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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Weaving Indigenous knowledge into the academy : promises and challenges from the perspectives of three Aboriginal post-secondary institutes in British Columbia Robinson, Rheanna


This study examines the promises and challenges of integrating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) into the academy from the perspectives of Elders, leaders, students, staff, and instructors from three Aboriginal post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. Using a case study method and an Indigenous and Western theoretical foundations, this research shares the perceived successes, limitations, and the challenges the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), the Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga’a Institute (WWNI), and the former Cariboo Chilcotin Weekend University (CCWU) program face, or have faced, in the integration of IK. Also included in this study are perspectives from individuals from one mainstream, non-Aboriginal institution, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). Topics explored through the research are the following: a) challenges and benefits of integrating IK in three Aboriginal institutes and how the integration of IK at the academic level in Aboriginal institutions impacts and benefits students, staff, and the local community; b) the challenges and benefits of partnerships with mainstream institutes; and c) the formal policies and/or lack of formal policy for Aboriginal institutes. As a result of the research, emerging themes include: Elders have a core role in higher learning; the integration of IK at a post-secondary level impacts higher learning; Aboriginal post-secondary institutes have taken the lead in building partnerships with post-secondary institutes; and Aboriginal post-secondary institutes demonstrate resiliency despite systemic challenges. To represent my position as a Métis scholar I present my findings through the framework of the Métis Sash that represents through its colour and design the integration of key concepts and findings from the study.

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