Teaching settler colonialism (II): Kala Bechard, ‘Decolonizing Pedagogies: Interrupting the Settler Colonial Narrative of Landownership in Ontario Social Science and History Curriculum’, Research Paper, Queen’s University, 2016


Abstract: Drawing upon Ontario Social Science and History curriculum documents and textbook imagery and language, this paper examines how narratives of settler landownership strategically present Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples within the Canadian grand narrative. The curriculum and text material educators and learners are guided by ignore ongoing colonial violence towards Indigenous peoples and perpetuate the ideology of inevitable ‘peaceful’ interrelationships in national contexts. Learners develop identities in relation to land and how land is acquired. They come to understand themselves as part of a just nation in the particular sequence of Canadian Social Science and History teaching and learning. To go beyond simply adding content about Indigenous peoples in the classroom, educators and learners must adapt a decolonial approach to instead learn from Indigenous perspectives. Such a methodology would require the opening of a “third space” where the transmission of western curricular knowledge is interrupted. Educators and learners must create a space for problematizing the source itself and deconstruct the national grand narrative using inquiry, questioning and reflection, rather than repetition and regurgitation. This analysis reveals that particular placements of Indigenous peoples and settler Canadians in curriculum and classroom text material must be challenged by educators and learners to disrupt colonial narratives and to seek ongoing reconciliatory opportunities in and beyond the school walls.

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