The Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies program grounds itself in the understanding that students and teachers in our classrooms constitute “family” engaged in transformative conversations. In this way of thinking, students are not alone in their learning nor in their success, but rather share their growing skills with each other to enhance the community which forms their class and our program. Teachers and Elders work as a team together in the classroom at all times, and serve as role models in this intention.

Students are also exposed to a learning context where collective experiences have as much value and meaning as individual growth. Indigenous teachings emphasize the practice of “getting along together;” thus the time consciously spent in “family-building” constitutes a fundamental approach to learning. Students are encouraged to build new understandings and knowledge through collaboration with their peers, which contributes to creating a deep sense of community and trust within the classroom. This type of environment is especially valuable when working through many of the social, political, economic, and spiritual issues often associated with Indigenous Studies. This methodology is visible in an Indigenous way of thinking and learning which foregrounds stories as the basis for understanding and working in community.

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