Racial Equity Resource Guide


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Beyond Epistemicide: Knowledge Democracy and Higher Education

Organization: UNESCO


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Introduction: I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Treaty Four First Nations. Further I want you to know that I am a Settler Canadian of English heritage and that I live and work on the traditional territory of the Coast and Straits Salish First Nations, specifically on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen and Esquimalt Peoples. When I acknowledge the traditional territory where I stand now and where I live and work it is more than a case of protocol or respectful behavior. I am standing here today as a Professor from the University of Victoria as a direct result of my great grandparents obtaining 200 acres of Halalt First Nations traditional territory on Vancouver Island through illegal or immoral means in the last quarter of the 19th Century. Prior to the acquisition of this rich and productive land, my settler ancestors were landless and poor having travelled from England to Australia and then to Eastern Canada finally to Vancouver Island in search of a way to support themselves and their children. Those 200 acres of Halalt Traditional territory transformed my family into the middle class and all of my great grandparents children on down to myself have had the opportunity to study and achieve positions of importance in their lives. The taking of that land created poverty amongst the Halalt First Nations Peoples that persists until today. I want to share some knowledge stories with you today. I want to speak of past and continuing cultural genocides, linguicides and epistemicides. And I want to speak about both the complicity of the modern university in maintaining unequal knowledge hierarchies. I also want to provide evidence of a possible turning in the world of higher education.



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