Six years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada raised 94 calls to action including the transformation of educational institutions’ curricula to be culturally appropriate.
In response to these calls, Canadian universities have responded by launching their decolonization and Indigenization strategic plans. When Concordia University launched ‘The Indigenous Directions Action Plan: Concordia’s Path Towards Decolonizing and Indigenizing the University, Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf has been involved in various collaborations with Concordia faculty on decolonizing and Indigenizing their curriculum and pedagogical practices across the university.
This event presents Concordia University’s perspectives on how to decolonize higher education. It explores what lessons learned from efforts to decolonize and Indigenize curriculum and pedagogy. What are the possibilities, challenges, and complexities of this work?
Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf is Turtle Clan and is a citizen from the Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) Nation, Kahnawake Territory, which is part of the Rotinonhsión:ni Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. She is a Kanien’kehá:ka educator and scholar who joined Concordia university in January of 2018 and is the Director of Decolonizing Curriculum and Pedagogy . Her primary role is to develop university-wide training with Concordia faculty on decolonizing and reconceptualize their curriculum and programs of study in ways that re-center the advancement and integration of Indigenous peoples’ diverse intellectual, scientific and cultural knowledge systems, worldviews, epistemologies, histories, research and pedagogies across all academic units. She also serves on the Indigenous Directions Leadership Group.
Her faculty teaching and Indigenous-centered curriculum design experiences in various academic programs in the Humanities span across Canada and the United States. In addition, Donna has vast experiences working in Indigenous communities on a local, national and international level in the areas of Indigenous-centered education, language and cultural revitalization programs. Her current research interests are in decolonization, Indigenous land-based education, protection and promotion of Indigenous language and cultural rights, Indigenous land rights and rights to self-determination and Human Rights.
Ezgi Ozyonum is a Public Scholar of Concordia University. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in the field of education. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, in Turkey, from Bilkent University and completed her Master’s Degree at Middle East Technical University. Ezgi has taught graduate course at the Department of Education, Concordia University, and has delivered graduate seminars and workshops for Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and GradProSkills.