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Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation

Education Context

Historic and contemporary policies make Indigenous education in Canada a complex matter. The Assembly of First Nations states, “First Nations have an inherent and Treaty right to education, including post-secondary education (PSE) as part of a lifelong learning process.” Indigenous education today is influenced by colonial policies, including those that established the residential school system. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published six volumes and 94 Calls to Action based on their research conducted between 2008 and 2015. Many of the calls relate to public awareness, including in specific fields associated with the teaching and learning that takes place at Ontario Tech. 

Please review the final report and Calls to Action on the TRC website.  

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Resources 

Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation in the University

This table can be read top to bottom left to right


Indigenization is a process of naturalizing Indigenous knowledge systems and making them evident to transform spaces, places, and hearts.


Decolonization refers to the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches.


Reconciliation is about addressing past wrongs done to Indigenous Peoples, making amends, and improving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to create a better future for all.

The relationship between Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation 

Decolonization is a component of Indigenization because it means challenging the dominance of Western thought and bringing Indigenous thought to the forefront. Indigenization is part of reconciliation, because it involves creating a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. However, these processes have important distinctions. Most notably, reconciliation is primarily a settler responsibility, which includes anyone whose ancestors are not originally from Turtle Island, or North America, whereas Indigenous peoples must lead decolonization. In addition, the emotional work of reconciliation is different from that of Indigenization and decolonization, which are less focused on making amends for past traumas and instead on mainstreaming Indigenous thought. 

Adapted from Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers by Asma-na-hi Antoine, Rachel Mason, Roberta Mason, Sophia Palahicky, and Carmen Rodriguez de France.  Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Assembly of First Nations. (no date). Post Secondary Education. Retrieved from