Education for reconciliation: The effects of an Indigenous course requirement on non-Indigenous students’ attitudes on reconciliation

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Siemens, Jeremy
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Following the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada—which identified education as a central tool in the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians—governments and universities across Canada have embarked on diverse educational initiatives to facilitate this work. One such initiative has been the mandate by the University of Winnipeg that all its undergraduate students take/fulfill an Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR). This mixed-methods study used quantitative surveys and qualitative in-depth interviews to investigate the impact of select ICR courses on non-Indigenous students’ attitudes towards issues of reconciliation. Results revealed several positive outcomes of these courses: increased recognition of discriminations facing Indigenous peoples, increased support for government equity initiatives, and self-described attitudinal and behavioural changes in participants. At the same time, the study highlights the limits of such courses within the broader work of reconciliation in a settler-colonial context. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Education, Reconciliation, Indigenous