Date of Submission
Doctor of Education
critical theory, decolonial leadership, equity, Indigenous racism, Secwépemc, transformative theory
The Canadian K–12 education system is built on the policy and practices of genocide at Indian residential schools and on ongoing Indigenous-specific racism. With a history of assimilation, it is imperative to address settler colonialism in education today. Through the agency of a Secwépemc district principal, Secwépemc ways of knowing and being, decolonial leadership, and critical and transformative theories emerge as tools for a fraught education system. As a problem of practice, the tension between Indigenous student success and systemic understandings of Indigenous ways of knowing highlights the imperative to address colonial system conditions while improving equitable experiences of Indigenous learners. This truth and reconciliatory Organizational Improvement Plan proposes structural shifts made through Secwépemc practice and actions of kindness, respect, and humility that are anti-oppressive, humane, and heart centred. Priorities for change include professional learning and amplifying Indigenous Knowledge to build understandings of systemic racism. The solution proposed is leading anti-Indigenous racism workshops with school leaders, with the principle of symmetry in mind; adults learn what students learn. Lines of inquiry stemming from the problem of practice include understanding the role of decolonial leadership, growing shared understandings to address in/equity, and shifting from good intentions to strong actions. A framework to lead change is grounded in Indigenous principles of holism including iteration, relationships, and reciprocity. The Indigenous change path model drives change implementation through focus areas, monitoring, communication, and knowledge mobilization. Education is a platform to heal when spaces are intentionally created for hope, optimism, and strength.
Higginbottom, G. (2023). Steps Toward Healing a Colonial System While Improving Equitable Experiences for Indigenous Learners K-12 in a BC Rural School District. The Organizational Improvement Plan at Western University, 373. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/oip/373