Nov. 24, 2017

Indigenous Education: A Call to Action

WSE grad course focuses on moving forward together

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its findings and recommendations charting a way forward for the indigenous and non-indigenous people of Canada. 

At that time, many post-secondary institutions began to think about what could be done to spur the dialogue between individuals with a desire to explore what the commission’s findings mean, and how they might play a part in driving positive change in the future.

In response to the report, and with the recognition that a broader understanding of the issues surrounding the historical relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people is critical to the process of reconciliation, the Werklund School of Education developed a graduate cohort as part of its Master of Education  (interdisciplinary) program.

Indigenous Education: A Call to Action, was offered for the first time in the summer of 2016, and the program has proved to be very popular.  

It’s a four-course graduate pathway, part of the Werklund School’s adult learning specialization, and is in direct response to the TRC’s calls to action targeted at educators, church leaders, policy makers, and other concerned citizens to embark on the work of reconciling relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

“During this program, we focus on such topics as anti-racism and social justice education, Indigenous arts and adult education, culminating in a critical service learning project,” explains Yvonne Poitras Pratt, one of the program’s academic coordinators.

The cohort consists of two concurrent summer courses followed by two online courses over the fall and winter, and is designed for those who wish to explore, and enact, their own responses to a national call for reconciliation with Canada's First Peoples.

“We expect that our students will be exposed to a range of theories, research, creative expressions, and case studies that will help them better understand and explore their role within the TRC report,” says Poitras Pratt.

“Ultimately, our goal is to build understanding and a foundation from where we can all begin the process of reconciliation.”

Sarah Charlebois was a student in last summer’s cohort, and she created a video course trailer that expressed her learning in the program