We are a group of eleven undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. All of us were involved in the creation and content of this website, and developed the idea through an assigned collective research assignment through which we were given the choice of picking an assignment that would further Indigenous governance in Canada. This collective project was not pre-determined by our professor – it was a process we went through as a class. The entire project was six weeks in total. We started with a round table discussion about the values we wanted to uphold in pursing a collective project and determined the common themes we supported as a group. Lastly, we narrowed down to a single topic, which the whole group approved of. We split into smaller groups in order to finish all the related pieces that culminated in the formation of this website. We all come from non-Indigenous backgrounds. This assignment was part of the POLS 421: Indigenous Governance course, taught by Matthew Wildcat.
The intent of our project is to analyze the move toward Indigenous course/content requirements (ICRs) in Canada and collect relevant information about ICRs in a single site.
The site is divided into six sections:
- Interviews with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Adam Gaudry
- What is an Indigenous Content Requirement?
- An Argument for Indigenous Content Requirements
- Perspectives on Indigenous Course Requirements
- A Survey of Existing Indigenous Content Requirements in Canada
- More Information, which covers recent news articles about ICRs in Canada
Being non-Indigenous students, we want to be aware of the positions we occupy within colonial relationships in Canada. This project has been a learning process for us in creating a space through which settlers can understand the influence of colonization and the impact of ongoing treaty relationships in contemporary Canada.
As a group, we would like to acknowledge the pre-existing work that has been done at the University of Alberta with regards to pressuring administration to implement an Indigenous course requirement across all faculties. This is being done by a student-led group on campus: the Native Studies Course Requirement. If interested, there is more information about the work this group is doing here, including the times of their meetings.
We would like to acknowledge that we have gathered on Treaty 6 territory, and that we are grateful to be on Cree, Salteaux, Métis, Blackfoot, and Nakota Sioux territory as well as the ancestral lands of the Papaschase. We recognize the nation-to-nation treaty relationship and hope that our learning and research will contribute to a wider acknowledgement of historical and ongoing colonial violence and that our work will enhance learning about and respecting Indigenous knowledges and traditions.
Juan Felipe Vargas Alba