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FACETS. 6(2021): 665-685.


Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) explicitly emphasized the role of educators in “reconciliation.” Alongside this, conservation practitioners are increasingly interacting with Indigenous Peoples in various ways, such as in the creation and support of Indigenous protected areas and (or) guardian programs. This paper considers how faculty teaching aspiring conservation practitioners can respond appropriately to the TRC and MMIWG Inquiry while preparing students to engage with Indigenous Peoples in a way that affirms, rather than questions Indigenous knowledge and aspirations. Our argument is threefold: first, teaching Indigenous content requires an approach grounded in transformational change, not one focused on an “add Indigenous and stir” pedagogy. Second, we assert that students need to know how to ethically engage with Indigenous Peoples more than they need knowledge of discreet facts. Finally, efforts to “Indigenize” the academy requires an emphasis on anti-racism, humility, reciprocity, and a willingness to confront ongoing colonialism and white supremacy. This paper thus focuses on the broad change that must occur within universities to adequately prepare students to build and maintain reconciliatory relationships with Indigenous Peoples.


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