Windsor·INDIGENOUS SCHOLARS

'Part of a bigger plan': Indigenous scholar at UWindsor doesn't feel like a 'token'

Political science professor Rebecca Major has been at the University of Windsor for a year now — but she's never felt like her skills are limited to her Indigenous background.

'Just because it's a typical settler topic doesn't mean I'm going to teach it from a settler perspective'

Political science professor Rebecca Major has been at the University of Windsor for a year now — but she's never felt like her skills are limited to her Indigenous background. (Tom Addison/CBC)

Political science professor Rebecca Major has been at the University of Windsor for a year now — but she's never felt like her skills are limited to her Indigenous background.

Major is watching the federal election very closely.

"I'm looking for what is — or is not — being said about Indigenous issues," said Major. 

She's no stranger to politics herself, having acted as the policy advisor in environment and inter-governmental affairs for the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan. Major also served as a Métis local president for one year and was one of the Saskatchewan Métis area representative for nine months before moving to Ontario. 

Strong local Métis community

According to Major, the local Métis community is "quite strong."

"They have lots of programming and are active in the council for the region, part of the larger Métis Nation Ontario," said Major.

Major said the Métis population is smaller in the region, stemming from their stories being left out of school curriculums. 

"That's changing now under reconciliation and community partnerships," said Major, who would like to see a Truth and Reconciliation group at the municipal level. 

"It's something this community could definitely benefit from," said Major. "And people could benefit from learning what we have to teach."

'Part of a bigger plan'

Most of Major's classes aren't related directly to Indigenous people, but she brings in supplementary material written by Indigenous scholars.

"I work really hard to make sure we capture all of the relationships." said Major. "Just because it's a typical settler topic doesn't mean I'm going to teach it from a settler perspective."

Major said after every class she has students who thank her for incorporating Indigenous content. 

"I don't feel like I'm a token at this institution," said Major about her appointment at the University of Windsor. "We're part of a bigger plan."

This interview, aired on Windsor Morning, is the second in a series about the five Indigenous scholars hired last year by the University of Windsor. 

Find the first interview, about philosopher professor Andrea Sullivan-Clarke here.

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