Indigenizing Higher Education

Posted on April 8th, 2016

This article is a survey of how higher education institutions in Canada are bringing indigenous people, as well as their philosophies and cultures, into strategic plans, governance roles, academics, research and recruitment—a process known as indigenization. Specific examples of indigenization strategies such as appointing indigenous people to executive positions in institutions, hiring indigenous faculty members, and providing indigenous students with adequate supports such as an elder in residence are explored within the article. Embedding indigenous content within curriculum is another trend at Canadian Universities. The article emphasizes that it is important for indigenization efforts to be led by indigenous people, with everyone learning and benefiting from the exchange. 

“There’s no instruction book on how to do this,” says Shirley Hardman, University of Fraser Valley’s senior adviser on indigenous affairs. “We start where we are. We start with what we have. And you can’t go along and indigenize without that community support and participation. Once you start to have that, I think it can grow.”

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