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Dr. Tracy Friedel

Mount Royal University
Place-based Learning in Huu-ay-aht Territory

“I am a descendant of the Nehiyaw-speaking Lac Ste. Anne Métis of west central Alberta and completed my undergraduate degree in Commerce, and Masters and PhD degrees in Educational Policy Studies (focus on Indigenous education) all at the University of Alberta. Following eight years as a faculty member in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy (2009-17), I became Mount Royal University’s first Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies. In this new role, I am participating in the creation of majors in Indigenous Studies and Environmental Humanities and am leading research focused on First Nation and Métis experience in the realm of work and learning, decolonizing research at the intersection of health and education, and understanding learning premised on Indigenous resurgence, history, land and place.

We are very fortunate in Western Canada to have BMSC as a place from which to engage with longstanding Nuu-chah-nulth intellectual traditions. As a visitor to Huu-ay-aht territory, I’ve appreciated the chance to connect university classes with local Elders such as Stella, who guides students to sites of habitation that are many thousands of years old. Such experiences re-animate voices from long ago and bring to life teachings and values that have never been more relevant than they are today. Bamfield is an important part of Canada’s rich maritime history and a key site from which global telecommunications were advanced in the late 19th century. For us as Canadians, understanding our contradictory yet mutual histories holds the key to deepening alliances and fostering reconciliation, something Indigenous Elders have asked us as educators to do.” Tracy Friedel