So far we’ve looked at what 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:
- Recognizing our colonial tendencies.
- 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:
- Actively seeking out & reading books written by non-European or Western authors.
- Researching the land you live on and the land you were born on in order to learn about the peoples who traditionally occupied/occupy that land.
- Talk to your friends and family about the decolonization work you’re doing.
- Be able to explain to others why decolonization is important.
- Educate yourself on the history of colonialism, especially where you live (Canada, BC, etc.).
- Read the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Actions (Links to an external site.)
- Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (Links to an external site.)
If you have some time, you could also look at:
- Read the final report (or executive summary) of the National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)
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 https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/
Kohn, M. and Reddy, K. (2017). Post-colonial Theory. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/#PosColThe
UBC Equity & Inclusion Office. (n.d.). Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in Teaching and Learning [Online course]. Canvas@UBC. Course URL: https://canvas.ubc.ca/courses/31444
United Nations. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
Decolonization is the process of deconstructing the superiority associated with colonial ideologies and western methods of acquiring knowledge to help create space for Indigenization.