“Finding Qwamqwəmt: Re-Storying Education for Aboriginal People”
Presenter 1: Dr. John Chenoweth, Dean, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Candad
Aboriginal people face numerous challenges in post-secondary education. In this research, I identify the shortcomings evidenced in the educational system in relation to Indigenous identity and epistemology, external Aboriginal policy, Indigenous control of education, and Indigenous community. Additionally, I examine the realities of Aboriginal people who have paused-out and then return to school, and explore what factors influence their successful educational experiences.
I use an Indigenous systems-based pedagogy embedded in a traditional story as my primary theoretical framework. The Four Chiefs story is a syilx Okanagan construct that serves as the model with four oppositional concepts to address community-based questions. This is the basis of enowkinwixw, a syilx-based governance decision-making process. The realm of this research relates to a student’s experience in the K-12 system, the transition to post-secondary, and actualities while attending post-secondary school. This “story” is a holistic approach to illuminate the many educational challenges faced by Indigenous students as part of their Indigenous community.
This introductory theory will lay a foundation for the symposium as the presentations will focus from a theoretical basis for Indigenous education and travel through the educational system in Canada as it pertains to K-12 and post-secondary.
John has been married for 24 years and is the father to two sons. He is a member of the Upper Nicola Indian Band in the Nicola Valley within the Okanagan Nation of south central British Columbia. He is a UBC Native Indian Teacher Education Program graduate and former Elementary School Principal and District Principal for First Nations Education. His teaching career began in 1994 and he transitioned to the post-secondary level in 2007. John has been involved in First Nations education at both the K-12 and Post-Secondary levels for his entire career.
As an academic, John’s interest lay in the socio-historical realities of Indigenous people in relation to the education system in this country. He believes that in order to achieve a balanced educational system for Indigenous people that we must first seek out the epistemologies from our stories as told from within the systems-based realities of Indigenous communities.