A Critical Race Theory Analysis of Métis Teachers' Counter-Stories
In Canada, Métis are a distinct Indigenous population and nation that have been racialized as mixed-race historically. Using critical race theory (CRT) and mixed-race studies (MRS), this study examined the counter-stories or racialized experiential knowledge of thirteen Métis professionals with K-12 teaching experience in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The counter-stories examined include racialized experiences prior to becoming teachers and as practicing teachers. A critical race theory methodological framework was utilized to analyze the participants’ counter-stories as a means to identify multiple ways in which racism operates in Saskatchewan K-12 schools. The research suggests that Métis teachers, regardless of their racial appearance as White or visibly Indigenous, have visceral reactions to racism directed toward Indigenous peoples as a result of witnessing colourism, passing as White, experiencing intersectional oppression, and learning about racism from family. As a result, the participants were able to remember stories about racism as K-12 students and as practicing teachers, unlike a majority of research that has been conducted with White teachers. The research found that racism continues to operate in Saskatchewan schools through various practices and policies legitimized by deficit, essentialist, and liberal ideology. Drawing from critical race theory, I argue that the racist practices and ideologies identified in the data structurally determine Whiteness and racialized academic outcomes in Saskatchewan schools. While the Métis teachers in this study were able to tell stories about racism in K-12 schools, an inability to conceptualize how to counter racism beyond integrating Indigenous knowledge and, at times, anti-racist content into the curriculum was evident. This finding suggests a need to consider student integration rather than content integration in Indigenous education policy, as content integration has been a focus within Saskatchewan Indigenous education. In addition, the participants were able to remember more counter-stories about Indigenous K-12 students’ encounters with racism when they were K-12 students compared to when they were practicing teachers. The study therefore concludes with direction for an anti-racism educational framework that is inclusive of the unique counter-stories of Métis teachers and students, as well as others, who are racialized as mixed-race.
Métis, Teachers, Counter-Stories, Racism, White Property, Indigenous Education, Anti-Racism, Schools, Critical Race Theory, Structural Determinism
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)