Indigenous Teaching and Learning in the English Classroom


Dr. Allison Hargreaves, Associate Professor, Critical Studies, Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)


  • Adrienne Vedan, Director, Aboriginal Programs and Services (UBC Okanagan)
  • Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director, Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • Jordan Stouck, Senior Instructor, Critical Studies, Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)
  • Heather Bradshaw, Manager, Academic Development, Centre for Teaching and Learning (UBC Okanagan)


This project has three core objectives:

  • Redesign English 114.

ENGL 114 (Studies in Composition: Aboriginal Perspectives) is part of the Aboriginal Access Program’s required first year programming. Equivalent to ENGL 112, the course instructs students in “principles of university-level discourse in relation to aboriginal perspectives.” The ENGL 114 redesign brings Indigenous literacies and rhetoric to the fore, with emphasis on Syilx (Okanagan) writing and research practices. Currently the course offers traditional composition instruction supplemented with Indigenous-authored readings. While still delivering instruction on university-level discourse, the redesign better supports Indigenous learners by integrating the work of Syilx researchers, writers, and knowledge keepers who animate the application of writing skills to real-world contexts in the local territory. Assignments and readings will reflect this learning.

  • Deliver a new English course on Indigenous narrative form, ENGL 154.

ENGL 154 will introduce students to Indigenous narrative, including textual and oral forms of storytelling. Formerly, ENGL 114 was the only first year English course devoted to Indigenous content and approaches. Because registration in 114 is restricted to Access students, non-Access students cannot enroll. ENGL 154 allows non-Access students to fulfill their English requirement with Indigenous content.

  • Develop an online, open-access resource package for university educators on engaging Indigenous knowledges and approaches.

The TRC calls on universities to “educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms” (62.ii). This resource guide will: outline principles for respectful engagement; provide background on local contexts; and recommend teaching resources for educators.