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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Stories from outside the textbook : "Counter Points" to colonial narratives in the British Columbia public education system Krieg, Elizabeth Anne

Abstract

This thesis is an exploratory study into three participants' perspectives regarding Aboriginal representation, or the lack of it, in Chapter 15, "Urbanization" of the Social Studies 11 textbook Counter Points: Exploring Canadian Issues. The participants were Libby, a recently graduated high school student from the Musqueam Band, Arleen, a Euro-Canadian Social Studies 11 teacher, and Clayton, an acquaintance of mine of Tlingit and European descent. The participants shared how they felt their cultures were being privileged or marginalized by Eurocentric content in Chapter 15 and the public education system in general. Collaborative expert interviews, storytelling, and reflexivity ensured that the participants' perspectives and knowledges were at the forefront of the research. At the heart of my thesis were the participants' stories, created with their input and feedback, and consisting of a mixture of their interviews, personal reflections, and testimonial excerpts taken from the 1912-1916 McKenna McBride Commission. The testimonies helped to demonstrate how colonial ideologies of the past continue to persevere into the present. My personal family history was also braided into the historical analysis as a part of the reflexive component to the thesis. The stories from Aboriginal learners Libby and Clayton challenge the banality of colonialism within Chapter 15 and how it could be read as an extension of the settler society's assertion to land title. Arleen and I found that our perceptions regarding Chapter 15 changed upon our reflections of Libby and Clayton's stories, causing us to question how public education disassociates the colonial actions of the past with the present. Further critical reflection had us consider what our roles are to help stop colonial ideologies from being further perpetuated. The research indicated that Eurocentric knowledge continues to be disseminated in education and how storytelling may be a tool to challenge this information and build relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners. Future study needs to be conducted to determine whether these methods could create safe spaces in classrooms to engage teachers and students with the types of issues that were discussed in the thesis.

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