Changing the subject in teacher education: Centering Indigenous, diasporic, and settler colonial relations


  • Dr Martin John Cannon



This paper suggests that, so long as we are focused on racism and colonialism as an exclusively Indigenous struggle, we fail to engage non-Indigenous peoples as “allies” of Indigenous education and sovereignty.  My goal is to place a developing literature on settler-Indigenous alliances into a productive and more explicit dialogue with anti-oppressive educational theory and praxis.  I address two critical questions: 1) How might we engage structurally privileged learners, some of whom are non-Indigenous peoples, to think about colonial dominance and racism in Canada? and 2) How might we work in coalition with privileged learners—and especially with new Canadians—to consider matters of land, citizenship, and colonization?  I conclude by identifying a series of pedagogical practices aimed at the troubling of normalcy—an approach to teaching that disrupts the binary of self/Other.  I consider briefly in turn the implications of this pedagogy for decolonization, the invigoration of teacher education programs in Canada, and the building and rejuvenation of relationships between Indigenous peoples and settler, diasporic, and migrant Indigenous populations.

Author Biography

Dr Martin John Cannon

Martin Cannon is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of the Six Nations at Grand River Territory and an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE/UT. His published work has focused on the complexity of challenges facing educators charged with decolonizing
education and bringing Indigenous knowledge into the academy, colonial dominance and racism,
including sex discrimination in Canada’s Indian Act. He has been an advocate for legislative changes to
colonial policy, and has worked with organizations like the Native Women’s Association of Canada,
Union of Ontario Indians, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance. He is the author of
several peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His book Racism, Colonialism, and
Indigeneity in Canada, is co-edited with Dr. Lina Sunseri (University of Western Ontario) and is
published by Oxford University Press.