Introduction to Decolonization


To begin, please take the time to watch the following TedxTalk (13 minutes). The Speaker, Nikki Sanchez, gives an overview of decolonization.

What is Decolonization?

Decolonization refers to the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches”  (Antoine, A., Mason, R., et al, 2018)

It is critical to understand that colonialism occurred everywhere, not just in Vancouver or Canada. Colonization was (and continues to be) a traumatic time in history for Indigenous peoples all over the globe, including what is now called India, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the Caribbean, to name a few. During colonization, Indigenous peoples were forced to either assimilate or die to advance the notion of European racial & cultural superiority. Today, many Indigenous peoples in “Canada” are still primarily living under colonial rule.

When discussing decolonization in this lesson, we will start with a broad understanding of the term and then take a more progressive lens to approach decolonization in engineering classrooms.

However, before we dive into action, we must first understand how the concept of decolonization interacts with other theories.


Antoine, A.-na-hi, Mason, R., Mason, R., Palahicky, S., & France, C. R. de. (2018, September 5). Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation. Pulling Together A Guide for Curriculum Developers.


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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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