EdCan Network News

How Acknowledging Colonial Perspectives in Schools Can Advance Truth and Reconciliation Education

Brooke Madden’s research has the potential to shift how new and future teachers understand and integrate Canada’s history and Indigenous knowledge into their teaching.

The EdCan Network is pleased to honour Dr. Brooke Madden – Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education – as the Ph.D.-level category recipient of the 2018 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education. This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Madden’s exceptional leadership in designing pre-service teacher training that challenges students to consider how race, ancestry, gender and geography – among other identity-based factors – influence Indigenous -settler relations and engagement in truth and reconciliation education.

Brooke Madden, Pat Clifford Award Winner

As a former classroom science teacher in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay, Dr. Madden realized how the colonialist perspective of her teacher training lacked relevance to the learning contexts of Anishinaabe and urban Indigenous students who, in some cases, were highly connected to their First Nations culture, Traditional Knowledge and land-based practices. This experience, coupled with commitment to honour her Indigenous and settler ancestries in ways that acknowledge privilege and resist cultural appropriation, fuelled her passion to rethink, reform and decolonize initial teacher education and university course design. As an emergent scholar and member of the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program Research Collective, Dr. Madden has mobilized research nationally on the importance of understanding and challenging the underlying theories and assumptions of reconciliation– including its complex histories, initiatives, partnerships, goals, policies and critiques – for educators to effectively pursue the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The Pat Clifford Award Selection Committee praised Dr. Madden’s highly creative approach to mentoring emerging scholars and teachers, especially her use of “walking interviews” (walking with early-career teachers in a location that best represented their passion for teaching and for Indigenous education).

“Almost all teachers led me to places outside of school, places that are typically considered ‘nature.’ It sparked insightful conversations about their challenges, sources of inspiration and goals for furthering their practice – all while underscoring Indigenous Knowledge as inseparable from land and spirituality,” explains Dr. Madden.

In her article, “Tracing spectres of whiteness: discourse and the construction of teaching subjects in urban Aboriginal education,” Dr. Madden boldly questions the absence of discussions on race within Indigenous education. She demonstrates how whiteness, Eurocentrism and patriarchy shape how teachers engage with Indigenous peoples and learning resources. Building awareness on these influences impacts teachers’ professional identity as they work towards respectful engagement during this unprecedented era of critical questioning, collaboration and capacity building in Indigenous education.

“Brooke’s research makes critical contributions to Indigenous education, teacher education and decolonizing education,” says Dr. Heather Kanuka, Full Professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education and Chair of the Pat Clifford Award Selection Committee. “We felt that her work has the potential to shift our current approach to pre-service teacher training, which is vital to advancing progress on truth and reconciliation.”



Refereed Journal Articles

Madden, B. (2017). Tracing spectres of whiteness: Discourse and the construction of teaching subjects in urban Aboriginal education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38(5), 642-658.

Madden, B. (2015). Pedagogical pathways for Indigenous education with/in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 1-15.

Madden, B. (2014). Coming full circle: White, Euro-Canadian teachers’ positioning, understanding doing, honouring, and knowing in school-based Aboriginal education. in Education, 20(1), 57-81.

Higgins, M. & Madden, B. (2017). (Not So) Monumental agents: De/Colonizing places of learning. Canadian Social Studies, 49(1), 34-38.

Higgins, M., Madden, B., Bérard, M.-F., Lenz Kothe, E., & Nordstrom, S. (2016). De/signing research in education: Patchwork(ing) methodologies with theory. Educational Studies. A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 43(1), 16-39.

Higgins, M., Madden, B., & Korteweg, L. (2015). Witnessing (halted) deconstruction: White teachers’ ‘perfect stranger’ position in urban Indigenous education. Race Ethnicity and Education, 18(2), 251-276.

Lenz Kothe, E., Higgins, M., Stiegler, S., Bérard, M.-F., & Madden, B. (2015). A quick guide to speed-dating theorists through thinking with theory in qualitative research: Viewing data across multiple perspectives. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education/Revue Canadienne des Jeunes Chercheures et Chercheurs en Education, 6(1), 68-78.

Madden, B., Higgins, M., & Korteweg, L. (2013). “Role models can’t just be on posters”: Re/membering barriers to Indigenous community engagement. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(2), 211-247.

Madden, B. & McGregor, H. (2013). Ex(er)cising student voice in pedagogy for decolonizing: Exploring complexities through duoethnography. Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 35(5), 371-391.

McGregor, H., Madden, B., Higgins, M., & Ostertag, J. (2018). Braiding designs for decolonizing research methodologies: Theory, practice, ethics. Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology.


Book Chapters

Madden, B. (in press). Hybrid encounters: First Peoples principles of learning and teachers’ constructions of Aboriginal education and educator. In S. Carr-Stewart & J. Ottmann (Eds.), Promises & issues: Indigenous education in Canada. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Higgins, M. & Madden, B. (2018). (Not Idling at) the flâneur in Indigenous education: Towards being and becoming community. In A. Cutcher & R. L. Irwin (Eds.), The flâneur and educational research: A metaphor for knowing, being ethical, and new data production. Movement as method/practice/praxis: The ‘not so idle flâneur’. Cham, CH: Palgrave Pivot.

Madden, B. & Glanfield, F. (2017). Research in Indigenizing teacher education. In D. J. Clandinin & J. Husu (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.


Book Reviews

Madden, B. (2018). Review of Visioning a Mi’kmaw humanities: Indigenizing the academy. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 37(2), 193-196.


Doctoral Dissertation

Madden, B. (2016). (Un)Becoming teacher of school-based Aboriginal education: Early career teachers, teacher identity, and Aboriginal education across institutions. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Web-Based Publications

Madden, B. (2016). “Hands back, hands forward”: Passing traditional teachings to younger generations. The quad: Where UAlberta meets online. Retrieved from https://blog.ualberta.ca/consider-this-hands-back-hands-forward-passing-traditional-teachings-to-younger-generations-ae8f40202bae

Hare, J., Madden, B., Higgins, M., Young, A., Wager, A., & Mashon, D., (2012). Teaching for Indigenous education. Retrieved from http://www.indigenouseducation.educ.ubc.ca/

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