Silencing Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Analysis of Canadian Educational, Legal and Administrative Practice

Liana B. Clarysse, Shannon A. Moore


As a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (or TRCC, 2015a, 2015b), calls to action concerning education and law reform have been made. Currently, there is an increase in reconciliation discourse in law, healthcare and education policy, curricula and pedagogy. In Canada, efforts to decolonize institutional structures compel scholars and activists to highlight the imperative of critical analysis of identity and place in answering the calls to action. Although it was developed by the Ministry of Education for the province of Ontario, more than a decade ago, prior to the TRCC, the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework continues to inform policy and administrative procedures. Informed by Indigenous knowledge systems embedded in restorative justice and peace-building practices, this paper presents a critical analysis of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework (2007) and finds evidence resembling discursive settler-colonial patterns of Indigenous erasure through the practice of silencing Indigenous participation and voice. Through this critical analysis, several themes emerged including colonialism, survivance, patriarchy, self-identification, notions of education, assessment, and “us versus them” binary narratives. In response, this paper argues for a trans-systemic and transdisciplinary approach to the critical analysis of discursive patterns of silencing and erasure in policy, law reform, and administrative processes. Further, through deepening interpretations and understandings of Indigenous theory and knowledge systems, it may be possible for settler-colonial stakeholders to more acutely discern the impact of settler-colonialism embedded in education, policy, administration, and legal discourses. These findings have implications for educators and administrators as well as administrative, law and policy reform.  

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International Journal of Law and Public Administration   ISSN 2576-2192 (Print)     ISSN 2576-2184 (Online)

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