Recently, professors from the Faculty of Science received grants to help obtain resources to better the Indigenous prospects and understanding in their respective programs. The Indigeneity in Teaching & Learning Fund (ITLF) is provided by the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic to better the indigenization of the science curriculum.
The structure in which York is using to indigenize both its curriculum and its community can be found in The Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action. This framework was based on the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.
Tamara Kelly, professor in the department of biology and a recipient of this grant, says that her one-day conference will be a part of the Faculty of Science’s response to the calls to action of both York’s framework and the national call to action. Kelly says, “The conference will raise awareness of what indigenizing the curriculum might mean in the context of science programs and courses, and to consider concrete examples.
”We have a responsibility as science educators to both decolonize and indigenize our science curriculum, to both live up to our commitment to the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but also to present a more authentic view of science,” Kelly explains.
Pamela Sargent, assistant professor and Amenda Chow, associate professor from the department of mathematics and statistics, who are also recipients of ITLF grant, say “Our event will provide all participants with concrete connections between the discipline of mathematics and Indigenous knowledge and culture, and examples of how Indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into the mathematics curriculum.”
They also share a concern about the current indigenization of mathematics. “While we have participated in some activities focused on indigenization and science education, we have not encountered much that specifically focuses on mathematics, especially mathematics at the university level.” They share another goal they have for their event, which is establishing a long-term relationship between the Indigenous community and the math department.
According to YFile, “They will provide all participants with concrete connections between the discipline of mathematics and Indigenous knowledge and culture and offer examples of how Indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into the mathematics curriculum.”
YFile reported that the workshops will be available to all members of York, the University of Waterloo and Indigenous communities.
“To indigenize and decolonize our science courses, we need to educate ourselves. Indigenizing our courses also requires that we rethink our courses and the way we teach science,” finishes Kelly.
As they are still in the planning stages, Chow is welcoming any thoughts from York’s community, and any parties interested in participating, to contact them through their information page.
With files from Sarah Garofalo.