Unpacking Our White Privilege: Reflecting on Our Teaching Practice


  • Dawn Burleigh Western University
  • Sarah Burm Western University




narrative inquiry, whiteness


MacIntyre (1981) asks, “Of what stories do I find myself a part?” (p. 201). As teachers working in an Indigenous context, we found ourselves telling stories that had moments of tension between our Eurocentric ways of knowing and the Indigenous context in which we taught. This intersection has prompted our research. We ask two questions in this inquiry: What can our experiences as non-Indigenous teachers in an Indigenous community offer us in our understanding as new researchers in the field of Indigenous education, and how can our teaching narratives further preservice teachers’ understandings of teaching Indigenous students? Through critical White studies, our research examines White privilege, power, and position and begins to unearth the experiences of teaching as non-Indigenous educators in a remote Indigenous community in Ontario, Canada. Narrative inquiry and autoethnographic methods connect our stories to greater social, political, and cultural discourses. These stories serve to disrupt the dominant discourse that divides and others the complexities of Indigenous education. This work will interrogate and unpack our White privilege and power and will serve to assist preservice teachers in their understanding of teaching within Indigenous contexts.

Keywords: Indigenous education; narrative inquiry; critical White studies; teacher education