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Challenging the Paradigm is back at NWCC

TERRACE Challenging the Paradigm 2012 is in full swing today, the first of three full days of Northwest Community College's (NWCC) annual gathering that centres discussion and learning activities around decolonizing post-secondary education.ÿ This year, Challenging the Paradigm's theme isÿTeaching, Learning & Knowing in Both Worlds and features keynote speaker Gerald Taiaiake Alfred (see bio below). In addition to Taiaiake, the gathering attracts people from around the province and the rest of Canada. Organizer Seth Downs, NWCC Manager of Events & Conference Planning, says this year there are representatives from several Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island institutes, including Capilano University, Simon Fraser University, University of the Fraser Valley, Justice Institute of BC, Camosun College, Vancouver Community College, University of Victoria, and representatives from the University of Northern BC, Prince Rupert School District no.52 and from as far away as Toronto's George Brown College and Concordia University in Montreal. The conference kicked off Wednesday night with a welcome reception from NWCC President, Dr. Denise Henning at Waap Haawk. Today, the first full day, is packed with speakers/breakout sessions from 10am to 5pm. Among the speakers and the topics they are covering are: Mark Fettes (SFU) LUCID Teaching: Decolonizing the Imagination; Audrey Woods & Ed Harrison (UNBC) Dividing one life between two worlds; Molly Wickham (NWCC) Turning Points: Challenging perceptions of decolonization; Marie-Eve Drouin-Gagne (PhD student, Concordia University) The Evolutionist Explanation, and the Challenge of Indigenous Higher Education; and Sheree Ronaassen and Gordon Weary (NWCC) Power of Field School Learning. Friday morning will see the keynote address by Taiaiake Alfred, followed by a new and unique addition to Challenging the Paradigm, half-day field school learning experiences to the Nass Valley and Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site. Challenging the Paradigm wraps up on Saturday with an open-floor for all participants to discuss how to move forward with decolonizing the education system. Dr. Henning will moderate this discussion, focusing on the topics/experiences from the previous two days. This marks the fourth Challenging the Paradigm gathering at NWCC since it was started in 2009. With the exception of 2011, it is an annual event that all NWCC staff, post-secondary educators and administrators are encouraged to attend. For Dr. Henning, a Cherokee/Choctaw originating from Creek County in Oklahoma, Challenging the Paradigm is an event tied directly to her expertise and knowledge in the post-secondary world, which has been marked by a dedication to inclusion and equity in higher education and to increasing the knowledge and appreciation, by all people, of the rich heritages of Indigenous peoples in North America. "Challenging the Paradigm is an opportunity to share ideas that are essential to making post-secondary education accessible and meaningful to all students, said Dr. Henning. "Decolonizing post-secondary education is but one pillar in the success of Aboriginal students that we our proud to be helping to lead." Registration is still open for one and two-day participation. See the website for details. ÿ Challenging the Paradigm keynote speaker Gerald Taiaiake Alfred: Gerald Taiaiake Alfred is a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, where he specializes in studies of traditional governance, the restoration of land-based cultural practices, and decolonization strategies. He has been awarded a Canada Research Chair, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of education, and the Native American Journalists Association award for best column writing. Educated at Concordia and Cornell universities, Taiaiake has lectured around the world and has served as an advisor on land and governance and on cultural restoration for his own and many other First Nation governments and Indigenous organizations. His writing includes scholarly articles and reports, newspaper columns, non-fiction essays, and three published books, Wasase, a runner-up for the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year in 2005; Peace, Power, Righteousness; and, Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors.

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