Bringing indigenous perspectives into education: a case study of "Thunderbird/whale protection and welcoming pole: learning and teaching in an indigenous world"




Leik, Vivian

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This thesis explores the Indigenous pedagogy modeled in the university course Thunderbird/Whale Protection and Welcoming Pole: Learning and Teaching in an Indigenous World. This case study uses primary data from in depth, retrospective interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants, as well as document data, to explore the pedagogy and impacts of this course. The research links Indigenous epistemological perspectives with the cultural practices of learning and teaching used. The development of a learning community was part of how Indigenous pedagogy was established through shared goals and principles, respectful relationships and community responsibility. Experiential learning took an Indigenous focus through observation and active engagement in carving and group projects, and through reflective practices and ceremony. The perceived impacts and influences of this course included building cross cultural bridges through the breaking down of cultural barriers, and the development of personal and professional awareness. The course also illuminated the cultural implications of education and demonstrated to Indigenous communities that the university was opening its doors to Indigenous pedagogical practices and culture.



Indigenous pedagogy, Epistemology, cross cultural learning, cultural approaches, Aboriginal education, socio-cultural connections, Teaching, First Nations carving