Starting this fall, all Brandon University undergraduate degrees will include Indigenous content. The new requirement, which was approved by the BU Senate earlier this year, adds a minimum of three credit hours of approved Indigenous content to any BU undergraduate degree.
To be approved as qualifying, a course with Indigenous content will need to demonstrate that it meaningfully incorporates Indigenous content or approaches. There is no set percentage or other quantifier. This was deliberate, said Chris Lagimodiere, BU’s Indigenous Advisor to the President and a part of the Indigenous Education subcommittee of Senate that developed the new requirements.
“We are open to many possible approaches to Indigenous content, because there are many different ways to experience Indigeneity,” he said. “Some courses may benefit from including an Indigenous worldview as an additional perspective on their content, while other courses may bring in Indigenous approaches to teaching and learning. Still others may add Indigenous content. It’s up to the instructor to know which approach make the most sense for their discipline, their teaching style, and their learning goals for their students.”
The new requirement is similar to longstanding liberal education requirements, which ensure that all graduates of Brandon University have a broad exposure to basic arts and sciences. Adding Indigenous content broadens that shared understanding of the world even further.
“Indigenous teachings are foundational to our understanding of this land, and how we experience it,” said BU President David Docherty. “When we say we are Canada’s Finest Regional University, it is critical that we reflect the entire diversity and full history of our region; of course that must center Indigenous peoples. This is part of what it means today to have a well-rounded education.”
An initial five courses have been approved for the fall, including Introduction to Native Studies courses, as well as faculty-specific courses on Indigenous teaching perspectives, Indigenous health care, and Indigenous music composition.
As the list of approved courses with Indigenous content continues to grow, students are expected to be able to choose from a wide variety of potential approaches that will add context and deepen their understanding of every discipline.
“Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous languages and Indigenous intellectual traditions help reflect both the history and contemporary context of the lives of Indigenous peoples,” Lagimodiere said. “This is a tangible action that moves Brandon University forward on the path to Reconciliation.”
The new course requirements were announced today to help mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.
- Brandon University
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Brandon University campuses are located on Treaty 1 and Treaty 2 territories, the homelands of the Dakota, Anishanabek, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and the Red River Métis. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at BrandonU.ca