Greetings! I am from the Sto:lo – River People and the Xaxli’p First Nation (Lillooet). On September 1, 2011, I returned to NITEP as its Director. I also began my second term as Associate Dean for Indigenous Education in the UBC Faculty of Education.
My journey with NITEP began in 1981 when I was a sessional lecturer at the various field centres in British Columbia. From 1983-85, I was the Chilliwack Field Centre Coordinator. In 1985, I moved to Vancouver to become the NITEP Supervisor (Director) and stayed in that role until 1992. From 2005-08, I entered the NITEP circle once more as its Director and now three years later, I enter that same circle once again. My reason for sharing my NITEP journey is that once one becomes a member of the NITEP family, that feeling of connection and responsibility is always in one’s heart and mind. Many changes have occurred over the 30-year experience that I have had with NITEP specifically and Aboriginal education in general.
The NITEP theme of creating change reminds me of the story of Raven who initiated a major change or shift in the environment by bringing sun to the people who lived in darkness. The sun represents Indigenous teachers who bring together Indigenous Knowledge and other forms of knowledge that teachers’ require to be effective. Creating educational change that is meaningful, of high quality, and culturally relevant and responsive is difficult and demanding. But it needs to be done if we are to make significant improvements to Aboriginal education at all levels and in all contexts.
We need to have Raven-like persistence, courage, and commitment to question what does not work and to develop many different educational strategies to bring the “sun” to places and people so that they have a better life. This NITEP Newsletter highlights many perspectives, hopes, and dreams for creating educational change in ways that would make both Elders and the Raven smile.
Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem Associate Dean of Indigenous Education/NITEP Director
This post is an excerpt from the NITEP News. To learn more about recent developments in the program, download the full newsletter.