Navigating Colonial Space: A Case Study of an Indigenous Student-Led Decolonial Movement in Canadian Higher Education
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Kerr, Jeannie, Meagan Malcolm, and Karen Swan. "Navigating Colonial Space: A Case Study of an Indigenous Student-Led Decolonial Movement in Canadian Higher Education." Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice 22(16) (2022): 217-231. DOI: 10.33423/jhetp.v22i16.5615.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada widely shared its Reports and Calls to Action regarding the “Indian Residential School System” in 2015. Since that time, higher education institutions across Canada have been engaged in diverse institutional reform efforts. This article is a case study of an Indigenous student-led reform initiative at The University of Winnipeg that resulted in the first mandatory Indigenous course requirement as a graduation requirement for all undergraduate students in Canada. The research is designed and conducted with Indigenous leadership and partnership and relies on the insights of Indigenous students that led the initiative to consider the impetus, nature, and strategies underlying this curricular reform. Three emergent themes were discerned that are important to systemic reform in post-secondary education: the university as colonial space; navigation of white Settler dominance; and timing as significant to systemic change. The study can be seen as a unique example of the complexity, opportunities, and limitations of decolonial reform in higher education through an Indigenous student-led social movement embodying contentious co-governance and prefiguration.