Following their Voices: Supporting Indigenous Students’ Learning by Fostering Culturally Sustaining Relational Pedagogies to Reshape the School and Classroom Environment

Dawn Wallin
University of Saskatchewan
Scott Tunison
University of Saskatchewan


Canada’s colonial relationship to First Peoples was predicated on the imposition of church-run residential schools, systemic racism, and chronic underfunding of education on reserve (Dart, 2019). As a result, the relationship between Indigenous learners, families and the school system is fraught with mistrust, scepticism regarding the purposes of education, and questions about
educational success, quality, and achievement (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015). This
paper presents findings of a meta-analysis of 11 case studies of public and First Nations-run
schools in rural, remote and northern schools Saskatchewan, Canada. These schools are part of
an initiative called Following Their Voices (FTV) that has as its objective the improvement of
educational outcomes for Indigenous students. In this paper, we describe the FTV initiative and
discuss the challenges and facilitators of fidelity to the processes, goals and outcomes faced by
schools attempting to implement a complex school initiative such as FTV. Emerging from our
meta-analysis were concerns related to collective responsibility, sustainability, and leadership.

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