Current Centre Student Associate

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

Statement of research interests:

I completed my doctoral research, Decolonizing the Nunavut School System: Stories in a River of Time, in March 2015 (available from: My dissertation explores the recent history of educational change in Nunavut’s public school system, primarily between the years 2000 and 2013. I examine processes of bringing knowledge from and about the past forward in educational change. I describe three sites as demonstrating decolonizing: 1) The role of Inuit Elders in the school system, including full-time Elder Advisors; 2) Processes of curriculum development based on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit; and, 3) An annual leadership development workshop facilitating history education. Building on these stories of change, I work towards theorizing two concepts, and the relationship between them, in the context of the Nunavut school system: decolonizing and knowing with historical consciousness.

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 having been 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.

Selected Publications:

McGregor, H.E. (2015). Listening for More (Hi)Stories from the Arctic’s Dispersed and Diverse Educational Past. Historical Studies in Education, 27(1), 19-39.

McGregor, H.E. & Millar, W.P.J. (2015). The territories in the history of education in Canada: Where are we going? (and why?). Historical Studies in Education, 27(1), 5-18.

McGregor, H.E. (2015). North of 60: Some Methodological Considerations for Educational Historians. Historical Studies in Education, 27(1), 121-129.

McGregor, H.E. (2014). Exploring ethnohistory and Indigenous scholarship: What is the relevance to educational historians? History of Education, 43(4), 431-449.

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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