Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Canoeing through Resurgence
Anishinabai are jiimaan people. The traditional building of wiigwaas jiimaan is a part of a resurgence project that is restoring and maintaining cultural connection to our homelands, the water, and community members. An approach to cultural resurgence, such as the wiigwaas jiimaan, is an attempt to generate a better connection to our homeland, self- determination, and forms of healing within a cultural context. Through diverse research methodologies, this project will open new doors to cultural resurgence methods, Indigenous knowledge and the story telling of the wiigwaas jiimaan. Over the summer of 2018, I built a wiigwaas jiimaan in my home community of Temagami First Nation. It is from this experience that this research shaped. Through the approach of storytelling to my reflective notes, while incorporating an Indigenous knowledge and resurgence methodology. It is important that when you are reading this, that you keep an open mind, sit comfortably and enjoy the interweaving of story and research. The thesis creates a better understanding of resurgence practices, the history of the Teme- Augama Anishinabai, my story and experience with the wiigwaas jiimaan, and the rebuilding of my community through this cultural initiative. Moving forward I hope that this research continues and evolves to other communities, who look for healing and cultural reclaiming through the land. Miigwetch. Author Keywords: Culture, Healing, Land-Based, Resurgence, Temagami First Nation, Wiigwaas jiimaan
“It's like getting a new car without the manual”
This study explored teacher infusion of Indigenous curriculum content through interviews with ten non-Indigenous teachers of social studies and history. The interviews centered on teacher perceptions of preparedness to implement Ontario’s recent TRC curriculum revisions, which include more about the contributions, histories, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. A brief analysis of Ontario’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework is included, alongside critiques of the Eurocentrism at the heart of education systems. The interviews revealed that many of the teachers were committed to Indigenous education and learning more, but they felt unprepared and lacked resources to teach Indigenous curriculum content with confidence. This study highlighted the critical role of settler teachers in Indigenous education and the importance of teachers undertaking settler unsettling in order to be effective and appropriate in Indigenous curriculum delivery. Individual changes must occur alongside educational system decolonization with a particular focus on teacher preparation. Author Keywords: cognitive imperialism, Indigenous Education, Ontario, settler educator, settler unsettling, TRC curriculum
Hoop Dance Project
This dissertation explores a 2017 elementary school Hoop Dance project that was organized by a white music teacher, and taught by an Indigenous artist in Peterborough, Ontario. It aims to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, numbers 10 and 63, which ask the federal government to sufficiently fund legislation that incorporates the following principles: “… developing culturally appropriate curricula” (p. 2), and “building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” (p. 7). The dissertation asks the question: In what ways will a seven-week Indigenous Hoop Dance Unit, taught by an Indigenous performing artist and facilitated by a white school teacher, contribute to reconciliation in an elementary school classroom in Ontario? I am the teacher in this study and have worked at this elementary school for five years. Throughout the project, I acted as facilitator, participant, and researcher, while Indigenous dancer and instructor Beany John planned and delivered the Hoop Dance content. Theoretically, the dissertation is organized around the Anishinabek seven grandmother/grandfather teachings, as taught by Ojibwe/Odawa educator and author Pamela Toulouse (2011). I believe that these seven traditional teachings are a meaningful basis upon which to build the project, not only because they inform Indigenous knowledge in the arts, but also because frequent reflection and referral to the teachings help remind me to remain connected to the “higher” purpose of the research throughout the project, which is to further the reconciliation process in Canada, and more broadly, to benefit society. Regarding methodology, I use arts based research (Leavy, 2015) and a constructivist grounded theory analysis, which embraces the subjectivity and positionality of the researcher (Creswell, 2012). The overall conclusion of the dissertation is that although the Hoop Dance project did not significantly address issues of Indigenous sovereignty in education nor our shared inherited legacy of colonial harm, it was a constructive step in the reconciliation project, largely due to the contributions of Beany John, whose teaching gently unsettled conventional educational practice at our school. Author Keywords: Arts Education, Hoop Dance, Indigenous Education, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Truth and Reconciliation

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