In this professional development session Dr. Dustin Louie will collaborate with the leadership and faculty to tackle the nuanced work of decolonizing and indigenizing education. Using a social justice framework, the session will first empower participants with the knowledge of how to identify oppression in their own schools, while also recognizing the myriad strengths of Indigenous educational approaches. An emphasis is continuously placed upon the practical application of decolonizing and indigenizing strategies, moving beyond theoretical arguments. Each participant will leave the session knowing how to recognize both individual and systemic forms of oppression, while creating concrete strategies to embed Indigenous ways of knowing in their content, pedagogy, assessment, and school culture. Building from Indigenous Knowledges and traditions from diverse Indigenous communities in Canada, faculty and leaders will be educated and become well-versed in innovative approaches to education. The session is interactive and strengths-based, refusing to succumb to deficit-based approaches that offer no clear roadmap for change. Dr. Louie insists on a collaborative approach that will leave the participants excited to take on this work, with the tools necessary to be successful.
The professional development is separated into two distinct sections. The first half will see Dr. Louie give a presentation on decolonization and indigenizing education, attending to critical elements of today’s educational landscape. The second half is an activity based on Indigenous conceptions of being a Witness, which will model for leaders practical ways that Indigenous Knowledges can be embedded in their teaching. Through this activity educators will learn how to transform Indigenous Knowledges into a practical application in an education setting. In addition to the Witnessing activity, participants will learn strategies from Blackfoot, Māori, and other diverse Indigenous communities to expand their pedagogy and assessment to include meaningful representation of Indigenous ways of knowing. Following the activity Dr. Louie will bring together all of the knowledge gained in the session and leave the participants engaged and prepared to take on this exciting work.