Reflecting on the Indigenous Community of Practice

three hands hold each other to form a triangle
Photo supplied by Shannon Hall

Written by Shannon Hall, Education Developer/Curriculum Consultant of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being, School of Contemporary Teaching and Learning, Victoria Workman, Professor, and Allison Taylor, Professor.


Throughout our Community of Practice, we have been sharing, learning, and growing on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe People. We are forever grateful for the deep and enduring relationship to the land that all Indigenous Peoples hold, and we offer our commitment to work towards a better future together, one that supports reconciliation, truth, and respect. 

Over the past several months, an Indigenous Community of Practice (ICoP) was formed to support indigenization and decolonization of SLC curriculum. A small, committed group of faculty began this journey together with myself and Helena Neveu, Knowledge Keeper at SLC.

 The ICoP was focused on two primary areas, the first of which was “head work”:

  • Learning Haudenosaunee history and customs
  • Facts and truths of the often abusive and dismissive relationship that Indigenous People have experienced through colonization in Canada over the last several hundred years
  • Deepening understanding of the Indigenous connection to the land

… and “heart work”:

  • Exploring feelings of guilt, shame, and ignorance among settlers
  • Discussing personal and cultural biases
  • Experiencing authentic Haudenosaunee traditions and practices

Indigenizing course content was also explored, including the development of more personal land acknowledgements, sharing a Thanksgiving Address, use of the circle, and the value of Two-Eyed Seeing.

ICoP member Victoria Workman reflects, “The ICoP has been as much personal as pedagogical, providing support and a space to look backward then move forward.” The weekly ICoP sessions were “welcome oases of learning, conversation, and exploration,” says participant Allison Taylor, "that allowed us to really delve into the intersection of reconciliation and pedagogy. I am excited to continue my own professional and personal growth in this area.”

The value of communities of practice cannot be overstated, particularly in the advancement of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being (IWKB) here at SLC. We honoured traditional values of humility, shared traditional teachings, removed unnecessary hierarchies and explored themes, issues, and topics related to Indigenous Pedagogy that allowed for personal development, access to indigenous knowledge, knowledge sharing, and help with challenges. The ICoP was an excellent opportunity for applied authentic and transformational learning to occur in a safe, caring, and community-based forum. Looking forward to offering more communities of practice for the SLC community!

Thank you/Nia:wen

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