Touring Turtle Island: Fostering Leadership Capacity to Support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Learners


  • Dawn C. Wallin University of Manitoba
  • Sherry Peden University College of the North



Indigenous Education, Educational Leadership, Educational Administration, Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Theory, Red Pedagogy, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Teacher Education


This paper reports on findings from a research study that examined the design, delivery, and effects of a graduate level summer institute, the aim of which was to foster the capacity of educational leaders to support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) learners. Our study is conceptually framed using elements of critical race and Whiteness theory, and red pedagogy/culturally relevant pedagogy. We designed the institute and our methods around Kirkness's and Barnhardt’s (1991) 4 R’s of success in higher education environments: relevance, reciprocity, responsibility, and respect. Data for the study were gathered using a qualitative, inquiry-based methodology, and articulated using Indigenous storywork and story. The primary data sources included online surveys and sharing circles conducted with past students of the course. Findings suggest that the summer institute helped to disrupt colonial assumptions; increase respect for Aboriginal knowledges, values, and experiences; offer relevance to educators who were able to use the learnings of the course in their own professional contexts; affirm the need for reciprocity between schools and FNMI families; and develop educational leaders’ sense of responsibility to ensure FNMI learners are supported in the public school system.

     Keywords: Indigenous education; educational leadership; educational administration; critical race theory; Whiteness theory; red pedagogy; culturally relevant pedagogy; teacher education

Author Biographies

Dawn C. Wallin, University of Manitoba

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration, Foundations and Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

Sherry Peden, University College of the North

Vice President, Academic and Research, University College of the North




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