Pathfinders: Realizing Reconciliation Through Lessons Learned

  • Yvonne Poitras Pratt Werklund School of Education Director, Indigenous Education
  • Patricia Danyluk Werklund School of Education Director of Field Experience Community Based B.Ed.
  • Sarah Beech Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
  • Sarah Charlebois Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
  • Clancy Evans Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
  • Alyssa Fehr Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
  • Amanda Nielsen Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
  • Angela Sanregret Werklund School of Education Graduate Student
Keywords: Reconciliation, Indigenous Education, Graduate Students, Service-Learning, SoTL


In 2016, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars came together to imagine a better world through a bold approach to education at the Werklund School of Education. This imagining took the form of a newly designed graduate pathway program which focused on meaningfully and actively responding to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) (2015) 94 Calls to Action. Central to the design of our program is the inclusion of a capstone service-learning project that asks graduate students to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in designing and delivering projects of mutual benefit. In sharing insights from their respective learning journeys, our students reveal the complexities and challenges of reconciliatory work but also its many rewards. Further, in sharing these courageous acts, we hope to inspire others to take action.

Author Biography

Alyssa Fehr, Werklund School of Education Graduate Student

Werklund School of Education

Graduate Students


Boler, M. & Zembylas, M. (2003). Discomforting truths: The emotional terrain of understanding difference. In, P. Trifonas (Ed.), Pedagogies of difference: Rethinking education for social change, pp. 110-136. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.

Brown, K. M. (2005). Social justice education for pre-service leaders: Evaluating transformative learning strategies. Equity & Excellence in Education, 38(2), 155-167.

Cipolle, S.B. (2010). Overview of the social justice model for service-learning. In Service-learning and social justice: Engaging students in social change, pp. 3-15. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Davis, L. & Shpuniarsky, H. Y. (2010). The spirit of relationships: What we have learned about Indigenous/non-Indigenous alliances and coalitions. In, L. Davis (Ed.), Alliances: Re/Envisioning Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships, pp. 334-348. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

DePaola, T., (2014). Collaborating for social justice through service learning. In New Directions for Community Colleges, No. 165 (Spring 2014), 37-47. DOI: 10.1002/cc

Donald, D. (2012). Indigenous Métissage: a decolonizing research sensibility. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25(5), 553-555.

Ferreira, A. & Janks, H. (2007). Reconciliation pedagogy, identity and community funds of knowledge: borderwork in South African classrooms, English Academy Review, 24:2, 71-84, DOI: 10.1080/10131750701452311

Hanson, A., & Daniels, D.L. (2015, September.) If these walls could talk: The physical traces of residential schools. The Walrus 12(7), 24-33. [Visual essay: Photography by Lana Šlezić.]

King, R. (2015). Virtue ethics: Foundation for civic engagement and service-learning. In O. Delano- Oriaran, M. Penick-Parks, & S. Fondrie (Eds.,), The Sage sourcebook of service-learning and civic engagement, pp. 17-21. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Nussey, R. (2014). The dance of reconciliation: Understanding the complex steps in a reconciliatory pedagogy using an oral history assignment. Yesterday & Today, (12). Retrieved from:

Author & Daniels, D.L. (2014). Métis remembrances of education: Bridging history with memory. Proceedings of the IDEAS: Rising to the Challenge Conference 2014, University of Calgary, Institutional Repository DSpace 2014. Available online at:

Author, & Author (2017). Learning what schooling left out: Making an Indigenous case for critical service-learning and critical pedagogy within teacher education. Canadian Journal of Education, 40 (1).

Regan, P. (2010). Peace warriors and settler allies. In Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada, pp. 213-237. Vancouver/Toronto: UBC Press.

Robinson, D. & Martin, K.(2016). Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action In and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada.

Wyeld, T. ( 2016). Reconciliation Pedagogy: 3D gaming and role play in addressing cultural difference. Flinders University. Retrieved from:

Conference Theme: Students as Innovators