Current Centre Student Associate

Heather E. McGregor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, UBC

Statement of research interests:

My doctoral research attempts to tell a story about the decolonization of a public education system based on the recent history of educational change in Nunavut. It explores the complexity and challenge of building a contemporary school system on foundations of Indigenous knowledge, it documents how teaching in the Nunavut context is distinctive, and how those who have been involved in educational change understand and narrate it. I am looking for whether, and how, the process of educational change (in terms of policy, curriculum and leadership) is mediated by knowledge(s) from, and about, the past that are unique to Nunavut. As of the 2013-14 year I am a doctoral candidate, working primarily on researching and writing for my dissertation.

My other research interests include: northern residential school histories and teaching about residential schools; ethnohistory and history informed by Indigenous research methods; decolonizing pedagogies and incorporating Indigenous knowledges in higher education; incorporation of Indigenous histories and historical consciousness into history education; and, online learning.

My Masters research at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education focused on documenting little-known stories of educational change in the Arctic. This research resulted in the 2010 publication Inuit Education and Schools in the Eastern Arctic with UBC Press. Focusing on the themes of cultural negotiation, decision-making power and the role of tradition in education, the book’s purpose is to identify points in history when approaches to education best reflected Inuit culture, traditions, and their vision of the future.

I was born in the NWT and Iqaluit, Nunavut has been my family’s home for most of my life. Since I was a child I have learned from, been inspired by, and become significantly committed to the distinct ways of knowing, being and doing Inuit are actively protecting and promoting in their homeland. I believe strongly the integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in the public education system is to the benefit of all Northerners. Returning to work and live in Nunavut after studying in Toronto was important to shaping my interest in further research. Coordinating implementation of the 2008 Nunavut Education Act for the Department of Education allowed me to more fully understand the challenges of transitioning vision and policy into changing practice in schools and classrooms.

I am thankful for being able to study and live on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation, and I am grateful for the guidance of my supervisors Penney Clark, Peter Seixas and Michael Marker. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies.


Madden, B. & McGregor, H. E. (2013). Ex(er)cising Student Voice in Pedagogy for Decolonizing: Exploring Complexities Through Duoethnography. Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies. 35(5): 371-391.

McGregor, H. E. (2013). Situating Nunavut Education with Indigenous Education in Canada. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(2): 87-118.

McGregor, H. E. (2012). Curriculum Change in Nunavut: Towards Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. McGill Journal of Education 47(3): 285-302.

McGregor, H. E. (2012). Nunavut’s Education Act: education, legislation and change in the Arctic. The Northern Review 36(1): 27-52.

McGregor, H. E. (2010). Inuit Education and Schools in the Eastern Arctic. Vancouver: UBC Press.

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