Here is where you can listen to the episode and review the show notes.

You can also download the transcript for offline reading:

[Theme music: ‚ÄúCool Upbeat Hip Hop Piano‚ÄĚ by¬†ItsMochaJones¬†on]¬†

Josie Gray: Hello! Welcome to the Open Knowledge Spectrums podcast, which explores questions of epistemic justice, or knowledge equity, in the context of open education and considers different possibilities for making open education and open educational practices more equitable. 

My name is Josie Gray, and I am your host. This podcast is my final project for my Master of Design in Inclusive Design at OCAD University. 

In this episode, I talk with Dianne Biin about a project she led to create a series of open, professional learning guides to support Indigenization in post-secondary institutions. Dianne describes the work and collaboration that went into bringing those guides to fruition. She also discusses the decision to publish these guides under an open license and how they thought through what license they wanted to apply. And she also offers a critical perspective on openness in the context of Indigenous knowledges. 

Dianne is from the Tsi Del Del community in Tsilhqot’in territory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University (1994) and a Master of Education degree from University of British Columbia (2016). Dianne has worked as a community development and revitalization consultant, an Indigenous event planner, and facilitator and educator. She worked at Camosun College from 2011 to 2020 as an Indigenous faculty member and Indigenization Coordinator. Dianne was also the project manager for the BCcampus open textbook series Pulling Together: Guides for Indigenization. She is currently the Manager of Indigenous Education and Engagement at Selkirk College. 

And with that, let’s hear from Dianne.¬†

[Theme music] 

Josie: There we go. So would you start by introducing yourself? 

Dianne Biin:¬†Absolutely. My name is Dianne Biin.¬†I am¬†Tsilhqot’in¬†on my mother’s side and¬†Slovenian¬†on my father’s side. Our¬†traditional¬†territory‚Äôs¬†neighbors¬†are the¬†Wuikinuxv,¬†Nuxalk,¬†and¬†KwakwaŐĪkaŐĪ ľwakw¬†to the west.¬†The¬†Dakelh¬†to the north. The Secw√©pemc¬†to the east, and¬†the¬†St‚Äô√°t‚Äôimc¬†to the south. And so it’s those neighbors and those alliances that has really guided the work that I do. And currently I am the manager of Indigenous education and engagement at Selkirk College, and just started here, just under a year ago. So that’s me.¬†

Josie: Thank you. And the main reason I want to talk to you is because the work you did a few years ago managing the creation of the Pulling Together series, would you provide an overview of that project? 

Dianne: Yeah, that was probably one of those projects where I was super na√Įve going into it. [Laughter] As it was like— It was a project that was funded¬†actually through¬†the Ministry of Advanced Education, and¬†BCcampus¬†came forward as the organization that could help kind of steer and guide the project.¬†So¬†I was¬†seconded, I was hired on¬†secondment¬†from¬†Camosun¬†College. And the project was meant to be about a year and a half‚ÄĒor about a year‚ÄĒto create five distinct, openly licensed guides to help different segments of¬†post-secondary¬†education institutions to¬†indigenize their practice and¬†indigenize¬†how¬†they work with one another. It involved a provincial¬†advisory¬†committee of powerful Indigenous educators and women. And they’ve all been involved in education for decades. And¬†so¬†I was so fortunate to be part, to have this wealth of advice and guidance and support. And they were working committee, they weren’t just an advisory committee.¬†So¬†they were really getting their hands into creating aspects of what the guides could look like.¬†We had a‚ÄĒ¬†we had a funding letter that said, “Hey, you can create five guides. Here’s the funds. You‚Äôve¬†got a year to do it.‚Ä̬†And¬†so¬†from there, we created a vision of what the project could look like. We looked at what the guides could be. We realized we needed a sixth¬†guide, and that was the¬†Foundations¬†Guide. That was some foundational knowledge that we felt a lot of people in post-secondary still didn’t have a grasp¬†on or had been looking at different aspects. And¬†so¬†it was a chance for us to just pull that type of information together. The guides were developed over that year. And then it took us about another year… just under a year.¬†So¬†it was just about a year and a half to two years for the entire project. There was a lot of people coming in and out of the project. I think at one point I¬†counted,¬†I was working with about 40 people.¬†¬†

Josie: Wow. That’s huge.¬†

Dianne: Yeah, it was huge! I mean, that included the¬†advisory¬†committee, that included the editors, that included¬†all of¬†the authors, and it included people that I was consulting with to gain bits and pieces to help support the guides. And working with the¬†BCcampus¬†crew, because you guys were¬†really instrumental¬†in helping do the quality control on the guides, once when they were edited and ready to put up onto the Pressbooks platform.¬†I really needed your guys’ expertise to try to bring those guides to life. And so, just the accessibility and the ways that H5P could be incorporated into the guides. And that was work that also helped create more quality of the guides themselves. And the fact that these guides could be read online, or they could be downloaded right onto somebody’s learning management system and adapted and modified.¬†So¬†a lot of faculty and teachers really appreciated that approach.¬†¬†

When we were starting to build the guides, it was hard to figure out how to contain them all. What was the framework we’re going to use to make sure that¬†all of¬†the guides seemed consistent but were all very¬†distinct?¬†And¬†so¬†we spent time looking at Indigenous frameworks,¬†and one of the committee members,¬†Janice Simcoe, came forward and suggested that we use the Indigenized integral model. And¬†so¬†it’s looking at the culture of things. And¬†so¬†it’s looking at our intentions, it’s looking at our behaviors, how we work together¬†in¬†community,¬†and how our networks and how our systems work. And¬†so¬†we¬†took a look¬†at that integral¬†model¬†and it was a nice bridge between an Indigenous framework, and a Western framework, and so we use that to create all the audience profiles for each guide. So those audience profiles meant in an¬†Indigenized world, what are those skills and abilities that people will have?¬†And¬†so¬†we created categories and statements under each of those areas, those four areas.¬†¬†

And then that was given to the writers, and so the writers‚ÄĒ¬†it was just a targeted call¬†out¬†to people, letters of interest came forward, we created small contracts.¬†So¬†writing teams were either a team of three or up to a team of eight. And¬†so¬†every single guide was developed differently. One was a writing sprint that happened over a weekend. Others were guides that were created over the span of about two to three months. Others were interview focused, so they would go out and interview folks and then come back and then build the guides. So that’s the¬†Leader‚Äôs¬†Guide. The¬†Frontline Guide¬†was, you know, four or five different faculty that just whenever they had time, off the side of their desks, they were putting content into the guides.¬†And¬†so¬†for every writing team, there was different supports that I was providing. And at certain times, I would be ghostwriting a lot of the information based on what they were giving me¬†and then giving it back to them to see if that was the messaging that they wanted, because I knew how busy they were. The generosity of the Indigenous scholars and the ally writers in this project was immense. And if it wasn’t for them, you know, spending four to six months to create these guides, then we wouldn’t have what we have today.¬†¬†

One of the elements that I really appreciated in doing this project was the amount of collaboration. There’s a lot of collaboration going on between the writers.¬†I created wiki sites for¬†all of¬†them, but¬†gave them access to their wiki site.¬†So¬†the¬†Curriculum¬†Guide¬†writers could see what the¬†Frontline¬†Guide¬†writers were doing or the¬†Teacher’s Guide¬†writers.¬†So¬†there was an ability for us to make sure that we weren’t being that repetitive throughout each guide. And¬†so¬†if there were constructs that fit better in a different guide, then we could do the shift easily and make it seamless. The editors for the project were amazing. And they were¬†amazing, because they were also working on editing the provincial curriculum, the Indigenous curriculum.¬†So¬†they were a great viewpoint for us to see what was being done in the K to 12 system, and the concepts, and then to make sure that those concepts carried through into the guides.¬†¬†

Josie: Wow. 

Dianne: It was a lot of moving parts, and there were long days, like they were 15-to-16-hour days¬†every once in a while. And it was a huge time sacrifice on my part to just kind of be available to everybody, whenever they needed some assistance. And sometimes it was just,¬†“Hey, I’m trying to find this resource. Can you help me on it?” or other times,¬†“Hey, can you help me find an image that is Creative Commons licensed for this section?” Okay, great, I can do that.¬†

Josie: Yeah. Yeah, that sounds like a lot of work just to pull all of those little parts together and to make it so people can stay connected and have that collaboration be successful. 

Dianne: And it was a bit of a learning curve as well, because I had never really been involved in open education at that point. And OER’s, and like, I didn’t know the licensing regimes or anything.¬†So¬†it was nice to be trained on that focus. And then we spent time with the committee, so the committee also got that same information. And it was an opportunity for us to really think through, what is the licensing that we want to do? What is appropriate Indigenous information to share in these guides? And what’s information that’s not?¬†

Josie:  Right. Could you talk a little bit about those conversations? 

Dianne:¬† Yeah, certainly. I remember the committee meeting. We sat there for about two hours going through this,¬†and it was thinking through… We want to make sure that the Indigenous information provided is representative of groups, that it wasn’t a pan-Indian approach for the information that was to be shared, that we recognized,¬†whomever contributed to these guides, that it was their knowledge and that it was being shared in a very specific context in a very specific way. And a good instance of that is¬†actually the¬†prayer that shared at the beginning of the¬†Leader‚Äôs¬†Guide, and that prayer was shared to the writer from her uncle, who shared it on Facebook. And¬†so¬†in the¬†Nuu-chah-nulth¬†way, we explained what¬†is the appropriate way¬†of using that information and that knowledge.¬†So¬†it didn’t fit the open licensing categories perfectly, but it did provide the way of how Indigenous knowledge can be shared in an open way. That there’s common knowledges that we can share. A lot our specialized teachings and sacred knowledge wasn’t part of the guides. And that was a bit of a balancing act, because there were some writers who, who had to think that through themselves as they were writing the content, you know,¬†What’s¬†appropriate to share? What is mine to share? What is my community’s teachings to share? And what is my nation’s teachings that I can share?¬†And¬†so¬†it wasn’t just that individual writer’s responsibility to make sure that the information they’re sharing was appropriate. It¬†it¬†was them making sure that it was appropriate for their¬†nation,¬†and where they came from, and how they were trained. And that really came through in the¬†Teacher’s Guide, because everybody who was part of that writer’s sprint all came with different teachings and different traditions, yet they all approach education¬†in¬†the same way.¬†So¬†we’ve found that commonality before we sat down to start doing the writing. And we spent a good half day just hearing our stories of why we’re in education and what we hold important for education. Once we had that framework there, then we could start building what the sections could look like, and the writing teams went off and did what they needed to do. And it was a great way to see how we could come together in a good way over a short time.¬†¬†

Josie:¬†¬†Mhmm. Yeah, that sounds a really challenging balance of like being contracted to write¬†something, but¬†having to do that work of reflection and making sure what you’re sharing is appropriate. And not being able to just make that individual judgment, like it’s much more‚ÄĒ¬†

Dianne:  It is. Everybody had to situate themselves. They had to situate themselves before they could do the writing. They had to be very intentional with what they could share. And a lot of them who had already had a lot of scholarship writing, they then had to go back into their scholarly writings to figure out what is appropriate for me to share in an open context?  

Josie:  Right.  

Dianne: And¬†so¬†they had to do that sift and sort on their own to figure out what was appropriate. And that happened a couple times were stuff was‚ÄĒ¬†because of the licensing of some of their scholarly writing, we couldn’t use it in the guides.¬†So¬†we had to find a way to adapt it, or to try to figure out a way that they could rewrite it, so that it would be appropriate. And so that happened in a few instances.¬†Snd¬†that was okay,¬†as long as¬†we knew we had to do that. And so that’s what I really appreciated about the open team at¬†BCcampus, was that you guys were there to just answer those questions.¬†

Josie:  Right, all those tricky copyright things. [laughter] 

Dianne:¬† And even the licensing for the guides. We spent¬†a¬†quite a lot of time thinking that through. Because we were debating about¬†ShareAlike, we thought about¬†NoDerivative, we thought about¬†NonCommercial. And we stayed away from the¬†NoDerivative¬†because our goal for these guides was to make sure that they’re foundational so that anybody who wanted to come in and use these¬†guides¬†and make them relevant to their place,¬†to their situations, could.¬†So¬†we couldn’t do a¬†NonDerivative¬†licence. The¬†ShareAlike¬†is okay, but it meant you’d have to keep adding on things and keep that licensing the same. And we realized that, you know, there may be some that are okay with doing CC¬†BY. And¬†so¬†it’s like, okay, we need to be flexible on that. The¬†NonCommercial¬†aspect is a very kind of honor-bound type of licensing, where it’s just the community kind of tracks the community. I have had commercial companies who have used information from the guides, but they recognized the sources.¬†So¬†it’s like, okay.¬†So¬†there’s trickiness in how to do that, but we wanted to make sure there was something there,¬†and that it wasn’t just a CC¬†BY to just make people aware that this information’s not here to be ripped apart and used in bits and pieces, that the information is a foundation piece. And that whatever you add to this guide to make it meet your needs¬†has to¬†keep that spirit of integrity in it as well.¬†

Josie:¬†¬†Mhmm. Yeah, thank you for sharing that. It’s great to hear the careful thinking that went into¬†actually picking¬†the specific license on these guides.¬†

Dianne:  Yeah. It was a couple of sleepless nights to figure that one out. [Laughter] 

Josie:  So was it the Ministry that said they should be open?  

Dianne:¬† It was the¬†advisory¬†committee. Yeah. Everything went through the committee for approvals. And the Ministry was actually part of the advisory.¬†So¬†they kind of were there. And they were learning this as well, because usually it’s, you know, a¬†‚ÄúProvince of British Columbia‚Ä̬†publication. And this was new ground for them as well to create openly licensed products.¬†So¬†it was a nice way to kind of do that shared learning throughout the project.¬†

Josie:  Mhmm. Did you come across any resistance among the people you were working with around the open licenses? 

Dianne: It wasn’t really resistance. It was just more being careful.¬†

Josie:  Right.  

Dianne:¬† And for First Nations and for M√©tis and for Inuit scholars, and for communities, there’s always been instances where our information has been appropriated.¬†[Josie:¬†Mhmm.]¬†And copyright is held by somebody else on our information that is not‚ÄĒdoesn’t fit¬†within Canadian copyright, doesn’t fit within copyright laws. Because a lot of our teachings and our learnings and our engagement in Indigenous pedagogy is based on traditions. And it’s based on shared teachings, and that those teachings go back and forth generations. And¬†so¬†for us to do what we do, we¬†have to¬†recognize where things come from. And¬†so¬†citation for us is a bit different, because we¬†have to¬†recognize how we heard it, who we heard it from, when we heard it, and how we heard it. Because things change in contents, things change across time. And¬†so¬†it was nice for some of the writers to be able to just figure out a way that they could make it work. And¬†so¬†they were very good on their citation management. And at the time, the APA citation guides were undergoing changes, because there was a wonderful publication that had come out from Gregory Younging, on how to write about and for Indigenous peoples. And our editors had taken his training before he had passed. And¬†so¬†they had those concepts built in when they were editing to make sure that they weren’t infringing on anyone’s abilities and ways of writing, that they wanted to make sure that the information was shared in a good way. And in a good way means that we acknowledge our responsibilities to make sure that that information goes forward. And that when it goes forward, that those who receive it, receive it in its entirety. And so that’s the difference between an Indigenous frame of acknowledgement and citation and copyright that’s a bit different.¬†So¬†there were some writers who really had to dial it back, and there were other writers who were very open themselves, and really wanted the information out there. And that has always been a bit of a problem with some of the ways that we¬†write¬†and we get published¬†in¬†books. But it’s hard for folks to access those writings. Because if the library doesn’t have the license to access it, it’s hard to get to.¬†So¬†with openly licensed guides, it was a nice opportunity for some writers to just stretch those boundaries.¬†

Josie:  Mhmm. 

Dianne: I think the only resistance that we came through, when we were developing the guides… was trying to figure out… the flow. And it was the writers who were sharing the information, but the advisory committee was also taking a first look at those drafts. And¬†so¬†the advisory would have their own viewpoints of what the information should be, and sometimes that differed from what the writers had presented.¬†So¬†it was my job to go back and forth and have those dialogues with writers and with the advisory committee to say, “Okay, what is it really that that’s not sitting right with you?”, because they come from their own traditions as well and their own teachings.¬†So¬†there was a lot of dialogue that went back and forth. And so that resistance was just an opportunity to just talk through a lot of items. It was also the opportunity to bring in different ways of doing things.¬†So¬†we had worked with M√©tis Nation BC, who is a provincial organization with very minimal people power. And so, we had to be able to bring in graduate students when we could, to help fill some gaps and make sure that things could get done on time, and so that took a while. And sometimes when you’re doing that,¬†some of the communication breaks down.¬†So¬†it was hard to try to keep track of what was going on at certain points. But in the end, things came together, we could go back and forth with folks, and it was just a nice way to feel that their voices were represented in the guides. And that the committee had met their responsibility to make sure that the flow of the guides and the content in the guides were relevant and respectful.¬†

Josie:¬†¬†Mhmm. This wasn’t a question that I had written down, but I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the title of “Pulling Together.” And that theme that runs through¬†all of¬†the guides.¬†

Dianne:¬† Yeah, pulling together. That was that was me kind of asking the¬†Universe for help. And I was asking for help because I was trying to figure out what a metaphor could be that could pull all the guides together. We had an idea for all the guides should be, but we needed a common element. We needed a common story. And that story could then pull¬†all of¬†those pieces together. And¬†so¬†the¬†Pulling Together¬†series is everybody who’s within a canoe.¬†So¬†we created a canoe story. And when you’re in a canoe, it was something that a lot of people who I was talking with at the time‚ÄĒbecause I was going out and doing a lot of consultation with people,¬†How¬†does this look? How does this feel? Are there elements that are missing? Is this language that isn’t appropriate? Or is appropriate? Or should we strengthen some of¬†this?‚ÄĒ¬†and¬†so¬†everyone said, it’s as if we’re… We’re trying to do this together. And¬†so¬†the analogy of the canoe came forward, and so that each guide is a person within that canoe. And that canoe,¬†on either side,¬†has Indigenous and non-Indigenous people pulling together, that we have people who are steering us, and that we have the youth who are looking forward to¬†keep¬†us going. And the stars are what guide us. So those are the values and principles.¬†So¬†whenever things were going astray, or getting off track, we could go back and look at the stars, and say, “Look, these are our values and principles, we’re holding to these guides. Let’s¬†take a look¬†and re-shift some of this.” And¬†so¬†it was just a nice way to go back to that analogy and that metaphor to just keep everybody on task, and to keep everybody thinking through their teachings on what it means to be canoe people. And the day that the canoe came to mind, it was a week, a full week of meetings where I was all over the place. And every place that I went to, I kept seeing northwest coast canoes.¬†I was sitting in a boardroom:¬†the lighting fixture, northwest coast canoes. And¬†so¬†it was like, “Ah. Okay,¬†Universe.¬†I think I heard the message.” [Laughter] Let’s try with the canoe and see how that feels with people. So drafted up a quick little story, thought it through, thought about that¬†Indigenization are the waters that were navigating through, and that those waters aren’t consistent. And that was the underlying message for¬†all of¬†those guides, is that the work that we do in¬†Indigenization, it’s new, it’s different. And there are a times what works for one institution¬†is¬†not going to work for the other institution.¬†So¬†it’s very individualistic. Because of the places that we’re doing our work in, there’s over 36 distinct First Nations just within BC. And we’ve learned over time, that those perspectives, and those voices, and those realms of self-determination, are different for each nation. And¬†so¬†we wanted to make sure that the waters that we’re navigating recognize that.¬†So¬†at a certain point, we had to build levels of Indigenization. So where are people at in how they Indigenized? And what holds people back? What are those back eddies or those cross currents that throw us off track? And how do we get back on track? So that was the metaphor. It kept everybody on task. It kept everybody focused. And it helped the creative process.¬†

Josie:¬† Yeah, it’s great to see how that title was¬†actually a¬†huge part of the work going forward. And yeah, thank you for sharing that.¬†¬†

Dianne:¬† You’re welcome.¬†¬†

Josie:  And what has the response been like for these guides? 

Dianne:¬† The response has been¬†really favorable. You’re always scared when you do these type of training materials, that it’ll just sit on a shelf somewhere, or sit on a website that goes null and void after a year. And that nobody uses it, nobody really connects with it. And people connected with it. The writers, they felt‚ÄĒ¬†¬†because¬†of the generosity that we were building within writing these guides, and their collaboration, and they could see their voices in the guides‚ÄĒa¬†lot of the writers really appreciated the content that was shared. And¬†so¬†they wanted to share it outwards. And¬†so¬†a lot of them were sharing it at professional events, at conferences, in their institutions with other faculty members. And it was¬†really nice¬†to just see that type of sharing going on. And then the sharing went across Canada. And we had done a couple of presentations at¬†CICan¬†as we were developing the guide. So¬†CICan¬†is Colleges and Institute’s Canada. And¬†so¬†they do¬†national¬†education conferences every spring.¬†So¬†we shared the process for building the guides at that conference, and a lot of Indigenous educators from across the country were like, “I love this model, this is a great way to do it! You know, that’s always been our problem is how to how to create a product where we have so many distinct voices.” And that’s always been a challenge in the work that we do.¬†So¬†it was nice to sit with them and to think through, you know, what would work, what wouldn’t work, what are some of their challenges and going forward and managing this type of project?¬†So¬†it was nice to share our project model.¬†It¬†was great to share our project charter. We created an iterative process diagram, and we made sure that¬†all of¬†those project materials were on a public repository, so anyone could go in and download those, and just use those as a visual reference. So that’s the SOL*R¬†BCcampus¬†site.¬†

Josie:  Mmm, okay. 

Dianne: Yeah. So, before we started building the guides, we wanted to make sure we did an environmental scan.¬†So¬†the environmental scans there, and the environmental scan showed,¬†actually what’s¬†being done for cultural competency training already, across the 25 institutions.¬†So¬†it was nice to see where folks were at and where a lot of folks are struggling. So that was another way that we could then go back to those institutions who were struggling, and say, “Hey! We have this amazing resource, it’s openly licensed. You can easily adapt it into your LMS¬†(into your learning management system)¬†and you can adapt it to your specific working relationships that you have with First Nations and M√©tis Peoples at your institution”¬†So¬†they were really appreciative of that. And so that sharing¬†and¬†that collaboration, and that gift giving‚ÄĒbecause at certain points, it felt like gift giving, that it needed to happen.¬†¬†

One of the things we had done after the guides were released¬†was¬†we did an honoring event for¬†all of¬†the writers who could come‚ÄĒbecause I was back at Camosun by this point. My secondment had ended. And we were just finalizing bits and pieces of the guide.¬†So¬†I was working 150% to do my job at Camosun and to help make sure that the guides could be completed. One of the things we wanted to do was do a ceremony, to really celebrate the release of the guides and to acknowledge the hard work that everybody had done. And a lot of people were very generous with their time to do this project. They weren’t compensated a lot. And a lot of people were doing this off the sides of their desks, at night, over weekends, during holidays. And¬†so¬†we just wanted to really acknowledge that hard work that went into creating a unique piece of writing. And¬†so¬†we did that honoring ceremony.¬†So¬†a lot of us is some traditional gathering, we did a lot of jarring and canned salmon, and some berries, and some baking. And we just created these little care packages for¬†all of¬†the writers who could join us for lunch. And¬†so¬†during that lunch, we shared a meal together. The Elders at the Elders Program¬†at¬†Camosun really appreciated and thanked everybody who was part of the guides. And then we gave these gifts. Just to say thank you for nourishing us, this is a chance for us to nourish you. And it was that act of generosity that I think also helped make writers feel more invested in the project, and that they felt this was theirs, and so that they felt comfortable sharing it outwards. And that was one of the realms of generosity in this project that was so powerful, and so rewarding, in spite of the exhaustion of making this project happen. It was just acknowledging that we’re very generous people, and that we came together and we supported one another to make this happen.¬†¬†

Josie:¬† Yeah, that’s¬†really lovely.¬†So¬†my last question is kind of generally about openness as a concept. Like what is your perspective on openness? And you can interpret that however you like, and if it’s a concept that you find useful, or you see any limitations.¬†

Dianne:¬† This was a question that was asked of me a lot on how Indigenous knowledges could be within an open context. And¬†so¬†we really had to spend time thinking through, you know, what are those realms of Indigenous education that are important to share, that need to be done in an open way?¬†So¬†we really went back to the work of Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt on “The Four R’s” and¬†for us¬†it was the five R’s. Because relationship is key. And when I think of openness, I think of relationships. And what you can share in a relationship and what you do in a relationship, is openness¬†in¬†action. And how you build those relationships and build that trust, is figuring out what can be shared and what is sacred, and what is secret. And¬†so¬†when you look at Indigenous knowledges,¬†there are realms of knowledge that can be shared within a community. There are realms of knowledge that are shared with in societies, or people who are specially trained, to hold that knowledge and to practice that knowledge in a safe, respectful way. And¬†so¬†at certain points for openness, openness doesn’t really go all the way across Indigenous knowledge systems. There are times where we’re seeking knowledge and we receive it through dreams. So that’s very individualistic. And that’s not something that we can share openly, unless we are given that permission to do so from our Knowledge Keepers and our Elders.¬†¬†

And¬†so¬†it’s recognizing that there are levels of openness. And that was my approach when I was taking this project, because open education, like I said earlier, was something new to me. And¬†so¬†I was still trying to figure it out. And I’m thinking, okay, OER is very westernized concept where, you know, everybody needs access to the information! It’s like, yeah… but what’s the intent? How is that information being brought together? How is that information being shared outwards? And then how can others use that information? And¬†so¬†in an Indigenous way of doing, you always have that intentionality in whatever you’re sharing. And it depends, it depends on the audience, it depends on the time. And that really comes through in our language revitalization. Because there’s such a desperate need for our¬†languages to come back to a place of healthiness or… stability, I guess, more within communities, that it’s hard for speakers to come forward and be open with that, because of what had happened in the past. And¬†so¬†for me, openness has also been influenced by colonization. And that at certain points, what we have shared openly has then been taken from us, and we can’t get it back.¬†¬†

Josie:  Right. 

Dianne:¬† I think of the wax cylinder recordings that were happening around the time of settlement, and the copyright on those is now sitting in other countries. And¬†so¬†it’s our knowledge, but we can’t even have access to it. And yet, at the time, it was being collected, because we were considered a dying species, and that we had to try to preserve them somehow. And it helped launch careers.¬†So¬†for me, openness‚ÄĒ¬†that was used in a bad way. The ethical side of it, the ethical space of openness, had never really been considered. And now that we have more and more Indigenous scholars and our ways are becoming more shared. That we’re in a place now where we’re safe, and we feel safe to share our knowledges, that we need to still have that caveat, that some things are open, and some things are not. And when we mean open, it’s some of the things we’re sharing are our common teachings and our lived experiences. And there are other realms of this that are not on the table, and they should never be on the table. Because that knowledge makes the Nation what it is, and keeps it going, and it has for millennia. And¬†so¬†I wanted to make sure that when we were doing the project, that I would have individual discussions with writers and with the¬†advisory¬†committee on what we meant by open and what was off the table. To make sure that whatever was being shared that was of a personal nature, from the writers, that it was okay to be shared in an openly licensed product.¬†¬†

Josie:¬† Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much for sharing. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?¬†

Dianne:¬† I think what I like about the response to the guides, has been the individual conversations that have been happening across North America and across the globe. Even when we were doing the project. It was nice to have collaborators from New Zealand. It was nice to have conversations with researchers from Australia. And it was great to have these open conversations on how information can be shared respectfully and relevantly. And after those conversations happened, and then when we shared the guides back out it, it started this web, this network, this interconnected web of people who were,¬†“I just discovered your guides the other week, and oh my god!¬†They’re amazing! You know, can you share with me?¬†Can you‚ÄĒ” And then¬†it’s like, ‚ÄúOkay, sure.¬†I can do that.¬†But more importantly,¬†how do you see these guides helping you in the work that you need to do?” And “Okay, let’s work that through, let’s figure that out how it could work for you, and how you can adapt them to make sure it helps what you need to do.”¬†So¬†there was some great conversations, and it was across disciplines. It wasn’t just, you know, educators or administrators, it was across industries. So, you know, the healthcare industry, you know, folks are saying, “How can we adapt this to what we need to do?” And it was in the sciences, and it was wonderful to just spend time with people that just have these discussions. I’ve always tried to make myself available to people ever since the project ended, and ever since the guides have been released, because there’s always people who are discovering the guides, still, and it’s been two years now since they’ve been out there. It’s always great to just hear that excitement in people as they’re like, “Ah! this is exactly what we’ve been looking for! And oh, my God, this is, you know, we needed this five years ago!” And I said, “Well, it’s been out now for about two years.”¬†¬†


Dianne: And they asked the same questions that you’re asking, so I feel happy sharing it through this medium, because it’s pretty much the same type of conversations that I have. And it is, you know, how do we keep how do we keep these guides authentic? And that really comes through¬†in¬†how you’re going to license it? What’s the type of information you’re going to be sharing? How that information can be used and adapted?¬†And who does it? That is a great conversation to have with allies. Because at certain points, there’s a miscue on how they could see these guides could just, you know, throw it out to¬†all of the faculty,¬†“Here, these guides are amazing!” But you don’t include the learning and the teaching to embed those guides into your institution. And¬†so¬†it’s¬†really nice¬†to, to use these as learning tools, and not just as a standalone publication. And so those are the conversations that I like having with folks. Because it changed them, when they read through the guides, it changed them. And they wanted to do that same type of process, that transformational type of work, in their institutions and with their organizations. Because there’s also been nonprofits who have been gearing on to this. It’s about relationship building, it’s about creating shared learning space. And these guides are just a great way to start those conversations. At Camosun, we would take the¬†Teacher’s¬†Guide, and we had reflection circles.¬†So¬†faculty would sign up‚ÄĒand these were faculty who had already done a lot of competency training on their own, or as part of what we offer at Camosun.¬†So¬†it was a chance to just do a dialogue circle after every single chapter in the¬†Teacher’s¬†Guide¬†and relate back to their practice. And so that’s the gift of these guides, is that they’re broad enough that anyone can read them. But they’re also deep enough, so that people can gain the reflective teaching that they need from the content. And that was some of the, some of the learning activities that are included at the end of each chapter in each of these guides. People can go as deep as they want, or they can keep it at the surface level. It’s just, what are they ready to receive at that point? And¬†so¬†for us, with the¬†Teacher’s Guide¬†at Camosun, it was just a chance for folks to just feel in a safe, comfortable environment, to really share what they teach. Because when you’re¬†teaching,¬†you’re all by yourself most of the time. Especially now that we’re doing more and more online teaching.¬†So¬†it was a nice way for folks to just feel validated and what they were doing was appropriate and was the right path. That’s what I appreciate about these guides, is it’s really helped folks figure out their pathways on how to do the work in a good way. How to Indigenize not just themselves, but their department, their school, and their institution, so that it goes¬†outwards¬†and it comes back inwards. And that’s the strength of these guides that has been slowly coming through, in whomever is discovering them and making them their own. There are others who just don’t have the resources to do what they envision. And it’s like, alright, start small. Let’s just do, study groups, you know, use it as like a book club. Maybe, you know, go through like a couple of paragraphs at the beginning of each of your department meetings, things like that. Like there’s different ways that you can take bits and pieces of those guides and just build it into your daily practice.¬†

[Theme music] 

Josie:¬†In the show notes, I’ve included links to¬†all of¬†the¬†Pulling Together¬†Indigenization Guides that were created through Dianne’s project. I will also link to the project resources that Dianne mentioned.¬†

You can learn more about this podcast at On the website, you can find all episodes and transcripts, along with many other resources and information related to this project. 

You can connect with me on Twitter @josiea_g and you can tweet about the podcast using the hashtag #OKSPodcast 

I record this podcast on the traditional and unceded territories of the¬†l…ôkŐď ∑…ôŇč…ôn¬†Peoples,¬†now known¬†as the¬†Songhees¬†and Esquimalt Nations, and the territories of the WŐĪS√ĀNEńÜ Peoples.¬†

The theme song is “Cool Upbeat Hip Hop Piano”¬†by¬†ItsMochaJones¬†on and shared under a¬†Creative Commons Attribution License.¬†

This episode is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. So you are welcome to share and remix this episode, as long as you give credit, provide a link back to the original source, and share any remixed work under the same license. 

This has been Open Knowledge Spectrums. Thanks for listening. 

[Music fades out] 

‚ÄĒEnd of Episode‚ÄĒ¬†