Jo-ann Archibald receives Order of Canada for helping advance Indigenous education in schools

Archibald, also known by her Stó:lō name Q'um Q'um Xiiem, is a member of the Soowahlie and Xaxli'p First Nations. She spent her career helping to advance Indigenous educational programs in Canadian elementary and university curricula.

Educator says much has changed in B.C. curriculum during her 45 years in the field

Jo-ann Archibald, also known by her Stó:lō name Q'um Q'um Xiiem, says when she was going through the B.C. public school system as a child, she did not feel the curriculum represented Indigenous peoples, topics and approaches properly. (Martin Dee / UBC)

UBC professor emeritus Jo-ann Archibald has been appointed officer of the Order of Canada for her substantial work in Indigenous education.

Governor General Julie Payette made 103 new appointments on Thursday, honouring Canadians who have helped shape and innovate societies across the country.

Archibald, also known by her Stó:lō name Q'um Q'um Xiiem, is a member of the Soowahlie and Xaxli'p First Nations. She spent her career helping to advance Indigenous educational programs in Canadian elementary and university curricula.

Archibald says when she was going through the B.C. public school system as a child, she did not feel the curriculum represented Indigenous peoples, topics and approaches properly.

"I often felt concerned. And I felt I wasn't proud of being Indigenous because what was taught about Indigenous people was rather negative. It wasn't what I was familiar with as far as living an Indigenous life," she told On the Coast guest host Margaret Gallagher.

That feeling did not disappear once she decided to become an educator and entered a teaching education program. She says she couldn't find any curriculum that did a proper job of educating students about Indigenous culture.

"I needed to do something more in Indigenous education," Archibald said.

Governor General Julie Payette made 103 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Thursday. (The Governor General of Canada)

Transforming curriculum

Archibald has served on various provincial curriculum committees throughout her career, recommending ways that education about Indigenous cultures could be better shared with students.

"In the Stó:lō area where I grew up, many of the elders and community members worked with educators, including myself, to develop curriculum about our history, our culture [and] our ways of knowing," said Archibald.

"A lot of the knowledge [had been] denied. Elders have said it was put to sleep during the residential school system."

Archibald says much has changed in B.C. curriculum during her 45 years in the field.

"We are at a point today in B.C.'s provincial school system where at each grade level and subject area, Indigenous content resources are recommended. And that's so different from when I went through the public school system."

Archibald says many Indigenous people helped bring change to school systems in Canada. She hopes those in education roles continue to prioritise Indigenous education.

"Certainly a lot more needs to be done, but it has been happening for a number of years now," she said.

Listen to the full interview here:

Jo-Ann Archibald, also known by her Stolo name Q'um Q'um Xiiem, is a UBC professor emeritus in education studies. After 45 years in education, she was awarded the Order of Canada for her instrumental work with Indigenous curriculum. 9:33

With files from On the Coast