Indigenous Knowledge: Foundations for First Nations

This well-written and thought provoking essay outlines the author’s view of the “fundamental assumptions underlying modern public school education” in Canada. She describes a historical perspective where education and knowledge were automatically assumed to be a positive liberator of individuals, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, and a necessary step towards “and intrinsic to the progress and development of modern technological society.”

However, in citing examples where this has not been the case for Aboriginal learners, and in fact that the experience has been the polar opposite for these learners, she uses a phrase “cognitive imperialism” which describes a form of cognitive manipulation used to disclaim other knowledge bases and values. After further elaborating on cognitive imperialism, she goes on to describe her remedy for the situation which includes “a serious and far-reaching examination of the assumptions inherent in western knowledge, science and modern educational theory.”

Note: This essay is part of a study that responds to the Government of Canada’s working partnership with First Nations to improve the quality of Aboriginal life and education in Canada through research conducted with the Education Renewal Initiative.”


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