Indigenization is a strong indicator of Camosun’s leadership role in regards to Indigenous adult education in British Columbia and beyond. Depicted as the Four Corner Post model, Indigenization is reflective of the traditional longhouses of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples upon whose territories the college resides.
"When those who have power to name and to socially construct reality choose not to see you or hear you… when someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked in to a mirror and saw nothing."
We recognize that it is important for Indigenous learners see themselves and their communities reflected in strength and beauty in programs and courses across the college.
The focus of Indigenization is bringing Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing to the learners. It is also critical to acknowledge that the ongoing social, cultural and economic issues that are faced in Indigenous communities stem from a shared history of colonization. Resolution requires that we learn together.
Camosun College has the following Indigenization goals:
- Indigenous students see themselves and their realities reflected in the curriculum in which they engage
- Non-Indigenous students come away from the college equipped with knowledge and processes that enable them to develop stronger and better-informed relationships with Indigenous peoples
To support this goal, departments/instructors involved in program and/or course review are asked to briefly describe how curriculum/teaching learning experiences have been indigenized.
To learn together, we:
- offer a variety of Indigenous programs led by Indigenous instructors;
- develop Indigenized courses in consultation and collaboration with community focus groups, and;
- work with instructors, curriculum designers and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to support instructors to Indigenize courses and programs.
Instructors in Indigenous programs bring the content to life through experiential learning opportunities such as:
- Elder and knowledge keeper teachings;
- circle seminars;
- learning on the land; and
- organizing and participating in community events.
Learners further explore Indigenous world views through the works of Indigenous scholars, leaders, novelists, filmmakers, and artists. Many instructors in mainstream programs also bring Elders and Indigenous scholars into the classroom and bring learners into communities.
For more information on curriculum development and delivery please see the Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers. For further support Indigenizing curriculum, you can connect with the Education Developer, Indigenization and Sustainability.
"We know that successful students are balanced students – that there is more to the learning experience than grades and a credential… Camosun College and The Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections will help you find your balance and provide learning space for your spirit, heart, body and mind to grow."
The college recognizes that Indigenous peoples have had a difficult past within the Canadian education system and provides dedicated academic, cultural and financial support through Eyēʔ Sqȃ'lewen - Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connection.
Services to Students
- provide information and advice about Camosun programs offered on-campus and in local Indigenous communities;
- help navigate through various funding systems, including Band funding and supports for Métis students, and provide advice about student loans and other government initiatives;
- provide cultural supports to students who may deeply miss being surrounded by Indigenous culture, or who are just beginning to learn about themselves as Indigenous people.
Cultural activities include a Welcome Feast, National Indigenous Day activities, Elders' teachings, the Songhees Pit Cook, and other events to support students' emotional and spiritual well-being.
The library ensures access to current publications, multi-media, and online resources that focus on Indigenous topics and feature Indigenous scholars to support student and instructor learning.
There is a subject liaison librarian who specializes in Indigenous Studies and Indigenization and Reconciliation. An Indigenous Studies resources at the Camosun Library guide provides links to a variety of helpful resources for students in Camosun's Indigenous Studies Program, and for any member of the Camosun community, seeking information related to Indigenous Studies.
The centre provides a wide range of services and educational accommodations for students with a documented disability, including anxiety and depression. DRC faculty and staff arrange services and supports such as classroom and exam accommodations, accessibility assistance, and are a resource for students, faculty and staff.
The help centres support students with all levels of English and math coursework. They offer one-on-one tutoring, tips and tools, as well as a dedicated quiet space to work individually or with other students.
To see past achievements in services to students please see the Aboriginal Service Plan.
"In Indigenous ways of teaching and learning there is intentionality in incorporating, nurturing, and acknowledging the relationships within which education takes place.
The Lil'wat principle of Kamúcwkalha means acknowledging the felt energy indicating group attunement and the emergence of a common group purpose, and a learning environment where individuals feel safe and free to express their views."
Goal: Employee education is key
Most Canadians have little knowledge of the effects of colonization and the impact it has had on Indigenous peoples across the country. This lack of understanding impacts the quality of relationships that can exist among Indigenous peoples and Canadians. We work to educate people about how the current situation fits within an historical context to help them develop a strong rationale to Indigenize.
How Camosun supports Indigenization
Time, encouragement, resources and support are required to Indigenize.
- All of our employees can choose to take TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW,
- Instructors can choose to design new Indigenized curriculum or Indigenize existing curriculum.
- Educational opportunities are scheduled at a time when support staff are able to attend. Indigenization is seen as a priority at the college and supervisors are urged to allow those interested in learning about Indigenization to attend.
- Curriculum approvals bodies ask that curriculum writers Indigenize by asking each presenter: "Have you considered how to Indigenize this program/course"? If they have not they are offered the support of the Indigenization Coordinator to integrate appropriate content and/or processes into their proposal. There is an Indigenous member on the Integrated Curriculum Committee and Education Council.
Resources and Support
- The Indigenization Coordinator and Education Developer, Indigenization and Sustainability consult/collaborate as requested and facilitate connection with community as needed.
- Our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has dedicated curriculum development support to guide faculty and curriculum writers.
- We deliver small workshops on request to groups like school curriculum committees, leadership teams, brown bag lunches, and internal conferences (Walls Optional, Conversations Day).
- A Community of Practice meets regularly to discuss facets of Indigenous Education.
To learn about upcoming TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW offerings, please see TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW - Learning Opportunities
"Emerging institutional practices over the last 10 years in Indigenous postsecondary education in British Columbia have seen an increase in Indigenous representation in governance, faculty and administration.
Increasing Indigenous voice, advice and decision-making can assist public institutions in developing more culturally relevant and responsive policies, programs and services for Indigenous learners, while also enriching postsecondary education by recognizing and respecting Indigenous knowledge."
Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
Indigenous participation in decision-making processes
It is critical to the success of Indigenization that Indigenous people are invited to participate in the policy and decision-making processes that determine how the college serves and interacts with Indigenous communities and students to ensure that our approach is one of mutual respect and understanding.
We also work closely with our colleagues in Camosun International, Human Resources, Educational Planning, Library and Learning Services, the Office of Sustainability, and the Registrar's office to ensure all are aware of how the policy and planning in their areas are important to the Indigenization Initiative.
The practice of consultation is an important component of the Indigenization Initiative. Eyēʔ Sqȃ'lewen has a model of shared leadership that recognizes and acknowledges the gifts of our leaders and contributions each of them make to Indigenous education and services at Camosun.
The Director and Chair of Eyēʔ Sqȃ'lewen - The Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections (IECC) work closely to ensure that Indigenous voice is present at all levels of the college.
The IECC has a leadership team that represents each of the 6 petals in our Camas model. There are formal seats held by Indigenous representatives at the Board of Governors, Education Council, and the Senior Leadership Council (vice-presidents, deans, directors).
In June, 2018, Camosun College passed the Indigenization Policy. The policy guides decision-making as the college community navigates policy development, planning, curriculum development and approvals as well hiring and the general commitment to the maintenance and support of relationship with Indigenous community.