Building The Future Together:

Decolonizing and indigenizing higher education


  • Jalissa Schmidt City University Canada


Indigenization, Decolonization, Reconciliation, Inclusion, Higher Education


This presentation will discuss how to approach decolonizing and indigenizing higher education with an understanding that this is a wholistic process that is done in synchronicity with all levels of the institution. A dialogue will be opened about defining indigenization and decolonization, as well as exploring decolonization as an act of creating space for different ways of knowing and being (indigenizing). Only through the decolonization of higher education can space exist to indigenize respectfully and meaningfully. Indigenization requires space for protocols, relationality, consultation, and reflection. Indigenizing is not only adding Indigenous content to the curriculum, but also embodying multiple worldviews and weaving them into the institution at all levels. It is developing educational systems that welcome and invite Indigenous voices to guide and lead this blending of multiple worlds. This presentation will provide suggestions on how to begin this work in higher education one step at a time. Recognizing this is generations of work, but also that each step forward is one step towards the future of education. The urgency for decolonization and indigenization in higher education is being felt across the country, both through systemic efforts of reconciliation being made by governing bodies and through society’s growing desire to build relationships with Indigenous peoples. There is little doubt that the future of education is being shaped through today’s efforts to indigenize and decolonize. By exploring tools to support how and where to approach this work in a higher education setting, this presentation will open a dialogue on how to build the future of higher education together.

Author Biography

Jalissa Schmidt , City University Canada

Jalissa Schmidt is an off-reserve member of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation, carrying her First Nations ancestry through her maternal line. As the Indigenous Campus Advocate at CityU Canada, she is dedicated to decolonizing and indigenizing higher education. Jalissa holds an undergraduate degree from UBC in Religion, Literature, and Arts and a master’s degree from SFU in the humanities.