Section 1: Understanding Indigenization

Pathways Toward Reconciliation

Reconciliation is an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships. A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change.

– Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Summary of the Final Report, 2015

The work of Indigenization is a growing focus in this era of reconciliation, which has been driven forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), a multi-year investigation of the residential school system. The TRC gathered information in a variety of ways about the historical and contemporary injustices toward Indigenous Peoples from across the nation. The release of the Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future: Summary of Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June of 2015 marked an important moment in the history of Canada. In the context of reconciliation, Indigenization is one way in which we can contribute to working toward a stronger shared future as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The report with its 94 Calls to Action emphasizes the need for education to play a key role in service of justice and resurgence of Indigenous Peoples by calling on Canada to provide “the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms” (TRC, 2015, p. 238). If understood and respected, these Calls to Action can serve as a framework toward developing and achieving reconciliation.


Activity 1: Reconciliation and Indigenization 

Time: 15 min

Type: Self-reflection

Review this excerpt from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Summary of the Final Report (2015).[1] Reflect on the following questions:

  • If you are an Indigenous person, what role do you envision for non-Indigenous people who are working toward reconciliation? As you develop curricula, how can you engage with non-Indigenous people in this work?
  • If you are a non-Indigenous person, how do you see reconciliation applying to your own life? What is your role and responsibility in contributing to reconciliation?
  • How does Indigenizing the curriculum support reconciliation? What are the benefits for Indigenous students? What are the benefits for non-Indigenous students? What are the benefits for society as a whole?

Note: If you are not using the online version of the Curriculum Developers Guide, you can find this document in Appendix A.

Activity 2: TRC Calls to Action 

Time: 30 min

Type: Self-reflection

Review the TRC Calls to Action.[2] Choose three Calls to Action that either relate to your discipline or that you can create links and interdisciplinary connections to:

  • develop two practical examples of how you would enact your chosen Calls to Action in your life and profession.
  • write a journal entry about why you chose those Calls to Action and what you plan to do; make a list of lifelong actions you can take.

Activity 3: Reviewing and Affirming Your Learning (R)

Time: 30 min

Type: Self-reflection

After completing Section 1, write a journal entry in response to the questions below:

  • What are you already doing that was validated in what you learned?
  • What new strategies can you implement immediately? Which ones need more planning and time?
  • What made you uncomfortable? Why?
  • What do you still need to learn?

  1. Excerpt from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Summary of the Final Report:
  2. TRC Calls to Action: