Indigenous Education: a Call to Action

Indigenous Education: a Call to Action is a program option within the Master of Education (MEd), Interdisciplinary route. Visit the MEd, Interdisciplinary Route page for complete MEd details including fees

The Indigenous Education: A Call to Action graduate topic in the MED Interdisciplinary program has been designed in direct response to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) (2015). Central to the TRC is an ethical call to educators, educational leaders, policy makers, and other concerned citizens, to embark on the work of reconciling relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This program explores themes of decolonization, Indigenous aesthetic expressions, and critical service learning as the basis from which to build a capstone service-learning project that focuses on reconciliation. Inspired by the UNESCO principles of learning to be, know, do, and relate (Lalonde, 2015), this program takes up a variety of theoretical and applied scholarship from Indigenous and allied scholars working within: anti-racism and social justice education; Indigenous education; adult education; and critical service-learning to inform this scholarly endeavour. This Master of Education Interdisciplinary program (two concurrent summer courses followed by two online courses over the fall and winter) is designed for those who wish to explore, and enact, their own responses to a national call for reconciliation with Canada's First Peoples.

Program Goals
In completing this topic, you will:

  • explore concepts, theories, research, and case studies in the areas of decolonization and reconciliation through reading, thinking, writing, and critical reflections based on course readings, in-class discussions, and other course activities;
  • encounter, explore, and engage in Indigenous scholarship that furthers an understanding, and the decolonizing, of our collective history and national narrative;
  • build understandings of the scope and purpose of Indigenous education work in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Findings and Calls to Action, and in relation to applicable education policies;
  • partner with Indigenous people who are active within the realm of adult education in a broad range of organizations and learning movements targeted toward societal reconciliation and social justice;
  • apply course readings, discussions, and assignments to your scholarly work, or in your work with volunteers and activists; and
  • extend the understanding of adult education and learning beyond the classroom to various informal teaching and learning settings and contexts that create a relational space for scholars to build their awareness, engage in learning, and create paths for success.

Program Schedule

Term 1 - Summer

Summer 2020
EDER 655.15 L02 (50183)
Making the Case for Decolonizing

Term 1 - Summer

Summer 2020
EDER 655.16 L03 (50184)
Decolonizing through Indigenous Arts and Media 

Term 2 - Fall

Fall 2020
EDER 655.17 L02 (72903)
Critical Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship in Indigenous Education

Term 3 - Winter

Winter 2021
EDER 655.18 L02 (12627)
Capstone Project in Indigenous Education

Notice re: Summer Residency 2021

All MEd Summer 2021 classes will be moving fully online with the exception of off-campus courses in the Transformative Learning Environments Topic. There will be no on-campus Summer Residency. Please do not make any travel plans such as booking flights or accommodations. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The Werklund School is a leader in online learning, offering robust programs and supports for students seeking alternate program delivery.  Staff and faculty are committed to ensuring the quality of this learning experience will meet the needs of our students and maintain the high standards we have become known for.

Course Descriptions

Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L.

Course Delivery

The Summer blended course(s) begin with face-to-face classes at the University of Calgary, during the first part of July, with online follow up. Fall and Winter courses are offered fully online using Desire2Learn and Zoom. For additional information regarding online delivery, please refer to the Online Delivery eLearn website.


3 units per course

EDER 655.15 Making the Case for Decolonizing

Given the colonial history of Canada, and its largely unexamined assumptions within contemporary society, this course adopts theoretical perspectives that seek to disrupt present-day misconceptions and misunderstandings. These examinations include elements of, and critiques of, postcolonialism, postmodernism, and other critical theories, and move toward a consideration of emergent and contemporary thinking from Indigenous scholars and allies.

EDER 655.16 Decolonizing through Indigenous Arts and Media

As a continuation of longstanding cultural traditions, artistic practice is integral to decolonizing: critical perspectives on resistance, survivance, and resurgence in the arts represent a potent entry point into the difficult conversations that surround Canada's colonial history. By introducing a variety of Indigenous creative expressions across a variety of media including visual arts, performance, storytelling, literary arts, and digital media, this course will encourage participants to imagine and realize improved relations with Indigenous peoples

EDER 655.17 Critical Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship in Indigenous Education

Students will work to articulate a personal relationship to service learning, understanding and positioning their role as allies and collaborators in relation with Indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations. Inspired by aesthetic and artistic cultural practice, participants will work to represent an innovative and personal response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's "calls to action." The deliberate focus on critical reflection throughout this experience will inspire students to think, perform and act with integrity around Indigenous issues.

EDER 655.18 Capstone Project in Indigenous Education

As the final element of this program, this course is structured on the delivery of the service learning project and a final reflection on the overall experience. Based on a developing understanding of contexts and possibilities for Indigenous education, this project leads participants to respond to calls for action in building toward reconciliation. Service learning enables participants to build deeper understandings of how change is to be enacted by learning in collaboration with Indigenous people and by developing reciprocal relationships with Indigenous community groups.

Have Questions?

Graduate Program Administrator (GPA)

Lisa Llewellyn

Academic Program Co-coordinators

Dr. Yvonne Poitras-Pratt

Dr. Aubrey Hanson

Ready to Apply?

Applications are open November 1 - March 1. All students apply for admission through the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please note that topics are offered yearly and subject to change.

Learn more about applying