Whiteness and land in Indigenous education in Canadian teacher education
Scully, Alexa Jane
Doctor of Philosophy
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After decades of advocacy by Indigenous scholars and communities, Indigenous education in Canadian teacher education is gaining support and status. Throughout Canadian teacher education, the ‘common knowledge’ of pre-service teachers does not include complex understandings of Indigenous peoples, Lands, or history in what is currently known as Canada. Using multiple qualitative research methods in the methodology of the Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP), I investigate how I and eight teacher educators enact critical Place-based education (cPBE) in our Indigenous education in teacher education practice in Canada to trouble whiteness, centre Land, and disrupt settler colonialism. The decolonization of teacher education practices, and of the administrative structures and practices of faculties of education, is necessary to support learning with, from and for Indigenous peoples in support of Indigenous futurities. As I struggled to teach with Land at the centre and in right relation to Anishinaabe Lands and communities, I examined and transformed my own practice-in-relation alongside my students and colleagues. As the Indigenization of universities proliferates, more questions are emerging about how to do this work well. This research deeply confirms the dual oppression of Land and of Indigenous peoples that is at the heart of the Canadian identity, but it also offers some answers. Indigenous education in Canadian teacher education must include anti-racist education that contends with white privilege, Land-based learning both in and beyond the classroom, and centring local Indigenous communities by prioritizing relationships and learning contexts with them. These elements, which represent the ethical relationality and right relation necessary to cPBE in Canada, are not supported, rewarded, or remunerated in current university structures. This demands change in how universities hire, how they support critical, Land- and community-based pedagogies, and in how they conduct themselves in relation to the Lands and communities they stand on and serve.