Indigenous Principles Decolonizing Teacher Education: What We Have Learned


  • Kathy Sanford University of Victoria
  • Lorna Williams University of Victoria
  • Tim Hopper University of Victoria
  • Catherine McGregor



Indigenous Knowledge, Teacher Education, Decolonization


Although teacher education programs across the country are currently under significant review and reform, little attention is paid to the importance of Indigenous principles that could inform or transform them. Attention to Indigenous principles such as those presented in this paper can, we believe, serve to decolonize teacher education, offering programs that enable greater success for a wider array of diverse students, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, and address their needs and interests. The intent of this paper is to draw attention to the ways Indigenous principles offered by Lil’wat scholar Lorna Williams have influenced one teacher education program, and to share some of the ways that these principles have been enacted within the program. We offer our perspectives as narrative accounts of what we have done in our courses and in our teacher education program that reflect the principles explained in the paper. We do not feel we can express this perspective any different other than to recount shifts made and our observations as educators. These could be expressed as case studies but this would only be paying lip service to claiming a methodology that was not really followed. We offer this paper more as a sharing of narratives drawn to the indigenous principles. Authenticity comes from our common perceptions from different perspectives in the program.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge; Teacher Education; Decolonization

Author Biography

Kathy Sanford, University of Victoria

Kathy Sanford is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at University of Victoria. Her research interests include Teacher Education, literacy, assessment, and gender.