices and ways will do much to “…shift the construction of knowledge to one that does not compromise Indigenous identity and Indigenous principles of independence, unity, and freedom from racism” (Rigney, 1999, p. 119). Centering First Peoples’ voices in academia lifts up and sustains our Indigeneity even while immersed in non-Indigenous environments. 87 While Martin contributes the following points as additional features central to an Indigenist paradigm, I see them as making explicit the preconditions required to meet the precept of honoring Indigenous voices and ways in the knowledge seeking, making and sharing process: Recognition of our worldviews, our knowledges and our realities as distinctive and vital to our existence and survival; Honoring our social mores as essential processes through which we live, learn and situate ourselves as Aboriginal people in our own lands and when in the lands of other Aboriginal people; Emphasis of social, historical and political contexts which shape our experiences, lives, positions and futures…” (2003, p. 205). It is only through a commitment to and an ability to act on each of these points in one’s work that a researcher or educator is capable of honoring Indigenous voices and ways in their learning or teaching endeavors. I see Martin’s articulations as benchmarks to be met when considering one’s capacity to conduct research or deliver education that can be deemed Indigenist. Honoring Indigenous voices and ways brings “…forward an Indigenously rooted voice of contention, unconstrained and uncompromised by colonial mentalities. A total commitment to the challenge of regenerating our Indigeneity, to rootedness in Indigenous cultures, to a fundamental commitment to the centrality of our truths…” (Alfred, 2005, p.33). Indigenist guiding frameworks and methodologies center upon and honor Indigenous voices and ways as a means of sustaining and passing them forward and not merely as a reaction to colonial processes. This is what sets Indigenist paradigms apart from decolonizing paradigms. Indigenous ways are thousands of years old and provide pathways of integrity that align with the paramountcy of relationships, respect, harmony, and being and doing in good ways. The fact that these ways simultaneously decenter colonial and colonizing systems is an added benefit. Indigenist Principle #4: Self-determination While Rigney does not specifically cite self-determination as being a principle of the Indigenist paradigm, he does reference it often in his writings on Indigenism, “…maintaining Indigenous political integrity throughout the whole research process is vital to self-determination and is a fundamental ingredient of this approach” (2006, p. 42). Self-determination is at the same time motivator and outcome the three precepts, resistance, political integrity and honoring Indigenous 88 voices and ways, articulated above and it is absolutely necessary to all struggles against colonization. As demonstrated in chapter two of this dissertation, it is the absence of self-determination in educational and research processes that has caused our Nations much intergenerational trauma. Wesley-Esquimaux and Calliou (2010) agree and caution that failure to engage with wise practices that facilitate locally defined self-determination in community endeavors such as education and leadership has the potential to further colonizing ways. They write “…since research is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism… a thoughtless use of standard research techniques would run the risk of perpetuating European imperialism in a study that hopes to further, rather than diminish, Indigenous self-determination…” (Wesley-Esquimaux & Calliou, 2010, p. 23). Nash (2001) refers to the act of self-determination as the attainment of dignity and “…the rights of all people to dance to their own music” (p.120). Choosing to present this analysis of transforming education within the guiding framework of a loom is an example of mobilizing self-determination in my PhD journey. I further honor this Indigenist principle by also weaving a dissertation blanket (which I will ‘read’ at my defense presentation and upon gifting it to Samahquam) alongside the writing of the dissertation. These acts of resistance facilitate my moving outside of and beyond the intellectual rigors of coming to know, to be, as noted above by ross (2010), transformed by the emotional, physical and spiritual acts of making through the weaving process. These acts of self-determination are mandatory because they begin with me and with my approaches to seeking and sharing knowledge. As Alfred notes, it is still true that the first part of self-determination is the self. In our minds and in our souls, we need to reject the colonists’ control and authority, their definition of who we are and what our rights are, their definition of what is worthwhile and how one should live… We need to rebel against what they want us to become, start remembering the qualities of our ancestors, and act on those remembrances. This is the kind of spiritual revolution that will ensure our survival. (2005, p. 32) Self-determination in this PhD process includes the need to go beyond analyzing the teachings gifted to me by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw to, more importantly, implement them in my learning and teaching lives. It is through activating the community sharing that I came to a more wholistic understanding of what Indigenous education needs to be. It is through ensuring the 89 survival of cultural diversity that Ucwalmicw survivance becomes part of a spiritual revolution that honors the ways of being of our ancestors. “Indigenous knowledge is part of the struggle for self-determination, political and intellectual sovereignty of Indigenous peoples” (Dei, 2008, p. 10). Engaging with conventional academic approaches to researching, learning and teaching also weaves those Western ways of seeing, being, doing and valuing in the world into me. It is my responsibility to self, Nation and Tákem Nsnekwnúkw7a that requires me to choose whether or not I will engage with and practice Ucwalmicw processes and protocols in the work I do, no matter where that work may be. While we tend to define self-determination as being sovereign Nations in our ancestral homelands, I agree with Alfred (2005) that self-determination is also manifest in our “… knowing and respecting [our] teachings and thinking and behaving in a way that is consistent with the values passed down to us by our ancestors” (p. 32). It is through everyday acts of living as Ucwalmicw that I become self-determining in my research, education and community lives. Indigenist Principle #5: Responsibilities In striving to mobilize the Indigenist ethics of resistance, political integrity, honoring Ucwalmicw ways and self-determination as expressed above, in my roles as Ucwalmicw student and teacher, I saw the need to add and expand upon one other feature that was, for me, missing in Rigney’s Indigenist paradigm. I believe this fifth tenet, responsibilities, is what kept me on track with the other four, particularly when it would have been easier and quicker at times to just maintain the status quo in my work and studies. The principle of responsibility is central to a diversity of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. In considering and suggesting the addition of this precept as being important to an Indigenist paradigm, I start from a place of understanding that sees human beings as not having only rights but, more importantly, as having responsibilities. Corntassel (2012) cautions us in regard to the focus on rights discourse asserting that “…our energies should be directed where the real power lies: our inherent responsibilities” (p. 91). While the dominant system functions in a manner that requires a great diversity of groups to be vigilant in ensuring their rights are not breached, Corntassel warns us to not get caught up in the politics of distraction which see us chasing after state-defined rights as opposed to knowing and living up to our responsibilities. 90 These responsibilities are understood as spiritual, Indigenous Nation-centric and are woven into “…long-standing relationships with homelands – relationships that have existed long before the development of the state system” (Corntassel, 2012, p. 91). This sense of responsibility, while centered on lands and territories, is carried forth in all environments in which Indigenous peoples live; this is an inherent value; we carry our spirituality, responsibilities and relationships with us wherever we go. These ways of being are woven into us and guide all aspects of our lives. Dudgeon (2008) calls attention to the need for action when he writes, “…this is not an intellectual exercise but requires the living of one’s moral convictions” (p. 16). I therefore consistently attempt to navigate my PhD journey and teaching practices not as a right, but as responsibilities. I find that my intentions behind knowledge seeking, making and sharing from this perspective shift from being personal endeavors to get what is rightfully mine, to taking approaches that will facilitate my ability to meet the greater responsibilities that come with striving to live and remain Ucwalmicw. I am responsible for learning, teaching, honoring and practicing our Ucwalmicw ways. I also acknowledge that we as First Peoples have responsibilities to our territories, to the lands, waters, air and all of our relations who sustain and are sustained by them. To meet our obligations we must resist, endeavor to attain and sustain political integrity and self-determination, through honoring Indigenous voices and ways. As Rigney notes, the principles of Indigenist ways are all interconnected and interrelated. I suggest that it is our responsibilities that activate our striving to meet the other four tenets of Indigenist paradigms outlined here. Our responsibilities center on creating and maintaining harmony in all relationships. Wilson (2013) expands on the significance of our accountabilities to interrelatedness and notes that First Peoples ARE relationships and are not merely in relationship. This is demonstrated in diverse ways in the Non-Interference story. When the young girl returns the zúmak insides to the water it is more than merely fulfilling her responsibilities to her community. This act is all about respecting the gift of life that salmon provide. Harmony in that relationship is maintained by treating with honor those parts of the zúmak that cannot be used. Our ultimate obligation is to actualize good intentions through action and ceremony, towards attaining and sustaining balance and harmony in all our relationships. I am responsible for Tákem Nsnekwnúkw7a, and this is how I see responsibilities as being necessary in the taking up of the Indigenist paradigm. As noted by Grande (2000), “… Regardless of how any individual American Indian [sic] may 91 choose to live his or her life as an Indian [sic] person, most experience a deep sense of responsibility and obligation to protect the rights of those choosing to live in the ways of their ancestors” (p. 489). This is what it means to be responsible. Whether I choose to live as Ucwalmicw or not, as an educator my responsibilities to all my relations include ensuring that their rights to choose are protected. Just as we once fully accepted our responsibilities to each other and all entities that form the interconnected and interdependent systems of that which we are but a small and insignificant part, I accept the responsibilities that come with self-identifying as an Indigenist person (Wilson, 2007). I resist assimilation, I honor Ucwalmicw voice and ways, I strive to maintain political integrity and self-determination in all that I do so that those who wish to, may continue to enjoy “…cultural freedom in the future” (Rigney, 1999, p. 117). It is our responsibilities that weave us into and thereby secure us to our communities and nations’ ways of being, doing and knowing. Living up to and honoring my responsibilities connects me to the collective, to the bigger and more important picture. Weber-Pillwax (2004) further articulates this principle of responsibilities in the research process when she argues that researchers are accountable to the lives of research participants and to the intended and realized benefits of research for the community (Weber-Pillwax, 2004). Indigenist researchers are responsible, first and foremost, to being and doing in ways that facilitate projects that benefit and are meaningful to our communities. This point is as applicable to educators and education systems as it is to researchers and research projects. I must deliver curriculum in ways that benefit and are meaningful to my students if I wish to live up to the responsibilities that come with being an Indigenist/Ucwalmicw educator. These responsibilities apply to all phases of the coming to know, understand, share and mobilize knowledge processes. Chapter Summary The left vertical post of this dissertation loom represents the Indigenist guiding spirit that frames my perspectives of and approaches to coming to fully understand how Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharings might best contribute to the work of transforming Aboriginal education into Indigenous education. I present the three precepts of Indigenist theory as articulated by Rigney (1999; 2006), namely resistance, political integrity and honoring Indigenous voices and demonstrate how various Indigenist scholars write about and activate each principle within their own lives and 92 research/educational paths. To honor Rigney’s (1999) and Wilson’s (2007) calls for “…Indigenist scholars to discuss and continually refine this understanding of an Indigenist paradigm” (p. 194), I suggest the principles of self-determination and responsibilities be included as features of an Indigenist approach to knowledge seeking, making and sharing. In meeting the criteria as laid out by Wilson (2007), I am positioned to “…to describe and use the paradigm…” in that I have placed myself and my work, “…firmly in a relational context” (p. 194). Further, it is through doing so that I was led to experience the need to include the principle of responsibilities as being necessary to enacting an Indigenist approach to research, teaching, and learning. In relating this PhD study to the survivance of Ucwalmicw, I quickly became aware of my responsibilities to becoming Ucwalmicw and to maintaining Ucwalmicw ways and values for all my relations and the next seven generations. This realization deepened my understanding of the significance of self-determination. I agree with Rigney and Wilson that more discussion, clarification and application of the Indigenist framework is needed and the contributions I offer here are shared for the purposes of further consideration and dialogue. I articulate the five guiding features that were present and activated in my own coming to understand Indigenist ways of seeing, being, knowing and doing in the world. I am grateful to those who have shared their understandings of, and experiences with, the Indigenist paradigm for it allowed me to do this work in a wholistic manner that facilitates beginning and doing in good ways with intention. As Rigney puts it, “Indigenist research is research which focuses on the lived, historical experiences, ideas, traditions, dreams, interests, aspirations and struggles of Indigenous Australians. I desire that Indigenist research contribute to methodological reform for social justice” (2006, p. 43). That pathway to methodological reform has been mobilized through me, my education, and through the ways in which my community contributed to this academic process. Because this left vertical post cannot support the weaving to come on its own, we move on to build the equally important right vertical post, which represents the Indigenist inspired methodology and methods utilized in this study. 93 Chapter 4 Ucwalmicw Knowledge seeking, making and sharing Beginning in an Ucwalmicw way The Great Flood Story41 A very long time ago, the Great Chief called upon Ntci'nemkin to instruct the Ucwalmicw to gather cedar and begin twining it into a length of rope. Ntci'nemkin and the people did as requested over the next several days. After some time had passed, Ntci'nemkin’s younger brother grew weary of gathering and twining the cedar into rope and questioned why they did not use sinew as the more efficient approach to this undertaking. Ntci'nemkin responded that he was doing as instructed by the Great Chief and would continue to do so until the reason was revealed. The younger brother, discontent with this response, encouraged the people to utilize the swifter rope making method of using sinew. Some of the people continued on with Ntci'nemkin while others opted to join his brother. After a while both groups had produced great lengths of rope and it soon began to rain. It rained and rained and rained and as the waters rose to frightening heights upon the land, the Great Chief told Ntci'nemkin to have the people board their raft and float atop the rising waters. Some of the people joined Ntci'nemkin while others boarded the raft of his sibling. When the rafts neared the peak of the split like a crutch Mountain (See photo in Figure 14: N’Skets), the Great Chief instructed the people to throw the ropes they had made over the peak to keep them afloat above their territory. The raft secured by the braided cedar held strong and the people on Ntci'nemkin’s raft remained upon their territory as the waters eventually subsided. The younger brother’s raft floated down the valley as the rope 41Please go to the following link to hear our Elder Aunty Laura Purcell narrate an animated version of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vHsFWkufhw Figure 13 Ucwalmicw ways Figure 14 N'Skets 94 made of sinew stretched farther and farther away from N’Skets Mountain. As the water levels lowered, the people on Ntci'nemkin’s brother’s raft were dispersed throughout the territory. This is how the Ucwalmicw Nation came to be spread throughout the valley. This is the only Ucwalmicw story that I learned from my grandmother, Kicya7. It not only connects me to my origins, to all my relations in the Ucwalmicw territory and to the mountain sacred to us, it also connects me to Kicya7. I begin this chapter with our Flood Story because this is the section of the weaving that emanates from Ucwalmicw peoples and teachings which emanate from our Great Flood story. I honor our protocols by presenting Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharings in a respectful way and that is through remembering and telling the Ucwalmicw origin story. Chapter Overview Chapters one and two of this dissertation introduce and then situate this PhD study within the context of an ever-emerging tapestry of Indigenous Peoples’ diverse experiences with knowledge seeking, making and sharing to form a vision of education transforming. Indigenist approaches to coming to know that inform and guide this work are then articulated in chapter three which further contribute to the work of chapter four which is represented by the right vertical post of the dissertation loom (Figure 13: Ucwalmicw ways). In this chapter on protocols and processes, I substantiate the use of Indigenous methodologies from within the works of various Indigenous scholars, primarily Aluli-Meyer (2003, 2008), Armstrong (2000), Hart (2010), Ormiston (2010), and Weber-Pillwax (2001, 2004). Each of these scholars articulate and engage with what Indigenous methodologies are and what they do, to honor community ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing. I demonstrate how Indigenist theory mobilized in this study necessitates and honors Ucwalmicw approaches to knowledge seeking, making and sharing. I then provide overviews of the three community engagement sessions I participated in with Samahquamicw and the knowledge shared at each. I close the chapter by citing the four Ucwalmicw teachings that will be weaved into the dissertation blanket in chapter six. 95 Why Indigenist/Indigenous Methodology? An Indigenist methodology is an approach to coming to know in ways that mobilize the key principles of the Indigenist paradigm. To resist perpetuating and/or being co-opted by Western methods typically privileged in academia that tend to foster Western values, Indigenist methodologies are activated from within Indigenous voices and ways thereby maintain the political integrity and self-determination of the community with which the researcher works. To honor my responsibilities as an Ucwalmicw woman, I am ever cognizant of the fact that to engage with community from that place in this PhD/academic journey is as important as meeting the criteria established by the UBC ethics review board. An Indigenist approach to knowledge seeking and making knows that, The influence of culture on method selection is always present, but in Aboriginal communities, an Indigenous researcher may find that the method is actually determined by the parameters set by the ethics and principles of the culture in which s/he is engaged. (Weber-Pillwax, 2004, p. 88) Samahquamicw Peoples are central contributors to and the key intended benefactors of this study. Therefore, following Weber-Pillwax (2001) and honoring the principles of the Indigenist paradigm that guides this work, we arrive at the need to move forward in a manner that honors Ucwalmicw ethics and principles. Indigenist precepts require approaches that will respectfully “…mesh with the community and serve the community” (Weber-Pillwax, 2001, p. 166). Aluli-Meyer writes that “[r]esearch for us is not simply about asking ‘burning questions’…but about being of service to community and to our …distinct and evolving cultures” (2003, p. 54). We are best positioned to do this when our work is with and for community, when we take up community approaches, and when we are cognizant of and endeavoring toward outcomes that are of benefit to the community. As noted in chapter three, we engage in resistance with purpose. As a Samahquamicw person resisting assimilation, which is tantamount to cultural genocide, my intentions are to become fully Ucwalmicw. That is, after all, why I resist. As an Indigenist student, researcher, emerging scholar, and educator, I must consistently challenge the ‘norm’ in academia’s preferred approaches to teaching, learning and research so that I may live up to my responsibilities to 96 honor Ucwalmicw voice and proceed in a manner that is self-determining to maintain political integrity in all phases of our work. I am equally beholden to those who came before me (many, but certainly not all, of whom are noted throughout this dissertation), those who made and maintain the space to utilize Ucwalmicw methods possible within Western institutions because: … at one time, we, as Indigenous peoples, were faced with leaving our Indigeneity at the door when we entered the academic world, several of us are now actively working to ensure our research is not only respectful, or “culturally sensitive,” but is also based in approaches and processes that are parts of our cultures. (Hart, 2010, p. 1) Indigenist precepts align with Hart’s points and are more than fodder for intellectual dialogue and/or academic discourse; they are guiding principles to live by and this very fact makes visible the interconnectedness of, and the relationality between, constructs of theory and methodology. From the Indigenist standpoint, principles and policies are processes and actions that are intertwined and inseparable; they are ways of coming to know, be and act with the world. Furthermore, these ways extend thoughtfully and wholistically from within Nation-specific protocols and intentions for all my relations through action. Weber-Pillwax expresses this idea in a meaningful way: Unless we realize that knowledge in actuality through integration into our own ways of being and knowing and doing, our studies have no life. They become those empty practices of the teacher who cannot be a teacher but who purports to act as a teacher. Like empty practices, academic discourse by itself will not support the life of the individual, the family, or the community. (Weber-Pillwax, 2001, p. 169) The precepts of an Indigenist paradigm cannot transform me on their own. I cannot contribute to effecting change in my community, Nation or in the broader areas of Aboriginal education unless I myself am transforming. I am the status quo whenever my Ucwalmicw spirit is not mobilized and I do tend to be more status quo within the academy, when disconnected from community and Ucwalmicw circles. What I mean by this is it can sometimes be the path of least resistance to walk the ways of the institution while immersed in it and all of its policies, practices and purposes. It can be a challenge to express my Indigeneity, my Ucwalmicwness, while completely surrounded by Western ways of thinking, being, doing and knowing. There are 97 many situations where I have no choice but to act differently from how I am thinking and feeling and Johnson (2012) cites this “two-mindedness” as being uncomfortable and contrary to who we are (p. 80). One example of this comes from my teaching world where I need to implement institutional policies that require documentation from students who missed a midterm before allowing them an opportunity to make up the marks. I understand why the policy is in place, but my instincts are to approach each situation on a case by case basis. In building knowledge exchange relationships between students and between students and instructors, trust is important. There are times when I feel that policies like these disrupt the relationship building process. Living and working within academia often feels like a tug-of-war and it most definitely is a balancing act. Resistance can be exhausting, as can practicing Ucwalmicw ways of relating to and seeing everyone as all my relations in order to live up to my Grandmother’s name, Kicya7, which means Mother to all. This is how the principle of responsibilities came up for me in my endeavor to live the Indigenist paradigm in this knowledge seeking process. While pursuing a PhD has been emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically taxing, it is important that I do so because, as noted in previous chapters, transforming Aboriginal education into Indigenous education is a massive task that requires the persistence of many. I need to reciprocate for the gifts of those who committed to making space in academia for my Indigeneity to thrive. Being aware of and acknowledging those who came before me are just empty words without action and much is at stake as Dei (2008) reminds us, What makes our institutions "successful places" for Indigenous/Aboriginal and racial minority learners is our ability to resist marginalization and to claim a space. This is a constant struggle. Once we claim our space, it is even more difficult to hold on to that space. (p. 9) Aboriginal education has inflicted intergenerational damage on First Peoples and transforming it will require intergenerational work and perseverance. It is my responsibilities that motivate me to act well beyond doing no harm to attempt to contribute to the transformation of education systems so that they increasingly benefit our communities (Anderson, Pakula, Smye, Peters, & Schroeder, 2011). I must reciprocate so that the space made in academia over the past decades continues to be there for the next generations of Indigenous students. 98 In her (2001) presentation on what Indigenous research is, Weber-Pillwax expands on this predilection for action when working with Indigenous communities. She discusses the value of academic discourse and deconstruction theories and goes on to note that from a community perspective, it is not merely the analysis of, for example, policy that is necessary. Weber-Pillwax argues that, “Out there in the community, they are deconstructing, and they don’t need the language of deconstruction to do it” (2001, p. 170). It is not articulating theories about policy that transforms. The point Weber-Pillwax is making is that in our Indigenous communities it is all about the doing, it is all about our actions; just as Indigenist theory and methodology are not about Indigeneity but being Indigenous. However, because this is also an academic endeavor, I heed the calls of Rigney (1999) and Wilson (2007) and contribute to the dialogue, which, from an Ucwalmicw/Indigenist perspective, I am better able to do having lived and experienced my Indigeneity in all areas of my academic and personal lives. I take up Ucwalmicw methods because they respect and honor the contributions of and intentions behind community sharings and because it is through experiencing and not simply articulating and disseminating them that I am becoming fully Ucwalmicw. This responsibility is all about accountability to family, community and Nation, to ancestors, to future generations of Ucwalmicw and to all my relations. Honoring the intentions behind community contributions begins with coming to understand how mobilizing knowledge first effects or transforms me so that I can become an agent of positive change. To honor Ucwalmicw ways is to see knowledge as being imbued with experience, which allows me to respond to Indigenous voice and ways in a manner that weaves heart, body and spirit with intellect, to “triangulate meaning” (Aluli-Meyer, 2003, p. 217) in my knowledge seeking, making and sharing processes. Triangulating meaning is an approach to understanding that begins with the body which Aluli-Meyer calls the gross or “…first point in triangulation, the objective, body, physical…” point of coming to know that is "...the lowest form of knowledge production...the starting point..."(Aluli-Myer, 2008, p. 57). The community engagement phase of this dissertation weaving represents the first point in this triangulation process. I invited all interested Samahquamicw to join me at Q’aLaTKú7eM to discuss how Ucwalmicw protocols, processes, and knowledge can transform the classrooms to which our peoples turn for formal education. The teachings gifted to me at the community sharing circles are the cursory and physical phase, my first step toward coming to understand. It is at these initial phases of 99 knowledge gathering where I first come into contact with what Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sees as necessary to our vision of Samahquamicw education. Determining how I relate to the teachings occurs in the second point of Aluli-Meyer’s (2003) triangulation process. In the subtle phase is where we internalize, rationalize and make meaning of what we have seen and/or heard. At this stage I, the learner, am expected to determine the intentions behind the ideas shared for this specific study. In this aspect of knowledge seeking and making, we engage with our subjective and relational thinking processes and it is in this space “…where knowing expands … deepening what we know about something” (Aluli-Myer, 2003, p.59). Taking time to reflect upon Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions allows me to make connections between the community Sharing Circles’ guiding questions and responses, the preliminary research (literature reviews) and the contextual, experiential knowledge of formal education as an Indigenous student, researcher, and educator. Full consideration of these interconnections is fundamental to doing my own work toward fully comprehending the intentions behind community sharings. This method of triangulation represents wholistic learning in that the Body and Mind are not separate from the third, or causal point of coming to understand, which is “…transcendental, spirit, contemplation…” (Aluli-Myer, 2003, p. 60). It is at this spiritual level that we come to comprehend the magnitude of our interconnectedness and the significant role that how we come to know plays in maintaining balance and harmony in the overall picture. Honing and simultaneously activating all of our human capacities to learn is the pathway to becoming fully human (Cajete, 1994; Aluli-Meyer, 2003); “…the moment one collapses all knowledge sources as only gross or subtle, body or mind, external or internal" we, as Aluli-Meyer (2003, p. 60) goes on to say, become misdirected. Focus on the intellectual skills of learners is being expanded upon across all levels of education, however, I raise this point here because the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw cited wholistic approaches as a protocol that must be honored to transform learning environments. I appreciate Aluli-Meyer’s decision to call the third triangulation point the causal phase because it causes us to act, to make manifest the understandings that come to us when we weave together all of our capacities to know for the benefit of the collective. 100 Armstrong’s (2000) Dance House model speaks to transforming education systems in a way that affirms the interrelatedness of self, family, community and land42. When the self, located at the centre of these four concentric circles, is healthy in all four quadrants (physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual) then the individual is better situated and able to contribute to relationships within family and extended family that are balanced, respectful and harmonious. As the receiver of knowledge in this project, I am required to be more than a transmitter of the teachings. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw shared what they shared with intention. In asking them to contribute to this PhD project, I am responsible for facilitating change through acting on the wisdom shared with me. Aluli-Meyer puts it this way, “Causal knowledge is the fire that bakes the bread (2003, p. 61). The spiritual phase of the triangulation process is where we can see our agency in relation to all beings as found in Armstrong’s four concentric circles and that is the ultimate purpose behind coming to know. In relation to Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, the triangulation process led me to realize that not only does transformation start with the individual, but if we hope to see change that benefits all students including Ucwalmicw, education systems need to be doing more in regard to the family, community, and Land circles of education. For the purposes of this project and for my own growth and development, I choose Indigenous methods so that all of my human capacities to understand are engaged. This is necessary for me to receive and fully comprehend the intentions behind what my community members shared with me. I would not have garnered the full strength or meaning of their sharings had I been content to stop at the gross or beginning phase of the learning process, that is capturing and documenting their contributions. It is by moving through the gross and subtle phases of coming to understand the QalaTKu7emicw words that I saw the need to implement the teachings to understand deeply. By internalizing what was shared and considering why it was shared with me, thereby making the teachings subjective, I recalled one of the QaLaTKu7emicw contributors saying that once something is shared with us, we are being given permission to use or apply the information in our lives. This is an Ucwalmicw way of not prescribing what one should do while also making it very clear that you will not get it until you experience it for yourself. After applying and reflecting upon the mobilization of community contributions in my 42 Armstrong (2000) presents these four key components in a set of Circles within Circles. The smallest center Circle is the self, surrounded by a larger Circle which is the family, the third Circle surrounds family and self and is the community, and all three of these Circles are encompassed by the largest concentric Circle which is the land. 101 learning and teaching practices, I reached the third point of triangulation to experience how, “…causal knowledge breathes and deepens our connection to all things, All people. All ideas" (Aluli-Meyer, 2003, p. 61). Aluli-Meyer’s words remind me of the centrality of all my relations in Ucwalmicw/Indigenous worldviews, pedagogies and practices. We are all related, what affects one, affects us all. This includes all humans, all animals, plants, waters, the earth, air, cosmos, ancestors and those yet to come. I dedicate space to Aluli-Myer’s work because it honors Indigenous voice and ways and it further explains the concept of wholistic approaches to transforming Aboriginal education raised by the Samahquamicw in this inquiry. We, like Aluli-Meyer (2008) see the valuing and honoring of, “…[o]ther ways of knowing…” (p.224) as being critical to the process of making positive change in academia and community in general. Weber-Pillwax warns us of the dangers that come with relying solely on Western approaches to Indigenous knowledge sharing because the “…intellectualization of Indigenous ways of being and knowing can inhibit and/or distort opportunities for Indigenous people to experience connections and personal transformations” (2001, p. 173). We are asked/expected to approach knowledge seeking, making and sharing using all of our human capacities so that the processes of coming to understand may transform us. LaFrance (2009) acknowledges the need to consider the significance of the heart in the paths we choose, noting that Indigenous practices promote taking our thinking “...from the mind, where it originates, [to] carefully nurture the idea in our heart, and only then putting it into practice…” (p. 88). This wholistic and experiential pathway to coming to know enables us to deeply understand what it is that we seek to learn. Weber-Pillwax (2001) puts it this way, “… it is like writing bread on a piece of paper and then eating the paper instead of eating the bread” (p. 172), fully expecting to then know the taste of bread. Sockbeson expands upon this idea: I believe I have the skills to help revitalize Waponahki knowledge; however, I understand knowledge to evolve through experience. For many Indigenous peoples our knowledge is held by those who have extensive experience in life: our Elders, and even then they often claim that they are still learning (Cardinal, 1977; Ermine, 1995; Penobscot Nation Oral History Project, 1993). (Sockbeson, 2009, p. 357) For these very reasons, I have opted not to critique Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions to this project, but to apply them and learn from those experiences. That is, after all, the intentions behind community sharings. Hart (2010) agrees, “…an Indigenous methodology includes the 102 assumption that knowledge gained will be utilized practically” (p. 9). We have a social and moral responsibility to the knowledge we seek out from our Indigenous communities. This is of the utmost importance for me and speaks directly to the concept of intention raised in previous chapters. Conventional Western research tends to focus on a problem and the primary investigator who then ‘contributes’ their synthesized versions of knowledge shared by their ‘informants’ to the discourse, and/or with the academy and/or institution. Indigenous knowledge seeking is initiated and facilitated in a manner that is acutely aware of how the application of the contributors’ sharings will affect who the knowledge seeker will become and how that will contribute to the wellbeing of the family, community and the land. My responsibilities to the teachings and intentions of the community are about much more than writing myself into a position in the academy (Smith, 2012). Good thoughts and wishes for my own personal growth and for family and community trigger in me a thirst for contributing to the transformation of Aboriginal education to the extent that to know is no longer enough. The work of Indigenist/ Ucwalmicw researchers and educators must center on facilitating growth and positive change for the students, the community and themselves. Contributing to the dialogue is the gross aspect of the knowledge seeking, making and sharing process. I utilize Indigenist/Ucwalmicw approaches because they honor community protocols and processes, because the rigors of doing so ensure that community and I are present in a wholistic manner throughout the project and because they value the significance of experiential coming to understand that ultimately begins the transformation process. Walking the Indigenist talk in my PhD program In this next section of the chapter I focus on the tenets of Indigenist theory that further guide me towards the taking up of Ucwalmicw ways in this knowledge seeking, making and sharing process. Important to an Indigenous approach is the fact that we position ourselves from the start as being part of and personally/communally invested in and/or related to the research project. As Weber-Pillwax reminds us, “Indigenous research methodologies are those that enable and permit Indigenous researchers to be who they are while engaged actively as participants in research processes that create new knowledge and transform who they are and where they are” (2001, p. 174). To choose Ucwalmicw ways of coming to know and understand is self- 103 determination in action and therefore maintains political integrity in this study that began with the intention to transform Aboriginal education in ways that benefit Ucwalmicw Peoples. As Ormiston (2010) notes, “Indigenous people worldwide are taking necessary steps to initiate research reflecting their own needs and aspirations using Indigenous ways of knowing, being, seeing and doing to maintain strong people, communities, and Nations towards a self-determining future” (p.55). An example of honoring Ucwalmicw voice and ways in this project is the use of a guiding framework that holds much meaning and history with Ucwalmicw peoples. Taking up the loom and weaving process to disseminate the contributions made by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw is an act of survivance and rejuvenation in that I engage with the deep meanings and intentions that are bundled within the sacred act of weaving. In contributing to the expanding boundaries of academia’s expectations, I honor my Ucwalmicw responsibilities and relationships as I connect in wholistic ways with the sharings gifted to me by the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw. Ormiston agrees when he writes that, “[a]ll researchers working in an Indigenous context have an ethical responsibility toward the people, their cultures, and the environment” (2010, p.53). This ethical responsibility applies equally across all practices regarding learning and teaching. How we come to know and how we share those understandings must be done in ways that reflect the intentions and purposes of First Peoples’ knowledge systems, including our responsibilities to future generations (Ormiston, 2010). This is one of many understandings that is common across Indigenous cultures and the saying “for seven generations” keeps us mindful of how we need to live and be in this world because we are responsible for those yet to come. Being responsible for generations to come is a teaching that is embedded in Indigenous Knowledge systems and one that is absent within contemporary models of consumerism, capitalism and individualism. I am therefore responsible for learning and perpetuating into the future the teachings of the Ucwalmicw. Like Ormiston (2010), “I believe we need to challenge both research and theory within higher education to ensure our teachings are sustained for generations to come” (p. 55). The approach to this study is an example of transforming academic processes so that they honor and perpetuate Indigenous (in this case) Ucwalmicw voice and ways. 104 The Research Questions My experiences as an Indigenous student and educator have demonstrated to me that the single story (Adichie, 2009 ) view of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island (North America) often forms the extent of “knowing” First Nations’ peoples that exists in non-Indigenous/settler societies’ mindscapes. This single-story perspective (that brings a monocultural view of Indigenous peoples) prevails across a great diversity of students with whom I have engaged over the past two decades. I believe that Aboriginal education systems (as much as the media) play a major role in the perpetuation of this perspective. Valuing and teaching only Western understandings of knowledge production and purposes effectively erases the rigor of Indigenous knowledge systems and a great diversity of other equally valid ways of coming to know. Because what is and is not taught in our classrooms determines the status quo regarding what is socially acceptable and valued, Indigenous education carries great potential for transforming and expanding upon the single-story perspective that continues to permeate the classrooms in which Ucwalmicw peoples learn. In an effort to contribute to the substantial work already being done to transform Aboriginal education, I reiterate the research questions that guide the work disseminated here: 1. How can Ucwalmicw processes of knowledge seeking, making and sharing disrupt mainstream understandings of Aboriginal education? 2. In what ways can the facilitation of Ucwalmicw ways of seeking, making and sharing knowledge contribute to the transforming processes of Indigenous education? Aligned with Martin’s (2003) articulations of an approach to Indigenist research, these questions are concerned with “re-claiming through research” (p. 211) and center on the priorities of a specific Nation. What do Ucwalmicw ways have to contribute to the disruption and/or dismantling of mainstream systems that currently do not center on the knowledge systems Indigenous to the places on which these schools sit? Re-claiming Indigenous approaches to research in our own homelands is politically, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically correct. Paramount to attaining political integrity in responding to these two research questions is the Ucwalmicw people and the community sessions that I engaged in with my 105 Samahquamicw community members. At those sessions, we considered and communed upon the following subset of questions: 1. What are the protocols around knowledge seeking and making in regard to Ucwalmicw education? 2. What are Ucwalmicw processes of knowledge seeking and making? 3. What is our vision of education for Samahquam? Ucwalmicw Approaches and Community Engagements and Contributions Our approach to the knowledge seeking and gathering phase of the community engagement process aligns with the Indigenist paradigm in that it was founded on communal approaches and preferences that I had observed and participated in with many of the Ucwalmicw communities over the years. Learning from past experiences in my work as the Community Engagement Hub Coordinator, I honor Samahquamicw values in a manner that recognizes the fact that our cultures are not static. The methods of Ucwalmicw coming to know are ways of being that center on respect, protocols, and processes that build and sustain harmony in relationships and these values continue to be expressed in contemporary times and in contemporary ways as will be presented in the upcoming segments of this chapter. Community Engagement: Q’aLaTKú7eMicw After presenting the project to the community at a general membership meeting, I posted the dates and agendas for each session on the Q’aLaTKú7eM community Face Book page. The community sessions brought all segments of the community together, and each began with honoring cultural protocols, reviewing the research questions and consent form, and were facilitated using Sharing Circles to gather knowledge. We began each of the first two knowledge seeking and sharing events with an opening prayer, lunch for the contributors was provided and each was gifted with a handmade item, mainly crocheted drum bags, hats and Figure 15 Samahquam Cultural Center 106 scarves as well as a number of wall hangings and hoodies embellished with community crests. I also smudged the meeting hall (Figure 15: Samahquam Cultural Center) prior to the second session43 and participated in singing and drumming after both gatherings. We shared a meal at each Q’aLaTKú7eMicw session and also made ancestral offerings with guidance from an Elder Aunty. I consider these to be examples of important protocols that must be honored if our coming together to seek, make and share knowledge is to begin and proceed in a good way with good intentions and outcomes. Weber-Pillwax writes about honoring protocols in the knowledge seeking, making, and sharing processes in her community: They are also showing me that they are willing to help me if I am willing to put out the effort to be there and to learn from them. This exchange was all a part of the meal and the giving of gifts. The meal was not a method; it was an event in the stages of respectful adherence to protocols in establishing significant relationships with teachers and guides for one’s spiritual journey towards individual growth. (2004, p. 87) Beginning in a good way with intention is necessary to encourage outcomes that will benefit the community, and this is also why handmade gifts are best because they are made with good thoughts, prayers and positive energy for the person to whom it is gifted. I reciprocate the contributors’ sharings with good intentions by weaving the same positive thoughts and love into the gifts that I make for them. The first two knowledge seeking and sharing gatherings took place in the Samahquam Cultural Center located at Q’aLaTKú7eM. Being in the community to do this work facilitates the maintenance of an Ucwalmicw perspective. Surrounded by family, Elders and community members at the foot of the sacred N’Skets Mountain, I am ever mindful of the reasons why I began this journey in the first place. To engage with Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking and making is to engage in respectful dialogue with all segments of the community in a place that is comfortable and familiar to them, and we know that place as ‘home’. 43 Although I did bring my Smudge kit with me to the first session, I did not Smudge the hall prior to beginning our first gathering. I believe it had something to do with my own comfort level around facilitating ceremony for others beyond myself. It was through trusting in our ways at the start of the second session that I found the confidence to begin in a good way as I knew was required. I no longer struggle with whether or not to bring out my Smudge kit to start sessions with community. 107 Sharing Circle #1: Q’aLaTKú7eM At the first session on December 22, 2013, I was excited to be at this phase, my favorite time in the research process. Being on the territory with family and community and observing the Elders modeling ways I was reading about in my studies is always like a beam of light shining through to my heart. Most are familiar with the saying “a light went off in my head”, for me, hearing and participating in our Ucwalmicw ways always evokes a sense of wellbeing and ‘aha’ moments at a spiritual level. Needless to say, I was anxious to begin learning, but I was also nervous that no one would attend. Sometimes that happens in the community and I had had a couple of LSTC Hub work sessions where only two people came out to share. Fortunately, my concerns were unwarranted as there were ten community members at the first gathering, which started with a review and signing of the Informed Consent forms. There were three Elders, five adults and two youth present at this first gathering. A Samahquamicw Chief came into the center before we began and gifted a cedar branch to me. He told me to hang it above my door when I returned home. I was very touched by and appreciative of this thoughtful act and took it as a sign that we were coming together to do good work. It set the tone for the many thoughts and words to come. As always, community members were welcoming, and all appeared completely comfortable in this familiar place, surrounded by the ancestors whose photographs hang on the walls of the center which has a clear view of N’Skets Mountain. There was much laughter, connecting and reconnecting happening throughout all three of the events in which we participated for the purposes of this study. Just being together in these informal ways is good medicine for the self, the family and the community. I will never forget the light it brought into my Elder Auntie’s eyes when I asked her to share her knowledge with me. Our community members are sources of great knowledge, medicine and care and we all benefit in many positive ways when we ask them to share their gifts. The collective sense of wellbeing that working together fosters, is why this is my favorite part of the research project. Before communing in the Sharing Circle process, each contributor was provided with a copy of the Informed Consent. I explained to the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw that this is one of the University’s protocols regarding research. I read the form aloud and let my community members know that should they choose to participate and sign the forms, that they retained control over the degree to which they and their contributions would be represented in written and oral 108 presentations of this study. I further made clear that they could withdraw from the project and have any information they shared removed without penalty. After completing the Informed consent processes, we moved on to commune, via Sharing Circles, on what protocols of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking and making are important to Samahquamicw. It is important to note the significance of Sharing Circles from an Indigenous perspective and Lavallee describes it well: In a research setting, while both the focus group and sharing circle are concerned with gaining knowledge through discussion, the principles behind a sharing circle are quite different. Focus groups extract data while circles are acts of sharing with permission given to the facilitator to report on the discussions in the sharing circle. (2007, p. 134) I would build on Lavallee’s words to note that this process does more then give me permission to report on what has been shared. Community members share their knowledge, experiences and aspirations in these Circles with the understanding that what is being shared will be utilized or mobilized towards family, community and my wellbeing. Circle sharings are put forward with intention- they are not merely words and ideas to be critiqued and reported on in the dissertation writing process. Once again accountability requires me to move beyond the gross and subtle understandings of what is shared. I become responsible for the teachings and to honor community members’ time and to fully understand what was gifted, I must implement and reflect upon the sharings and the outcomes of doing so as being necessary components of meeting my responsibilities to the knowledge seeking, making and sharing relationship. I do not stop at the gross level of knowledge seeking with the dissemination of ‘findings.’ I must also experience the subtle and causal aspects of coming to understand through a more wholistic engagement with the Circle contributions. At each of the Sharing Circles, I was an eager Samahquamicw knowledge seeker, learner and transcriber. I posed a single, open-ended and general question about Ucwalmicw protocols, processes and values around knowledge seeking, making and sharing. As the Sharing Circle participants expressed their thoughts and responses, I made note of them on flipcharts set up around the room. I did not realize until I was asked by my supervisory committee for details about the process, that I had also been transcribing much of what was said on my heart. Written on the flipcharts at the time of each gathering were the protocols, the processes, and values expressed at each Circle. Internalized and committed to memory were the stories, examples, and 109 clarifications that these knowledge sharers provided alongside of the main points they raised. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that even though I had gone into the cultural center expecting to record community teachings on paper- I had subconsciously shifted into my Ucwalmicw spirit during our time together. I was not aware of it at the time, but I firmly believe that beginning with drumming, prayer, and feeling at home transforms the learning spirit whether we intend it or not. It is the stories that were shared with me that connected me to the tellers and the teachings and they will always come to me when they are needed on my life and learning journeys. We broke midway through each Sharing Circle day to share a meal together and after lunch we reviewed the flipcharts to confirm what was discussed, to hear clarifications and stories that came up for contributors over lunch and then continued to build on our understandings of Ucwalmicw protocols, processes and values. It was also decided by the group that the ideas and teachings shared would be cited as being Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharings in any dissemination processes to come. It was felt that our working together, sharing from where each of us is at, needed to be referenced as a collective remembering and sharing process. Community member contributions began as an informal dialogue between all present. Once everyone had offered what they wanted to share for each of the guiding questions, I asked the group varying versions of, “what does this all boil down to?” I wrote, verbatim, the responses put forward to that question and these are presented in bold font. The supplementary, contextual information and/or stories shared for each item is represented in italicized font. After summing up the discussions, we reviewed the statements noted on the flipcharts and confirmed and/or added to them when expressed as needed by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw. Gifts of reciprocity were then distributed as we closed our gathering with a prayer and drumming. Sharing Circle #1 Contributions At this first community session, we focused on and responded to the first guiding question: 1. What are the protocols around knowledge seeking and making in regard to Ucwalmicw education? This single question guided our sharings of what we knew while Elders and other knowledge practitioners who were in attendance crystallized our understandings of the protocols of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing. I learned much about protocols from 110 community participants during this Sharing Circle. I share twelve protocols identified in this session in a list below. The numbers have an uppercase P in front of them to distinguish that these items were cited as some of the protocols of Samahquamicw knowledge systems. These protocols inform the responsibilities I carry as an Ucwalmicw person, researcher and educator. I work to incorporate them into my learning and teaching practice to experience, reflect upon, and disseminate here how Ucwalmicw teachings can contribute to the transformation of Aboriginal education in a manner that honors local community: P1. If someone shows or gives you something – they are also giving you permission to use/do it. The example shared by an Elder was about devil’s club. She said if someone shows me where and how to harvest and when to use this medicine, they are giving me permission to use it. This teaching has shown me a number of things, one of which is the fact that I am responsible for what I share in the classroom. Is what I am sharing for use by the group of students I am sharing it with? This guides me greatly on how much information I can share with non-Ucwalmicw Peoples. P2. Children were a part of everything. They learned to sit, listen and come to understand what is going on. This grows a sense of belonging in the children. Comments leading up to this point included discussion around how when children are separate from the parents (like they are at the meetings we have today) they do not observe how to be when important business is being discussed and they do not witness our protocols in action. They do not learn when to do what. P3. Everyone/family has a role. Unfortunately, the lovely woman who spoke to this point has since gone on to the Spirit World. Her wisdom about traditional ways of being was acknowledged by the Elders present after she spoke to how in the past, each family did what it was best at and everyone knew which family was responsible for what. Examples provided were fishing, making and delivering firewood and keeping the sweat lodge. This practice also fostered a sense of belonging that sustained community cohesion. It was noted that today everyone tends to be in their own world, isolated in our own homes. P4. Model respecting everyone for children; praise them when they are doing good things, speak in a good way to them, that is, from the heart. Our children need to be surrounded in beauty, they need to know they are precious, appreciated and respected. That is an important protocol to remember because they are the Ucwalmicw future. Key to this point is the significance of modelling because, as expressed throughout this thesis, it is in doing that we become Ucwalmicw. This modelling compounds our understandings to include the importance of passing our ways on to generations to come by living and modelling them. P5. Offer tobacco, gifts. An Elder Auntie told me that we should always be giving. She said whenever we attend a gathering or event, bring small gifts to offer someone you may not have seen in a long time. Or something to cheer up a cousin who is going through a difficult time, or someone who is speaking good words, doing good work for the people- offer them tobacco so that their gifts are acknowledged. This protocol ensures reciprocity 111 and balance is maintained in our relationships. It is also one approach to lifting each other up. P6. Ensure Elders are cared for; they have food, water, and are warm. This protocol of respect teaches us to be grateful for the gifts of knowledge and experience that come to us from our Elders. While about reciprocity, we are also modeling important ways of being for the young, we take care of each other. P7. Follow the protocols of the land and know how to do so in a good way, no waste and in tune with the rhythms and science of how we do. The Elder Aunty was passionate about this one. She said go out on the land! Learn the place names and the significance of the sites in our territory- these protocols need to be learned and practiced on the land, in sync with the land. Becoming fully Ucwalmicw requires ‘walking the land’ as another Elder once said. P8. Taking care of and acknowledging our ancestors. Another Elder Aunty noted as we were preparing to eat lunch that a plate must be prepared first- she said every time we gather for a meal like this we need to honor this protocol of taking care of those who have gone on to the Spirit World. The Elder also told me when we keep dropping food- that is also a sign that the ancestors are hungry and we must do an offering. We need to remember them. P9. Consider all aspects of the learner, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical. This one branched off of the discussion noted in point 4, in how we need to treat children. Everything we say and do effects the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing of the learner. We need to always be cognizant of this fact so that we affect in only positive and uplifting ways. P10. Begin things in a good way. Drum if negative or bad feelings are present. An Elder Aunty commented on the feeling in the space upon entering it for the second session, she could tell it had been smudged earlier that morning. We can call on ancestral support when times are difficult by bringing out our drums and singing together. This protocol reminds us that we are all connected – and that includes those who have passed on and those yet to come. P11. Help one another. I recall a story being shared about how the adults would walk all the way to town to purchase what the Elders needed and bring it back for them and they did so without putting their hand out for money. We need to return to the ways that saw us all pulling for each other, working together. P12. Reciprocate- giving goes both ways and through the universe. I believe that what was being indicated here is that how we are ripples out to everyone and everything around us – with the potential to extend to the entire universe if we get that cycle going and keep it going. (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2013) We discussed how these protocols are not lost to us, that we can remember them if we listen to our hearts and spirits. It was further recognized that these teachings begin and are also practiced at home, and are not the sole responsibility of the teaching, governance, and societal environments (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2013). Prior to this community engagement session, I had only been aware of the protocols that require acknowledging the territory, introducing ourselves 112 in certain ways and of ancestral offerings. The Q’aLaTKú7eMicw have greatly expanded my understandings of what protocols are and what they do. This list demonstrates the extent to which ways of being are really examples of protocols that we must remember, practice, model and perpetuate into the future because it is these ways that make us Ucwalmicw. Sharing Circle #2: Q’aLaTKú7eM The second session was facilitated on February 2, 2014, five weeks after the first Sharing Circle described previously. It was also held in the Samahquam Cultural Center at Q’aLaTKú7eM. Our second session began with the Smudging of our gathering space and an Opening Prayer. A group review and signing of the informed consent was followed by reminding contributors of their rights to withdraw themselves and their sharings at any time without penalty. There were ten people, three Elder Aunties, six adults and one youth present on this day. Six of those in attendance had also participated in the first Sharing Circle. Before posing the Circle guiding discussion questions, we were gently steered towards participating in a drum-making workshop that an Elder Aunty announced as she unpacked the supplies she brought with her. Effectively amending the agenda for the day with her good intentions, this Elder modeled for me an important Ucwalmicw teaching, “…that we always do something when we come together to learn!” (QaLaTKu7eMicw, 2014) (See Figure 16: Modeling Ucwalmicw Pedagogies). This approach to knowledge seeking and making values the wholistic nature of coming to understand in that there is always engagement with some form of physical activity during the knowledge seeking and sharing process. This Elder knows that we are better able to internalize knowledge if our minds and bodies are active. Through “following the flow of the community” (Weber-Pillwax, 2004, p. 86), I have learned that what may seem to some to be a digression in Elders’ contributions to discussions or the always-gentle shifting of our gathering agendas, is actually the living of pedagogies and teachings. This Samahquamicw Elder explained that we must always be watching to see how we need to do things ourselves which tells me that ways of being and doing are being Figure 16 Modelling Ucwalmicw Pedagogies 113 modeled for us with intention. We must listen with our hearts, bodies and spirits. This further corroborates the significance of the process over the content in knowledge seeking, making and sharing. As the participants worked on their drums, we reviewed the outcomes of the previous discussions about the protocols of Ucwalmicw knowledge systems as shared in our first Sharing Circle. Doing this reflective work while immersed within the drum-making activity provided by our Elder had a very significant effect on the space in which we communed. The feeling was very comfortable and respectful at the first Sharing Circle and yet there was something different about our coming together this time. While I knew it had everything to do with the fact that Q’aLaTKú7eMicw were absorbed in the work their hands were doing, I did not come to fully understand the significance of this teaching until the time came to release the dissertation blanket from the loom. I had been experiencing weaving while writing the thesis for several months and when asked at my practice defense presentation if I would be bringing the actual weaving to my oral defense a few days later, I responded yes. I had full intentions of doing so. However, as I was twining in the loose ends, I felt an increasing apprehension at the thought of cutting the warp yarns, forever removing this loved one from my loom. I struggled with identifying exactly what I was feeling, what was happening, and the answer came to me as I shared at the oral exam why I had not brought the weaving with me. I came to understand, in front of my examining committee, that I am humbled by the weaving- by the process and the final tapestry that remained tethered to the dissertation loom. It was then and there that I realized that I had been in ceremony with my ancestors every time I sat at the loom and I was not ready to let them go. It was through experiencing the exact same movements of the fingers that my ancestors experienced, through feeling and coming to know the exact same tensions of the warp and weft yarns that they had felt, that I entered that spiritual space44 that so many of my ancestors had entered in the very same ways with the very same intentions. It was through experiential engagement with the drum making process that community members and I had entered into a sacred space- that space where we reconnect with those who came before us and those who maintain the teachings that we were experiencing together at that second Sharing Circle. Being in that space while seeking, making, and sharing knowledge is one portal to wholistically coming 44 It is very interesting to find that I am transported back to that space as I remember and write about it! Experiential coming to know is extremely powerful and stays with me. 114 to understand. I am forever grateful for the teachings of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw and I will release the dissertation blanket in a good way, through ceremony, and present it to Samahquamicw in a good way. Sharing Circle #2 Contributions After reflecting on the protocols of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing and after the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw drums were made, we moved on to consider the second and third community engagement guiding questions: 1. What are the processes of knowledge seeking and making? 2. What is our vision of education for Samahquam? In response to question 1: What are the processes of knowledge seeking and making? I found the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw to be extremely concise and to the point in their responses. The following list summarizes what community contributors considered to be some of the key processes of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking and making and the lowercase p in front of each number indicates these items were named as Samahquamicw processes in coming to know: p1. Delegating and knowing your job. Sometimes people get used to doing everything and this leads to stress and burn-out. Contributors highlighted the need to share workloads and to know what one’s responsibilities are and fulfill them. p2. Live it! It was stated that these are not just discussions we are having, they are guidelines for how to be. p3. How we carry ourselves- “no push or pull, no judgment”. The person who raised this point clarified that we do not want to do what education has been doing to us. We share, we model ways of being and doing and it is up to those around us whether or not they pick up and carry the teachings in their own lives. p4. Watch how things are being done. An example provided by an Elder Aunty was if we are unsure as to how to behave at a gathering, all we need to do is observe the people around us and we will learn what to do. p5. Walk the talk. Knowledge seeking and making must extend beyond the intellectual and we must act upon what we learn. We must implement it in our lives and we must act in a manner that aligns with what we say. This connects closely with process number 2 of this compilation. p6. Talk to our ancestors, to the universe. Praying does not have to be the rosary- talk to the Creator. This call to include the spiritual processes of coming to know speaks to one glaring gap in most mainstream education learning environments and curricula. 115 p7. LEAD. This connects closely with point number 5, walking the talk and with point number 2, Live it! It is clear that action and modeling are key processes on which Ucwalmicw ways center that the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw wanted me to take away with me from the sharing circle dialogue. p8. Trust again in our ways and in each other. There was much discussion about community members’ desire to return to Ucwalmicw ways, working together, supporting each other as we did in the past. I have heard this point raised since I first started working with the southern Stl’atl’imx communities. When I asked how to best summarize these ideas, the group told me to write that we need to trust again in our ways and in each other. p9. Re-learning Ucwalmicw ways and decide how they can benefit modern times. Dialogue adjacent to this idea included considering the breadth of understandings people have in this regard. We need to honor each person where they are at in the process of filling in (or choosing not to fill) the gaps in ancestral knowledge and language speaking. The need to consider the value and application of such knowledge in current times was also expressed. (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2014) Just as Ucwalmicw ways have adapted and changed over time, so too have some of our means of gathering information because Ucwalmicw Peoples are not static. However, the protocols and good intentions behind our contemporary ways remain unchanging. As can be garnered from this list of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw key processes, it is all about behaviors that connect us in good ways and foster a sense of belonging and togetherness. The ideological, spatial and spiritual diaspora caused by the Indian Residential Schools and other waves of colonization has left too many of us feeling isolated, disconnected, like we are in a strange and inhospitable world on our own. We need to learn to trust in these Ucwalmicw ways to the extent that we are practicing them again. We are what we need. It is us that sustains us (Bioneers, 2014). Reflecting on what the community wanted me to take away from our time together, I see that it is through incorporating processes of ‘living it’, ‘no push or pull’ and ‘LEADING’ into my own ways that the center of the circle, the self, transforms towards becoming transforming. This is where Ucwalmicw responsibilities begin and emanate from. Until the self trusts in and engages with these ways, the center of our Ucwalmicw circles will remain fragmented and disengaged and this too ripples out into the family, extended family, community and the land. The role that modeling plays in knowledge transmission was also made abundantly clear in the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw words and actions. Having considered and reviewed the protocols and processes of Ucwalmicw coming to understand, our second Sharing Circle was now prepared to respond to the third community engagement question and that was, what is our vision for Samahquam education? As with the 116 responses to the first two guiding questions, contributor comments were recorded on charts posted around our gathering space and reviewed and edited as needed before closing this second gathering with a prayer, gifting, and drumming. Visions of Samahquamicw education Continuing with the informal Sharing Circle process at the second community engagement session, Q’aLaTKú7eMicw shared their thoughts on what a nurturing education system for Samahquamicw would look like. The guiding question was not made specific to early childhood education, elementary, secondary, or post-secondary so the responses are, for the most part, general in nature. To distinguish this set of items from the Protocols and processes responses, I number the visions put forward with the uppercase letter V in front of each number. Responses to what is our vision of education for Samahquam, were as follows: V1. No pass/fail, honors different ways and paces of learning. This point is closely connected to the need for a strengths-based approach in that this discussion centered on honoring point P4 as noted in the protocols sharing circle- respecting and praising our children. No learner is a failure, and none should ever experience the feeling of being seen as one. The passing and/or failing grades approach has served to further entrench the belief that Ucwalmicw ways are inferior and have no place in the modern world. Discussions also reiterated the need for wholistic pedagogies at the individual level (enhancing intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical capacities to learn) as well as in the learning environments (home (family), community and land) in which knowledge seeking, making and sharing occur. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw felt that Samahquamicw learning must be supported in all areas of life and not just in the school classroom. V2. Strengths-based education plans. Building on the belief that a pass/fail system is non-conducive to a nurturing learning environment, it was noted that we need to return to the practices of recognizing and building upon the strengths that each learner brings with them. This vision is founded on P4 which requires us to respect and appreciate the blessings that are our children. V3. Taught and applied right away- what we are learning is applicable in our daily lives. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw value the ability to enact, to the benefit of community, that which we are learning. Practical and local knowledge are as important as learning to navigate in the world around us and we need to balance the two in our education systems. V4. In sync with the land/seasons/time and place. This point furthered the discussion on practical and locally based curricula. We need to begin by reconnecting with the land and becoming in sync with it. The Elder Aunty stressed there is a rhythm, a science to being one with the land and this MUST be included at all levels of learning. V5. Wholesome learning environments. This Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contribution indicates that for deep learning to occur the student must feel connected to and an important part of the 117 knowledge seeking, making and sharing process. All capacities to learn are tended to and engaged. Learners are also recognized as teachers in this collaborative approach to coming to know which is miles away from setting standardized criteria that a learner must meet to prove themselves ‘worthy’ of passing or moving forward. V6. We start young! When we are soaking information up and it lasts longer when we start at young age! This particular discussion included learning the protocols and ways of Ucwalmicw, the language and everything else that one needs to learn. This brought us to the next aspiration for Samahquamicw education. V7. Starts at home- before school starts! It was important to note the roles and responsibilities of family and extended family in the learning that begins at the very start of one’s life. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw also saw the value of having consistency in the Ucwalmicw teachings shared at home, in the community and at school, so that the learner is immersed in Ucwalmicw ways of being, seeing, doing and knowing in the world. It is essential that learners see Ucwalmicw pedagogies and content as being equally important and visible in classroom curricula. V8. Connected with/knowing the land. A specific example of this shared by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw was the development of an Atlas curriculum- in our Ucwalmicts language that teaches ancestral place names, stories on the land and spiritual places. This curriculum would be taught on the land and students would learn about the medicines, the traditional activities in specific places (for example, berry picking, sacred sites) and about the appropriate times to do these things. This led into other recommendations that included school years being in sync with the seasons and the land. Most importantly, contributors advocated for education that grounds us as Ucwalmicw Peoples and re-connects us with family, extended family, community and the land. Additionally, it was suggested that curriculum be designed to bring back our ancestral names and along with them our traditional governance systems and the ceremonies and protocols around that important work. V9. For all generations to close the gaps in our knowledge and ways that came through contact (residential schools, 60s scoop and other waves of colonization). This vision included the need to recognize and address the fact that community members are at varying stages in closing the gaps in their Ucwalmicw knowledge and instruction needs to meet each learner where they are at in that process. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw saw the need to re-shape the structures of classrooms so that they are not age or grade-centered, but learner centered, meaning all ages coming together to model and observe the teachings as was done in our traditional knowledge systems. It was further expressed that many Ucwalmicw need to learn about colonization, past and present, and the effects it has on our identities and pride. V10. Acknowledges changes in our knowledge base and degrees to which each person carries Ucwalmicw knowledge. The metaphor shared by one of the men who participated in the community sharing circles speaks well to this one. It was noted that Q’aLaTKú7eM references the point on the land where the ‘stillness of the lake goes into the river’ (citing a personal communication from Donald Alex Peters). The Q’aLaTKú7eMicw participant stated that this is symbolic of the fact that while we will always have an ancestral pool of knowledge (the lake), we also honor the non-static sources and ways of knowing of current and future generations (the river that flows gently with through the lake). The stillness further represents the ‘no push, no pull’ 118 approach that respects learners where they are at as well as honoring their own aspirations around what they wish to know and live in regard to Ucwalmicw ways. V11. Acknowledges we all have a voice, we all have knowledge and experiences to share. This point contributes Q’aLaTKú7eMicw perspectives of what an wholistic approach to education includes. Transforming classrooms from spaces where one person is responsible for transmitting information and all others for receiving and reiterating it into collaborative learning environments represents one pathway to celebrating all learners and the skills, knowledge and experiences they have to contribute to the knowledge making systems with which they engage. The flip chart transcriptions for both Q’aLaTKú7eM sharing circles were individually confirmed (there are 6 sheets in total) prior to ending each session, transcribed and posted on the Q’aLaTKú7eM Facebook page for all interested membership to review. These are the sharings presented in this dissertation and that inform my life, learning and teaching practices. This approach to working with community represents honoring Ucwalmicw voice and ways as well as self-determination. I chose not to audio or video record the thoughts and words of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw and then go off to my office to draw out what I thought were the central themes. The ‘data analysis’ process instead happened during each of these two community circles and was conducted by the contributors themselves, and later through reflecting on my implementation of some of their teachings. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw told me what was important to consider in the re-visioning of Indigenous education systems that would be respectful and nurturing of Ucwalmicw students. Every item on the flip chart summary lists (See Figure 17: Community Sharing Circle Flip Chart) was expressed, reviewed and approved by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw as being key protocols and processes of Ucwalmicw coming to know and understand. Because we are given permission to use what is shared with us by the fact that it is being shared, the expectation was that I would mobilize the protocols and processes confirmed by Q’aLaTKú7eMicw to wholistically determine the findings of our knowledge seeking and sharing activities and how they might contribute to realizing Samahquamicw visions of education. Figure 17 Community Sharing Circle Flip Chart 119 Community Survey July 19, 2014: Mission, BC Three community Sharing Circles had originally been planned for this study. However, after witnessing the drum-making pedagogy modeled for me at the second gathering, I adapted the intended approach to demonstrate that I had learned the teachings around having permission to use or do what has been shown to me. To mobilize the teachings modeled for me by the Elder Aunty, I adapted the planned third Sharing Circle to incorporate a physical activity as part of our last community engagement session for this project. The activity we intended to make part of our knowledge seeking and making session was learning on the land where, when and how to dig cedar roots for basket-making at an upcoming Walking the Land Together event. This approach was exciting for me as I had been waiting for an opportunity to learn this Ucwalmicw practice for many years. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances in the community, the event did not take place and I therefore needed to implement an alternative community-approved method for this last community engagement activity. It is clear to me that Martin (2003) has experiential understandings of this need for flexibility in research design and facilitation when working with Indigenous communities: The ability to design research that celebrates a relational ontology requires flexibility and reflexivity that is more than a matter of matching methods of data collection to the research question. Flexibility in design reflects the extent to which the researcher is prepared to show respect in understanding that research is not a priority in times of crisis, grieving, celebration, ritual or maintenance of relations amongst Entities.45 This is the cultural safety and cultural respect Lester Irabinna Rigney commands. (p. 212) To demonstrate respect is to know and honor the fact that the community takes precedence over any research project. If there is anything significant happening in Samahquam that, without prompting, question or debate, becomes the priority. Such was to be the case in the walking the land event which, due to community circumstances, did not occur. For this reason, I opted to wait for the next planned general membership meeting to facilitate the third round of community contributions gathering. This meant that I needed to shift from a Sharing Circle and walking the 45 I understand this term to be similar to Turtle Island understandings of and relationships with Helper Beings or Relatives. 120 land together (doing something while we come to understand) method to a survey approach to collecting community input so as to not disrupt the purposes and always full agenda of the Samahquam membership meeting. For the survey process, I posted a visual representation of the sixteen examples of teaching activities that Q’aLaTKú7eMicw saw as necessary to realizing a Samahquamicw vision of education. These sixteen teachings, detailed in Table 1, were seen as pathways to realizing the visions outlined as essential to Ucwalmicw education. To deepen my understandings of Samahquamicw aspirations, General Assembly meeting participants were asked to consider which activities they felt should be taught and learned in four different learning environment situations: a) the home, b) on-reserve schools, c) public schools and/or, d) teacher education programs (See Figure 18: AGM Survey Sheets). I verbally shared contextual information about the project and answered questions as to how the list was populated with each survey participant prior to explaining how they could contribute to this project. Members who participated were asked to place color coded stickers under each of the sixteen teaching activities posted on flip chart sheets. The blue circle sticker represented public schools; the red, on-reserve schools; the yellow, teacher education programs; and the green, to be taught at home. Contributors could suggest as many of the four environments as they saw fit under each of the teachings. Twenty-five people contributed to this survey process, bringing the total number of participants in this study to forty-five46. Not knowing how many people would participate in this larger group, I made ten gifts of blankets and mandalas to be drawn for at the end of the meeting. Those who contributed to the survey received an entry into the draw. These survey contributions reinforce and complement the thoughts shared by membership who reside in Q’aLaTku7eM. They further build upon them in that they demonstrate the need for a wholistic approach to teaching what Q’aLaTKú7eMicw saw as important to learn. I say this because, as the results show, and much to my surprise, Samahquamicw membership believed that many of 46 There are 345 Samahquam members- meaning 13% of the population contributed to this knowledge sharing process (10 contributors at each of the in-community gatherings and 25 contributors to the AGM Survey process). Figure 18 AGM Survey Sheets 121 the sixteen activities needed to be taught across all four learning environments. This reiterated Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contribution V1 which advocated for Ucwalmicw teachings be consistent across all areas of Samahquamicw learning. Table 1 July 19, 2014 Survey Results While I regretted not being able to experience my first root digging activity with my community, I feel that things progressed as they were meant to, and this substitute approach permitted me to continue with the knowledge gathering in a respectful manner that did not interfere with community processes and practices. Though I was unable to experience connecting with my ancestors through being on the land while engaging in an ancient Ucwalmicw process of cedar root digging, I was able to spend the entire day with extended family sharing what I was learning from the teachings provided in the two Q’aLaTKú7eMicw Sharing Circles. Having a table set up at the back of the meeting space for several hours came to be about much more than 122 facilitating the final phase of community engagement for this PhD project. I was also catching up on Samahquamicw business and re-connecting with community Elders and youth, important activities that I had been engaging with less and less due to the heavy schedule of being a PhD student and full-time educator. Facilitating Sharing Circles and surveys in community always provides me with a sense of coming home and belonging. They are powerful reminders of why I am doing this work and why I continue to teach. I have found, through evaluations of LSTC Community Engagement Hub activities, that many Samahquam community members prefer contributing in this kind of survey activity, rather than in a group dialogue. I found that flexibility grounded in wise (read: local) practices allows us to hear from a greater segment of the community. This is critical because all voices, opinions and ideas are important to fostering collective ownership over our community endeavors. I, like Weber-Pillwax, view the responsibilities of research as being best fulfilled when I “… act more as a facilitator, keeping in mind the objectives of the project as well as the interests of the collective group” (2004, p. 81). These interests are better ascertained when we consider the diversity of ways in which the population prefers to contribute and then adapt our methods to align with and facilitate them. This survey method allowed for a larger number of Samahquamicw to contribute to this study that is about, with, and for them. In addition, this preferred method drawn from community practices also honors and weaves into contemporary times the traditional methods of information sharing and decision-making that our ancestors utilized. In the past, each family appointed a Family Head, who would attend gatherings to discuss important community matters before making a decision as to how to proceed with that matter. After the information sharing and discussions, these Family Heads would discuss the information with their respective families and put forward their thoughts and preferences in the final consensus making activity. Posting the small group contributions on flip charts at the larger community meeting provided the space for extended family and community members to express their preferences and/or concerns and built upon what the smaller groups had put forth. This approach further gave the QaLaTKu7eMicw contributors who were also present at the AGM, an additional opportunity to review and confirm that their contributions were being understood and considered in this research process as they had intended. 123 Summary of Samahquamicw Contributions to Survey Roll up Mission, BC Towards actualizing education systems that nurture Ucwalmicw learning, the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw suggested a diversity of processes and protocols that are significant to visions of Samahquamicw education. While the protocols, processes and visions are specific to Ucwalmicw learners, they are entirely relevant and necessary beyond Samahquamicw schools, due to the diversity of places in which Ucwalmicw students are educated. For this reason, these contributions must be actualized across all of those learning environments, including and beyond those considered in the survey administered at the July 2014 AGM. Because I see them as foundational to my ability to contribute to the transformation of Aboriginal education processes, I have chosen four specific Q’aLaTKú7eMicw protocols and processes to weave into the warp yarns of this dissertation. Beginning with the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw recommendation to be cognizant and respectful of where each learner is at in filling the gaps in their Ucwalmicw knowledge, I know that to implement their contributions in respectful ways as they intended me to do, I must start where I am at in becoming fully Ucwalmicw. To take up Ucwalmicw teachings, I immediately recall and recognize the need to proceed from the place that requires me to begin and do in good ways and to do so with intention (P10). This subsequently requires me to trust again in Ucwalmicw ways (p8), particularly so because living up to my responsibilities is currently taking place in mainstream society and educational institutions. I will return to my community one day to immerse myself in the Ucwalmicts language and ways and to give back to my community for everything they have done and given to me. However, that day has not yet arrived, and I will not dishonor the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw gifts by neglecting (and potentially forgetting) them by placing them in a book on a shelf. Therefore, I must trust that Ucwalmicw ways have something to offer the students in the mainstream classrooms with which I presently engage. As Weber-Pillwax noted above, action is critical and trusting again in our ways requires me to walk them. I therefore have chosen to weave walking the talk (p5) as the third Q’aLaTKú7eMicw weft yarn into this dissertation blanket. Lastly, because dominant approaches to education tend to focus heavily on the intellectual capacity to learn, I take up as the fourth Q’aLaTKú7eMicw weft strand, the protocol of honoring and attending to wholistic approaches (P9) to coming to know and 124 understand. All four of these weft strands were shared with me in the community engagement Sharing Circles facilitated at the Samahquam Cultural Centre in Q’aLaTKú7eM in late 2014 and early 2015. While Q’aLaTKú7eMicw shared much wisdom from which to draw, I see these four protocols and processes as laying the groundwork for respectfully making change in a mainstream learning environment. Being and doing in good ways with intention is at the heart of an all my relations pedagogy. This protocol reminds us that everything we do has consequences and effects those around us. To maintain balance and harmony with all my relations I must think and act in a manner that ripples out in positive and connecting ways. This is critically important when weaving Q’aLaTKú7eMicw weft yarns into recommendations and policies that look to transform Aboriginal education. How we begin is significant because it sets the tone for how we will proceed and what the outcomes will look like. Through experiential learning, I have come to know that trusting again in our ways was necessary in taking those first steps toward doing things differently within a mainstream classroom. Prior to implementing the protocols and processes of the Ucwalmicw, there was no way to know how students would respond to Indigenous ways in a system that typically views Indigenous Knowledge systems as inferior, antiquated and or quaint. This means that the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw teaching to trust again in those ways that have been marginalized and ridiculed for so long was going to require faith. As I trusted in Ucwalmicw ways, it became increasingly easier to not only consider additional ways to utilize them in university classrooms, but to also implement them with positive results and feedback. It was also trusting again in our ways that helped me to Smudge the meeting space for our second community engagement session and feel a sense of gratitude for that good medicine and teaching knowing that doing so was felt and appreciated by our Elder Mother. The third weft yarn connects closely with all three of the other processes because it is that which sustains the integrity in them all. Walking the talk of being and doing in good ways fosters a growing ability to trust again in those ways and is absolutely necessary in wholistic approaches that facilitate transformative coming to understand. Walking the talk is where coming to understand work is done. I refer back to ross’ (2010) idea that it is in the making that we are made. In walking Ucwalmicw ways, I am becoming fully Ucwalmicw. It is not enough to know the ways of my ancestors. I must live them. 125 While there is much evidence to support the fact that the concept of wholistic learning is increasingly being understood as an important pedagogy for working with Indigenous students, I demonstrate how Ucwalmicw calls to wholistically apply this protocol can deepen and broaden the work being done under this precept. Wholistic approaches from Ucwalmicw perspectives begin with the four human capacities to learn and expand out to include family, community and the land. Because these rigors of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking represent the weft yarns of this dissertation weaving, I will illustrate how utilizing Indigenous ways to mobilize a diversity of recommendations presented in chapter five (warp yarns) can provide current and local approaches to transforming all classrooms whether Samahquamicw learners are present or not. Chapter Summary: The Loom is Set The first four chapters of this dissertation provide the loom with a solid framework onto which the Samahquamicw contributions presented in this chapter may be woven. This dissertation blanket weaving is framed by contextual information, theories, approaches and literature that greatly inform how this project can best contribute to the development of Indigenous education. The dissertation loom represents the parameters within which the dissertation blanket is woven. With all four sides now set, I turn to chapter five to begin the weaving process by warping the loom with the foundational, vertical yarns that are drawn from Indigenous education principles and recommendations. The four Ucwalmicw teachings will twine into and further strengthen these Indigenous education recommendations so that together the warp and weft of the weaving will reveal beauty of the ever-emerging Indigenous education tapestry made possible through incorporating local aspirations, protocols and processes. 126 Chapter 5: Warping the Loom with Good Intentions for Indigenous Education The warp: vertical threads in tension, our intentions. Careful preparation of the warp threads is the basis for a weaving that will remain strong throughout the process… Attention to making a beautiful, strong, even warp is like the creation of intentions that match our values. Even though you will not see these warp threads in the finished piece, they are the inner strength of the weaving. (Merrill & Estell, 2007, p. 19) Chapter Overview The twining process begins with the warping of the loom. Foundational yarns are cast firmly onto the frame by running one length of yarn vertically up and down around the top and bottom roller bars. The carefully placed warping extends across the width of these bars maintaining the connections between the left and right vertical posts, that is Indigenist Theory and Ucwalmicw Knowledge Seeking and sharing. As with an actual loom this is the structure that supports the tension of the weaving to come and, as evidenced thus far, there is no shortage of tension in Indigenous education. The warp yarns form the underpinning of the weaving onto which the pattern, story or vision is weaved. In the dissertation blanket, the warp and weft yarns twine together in diverse ways to create an article of strength, warmth, beauty and good intentions. In The Art of Weaving a Life authors Merrill and Estelle reflect on their practice and share that weaving “…is a unifying experience” (2007, p.1) which aligns well with the intentions behind this project. The warp strands of this dissertation blanket represent principles and recommendations expressed after the federal government endorsement of the Indian Control of Indian Education policy paper (ICIE) in 1973. Each strand is drawn from one of four balls of yarn, or four key documents, that have the integrity to support the twining in of the Q’aLaTKú7eMicw teachings (weft yarns) (Figure 19: Foundational Warp Yarns). Figure 19 Foundational Warp Yarns 127 While a plethora of state and institutional accords and reports speak to changing perceptions and goals of Aboriginal education, this dissertation builds upon contributions from four key documents: the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) (Education chapter), the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) Accord on Indigenous Education (2010), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action (2015) (Education sections) and the British Columbia Auditor General Report, An Audit of the education of Aboriginal students in the B.C. Public school system (2015). These national and provincial policy documents are prime examples of reports and recommendations that underpin the transformations we are seeing in Aboriginal education; for example, changes facilitated by the unique to British Columbia Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements, the features of culturally based/responsive education, the common themes of success in on-reserve schools, and the student support and dual programming models implemented by post-secondary institutions as illustrated in chapter two. Each of the four warping balls of yarn is concerned with reconciling the effects that education has on First Peoples and our communities. Each document was compiled with, and continues to represent, a commitment to facilitating transformative change across a diverse range of learning environments. Most importantly, all of these policy documents were compiled based on Indigenous voice and community contributions. I draw the PhD dissertation warping yarns from these four reports to illustrate how the findings of BC and nation-wide inquiries can be implemented in respectful and distinct ways by utilizing local knowledge and pedagogies. This begins to address the challenges of serving a diversity of First Nations in mainstream educational contexts in good ways. With little or no support from the state, these recommendations do the important work of guiding schools, communities, and various organizations in ways that honor the First Peoples who contributed to these reports, with intention, their perspectives on moving forward together in good ways. In preparing to warp the loom, I unravel the four balls of yarn, each formed from a respective report, by providing contextual information and then situating each document through examining how it has contributed to reconciling mainstream education systems. Each of these reports contains principles and recommendations too numerous to cover within the scope of this dissertation, therefore, I tease out and identify examples from each document that hold the potential for weaving in Ucwalmicw protocols and processes. I do this utilizing Q’aLaTKú7eMicw contributions as lenses through which to consider, from contemporary 128 Ucwalmicw perspectives, the applicability of this diverse set of recommendations. I close this chapter by presenting an overview of the four Ucwalmicw protocols and practices that will be applied as weft yarns in chapter six to demonstrate mobilizing the intentions (warp yarns) of this thesis blanket by weaving in Q’aLaTKú7eMicw community contributions. Warping Yarn, Ball 1: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) (1996) The federal government of Canada established the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1991. This commission was made up of four Indigenous and three non-Indigenous commissioners, who were appointed to investigate and report back on “…the evolution of the relationship among aboriginal [sic] peoples (Indian, Inuit and Métis), the Canadian government, and Canadian society as a whole” (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996, p. 12). The Commission was tasked with ascertaining the “…foundations of a fair and honorable relationship between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of Canada” INAC, 2016, para. 8). The commission’s mandate involved two overarching agendas: …the development of a constitutional law theory of the status of [I]ndigenous peoples and their national relationship with the Canadian state; and the development of a cohesive policy framework for the delivery of programs to [I]ndigenous individuals, families, and communities for the amelioration of social conditions. (Hughes, 2012, p. 112) This seminal report represents the first (state commissioned) of its kind in this country. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) further stands out because it sought the voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples themselves concerning every aspect of their lives. This government sanctioned project was conducted over the course of 178 days of public hearings and visits to 96 communities (apihtawikosisan, 2012), consultations with dozens of experts and a comprehensive review of past research studies, inquiries and reports (INAC, 2016). Centering on a collaborative approach to knowledge seeking, First Peoples’ community participation was key in the development and design of this massive research endeavor (Kovach, 2005). This well-known and oft cited report is divided in to five volumes; Volume 1: Looking Forward, Looking Back; Volume 2: Restructuring the Relationship; Volume 3, Gathering Strength; Volume 4, Perspectives and Realities; and Volume 5, Renewal: A Twenty-Year 129 Commitment. The 4200 pages long document includes over 400 recommendations for enhancing First Peoples’ lives, including their/our education (Ormiston, 2010) which is covered in Volume 3.5, which is the section of the report being considered for inclusion in this dissertation blanket weaving. The intent of the Royal Commission was to “…create a new relationship between the state and Indigenous people…” (Ormiston N. , 2010, p. 52) and to address “…the painful legacy of colonial history…” (Battiste M. , 2000, p. 8) particularly as perpetuated through education systems. The Commission identified the need to address the fact that current educational experiences typically eroded identity and self-worth in Indigenous students (RCAP, 1996, p. 405). The 3.5 Education segment of RCAP (1996) begins with noting that contributors to the study expressed the need for schooling that developed students as “Aboriginal citizens” (p. 407) who completed their education with a strong and positive sense of Aboriginal identity through focusing on the wholistic development of the child’s/youth’s spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical capacities for learning. The RCAP report then moves on to speak to the non-completion rates, the resultant lack of employment opportunities and the erosion of identity and self-esteem fostered by the systems of education encountered by the study contributors, stating that, those who continue in Canada’s formal education systems told [RCAP] of regular encounters with racism, racism expressed not only in interpersonal exchanges but also through the denial of Aboriginal values, perspectives and cultures in the curriculum and the life of the institution. (1996, p. 408) The RCAP report argues that significant change is required to meet First Nations’ expectations for systems that facilitate “cultural and economic renewal” and to counter the “…coercive efforts at social engineering [that] continue to be felt generations later” (RCAP, 1996, p.408). The report goes on to provide examples of changes that have occurred as a result of ICIE (1972), alongside in-depth descriptions of the diversity of learning environments being accessed by First Peoples’ students. It is made clear how the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB, now AFN) calls for the devolution of locally controlled education has been actualized as the transfer of federal/provincial control to band-operated schools through forced (by default) delivery of provincial curricula and requirements to run classes in line with the provincial school 130 year. RCAP confirms there are no resources or capacity building provided to make adaptations in curricula that incorporate Indigenous teachings, values and/or pedagogies possible. The report proceeds with references to new undertakings like Aboriginal Education Authorities,47 highlighting the Mi’kmaq agreement, before providing a snapshot of First Nations’ demographics complete with breakdowns of where students were attending school when this report was commissioned. At the time of this study, 68.7% of First Nations’ learners were enrolled in provincial school systems (RCAP, 1996, p. 411). It is noted that in locations with larger First Nations’ populations, some districts negotiated the establishment of Aboriginal schools. This, however, was a rare occurrence and it was far more typical for Aboriginal students to attend schools that made “…no special effort to make them or their families feel part of the life of the school” (RCAP, 1996, p. 412). Examples of change in the post ICIE initiatives captured in this report include creating more positive learning environments for Aboriginal children, the hiring of Aboriginal teachers and Aboriginal support staff, scans for and the removal of blatant racism in curricula and the establishment of alternative programming for at risk students. Rationale for inclusion of RCAP 1996 in this dissertation weaving The RCAP report is chock full of sound recommendations and ideas that are concerned with the wellbeing, across all sectors, of Indigenous life. In this dissertation weaving, I demonstrate how Ucwalmicw ways can breathe life into the ambitions of the RCAP contributors to strengthen the ever-emerging tapestry of Indigenous education. Referencing and implementing recommendations from decades old studies is an act that honors the good thoughts, strengths and intentions of what has been, and continues to be, expressed time and time again by First Peoples regarding First Peoples’ education. The work needed, as outlined in the RCAP findings, is not complete and we need to consistently refer back to it to ensure we are on good paths to 47 These partnerships between the Government of Canada, First Nations or their delegated organizations, and provinces allow for sharing of resources and practices, towards improved outcomes for students. “The Mi’kmaq Agreement stipulates that the primary, elementary, secondary programs and services offered by the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey (MK) shall be comparable to those provided by other education systems in Canada. Mi'kmaq Education Act (Canada) and the Mik'maq Education Act (Nova Scotia)” https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1308840098023/1308840148639, para. 23. 131 embracing Indigenous education. This thesis illustrates localized approaches to implementing some of these RCAP nation-wide suggestions. RCAP (1996) Contributions to Indigenous Education Transformation is a process and thinking and writing about how to transform is the starting point of that process. Relationships take time and they require ongoing attention and energy. Building trust is fundamental to establishing connections that grow stronger and closer as opposed to unraveling at the first sign of adversity or conflict. Hughes (2012) writes that the RCAP report contributed greatly to raising public awareness around First Peoples and our shared histories and experiences which is the critical first step towards building relationships founded on trust and mutual respect. Since its dissemination, RCAP has fostered a growing sense of responsibility in the provinces to address the ongoing inadequacies of current models of education. This awareness has led to the development of province-wide legislation in Nova Scotia, British Columbia (Archibald & Hare, 2016) and, most recently, Ontario, towards transforming aspirations from recommendations into Indigenous education policy-making and practice. These steps represent important examples of collaborations at the provincial level and model working together to implement Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing that we can learn from and apply at regional and local levels. The development of Indigenous education acts demonstrates not only a growing awareness of, but also a growing trust in Indigenous understandings of and approaches to teaching and learning. Acting on trust weaves strength into the relationships that grow out of these new pathways to educating. Another RCAP recommendation that has been implemented by educational institutions across this country is the incorporation of Indigenous content and pedagogies into curriculum development and delivery (Archibald & Hare, 2016). Archibald and Hare’s 2016 background paper marked the 20-year anniversary of the RCAP report. The document was presented to facilitate analysis and dialogue regarding policy making on the Indigenization of education in Canada at the November 2016 Forum on Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future. The authors reframe RCAP’s life cycle of child, youth, adult, and Elder (Chapter 5: Education, p. 446) into a conceptual framework of life-long learning to focus their attention on recommendations made in 132 regard to early childhood education, K-12 education, post-secondary education, and community education. Archibald and Hare (2016) provide a number of examples for us to consider in regard to Indigenization. They note that there is a steady increase of Indigenous content being made available to teachers and instructors and central to this point is the relationship building with local communities that enabled the gathering of such content. The RCAP is further credited for an increase in Indigenous Peoples’ involvement in policy and decision-making, the creation of institution-wide strategies, strengthening baseline data collection processes, increasing Indigenous representation in teaching and staff positions and the provision of ongoing professional development for working with Indigenous students and/or respectfully incorporating Indigenous content and pedagogies into curriculum and classrooms. Unfortunately, these processes for change are not being implemented at an even pace across all learning environments, and, according to Pidgeon, even in the institutions that are moving to Indigenize, “ongoing struggles to overcome racism, covert and overt discrimination, and resistance to the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge(s) within curricular and co-curricular programs and services continue despite best intentions to do better” (2014, p.8). Buker (2014) concurs and argues, “there remains a “ceiling of power,” that refuses to examine their resistance to an Indigenous view- point” (p. 26). The BC teacher’s Federation states in their 2017/18 Members Guide to the BCTF that they believe, “that an educational system that forces Aboriginal students to assimilate to majority cultural attitudes and patterns is a form of racism” (BCTF, 2018, p. 20). Even so, as Pidgeon indicates, there continues to be resistance to Indigenizing education and the RCAP (1996) recommendations form the basis of policy-making in British Columbia that have required, since September of 2012, all teacher candidates to complete coursework with Indigenous content or pedagogies to become certified to teach in this province (BC Ministry of Education, 2017). While a single course is not nearly enough to prepare teachers to work in good ways with Indigenous content and students, the reality is many teacher candidates now become certified with 3-credits in Indigenous content coursework, which is 3 credits more than they would have attained prior to this policy. “While governments may have been reluctant to embrace the full range of the RCAP recommendations, Indigenous governments, communities and organizations have built upon 133 them – leading to the very real possibility of a redefined relationship consistent with the original vision” (Archibald & Hare, 2016, p. 2). Most importantly, from the perspective of this particular project, the work of incorporating local knowledge into the curricula in respectful and accurate ways has led to the fostering of relationship building among schools, universities and First Nations’ communities. That is a major contribution from Indigenous worldviews that center on maintaining harmony and balance in relationships as being the intentions behind knowledge seeking, making and sharing processes. Understanding RCAP warp yarns through Ucwalmicw lenses Having provided an overview of Aboriginal education as examined in the RCAP Report (1996) and examples of change that have occurred over the 20 years since its publication, I now turn attention towards RCAP recommendations drawn from its Transformative Education section (p. 448) that concludes the Volume 3.5 chapter of the report to consider how they can be mobilized in local situations. RCAP (1996) describes transformative education as learning that connects to community and is of relevance to students’ lives (p.449). It advocates for a teacher-facilitated process that guides, “without dominating”, students in their coming to know and understand through their educational, social, economic and political life journeys towards “making a difference” (p. 449). Reviewing this RCAP recommendation through the Ucwalmicw lens, words like connecting, making a difference and without dominating are the concepts that stand out. The RCAP suggestion for learning to be relevant across all aspects of students’ lives aligns succinctly with the Samahquamicw survey results that demonstrate this very same thing. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw (2013) assertion that tending to the learner from a wholistic perspective is key begins to interpret this RCAP suggestion to consider all of the environments of a student’s life. Samahquamicw expressed the need to consider all domains in the teaching process towards attaining their vision of all, “…children …surrounded by and supported on all fronts with the teachings—home, school, in community” (Q’aLaTKú7eMicw, 2014). The Ucwalmicw lens sees this as a wholistic approach to teaching and learning and I am reminded of Q’aLaTKú7eMicw (2013) calls to “consider all aspects of the learner” which extends beyond the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical capacities to learn. The 134 wholistic intentions behind teaching and learning are integrated across the interrelated and interdependent educational, social, political and economic domains of our students’ lives. Ucwalmicw would also include the spiritual aspects of life in this list. Equally important in this particular RCAP recommendation and in Q’aLaTKú7eMicw sharings is the need to make a difference. The Samahquamicw contributions that emerge in this regard are found in the responses offered to our February 2, 2014 Sharing Circle question about the processes of Ucwalmicw knowledge seeking, making and sharing. Coming to know is concerned with who we will become and Q’aLaTKú7eMicw go further to state that it must also be about “benefit[ting] the collective” (2014). This RCAP recommendation to transform education in ways that facilitate students’ capacities for making a difference (1996, p. 449) translates in an Ucwalmicw worldview to mean being concerned with the wellbeing of all beings, or all our relations. Again, education needs to benefit the collective. The second strand I pull from the RCAP report is, “…the importance of action in the transformative education process” (RCAP, 1996, p. 449). I choose this recommendation because ongoing action is key to keeping the values and hopes of the RCAP contributors alive. Q’aLaTKú7eMicw (2014) concurs when they made explicit the need to “live it”, “walk the talk” and to “carry ourselves with no push or pull, no judgment”, meaning the teachings (and recommendations offered) must be applied in order for them to take effect. Action is required. The Q’aLaTKú7eMicw knowledge sharers told me, “we need to trust again in our ways and in each other” (2014). This particular RCAP call to action maintains political integrity and honors Indigenous voice when weaving entails trusting in Indigenous ways and peoples that are local to the education systems that seek transformation. In this segment of the chapter, I have unraveled the bulky and broadly concerned RCAP yarn and focused on specific RCAP recommendations that contribute to a post-secondary guiding framework. In the next section, I situate the 2010 Association of Canadian Deans of Education Accord on Indigenous education within this warping of the dissertation loom process. 135 Warp Strand 2: Association of Canadian Deans of Education Accord on Indigenous Education (2010) The next metaphorical ball of warp yarn that I unravel for consideration in this dissertation weaving is the Accord on Indigenous Education (2010) (Accord) prepared by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE). This Canada-wide organization, “…brings together deans, directors and chairs of education in Canadian universities and university-colleges [and is] … committed to pan-Canadian leadership in professional and teacher education, educational research, and policy in universities and university-colleges” (ACDE, n.d., Para. 1). The ACDE and its “…61-institution membership, recognized the role it could play as an association for educators in order to push for improvements in Indigenous education” (Maclean’s, 2010, Para. 2) Under the leadership of Indigenous scholars Drs. Jo-Ann Archibald, John Lundy, Cecilia Reynolds and Lorna Williams, the Accord on Indigenous Education established a vision and set of guiding principles for realizing enhanced outcomes in the signatories’ Indigenous programs and research (ACDE, 2010). While the intended reach of the Accord is its implementation across education departments and faculties, the organization hopes that it will become the model for change across the entire post-secondary institution (Maclean’s, 2010). Buker (2014) outlines the scope of the Accords’ aspirations: The Accord’s progressive goals give agency to the membership in the ACDE to foster respectful and welcoming learning environments; inclusive curricula; culturally responsive pedagogies; mechanisms for valuing and promoting Indigeneity in education; culturally responsive assessment; affirming and revitalizing Indigenous languages; retention strategies for Indigenous education leadership; and to foster non-Indigenous learners and Indigeneity through reflection and dialogue. (p. 25) Eight pages long, the Accord is formatted into six segments that begin with Section 1: Preamble, which moves on to Section 2: The Context for Indigenous Education in Canada; Section 3: ACDE and Indigenous Education; Section 4: Vision; Section 5: Principles; and Section 6: Goals (ACDE, 2010). The vision behind the Accord is that “… Indigenous identities, cultures, languages, values, ways of knowing, and knowledge systems will flourish in all Canadian learning settings” (ACDE, 2010, p. 4), extending its reach to include classrooms beyond the university campus. 136 The Accord begins by defining the term Aboriginal, and all the rights to cultures, languages, customs and knowledges that come with it, as articulated in Section 35 of the 1982 Canadian Constitution Act. It then acknowledges the local and global impact that colonization has on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and indicates that within the Accord, “… the use of the term Indigenous focuses attention on Aboriginal education in Canada, while at the same time engaging in a movement to address global educational issues” (ACDE, 2010, p. 1). The context for Indigenous education is described in a fashion similar to the RCAP report, recapping the need for improved participation and success rates for Aboriginal students to be realized through increased engagement with Indigenous knowledge systems in their educational experiences. The document authors advocate for transformative education that rejects the “status quo,” and moves beyond “closing the gap” discourse (p. 2) towards the well-being of First Peoples and their communities. The ACDE “… recognizes that it has a role and responsibility to expand educators’ knowledge about and understanding of Indigenous education” (2010, p.2) in light of colonial processes that have made Indigenous knowledges invisible. The Accord highlights that the absence of a diversity in ways of being, doing, knowing and valuing in post-secondary systems leads to high rates of social issues for Indigenous peoples. This practice is then further linked to the low graduation rates of First Peoples’ students that were, at the time the Accord was written, below 50 percent nationally with only 8 percent of Aboriginal students attaining university degrees (p. 2). Like the RCAP, the ACDE framework references responses to long-time, dire statistics, including those put forward by Indigenous peoples and organizations, large national studies and government commissions. Common across these studies is a call for the political and educational involvement of First Peoples to ensure “…that Indigenous knowledge systems have a central position in educational policy, curriculum, and pedagogy, in order to make significant improvements to Indigenous education” (ACDE, 2010, p.2). It is further acknowledged that such actions are taking place at local, regional, provincial and national levels and an exceptional example of curricular and pedagogical contributions is provided citing the (2007) Canadian Council on Learning’s (CCL) Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Center’s (ALKC) three models of learning. These paradigms are based on the worldviews of First 137 Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Wholism and life-long learning are commonalities found across all three of these online accessible resources48. The Accord concludes, as did the RCAP sixteen years earlier, that the “…majority of Aboriginal students attend public schools and public post-secondary institutions where there is often no or limited influence on Indigenous curricular and organizational matters” (ACDE, 2010, p. 4). It is further maintained that teacher and graduate education programs view Indigenous knowledge systems as having “…limited application to students in general” and the ACDE “…believes it can enhance the profile and benefits of Indigenous education within its member institutions and to the public at large” (ACDE, 2010, p.4). This is the purpose and intent of the ACDE’s Accord on Indigenous Education and signatories to it agree to endeavour towards the vision and goals of the Accord in all of their education programs and research initiatives. Page 4 indicates that, “…signatories will use this Accord to guide program review and transformation, working collaboratively to prioritize the educational purposes and values of Indigenous communities and people” (ACDE, 2010) and agree to share with other participants their successes and practices. Perhaps most significantly, the Accord, supports a socially just society for Indigenous peoples; reflects a respectful, collaborative, and consultative process with Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge holders; promotes multiple partnerships among educational and Indigenous communities; [and] values the diversity of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing and learning. (ACDE, 2010, p. 5) Rationale for inclusion of the Accord on Indigenous Education I include the Accord on Indigenous Education as a foundational warp strand for this dissertation weaving because it provides one pathway toward implementing the sweeping recommendations disseminated in the RCAP report in the university environment. The Accord on Indigenous Education is an excellent example of mobilizing Indigenous aspirations as present in the ICIE (1972) and RCAP (1996) documents. The Accord models activating those components that apply in the post-secondary institution which is of primary concern in this PhD study. I further include 48 The three resources are available here: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/education2/state_of_aboriginal_learning_in_canada-final_report,_ccl,_2009.pdf Retrieved May 1, 2018. 138 this commitment to Indigenous education given the possibilities that The Accord principles and goals have to effect change in how pre-service K-12 teachers are trained, simultaneously addressing both post-secondary and elementary through high school classrooms. Contributions of the Accord on Indigenous Education Since committing to the Accord on Indigenous Education, many changes have been noted in a number of post-secondary institutions, particularly within teacher education programs. Poitras, Pratt and Danyluk (2016) write about the effect that mandatory Indigenous content courses in second year programs is having on teacher candidates. They report that “…many students became motivated to realize their role and responsibility in affecting positive social change” (p.105) towards enacting what Shulman (2005) calls a signature pedagogy framed around integrity or what is deemed to be “good work” (p. 53) in the teaching profession. Teachers’ spheres of influence play a central role in effecting change in the classroom and ultimately in how mainstream society views itself in relation to First Peoples. This particular contribution demonstrates that the ACDE was correct in believing that the Accord provided a pathway to cultivating teachers’ and mainstream society’s perceptions of Indigenous education and worldviews. Other positive changes that are becoming part of the university experience due to the ongoing implementation of the Accord include, the development of new courses, the increasing presence of Indigenous educators and Elders in Schools and Faculties of Education and strengthened university-community collaborations. Within courses, it is possible to find increased attention to Indigenous ontology and epistemology, settler identity, colonization and decolonization practices. (Wiens, Hare, Fitznor, Restoule, & Battiste, 2015) Some examples of Accord contributions in universities in the BC lower mainland that serve Ucwalmicw students include the establishment of a professorship in Indigenous Education alongside a requirement for all candidates to successfully complete an Indigenous content course to become certified by the Teacher Education Office at the University of British Columbia. At Simon Fraser University (SFU), a new tenure track hire in Indigenous education and the creation of the Office of Indigenous Education (Pidgeon, 2016) followed that institutions signing of the 139 Accord. SFU has also charged an advisory committee with overseeing the implementation of this guiding framework across the faculty (Pidgeon, 2016). Each of these approaches serves to create learning environments that are more familiar and therefore welcoming to Indigenous peoples while enhancing awareness and understandings of the “…the social, cultural, and language backgrounds of their students…” (Banks, et al., 2005, p. 33). This facilitates an increase in the academic achievement of those students while also eliminating disparities. Understanding the ACDE Accord warp yarns through Ucwalmicw lenses An overview of the ACDE (2010) document demonstrates that implementation of the Accord is expected to foster respectful and welcoming learning environments, inclusive curricula, culturally responsive pedagogies and assessments, mechanisms for valuing and promoting Indigeneity in education, affirming and revitalizing Indigenous languages, Indigenous education leadership, exposing non-Indigenous learners to Indigeneity and culturally respectful Indigenous research. Toward those ends, I identify the following points of clarification made under a number of these anticipated goals to demonstrate which Ucwalmicw community sharings might mobilize ACDE commitments to transforming Indigenous education in ways that foster respectful relationship building. The Accord commits to challenging “…existing curriculum frameworks and structures in order that they may engage learners in experiencing the Indigenous world and Indigenous knowledge in a wholistic way” (ACDE, 2010, p. 5). We must proceed with much thought and care when challenging the status quo. This work is not about further dividing First Peoples and Canadians. It is about respect and our responsibilities to and for each other that have been neglecte
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UBC Theses and Dissertations
The warp and weft of it all : Ucwalmicw education emerging out of the Aboriginal education tapestry Schneider, Joyce 2018
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