The Decolonizing Education Certificate is for educators who want to develop their capacity to understand Indigenous perspectives in the history of colonization to contemporary realities in Canada. The module instructors are a combination of Indigenous scholars and non-Indigenous scholars who work in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.
This certificate covers an array of topics from pre-contact to colonial contact and will help educators understand and appreciate Indigenous perspectives (first four modules) in decolonizing education and understanding one's position in solidarity with Indigenous peoples (last four modules). This certificate has been developed to build capacity among educators in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) calls for action for education in a meaningful way.
Participants can expect to receive accurate and authentic knowledge, information and experience Indigegogy while learning about what anti-colonial, structural, and decolonizing means in our teaching and learning. Each instructor will bring his or her knowledge, gifts and experiences to the teaching and learning circle. Participants will gain extra knowledge to help integrate Indigenous perspectives into their teaching content. They will also have invaluable learning experiences that will transform their own teaching and learning.
Most educators have not had to take Indigenous studies and will benefit from this certificate. If you have little to no exposure to Indigenous knowledge, history or Indigenous studies, this certificate is for you. If you are an educator who wants to better understand and teach about Canada and Indigenous peoples, this certificate is for you. Postsecondary educators and social work educators are encouraged to register.
The modules are offered over a two-year period, but you do not need to take the modules in order from the beginning. You can sign up for any module at any time.
“It is precisely because education was the primary tool of oppression of Aboriginal people, and miseducation of all Canadians, that we have concluded that education holds the key to reconciliation.” Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC Calls to Action in Education poster, 2015
“It is precisely because education was the primary tool of oppression of Aboriginal people, and miseducation of all Canadians, that we have concluded that education holds the key to reconciliation.”
Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC Calls to Action in Education poster, 2015
Participants will leave with:
The second module covers issues related to governance, policy and land. It may cover topics such as treaties, the Indian Act, reserves, federal and provincial governance jurisdictions, and the United Nations on the Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples.
Module three offers a critical Indigenous perspective related to the policies of social control of Indigenous peoples in the late 1800 to 1900s. It may cover topics such as child welfare, foster care, residential schools, criminal justice and intergenerational trauma.
This module begins with cultural history and provides an overview of colonial history. It begins to establish the context of contact and colonization and introduces cultural learning protocols, land protocols and Indigegogy.
Participants will leave with:
This module presents the actions of Indigenous peoples towards truth telling, cultural activism and healing movements. The module will also cover national reports, such as Missing and Murder Indigenous Women, Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, as well social activism towards changing policies. Participants will gain understanding in decolonization, alliance building and reconciliation through the examination of resistance and solidarity movements such as Idle No More, Sisters In Spirit and #NoDAPL.
This Decolonizing Certificate Module will help participants to deeply reflect on their individual, familial, cultural, nation, and professional position in relation to colonial issues that continue to impact Indigenous communities and land.
There is an emphasis on participatory activities that asks participants to draw insights from teachings around specific treaties like the Two Row Wampum, and then apply them to their personal, nation, and professional ways of practice/living. Participants will consider Indigenous perspectives/knowledge on land, colonialism, and contemporary relational issues, and then will actively consider these perspectives/knowledge in relation to the specific land/waters where participants live and work. The module is centred around the practice of 'truth-telling' as the basis for considering different ways of relating with Indigenous perspectives/knowledge and land, and as such ends by considering specific actions that can be taken in our ways of living and working.
Participants will leave with:
Module 6 begins to draw attention to one’s positionality in relationship with Indigenous people. It examines structural and critical change; experiences of working with Indigenous people and combating institutional racism toward change.
Participants will leave with:
Module 7 brings about the culmination of the previous modules with an encounter and sharing of one’s teaching and learning as non-Indigenous educators. Discussions may include ones role in decolonizing the academy. Circle process will facilitate reflexive teaching and learning.
In this last module, instructors will share their experiences, lessons and growing pains of unsettling their settler within. They will also facilitate an experiential process of where one goes to from here as one contemplates responding to the Calls to Action in education.
This 2-day workshop helps participants learn about their individual, familial, cultural, nation, and professional position from the lands, waters, and climate they live and work within. This workshop will be conducted at different places that bring to our attention particular land, being and ancestral relations, and these will be engaged for particular teachings about the history of colonial relations, human responsibilities in creation, and how to hold ourselves in times of significant change. We will engage these places in relation to stories from the three Indigenous nations of Taron:to (Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat) and wampum treaties like the Two Row, Dish-with-One-Spoon, and Seven Nations/Fires. There is an emphasis on participatory activities that asks participants to draw insights from the land/water/climate-based teachings, and to work with their ancestral origins, stories and practices in relation to what these places teach. These sessions are centred around the practice of 'truth-telling' for settlers as the basis for considering different ways of relating with Indigenous people and the land/water we live within, and as such will continually ask participants to consider what their learning means for our ways of living and working.
Prerequisite: Prior experience with the DEC modules.
Timothy Leduc is author of the new book, A Canadian Climate of Mind: Passages from Fur to Energy and Beyond (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016). It engages the Two Row Wampum to look at the colonial roots of today’s climate change-energy issues, which are reconsidered as a spiritual initiation into healing the pain of disconnection at the root of modern culture. His first book, Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North (University of Ottawa Press, 2010), was shortlisted for the 2012 Canada Prize and looked at climate science, politics, and economics from the perspective of Inuit cosmology. He is faculty in land-based and Indigenous Social Work at Laurier Brantford, and has worked as a social worker in northern Indigenous communities and as an urban land-based educator.
Wilfrid Laurier University reserves the right to cancel a course in which there is insufficient enrolment. In the event of a cancellation, students will be informed and all fees will be refunded.
If for some reason you are unable to start or complete your program, we would be happy to defer your registration for our next Educators' Certificate program, or transfer your registration to another person (e.g. coworker, friend). If a refund is requested, the refund amount will follow the schedule below:
Note that no refund of any sort will be given if the university is closed for any reason during your course.
"Participating in the decolonizing education certificate modules has been an incredibly meaningful experience on numerous levels: in terms of knowledge, community and spiritual development.
It introduced me to a new approach to social justice education that blends history, ceremony, culture, and contemporary social and critical analysis. Each module effectively builds on the previous one, connecting the many intersectional and intergenerational issues that are essential knowledge for decolonization, and exposing participants to a range of perspectives with a different instructor for each module.
I highly recommend it for anyone serious about responding to the TRC calls to action from an educational perspective."
Independent Education Researcher
"I’ve been reflecting a lot on my experiences so far in the Decolonizing Education Certificate; one way I’ve explained it recently is that, while I’ve learned a lot from books, and I know a lot of facts, I’m in a place now where I am ready to learn from people.
At the Centre for Indigegogy we learn from Indigenous scholars and non-Indigenous allies about culturally-appropriate engagement, about Indigenous pedagogy, about ourselves, and about each other. It has been a gift to participate in the circle so far, and I can’t wait for the next modules.
Maybe you - like me - identify as a settler, and wonder what you should be doing about decolonization and how you should be doing it; know that this is a space for you to learn: about this land, about its people, and about yourself."
Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
University of Toronto
Giselle Dias, MSW, Program Administrator
Office Location: 120 Duke St., Kitchener
Kathy Absolon-King, MSW, PhD, Director of Centre for Indigegogy
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