Conference shows U of S indigenous courses lead way
Faculty helping to build courses in the U of S’s three-year-old priority area, Indigenous Peoples and Justice Program (IPJP), knew they’ve were making good progress.
By January 2003 they were offering their first course in Indigenous Knowledge (IK), and by this fall there will be four IK courses offered, making up the core of the rapidly evolving IPJP program, which includes streams in sociology, political studies, and law.
But Political Studies Assistant Professor Anna Hunter and Sociology Assistant Professor Martin Cannon say it really hit home just how well they’re doing here, when they went to a major international conference in New Zealand June 10-12.
“It showed us we’re really on the right track, and that we really lead the world in teaching stand-alone Indigenous Knowledge courses,” Hunter says.
She and Cannon say the parallels between current Aboriginal developments in higher education in New Zealand and Canada are amazing – and the networking and sharing of teaching methodologies at the three-day event was exceptional.
Hunter says the conference, Traditional Knowledge & Research Ethics (Matauranga Tuki Iho Tikanga Rangahau, in the Maori language), was preceded by three days of research methodology workshops hosted by Maori communities. She says “it really helped to make the connections, and that’s a model that would work really well up here.”
She and Canon say issues at the session included “indigenizing” universities and using decolonizing research methods.
Cannon notes he and Hunter presented papers at the conference on aspects of indigenous knowledge and respectful research methods. U of S Education Professor Marie Battiste and Art & Art History Professor Lynn Bell also attended the conference and presented a paper.
Hunter and Cannon say they plan to pursue more international contacts in future and more networking with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and programs at the U of S, to promote enrolment in their four Indigenous Knowledge courses. They note the courses are relevant for students in many disciplines.
IPJP Administrative Co-ordinator Joseph Anderson invites calls for information about IPJP or the IK programs in sociology, political studies and law. See website: www.usask.ca/ipji.