Decolonizing Education and Educators’ Decolonizing


  • Kathleen Absolon Wilfrid Laurier University



decolonizing, wholistic, Indigegogy, Indigenous


This article specifically speaks to decolonizing within social work education and practice from an Indigenous Anishinaabe perspective. Social work is situated as a site for decolonizing education in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This article illustrates the context and development of an Indigenous-centred program with a goal of decolonizing social work education teaching and learning. It tells a story of the newly formed Centre for Indigegogy as a professional development site for de-colon-izing social work education. De-colon-izing is much like detoxing from all the toxins we ingest into our bodies. De-colon-izing is similar to detoxing and clearing out the colonizing knowledge and practices that we have ingested and adopted from colonial social work education. Decolonizing has to be wholistic in terms of detoxing our spirits, hearts, minds, and bodies (Absolon, 2016). This article explores the meaning and intention of decolonizing coupled with a call for action for all social work educators to pick up the theoretical work of learning and understanding the truth in the truth about colonization and its impact on both settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples (Freire, 2008; Memmi, 1965). The Centre for Indigegogy promotes critically reflexive practices of teaching and learning, steeped in Indigenous perspectives and anti-colonial knowledge, and offers certificates in decolonizing education and Indigenous education. This article highlights the programming of the Centre for Indigegogy and illustrates the transformative, uncomfortable, challenging, inspiring, and healing work that decolonizing education offers. The absence of any of these experiences raises the question: Is decolonizing really happening?

Author Biography

Kathleen Absolon, Wilfrid Laurier University

Director, Centre for Indigegogy, Faculty of Social Work, WLU; Associate Professor, Indigenous Field of Study, MSW Program, Faculty of Social Work