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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


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.

Who Will Benefit From this Training?

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.

Modules

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

Module 1: Introduction to Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge: Cultural History and Colonial History

  • Dates: Sept. 20-21, 2018
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Kathy Absolon King, MSW, PhD; director for the Centre for Indigegogy; associate professor, MSW Indigenous Field of Study
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.  

Learning Goals

Participants will:

  • Experience Indigenous protocols in teaching and learning.
  • Be introduced to elements of cultural teachings in circle.
  • Explore and examine an overview of colonial history.
  • Have an experiential learning experience.

Outcomes

Participants will leave with:

  • An increased understanding of colonization.
  • A transformative learning experience.
  • More knowledge, tools and resources to utilize.
  • A network of people with common learning goals.
  • Wanting to learn more.

Module 2: Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge: Policy, Land and Governance

  • Dates: Oct. 26-27, 2018
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Darren Thomas, MA, PhD (ABD), Community Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University

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 3: Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge: Social Control Policies

  • Dates: Nov. 23-24, 2018
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Raven Sinclair, associate professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina

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.

Learning Goals

Participants will:

  • Examine policy development in Canada from confederation.
  • Critically analyze key social, political and economic policies.
  • Examine the impact of key policies on Indigenous life.
  • Explore residential school and child welfare outcomes
  • Learn how to process and integrate the emotionally and psychologically challenging insights that come with learning about Indigenous social policies.

Outcomes

Participants will leave with:

  • An understanding of colonial policy development in Canada.
  • Be able to apply critical analysis to historical and contemporary Indigenous policies.
  • Knowledgeable about how policies affect social, political and economic life.
  • An understanding of strategies advocating for or against Indigenous policies.
  • Greater insight into the contemporary social, political and economic terrain that confronts Indigenous people and communities.

Module 4: Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge: Resistance and Healing; Anti-Colonialism

  • Dates: Jan. 10-11, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Bonnie Freeman, assistant professor, Faculty of Social Work, McMaster University

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.

Module 5: Race, Power, Privilege: Taking a Critical Gaze

  • Dates: Feb. 21-22, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Tim Leduc, assistant professor, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

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.

Learning Goals

Participants will:

  • Learn about our colonial and other privileges.
  • Examine personal and political blockages to decolonization.
  • Examine ways for us to be allies / working in solidarity with Indigenous people.
  • Have an experiential learning experience.

Outcomes

Participants will leave with:

  • An increased understanding of their own colonial privilege.
  • An increased understanding of ways to work in solidarity with Indigenous people.
  • More knowledge, tools and resources to utilize.
  • A network of people with common learning goals.
  • Wanting to learn more​.

Module 6: Positionality in Relations with Indigenous People: Solidarity

  • Dates: March 27-28, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Ben Carniol, scholar-in-residence, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

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.

Learning Goals

Participants will:

  • Experience Indigenous protocols for examining treaty relations, privilege, and a wholistic sense of our identity.
  • Engage cultural teachings in a circle process that connects us to land and treaties.
  • Explore your position (individual, racial, cultural, national, professional, spiritual) in colonial history.
  • Have an experiential learning experience about your role in “truth” and “reconciliation."

Outcomes

Participants will leave with:

  • An increased understanding of the relation between your identity and colonization
  • A transformative and participatory learning experience about your role in fostering “truth” on the way toward “reconciliation”
  • More knowledge, tools and resources to utilize in your community, professional, and land relations
  • A network of people with common learning goals and visions for our future
  • A desire to continue learning about your position in the work of decolonizing Canada​

Module 7: Educating for Change: Critical Reflections and Change

  • Dates: April 25-26, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitator: Laura Mastronardi, MSW, PhD (ABD), lecturer, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

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.

Module 8: Moving Forward: Creating an Action Plan

  • Dates: May 29-30, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Circle Room, 120 Duke St., Kitchener
  • Facilitators:
    • Ben Carniol, scholar-in-residence, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University
    • Laura Mastronardi, MSW, PhD (ABD), lecturer, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

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.

Cancellation and Refund Information

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:

  • Up to 10 days before start of each module: full refund minus a $25 admin fee and applicable credit card charges.
  • One to nine days before start of each module: 50% refund and applicable credit card charges.

Note that no refund of any sort will be given if the university is closed for any reason during your course.

What our grads are saying

"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."

Catherine Vanner,
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."

Jacqueline Briggs
PhD Candidate
Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
University of Toronto

Contact Us:

Giselle Dias, MSW, Program Administrator

E: gdias@wlu.ca
Office Location: 120 Duke St., Kitchener

Kathy Absolon-King, MSW, PhD, Director of Centre for Indigegogy

E: kabsolon@wlu.ca

paper planes flying

Keep in touch

Want to know the latest happenings at the Centre for Indigegogy?

Ask us to add you to our mailing list at indigegogy@wlu.ca.

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