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Decolonizing the Institute: Moving from Fear to Action (E)

Stream: Advancing Indigenous Education

Post-secondary institutes have been tasked with Indigenizing and Decolonizing, but putting that into practice can bring up feelings of overwhelm, guilt, resistance, curiosity, hope, and many others for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) peoples and non-Indigenous peoples alike. To prepare and support Fanshawe College’s community for this undertaking a semester long program was developed called Kahkiyaw ni wahkomâkanak, or All My Relations. The program was designed to 1) increase self awareness, 2) learn about local FNMI communities, 3) understand Indigenous worldviews, 4) identify barriers for FNMI peoples in the college system, and 5) provide tools and relationships for learners to act within their realm of influence.After over 100 employee completions of the Kahkiyaw ni wahkomâkanak program, the two factors which participants cited for not previously acting on decolonizing efforts is fear of offending due to lack of knowledge, and a low perception of agency within their roles, both of which were reduced throughout the program. Participants noted the opportunity to meet and learn from FNMI students attending Fanshawe and Knowledge Keepers as the highlights of the program. Participant projects after completing the program will be highlighted as an example of impact. The campfire style presentation will allow for circle facilitation used in the Kahkiyaw ni wahkomâkanak program to be demonstrated during the conference. Bringing forward the learnings from participants, FNMI students, Knowledge Keepers, and the program developer and facilitator will add to the attendees’ collective intelligence as we consider the steps necessary in decolonizing the institute.

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