UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Listen with your three ears" : a pedagogy of the heart : Aboriginal stories as pedagogies of the heart Lewis, Jill C.


In this era of Reconciliation in Canada, how can we ensure that our future generations continue to keep spaces open for Indigenous ways of knowing and worldviews, while disrupting and troubling the institutional norms that hide behind a guise of tolerance? How do we help write a new story for Canada based on shifting the way we relate to one another and how we educate our children, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal? How can we help educators and others to learn to listen with their three ears so they may hear the truths and wisdom embedded in Indigenous cultural realities? I propose that through story making, story telling and story listening, children maintain their learning spirit, a necessity if they are to acknowledge and affirm and maintain their identities, their cultures and their ways of knowing and worldviews. Stories transform our understanding of each other and act as a means to form and build relationships. Through an educational lens and voice, I intentionally interrupt the discourses of deficit propagated by historical and contemporary institutions, in order to explore ways narrative can pry open and dislodge the 500-year old myths lade on the backs of Aboriginal peoples. I suggest that by opening spaces of mutuality, respect, reverence, reciprocity and responsibility through intergenerational story making, story telling and story listening narratives, our Aboriginal learners will find parity and success with their non-Aboriginal peers in educational settings. In order to delve into intergenerational understandings of story, I sat with and listened to members of four B.C First Nations families. Within relaxed and respectful discussions about how story figures in their lives, some salient themes occurred related to residential schooling, living with and away from one’s cultural communities, which revealed consequences linked to identity, language and educational connections and successes. All of the stories and teachings I was privileged to witness have transformed me in heart and mind and continue to bring me closer to understanding the sensitivity and protocols required to exemplify resepctful “story work”(Archibald, 2008, p. 3).

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