Power in places, policies, and pedagogies: one teacher’s critical inquiry into reconciliation

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Ferguson, Katherine (Katya) Adamov
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In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), this arts-informed study problematizes one un/settler teacher’s sources of dissonance and experiences of resistance engaging in processes of reconciliation. Although reconciliation discourse is gaining prominence in the Manitoba context, colonial discourses dominate educational institutions, policies, and practices. This study analyzes how discourses contribute towards institutionalizing hegemonic practices that marginalize Indigenous peoples and their perspectives. This theoretical and methodological bricolage utilizes Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and arts-informed methods to explore two central research questions: 1) How can a critical inquiry into language, texts, and discourses highlight and raise awareness of potential issues and sources of resistance to reconciliation within educational establishments, policies, and practices? and; 2) How does one teacher undertake processes of reconciliation in respect to her own practice? This study illuminates colonial narratives and discourses of deficit and domination that are embedded within the texts on schools, the language used to talk about achievement in schools, and internalized within teaching practices. Arts-informed methods (such as found/data poetry and an art installation) are used as strategies for data analysis and as alternative representations of the findings. This study reveals power-filled discourses that resist processes of reconciliation by effacing the perspectives and contributions of Indigenous peoples and suggests calls to action with implications for pedagogy and policy decision-making across the broader educational community.
Critical inquiry, Reconciliation, Hegemony, Critical discourse analysis, CDA, Arts-informed, Settler colonialism, Bricolage, Education, Decolonization, Post-colonial, Arts, Poetry, Installation, Aboriginal academic achievement, TRC, Aboriginal, Indigenous