Frank Deer

University of Manitoba

She:kon Skanen:ko’wa!

In the time that the Canadian Association for Studies in Indigenous Education (CASIE) has been in existence, there has been a palpable growth in the area indigenous education as a field of study and practice. In that time, scholars as well as field professionals have contributed to this growth that has concentrated attention upon the curricular, foundational, and pedagogical dimensions of the field. Many initiatives in indigenous education have been facilitated through the hard work of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, scholars, and field professionals working in schools and post-secondary institutions. With these developments come the necessities for spaces in which scholarship in the field may be shared and celebrated. It is in respect for this emergent necessity that CASIE values the collaboration we’ve enjoyed with in education.

The importance of the collaboration between CASIE and in education is evidenced by the strong selection of articles that comprise this special issue on indigenous education. With inclusion of perspectives from Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from numerous regions of Canada and abroad, this special issue explores such concerns as environmental and cultural sustainability, language preservation, science and mathematics programming as well as topics in preservice and in-service teacher development. There is at least one common, perhaps unifying, theme reflected in the vast number of topics reflected in this special issue: that of the importance of research and scholarships that are relevant to the Indigenous experience in Canada and abroad. A growing number of faculties and colleges of education have developed initiatives and programming in their teacher development programs that are responsive to the growing importance of indigenous education. This appears to be responsive to the demand for culturally relevant pedagogical training that facilitates the development of aptitudes and skills necessary for the delivery of indigenous education. Many faculties and schools have established initial teacher education programmes as well as individual course offerings that have supported this demand. Primary and secondary school districts and community institutions have begun to articulate a need for undergraduate teacher education and in-service teacher development that provide knowledge and programming direction for such areas as treaty education, explorations of the residential school experience, and Indigenous student success. It has become clear that the importance of the integration of Indigenous perspectives in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education programming has informed school district programming, ministerial requirements for new graduates and curricular development, and priorities for universities. As the Canadian Indigenous experience becomes more of a concern for primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, the potential impact on children and youth is clear—facilitating the development of a citizenry that takes ownership of our shared history and works together for a better future.

It is a pleasure to offer these introductory comments to this special edition of in education on indigenous education. In partnership with the Canadian Association for Studies in Indigenous Education, the academic work reflected in these articles is presented with the intention of informing the advancement and improvement of education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Nia:wen Ko’wa


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