Research Project: Indigenizing Curriculum

First, state your research Q (the 1 central Q that will guide your research project).

How do Canadian researchers envision the phenomenon of Indigenizing Curriculum and what does that mean for teacher preparation and teacher practice.

I intend to explore the following questions:

· What is Indigenizing education?

· What does Indigenizing education look like at the school-age level?

· How can teachers be better trained on Indigenizing education?

· How do Indigenous students engage more in school with Indigenized curriculum?

· How is the performance of Indigenous students impacted when Indigenized curriculum is implemented?


Next, indicate what type of paper you intend to write for the course.

For this course, I intend to write a hybrid of both a literature review and a discussion paper. A literature review allows me to present an objective summary of the studies that currently exist relating to Indigenous Curriculum in Canada. The literature review will aim to explore the current discourse on Indigenizing Curriculum in Canada. This discourse will provide me with the background necessary to further discuss what this means for Indigenizing education in practice, not just in theory. Consequently, the literature review will serve as an introduction to my discussion and identify the knowledge gaps based on previous literature. The previous gaps will be particularly helpful for my final project for the Masters program.

The second part of my paper will use the literature as a foundation and support for insights on my proposed subject matter. The discussion which follows will be around interpreting what the current research states around Indigenizing curriculum and what that might look like for teachers, and hopefully provide a critical analysis. I will compare the research, discuss the limits of this research, and highlight the unexpected. I will furthermore use the literature review throughout the discussion which will follow. Previous studies will be used to explain or reinforce how Indigenous curriculum impacts Indigenous students and their performance.

I do not intend to write a policy analysis, however, I do imagine there may be some analysis relating to current policies in Canada, specifically those employed by the different territories and provinces, and what the outcomes of those have been.


After that, describe how exactly you will gather & select data to examine.

The information that I will collect to inform my literature review represents one group of data that I will use and examine. As previously stated, my literature review is the data collection tool which will be used to provide the information needed for my discussion. I intend to gather current literature from a variety of sources. My literature search will come from computers and electronic databases, as I live in a remote community with no access to a library. Existing literature reviews will also be important sources of data.

I will keep track of the keywords and methods I use throughout my search of literature, in order to classify whether my sources are primary, secondary, conceptual/theoretical, or anecdotal. I presume many articles and journals that I find will likely be based off of anecdotal evidence or original reports by Indigenous peoples who have experienced the Indigenous education system as it currently stands. Ideally I will access works from primary channels first, such as journals and conference proceedings. Although primary sources are more desirable, I believe I need the secondary sources to provide me more knowledge on what educators who are also researchers have found regarding Indigenizing curriculum.

I will consult books, although I am less likely to find information relating to Canadian perspectives because books are less up-to-date (takes longer to publish a book). I know that there has been several conferences on Indigenizing education in the Yukon recently, and will be looking to review the conference proceedings because it can provide me with the most recent research on the topic. I will review government reports, because the government has done plenty of research in this area – unfortunately there is a disconnect between the research and what is being done in practice (which might actually prove helpful in the future).

Search engines:

o CBCA Complete: Indexes academic periodicals, special interest publications, and newspapers (including Aborignial press)

o API: bibliographic database of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles from over 300 international alternative, radical, and left periodicals.

o Informit Indigenous Collection: Collection includes journals, reports and monographs from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the Pacific.

o First Nations Periodocal Index: Mainly First Nations/Aboriginal Canadian content. Searchable index of 20 Aboriginal newspapers, magazines and periodicals.

o JSTOR: Full-text searching of hundreds of journal titles in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, business, and more.

o ERIC: Over 980 education journals. Covers 1969 to the present; most post-1993 articles have full text available. First Nations titles include Winds of Change, American Indian Higher Education, Tribal College, Cultural Survival Quarterly, and Wicazo Sa.

o UBC’s Library on Aboriginal Law: Provided by the Law Library, this research guide offers students a number of resources and strategies to aid research in the area of Aboriginal Law.

Academic Journals:

o AlterNative

o American Indian Law Review

o BC Studies

o Canadian Journal of Native Education

o Canadian Journal of Native Studies

o Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society

o First Peoples’ Child and Family Review

o Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

Keywords for my online searches include:

o Indigenous

o Canadian Natives

o Metis

o Eskimos

o Indigenous populations

o Indigenizing

o Indigenizing education

o Native education

o Indian education

o First Nation education

o Indigenous curriculum

o First Nation curriculum

I have selected the search engines, articles, and keywords because these are the locations I have found success with in the past, for my other masters/phD, and previous courses last semester. I have selected multiple terms for Indigenous peoples as there are many bands which exist under the grand umbrella of Indigenous. I have opted not to use Aboriginal because usually Aboriginal studies look at Australian Aborigines and while they have a fascinating history, I would like to limit my research to Canada. Ideally, I will set some geographical restraints to just the North. Unfortunately, Indigenous Studies are not that developed (yet!)

I will also use anecdotal data that I have collected through discussions with other educators in the Indigenous school system, what they have done or have not done, and what has or has not worked. Ideally I will also get permission to use the evidence collected from my Indigenous students, as I have evidence which suggests that by Indigenizing their curriculum, their marks – but more importantly their understanding – improved. I believe this data could be used to supplement my literature review.


Lastly, explain how you will analyze the data that you have gathered.

Glasser and Strauss (1986) proposed that a literature review should be done after the data collection to avoid creating any preconceptions. In many ways, I have unofficially collected anecdotal data throughout my experiences in the North. My proposed research question comes from my own experiences. Consequently, I am employing Grounded Theory when analyzing my literature review as data.


Dewey’s 1938 philosophy of the interconnectedness between experience and education is also a foundation for this research. Home, community, school, and relationships with peers and teachers contribute to the overall learning experience of First Nation youth; as I seek to understand what Indigenizing curriculum looks like.


Smith’s 1999 concept of rewriting and rerighting (and rewriting) the Indigenous position in history and society is an additional foundation for this study. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge into research rather than relying on Western theories requires me to include the core values, beliefs, and healing practices of the Indigenous communities. Moreover, the cultural teachings of Indigenous nations (which are vast) are incorporated to provide answers regarding to how First Nation youth learn successfully.


Critical rationalism is the questioning and examining of the authenticity of ideas and practices. Requires intense thinking and open discourse for solving the issues adjacent to the Indigenous experience. Critical theory focuses on an understanding of power structures, which often is found in Indigenous studies. It examines how power structures impact individuals and societal agencies which are found throughout the Indigenous experience in Canada.

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Opening Paragraph Four percent of the Indigenous population in Canada lives across the three territories (approximately 2% in Nunavut, 1.5% in the Northwest Territories, and 1% in the Yukon). Despite