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A Stranger on Indigenous Land: Examining the Ecology of Teaching French on Indigenous Territory

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
I have been teaching core French for over twenty years in the small coastal city of Prince Rupert, BC. Although French is one of the official languages of Canada and is offered in all Canadian schools, finding the relevance of core French in a city such as Prince Rupert, British Columbia can be a challenge. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean, mountains, and forest, Prince Rupert is located on unceded Ts'msyen land, and the Indigeneity of the land is far more prevalent and visually evident than any French or French Canadian influence.
In order to better serve my students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, I have been journeying for the past seven years on a pathway toward a decolonized and Indigenized core French classroom which recognizes and supports the Indigeneity of Prince Rupert. Through consultation with Elders and other Indigenous knowledge-holders, as well as non-Indigenous educators at the provincial and district level, I reimagined the core French curriculum as imbued with Indigenous ways of teaching, learning, and knowing, as well as local, place-based Indigenous content, and restructured my unit and lesson plans accordingly. As part of this journey I conducted a three-month inquiry with a group of Grade 9 students, which showed me that teaching according to Indigenous principles creates opportunity for student advocacy and self-awareness, and also opens up a new space in which the teacher and students can examine not only what they learn, but how and why.
Although my intent in beginning this voyage was to better support the Indigeneity of our area through my teaching, I found that this journey was as much about discovering my own place as a French teacher in Prince Rupert and as a settler on Indigenous land. This thesis documents my voyage of decolonization, and spans a timeframe which began before my doctoral studies, and still continues on.
220 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Fettes, Mark
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etd22494.pdf 5.93 MB

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