Imagine Indigenous education in 2030… potential for a decade of change in a lifetime. From an Inuvialuk perspective, here is my forecast, living in a city within the Northwest Territories, thousands of miles from my homeland, yet within the same vast Territory, raising my three girls of Dene, Metis, and Inuvialuit heritage. The juggle between living in two worlds and adapting to the online universe while reminiscing for on the land living and in-person connectedness is ever present. 2020 has given society a flash of our past, so much so that even record players, sewing, and baking are once again popular. Fast forward to 2030 and I imagine education, specifically Indigenous, being a reflection of history where truth and choice guides the outcome for learners.
I believe by 2030 Indigenous education will be positively impacted from the current awareness and technological connections evolving before us. In my opinionated and hopeful outlook, the future will present the following opportunities. First of all, learners will be offered meaningful choices for learning topics, courses, and programs which offer Indigenous content. Secondly, educators will be a guide for learning Indigenous knowledge versus an instructor of knowledge. Third, Indigenous people will be supported on a global scale and through sharing of knowledge, truths will be told, allowing healing for the well-being of future Indigenous generations. Lastly, technology will fast forward the pace of offering education to incorporate Indigenous voices, replacing colonialism with truth, to the world and even those in our back yards who have been mis-informed.
Not only will the next decade offer change, it will rely on history and cultures as its foundation to teach Indigenous values, experiences, and stories. The decade of transformation will replace what was told about us with our timelines, our views, and our stories of survival.
Recognizing and achieving at minimum the 10th and the 62nd to 65th calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015), will provide meaningful choices for learning Indigenous content. The 10.3 Call to action is to develop culturally appropriate curricula, which will offer a choice in learning topics, courses, and programs that are needed. Content will include films and media where representation will be authentically indigenous. There will be more actors and cultural orientation programming delivered by Indigenous people through technology shared around the world. Most important, Indigenous people will feel empowered and proud of who they are, where they come from, and have the strength to share with the rest of the world through technology the dark history, milestones, and celebrations that keep us going strong.
To build on the success of the new content created, educators will be a guide for learning Indigenous knowledge versus an instructor of knowledge. With technology, authentic Indigenous voices will continue to increase and offer knowledge from the first people’s perspectives. There are numerous programs that currently highlight, promote, and make proceeds off of Indigenous concepts and culture. Movies are a prime example of this, often misrepresenting Dene, Metis, and Inuit. Nittle (2021) provides examples of films that portray Indigenous roles in ways that need to be reversed and content created by Indigenous people who confidently ensure our representation of who we are is accurate and respected. Nittle’s example of Gwen Stafani, a non-Dene woman, portraying Pocahonta’s (2021, para 3) is an example of message’s society is realizing needs to be steered away from. Alternatively, educators need to guide learners to content that is authentic and truly represented by Indigenous voices and people. They have control on the content used for educating and what they choose will leave impressions on learners. By 2030, my hope and preference, is that roles of educators will have shifted from instructors to guides and through the creation of accurate content, there will be much more information, courses, and programs to choose from.
Supporting change and reconciliation is needed on a global scale. By 2030, I believe that Indigenous people will have the opportunity to share who we are, what our culture is, what pain exists and to finally strive to help the next generation, mending mistakes others forced upon us. It is necessary to be supported on a global scale and through education, truths will be told so healing can continue for future generations. My own three girls, they are the first generation not having to attend a Residential School, which means healing is happening within our own family. With healing, teaching and sharing of cultures is even more of a necessity. From personal experience, my culture is what has saved me and best taught from those who have experienced it and survived to pass on their teachings.
As highlighted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (2019), Indigenous people are the link between protecting indigenous languages and safeguarding traditional knowledge, which is often unrecognized, along with their rights to the land, education and resources. Hogan et als., supports this notion as well and suggests that published history needs to be questioned and critically examined on Indigenous histories as what may have been recorded are from the views of settlers, lacking Indigenous perspectives on our history. (2019, para 9). This truth is ever more present and only recently are we questioning what is within our history books. Technology has highlighted hidden secrets at a speed not ever seen in history. Finally, the world hears us, is listening, and forcing change. The next decade to 2030 is supporting transformation. History about Indigenous people is finally being recognized, eyes and ears are open and willing to hear the truth.
Lasty, to bring it all together, is knowing that technology is the link. Technology will fast forward the pace of offering Indigenous education, replacing colonialism with truth, to the world. As one of the researchers, Samuel Even’s in Paikin’s interview pointed out, “it’s crazy that in a system that is meant to teach and help the youth, that there is no voice from the youth at all.” [2013, 3:26 to 3:50]. Take this statement, and replace the word ‘youth’ with Indigenous and its impact is all the same. How can the education system teach Indigenous history without Indigenous people shaping those discussions, and most importantly being the voice of Indigenous education?
From personal experience, one of my first degrees, just over a decade ago, required me to enroll in a ‘Native’ Studies Program. The instructor was non-Indigenous and the content was by choice of the instructor. The messages sent have always stung; someone I could not identify with, telling me who I am and my history. It is time to tell the world who we are, from our own voice and most importantly, knowledge gained through lived experiences and truths. Thankfully, I was raised in a strong family, within a strong community, and within the Northwest Territories. My foundational influencers have guided me to move forward, speak my mind, and continue to share with the world where I come from and who came before me. Our stories will be told and by 2030, I believe Indigenous education will have a platform that will be sought instead of struggling to be heard.
In conclusion, from my Inuvialuk eyes, I envision 2030 to encompass the change I have longed for not even a decade ago. History holds the values that our society has forgotten or often ignores, it gives life a simplistic approach and reminds society to slow down and be present. It also brings forward opportunity to connect with a broader audience, much of who are influencers of brilliancy. With technology, opportunities are advanced while sharing Indigenous knowledge, customs, and history.
I look forward to being a part of the change, living in a city within the Northwest Territories, thousands of miles from my homeland, yet within the same vast Territory, raising my three girls of Dene, Metis, and Inuvialuit heritage, Indigenous Strong.
Hogan, S., McCracken, K., Eidinger, A. (2019). Appropriation vs. incorporation: Indigenous content in the Canadian history classroom. https://activehistory.ca/2019/07/appropriation-vs-incorporation-indigenous-content-in-the-canadian-history-classroom/
International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2019). Indigenous Peoples Have a crucial role in implementing SDG 16, concludes permanent forum. [May 9, 2019 SDG Knowledge Hub. https://sdg.iisd.org/news/indigenous-peoples-have-a-crucial-role-in-implementing-sdg-16-concludes-permanent-forum/
Nittle, Nadra K. (2021). 5 Common Indigenous stereotypes in film and television. Last Updated January 6, 2021. ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/native-american-stereotypes-in-film-television-2834655
Paikin, Steve. (2013). Learning 2030: Without teachers. [YouTube video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7g89tI_l3s
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and reconciliation commission of Canada: calls to action. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf.