Cipenuk Red Hope: Weaving Policy Toward Decolonization & Beyond

  • Author / Creator
    Sockbeson, Rebecca Cardinal
  • This research focuses on documenting the efforts of the Waponahki people to design and pass legislated policy that effectively addresses racism and the process of colonization in school curriculum. The Waponahki, Indigenous to Maine and the Maritime Provinces, set precedent in both Canada and the United States during the late 1990s for the development of progressive educational policy that was implemented as legislated policy; two public laws and one state rule. Research on these policies, including the processes of their development, is significant because it provides an educational and social justice policy-making model. This work also contributes to the emerging discourse on Indigenous Research Methodologies as critical to the transformation of policy development theory and practice amongst Indigenous peoples. In Alberta, Canada, the Aboriginal student population is the fastest growing of any other race/ethnicity in the province (Alberta Learning Commission, 2005). However, Aboriginal students have the highest drop-out rates, and are least likely of any group to complete university (Frideres, 2005 & Statistics Canada, 2001). Experiences of racism in schools continue and are cited as a leading reason for Aboriginal student attrition, and the implementation of policy and practice that values Aboriginal worldviews is key to Aboriginal student success in school systems (Hampton & St. Denis 2004, Wotherspoon & Schissel, 2003). This research documents and analyzes the development of such policy from the lens of an Indigenous Waponahki researcher. The project is also unique because it specifically articulates a Waponahki epistemology and ontology as its foundational research methodology. Guided by the essence, practice, and principles of Waponahki basket weaving and creation story, the project examines two key pieces of legislation (public law) and one state rule that address racism and support language revitalization: in 2000, Maine Public Law Chapter 27, Title 1 MRSA §1102, more widely known as the Squaw Law; in 2001,Maine Public Law, Chapter 403, Title 20-A MRSA § 4706, known as the Wabanaki Studies Law; and in 2005, the Native Language Endorsement Rule, Maine Department of Education, 05 071 CMR 115 Part II section 1.17, a state rule authorized by the state legislature. The study employs data collection methods that examine published documents, texts and individual interviews related to the three examples of legislated policy. Discussions address not only the challenges and opportunities of designing and implementation, but also speak to how these legislated policies function in practice as policies that work toward Waponahki survival and beyond. By discussing the development of these three specific examples as policies that evolved from the knowledge, traditions and colonial experiences of Waponahki people, this research describes and analyses how Waponahki ways of knowing (epistemology) and ways of being (ontology) inform policy-making processes in Maine.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kapoor, Dip (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Shultz, Lynnette (Educational Policy Studies)
    • da Costa, Jose (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Wilson, Stan (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Smith, David (Secondary Education)
    • Dr Sandy Grande (Connecticut College)
    • Ranco, Darren (University of Maine)