Section 3: Understanding Indigenous Worldview Values to Better Support Indigenous Students

The Learning Spirit

Learning for Indigenous people is not institution specific and goes beyond formal education; rather, it is lifelong, place-based, relational, experiential, communal, and purposeful. Indigenization of post-secondary institutions and systemic change means we create different spaces for these gifts to be shared and learned.

Mi’kmaq scholar, Marie Battiste defines the learning spirit:

What guides our learning (beyond family, community, and Elders) is spirit, our own learning spirits who travel with us and guide us along our earth walks, offering us guidance, inspiration, and quiet unrealized potential to be who are. In Aboriginal thought, the Spirit enters this earth walk with a purpose for being here and with specific gifts for fulfilling that purpose … Our individual gifts for fulfilling our purpose are expressed in ourselves, in our growing talents, and in our emerging of shifting interests (p. 15).

As more and more Indigenous students enter post-secondary institutions, we need to examine processes of reclaiming culture and reframing identity and relationships through the services and supports offered across the institution to ensure transformation can occur and there is joy in learning.

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Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors by Ian Cull, Robert L. A. Hancock, Stephanie McKeown, Michelle Pidgeon, and Adrienne Vedan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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