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.

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