Indigenous representations in novels used in the Ontario Secondary English classroom
Master of Education
SubjectRepresentations of Indigenous Peoples (Ontario curriculum)
Equality issues (education)
Indigenous Peoples in fictional literature
Racial/cultural identity development
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This study analyzes representations of Indigenous Peoples in novels used in the Ontario secondary English classroom. This research identifies the impacts that inaccurate or limited representations of Indigenous Peoples can have when used as curriculum material. Critical Discourse Analysis was used to analyze the 20 most commonly used novels used in the secondary English classroom, drawn from the Ontario Book Publisher’s Organization’s (2017) study. Representations were found in two of the top 20 novels and an analysis was conducted based on physical representations, social representations, representations of racial inequality, terminology use, and author background. The two novels included in this analysis are Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007) and Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road (2005). The analysis addresses representations of Indigenous characters, leading to a deeper analysis of the representations within two novels for the development of recommendations to increase Indigenous Peoples representations in the secondary English classroom. Analysis of the two novels indicates a narrow and similar representations of Indigenous Peoples. The findings support the necessity for increased and diverse representations of Indigenous Peoples in secondary English curriculum, specifically fiction.