Indigenizing Education in Canada: Why? When? How?

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

1:30pm - 3:30pm

Lecture by:
Jean Becker

Speaking of the horrific impacts of Indian residential schools and 150 years of Canadian control over the lives of Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation commissioner Senator Murray Sinclair has said, “Education got us into this mess, education will get us out of it.” I believe this to be true, but we must understand that the education he is talking about is not the standard offering which reinforces the notion of western superiority and domination. Indigenous youth are the youngest and fastest growing population in Canada today and our education system will continue to fail them in its present form. Postsecondary institutions must lead the way in developing indigenized, de-colonized education not only to serve Indigenous youth, but to serve all Canadians. In this talk I will look at the ways universities are approaching the challenge of changing a system that has generally failed not only Indigenous youth, but also Canadians over the past 150 years.

About The Lecturer

Jean Becker

Jean Becker is Inuk and a member of the Nunatsiavut Territory of Labrador. Jean has a Master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Guelph.  As the Senior Advisor: Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University, Jean is responsible for overseeing the strategic directions of the university related to Indigenous activities. She advises the institution on Indigenous Initiatives and is working to implement Laurier’s commitment to indigenizing the university and to responding to the TRC recommendations on education. She provides leadership for implementation of Laurier’s goals for further engaging Indigenous communities. She works with a team of Indigenous staff to create and deliver Indigenous student support services and a welcoming space for Indigenous students at each of Laurier’s locations and supports the implementation of indigenous knowledge within academic programs across all faculties.
For over forty years Jean has lived in the tri-cities area of Ontario where she has been very involved with the diverse Indigenous community of the region serving on various boards and volunteering in local organizations.