American Ethnological Society
Oral Presentation Session
With the assistance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s [TRC] Calls to Action, academia seeks ways to indigenize its’ institutions with specific reference to the development of “culturally appropriate curricula” (TRC, 2015, p. 2). The University of Regina states that indigenization is:
the transformation of the existing academy by including Indigenous knowledges,
voices, critiques, scholars, students and materials as well as the establishment of
physical and epistemic spaces that facilitate the ethical stewardship of a plurality
of Indigenous knowledges and practices so thoroughly as to constitute an essential element of the university. It is not limited to Indigenous people, but encompasses all students and faculty, for the benefit of our academic integrity and our social viability. (Pete, n.d., p. 1).
As an Indigenous post-secondary educator and student, I am witness to, and active participant, in the indigenization of the academic institutions where I work and study. I commend these efforts and encourage the growth of diversity within the Indigenous paradigm in order to limit the creation of a binary—“a system of dual oppositions” (Derrida, 2004, p. 21) in (Carlson, 2009, p. 276)— of Western and Indigenous knowledge or a binary between “traditional” and “academic” Indigenous knowledge whereby traditional Indigenous knowledge keepers are devalued and their role is subsumed by the scholar who has ‘academic Indigenous knowledge’ without ever having the experiential learning that is part of traditional Indigenous knowledge. This academic knowledge can then be commodified and controlled by forces external to the Indigenous community.