Getting a Quality Education: Indigenising Post-Secondary Institutions in Northern Ontario Through the Indigenous Quality Assurance Project

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Lana Ray
Mary Wabano,
Deidre Bannerman


In Canada, many institutions have signed onto Indigenous education manifestos such as College and Institutes Canada’s Indigenous Education Protocol and Universities Canada’s Principles on Indigenous Education which generally advocate for respect for Indigenous knowledge systems and the meaningful participation and representation of Indigenous peoples in the academy. These declarations of commitment to indigenization, while widely announced and promoted in the public domain, do little to communicate and provide evidence of effective implementation, as defined by Indigenous peoples. As a result, a growing number of Indigenous scholars have questioned the intent, depth, and outcomes of indigenization efforts and have implicated indigenization in the ongoing system of settler colonialism.

In response, northern colleges in Ontario undertook the Indigenous quality assurance (IQA) project to develop Indigenous quality assurance standards and an implementation process complimentary to the colleges’ current audit-based quality assurance system. This article will discuss the development of the northern colleges’ IQA system and explore how the Indigenous quality assurance system can provide a tangible path forward to enact indigenization. In particular, the capacity of Indigenous quality assurance to address the calls by Indigenous scholars to ensure indigenization efforts are systemic, led by Indigenous peoples, everyone’s responsibility, and accountable to Indigenous peoples are explored.

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Author Biographies

Lana Ray, Lakehead University, Ontario

Dr. Lana Ray (Anishinaabe from Opwaaganasiniing) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University. Her research interests include Indigenous research methodology and storytelling, Indigenization and land-based learning. Her work seeks to advance Indigenous social, cultural and political realities through resurgent and decolonial praxis.

Mary Wabano,, First Peoples’ Centre and School of Indigenous Studies at Canadore College

Mary Wabano, MSW, (Attawapiskat First Nation) is the Director of the First Peoples’ Centre and Associate Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies at Canadore College. She oversees culturally appropriate student services, program quality and assurance, curriculum development, program design and community partnerships and research involving Indigenous peoples at the college.

Deidre Bannerman, Quality Learning, Teaching and Innovation at Canadore College

Deidre Bannerman is the Academic Director of Quality Learning, Teaching and Innovation at Canadore College where she provides leadership for program quality assurance, curriculum integrity, professional development related to teaching and learning, applied research, academic policy review and revision, and special projects and initiatives.