Build­ing Indige­nous Cur­ric­ula across Bor­ders

Lau­rier-Syra­cuse Ex­change Pro­gram:

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In Win­ter 2019, three Indige­nous stu­dents from Wil­frid Lau­rier Univer­sity (On­tario, Canada) and three Indige­nous stu­dents from Syra­cuse Univer­sity (New York, USA) will ex­change places and work to­gether to de­velop Indige­nous cur­ricu­lum con­tent.

“This pro­gram will be an ex­cit­ing and un­usual op­por­tu­nity for Indige­nous stu­dents to in­flu­ence and have in­put into cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment,” says Jean Becker, Se­nior Ad­vi­sor of Indige­nous Ini­tia­tives.

Through fund­ing from San­tander Bank through the 100,000 Strong in the Amer­i­cas In­no­va­tion Fund, Lau­rier de­vel­oped the Indige­nous Mo­bil­ity and Cur­ricu­lum Across Bor­ders pro­gram in part­ner­ship with three Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties and two Indige­nous part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions. Lau­rier as­so­ciate pro­fes­sors Kevin Spooner (North Amer­i­can Stud­ies and His­tory) and Lucy Luc­cisano (So­ci­ol­ogy) heard about the grant com­pe­ti­tion for in­no­va­tive study abroad part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tion from the U.S. Con­sulate in Toronto. Spooner and Luc­cisano were im­me­di­ately in­ter­ested in do­ing some­thing to fill the gaps left by typ­i­cal ex­change pro­grams.

“We hadn’t in the past seen many Indige­nous stu­dents ap­ply­ing to go on ex­change,” says Luc­cisano. “Also, usu­ally stu­dents go on their own and it’s a very in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ence. We wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

To re­fine their idea, Spooner and Luc­cisano worked with Becker; Erin Hod­son (Indige­nous Cur­ricu­lum Spe­cial­ist); Lianne Leddy (As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Indige­nous Stud­ies) and Phyl­lis Power (Man­ager of Global En­gage­ment Pro­gram­ming).

The team de­vel­oped the vision of a cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment project that would see stu­dents work­ing with aca­demic and com­mu­nity men­tors. Syra­cuse Univer­sity be­came the pri­mary part­ner, with the Univer­sity of Buf­falo, Cor­nell Univer­sity, Wood­land Cul­tural Cen­tre and Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Cen­ter also com­ing on board.

The ma­jor­ity of costs to the stu­dents will be cov­ered through the one-time San­tander grant, as well as other fund­ing and inkind sup­port from the part­ners and sev­eral Lau­rier de­part­ments. The part­ners are work­ing on ways to make the ex­change sus­tain­able for the fu­ture.

Con­tin­ued on page 9

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