Decolonizing Ourselves

So far we’ve looked at what decolonization is and what it looks like in the classroom. Well, what does it look like on a personal level? As mentioned earlier, decolonization of ourselves is the first step to decolonizing the classroom. There are two parts to this:

  1. Recognizing our colonial tendencies.
  2. Changing our behavior.

Recognizing our Colonial Tendencies

Listed below are a few items to consider when you catch yourself making an assumption (Equity & Inclusion Office, n.d.):

  • Disrupt traditional thinking of “us/them”, “White/other”, binaries.
  • Be aware of how we hear and interpret each other’s narratives.
  • Stay mindful of whose voices continue to be privileged.
  • Remain cognizant of how to make connections between the global and the local.
  • Recognize when our mind jumps to a stereotype regarding Indigenous peoples or decolonization and remind ourselves of the truth.

Changing Our Behavior

Once we catch ourselves making these assumptions and correct ourselves, we can begin to translate this into our actions. This could look like many things, including:


Exercises – Decolonizing Ourselves

Additional Resources

If you have some time, you could also look at:


National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). (n.d.). Reclaiming power and place: Final report of the National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Available at

Kohn, M. and Reddy, K. (2017). Post-colonial Theory. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

UBC Equity & Inclusion Office. (n.d.). Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in Teaching and Learning [Online course]. Canvas@UBC. Course URL:

United Nations. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved from




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Decolonizing the Engineering Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Pamela Wolf, Ben Harris, Nika Martinussen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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