Non-Aboriginal Teachers’ Perspectives on Teaching Native Studies

Non-Aboriginal Teachers’ Perspectives on Teaching Native Studies

John M. Dewar, 1998

Thesis submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and Research in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Education, Department of Educational Administration, University of Saskatchewan.


Since the mid-1980s, the Saskatchewan Department of Education has approved the instruction of Native Studies courses in provincial high schools . In hope of enhancing the instruction of these courses, this study focused on the perspectives of Non-Aboriginal teachers who were assigned to teach Native Studies. Through a questionnaire, personal interviews, and a focus group, nine Non-Aboriginal high-school teachers examined the following aspects of the courses: formal and informal training of instructors, goals of the courses, key content and pedagogical methodologies, major challenges, and recommendations for improving the delivery of the classes.

The literary context for the research was based upon three major areas : Non-Aboriginal teachers’ perspectives on teaching Aboriginal students, preparing teachers to teach Native Studies, and preparing teachers to instruct Native Studies to Aboriginal students . Due to the ‘single-group’ nature of Native Studies curricula, considerable literature examination was focused on multicultural education models.

The research data of the study revealed that the majority of interviewees have minimal formal education experience with Aboriginal content or epistemology. In addition, most of the study participants indicated little, if any, informal cultural contact with Aboriginal peoples. Study participants generally acknowledged the limitations of their scant academic and experiential interaction with Aboriginal cultures, and recommended means of various education stakeholders improving the situation.

The study also exposed a variety of teacher perspectives about the goals of the courses. While there was unanimity regarding the efficacy of the courses, most teachers believed the goals of Native Studies varied depending on the cultural composition of the class. In addition, a couple of teachers inferred that a major objective of Native Studies courses is the promotion of an anti-establishment’ political message. Some teachers also indicated a quandary regarding whether the course curricula required them to “teach Aboriginal culture, or teach about Aboriginal culture.”

In terms of course content and teaching methodologies, there were numerous opinions on `what was important’. All the interviewees viewed history as a significant ingredient to a `good’ Native Studies class, but some of the teachers expressed a reluctance to delve into such issues as Aboriginal spirituality, racism, and ‘white-privilege’. There was also hesitation amongst many of the respondents to incorporate traditional Aboriginal epistemologies into course methodologies because they wanted to personalize instruction, not base it upon cultural generalizations.

In addition to the aforementioned issues and corresponding challenges associated with the background training for the courses, the goals of the courses, and the content and methodology of the courses, the study participants highlighted other concerns with the teaching of Native Studies: irrelevant curricula, lack of materials, poor course funding, student absenteeism, student perception that the courses are for ‘non-academics’, lack of flexible timetabling for experiential learning, and lack of staff knowledge and appreciation of Aboriginal cultures. All administrative levels of the education system were identified by the interviewees as influential in helping to mitigate the difficulties associated with the instruction of Native Studies.

Anishinaabe Mino-Blmaadiziwin (The Way of a GoodMe)

Anishinaabe Mino-Blmaadiziwin
(The Way of a GoodMe)

A thesis submitted to the Committee on Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 1998.


Anishinaabe Mino-Binaudiziwin (The Way of a Good Me)
D’Amy Ishpeming’enzaabid Rheault

This thesis is an examination of Anishinaabe philosophy, particularly Mino-Birnaadiziwin (The Way of a Good Life) as it is explained by the traditional Teachings of the Anishinaabeg. To this end, Primary Experiential Knowledge is used as the method of investigation.

This thesis explains the meaning, purpose, and function of Anishinaabe Primary Experiential Knowledge as a method of philosophical exploration based on Applied Anishinaabe Theory: traditional principles of verification based on a personal interaction with traditional Anishinaabe Teachers and Elders.

Since research and learning for an Anishinaabe person includes more than an investigation of the external world – it is also a personal spiritual journey of knowledge gathering and self-discovery, I use a Primary Experiential Knowledge method to discuss the general philosophy that can be distilled or extracted from the traditional oral Teachings without reproducing those oral Teachings in written form.

mino bumaadiziwin

Ientsitewate’nikonhraié:ra’te Tsi Nonkwá:ti Ne Á:se Tahatikonhsontóntie We Will Turn Our Minds There Once Again, To the Faces Yet To Come

Ientsitewate’nikonhraié:ra’te Tsi Nonkwá:ti Ne Á:se Tahatikonhsontóntie

We Will Turn Our Minds There Once Again, To the Faces Yet To Come

Second Language Speakers and Language Revitalization in Kahnawà:ke

Kahtehrón:ni Iris Stacey, 2016

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Education, University of Victoria


Dr. Peter Jacobs,
Department of Linguistics Co-Supervisor

Dr. Alexandra D’Arcy,
Department of Linguistics Co-Supervisor

Dr. Trish Rosborough,
Department of Curriculum and Instruction Committee Member

This research has given voice to adult second-language speakers in Kahnawà:ke to help in identifying how they can be supported to continue on their language-learning journey to insure highly accurate unabridged language will be passed on to the next generations. Recognizing these adult second-language speakers as a high priority demographic is essential and timely, as many graduates of adult immersion combined with the first generations from elementary immersion now need the most support and motivation to raise their young families in the language. After years of hard work, patience and dedication, Kanien’kéha revitalization in Kahnawà:ke seems to be at a threshold: it seems as though the next steps in language revitalization will be pivotal. The research suggests the future entails taking a kincentric approach to community language planning and serves as the first study on the impact, successes and challenges of second language speakers in Kahnawà:ke.


Gikinoo’amaagowin Anishinaabeg (Teaching the Anishinaabe People)

Gikinoo’amaagowin Anishinaabeg (Teaching the Anishinaabe People)

Ogimaa Ginewikwe

Colleen Sheryl McIvor

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Indigenous Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree
Department of Indigenous Studies
The University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada November 2013


This thesis analyzes the roles and responsibilities of Anishinaabe Ogichidaakwe (woman warrior) using Anishinaabe and Western methodologies. As an Anishinaabekwe I use Anishinaabe language to engage in my responsibility to learn and share the language. In this thesis I move in and out of two different ways of knowing adapting to two epistemologies. While moving between Anishinaabe and Western epistemologies I located an ethical space where my spiritually connected and culturally grounded perspective is recognized. I examine and reconstruct the political/leadership, social, and spiritual roles and responsibilities of Ogichidaakwe over a critical period of change, 1632 to 1871. Anishinaabe leadership knowledge and practice experienced a shift as the Anishinaabeg community adapted to the experience of European contact. This shift is recognized after braiding together literature that is outlined in my thesis as the shift, colonial impact and absence. Of particular interest are women-based Aadizookaanag (Anishinaabe narrative with a scared being or spirit in it) and women-based Aadizookaanan (Anishinaabe narratives and ancient stories), and how these narratives are connected to Ogichidaakweg roles and responsibilities. I interconnect the Jiisikaan (shake tent), ethnohistorical, and historical as methodological approaches in my research in search of Debwewin (truth). Therefore, both the content and methodology of this thesis adds to the body of knowledge to the field of Indigenous Studies.

Anishinaabe, methodology, Anishinaabe-izhichigewin, Ethical Space, Women’s Roles, Ogichidaakwe, Jiisikaan, Shake Tent, Ojibway, Anishinaabemowin, Anishinaabe language, Indigenous