Dr. Lyn Daniels (EdD), is Cree and Metis and belongs to the Kawacatoose First Nation located in southern Saskatchewan. She has worked in several school districts in BC and for the Ministry of Education as an administrator, coordinator and consultant in Aboriginal Education and is currently the Director of Instruction, Aboriginal Learning, in Surrey Schools. Lyn completed a Doctor of Education degree at UBC in Policy and Educational Leadership in 2016. Lyn’s research focused on Aboriginal college students’ memories of public education and how they compare to the memories of former Indian residential school students and educational policy in the colonial past and present.
Meeting Lyn Daniels
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
One of the most memorable experiences during my time as a student in the Faculty of Education at UBC was just before my thesis defense. The chair of the committee was from sociology. She said that reading my thesis was particularly powerful given that her ancestors were affected by the Holocaust. One of my goals was to show how the history of Indian residential schools was analogous to genocide. My hope was that someone would see that analogy and agree that it was appropriate. Now, when I present my research, I feel confident that I can speak with authority, given the scholars from UBC, who read and examined my writing and thesis and supported the granting of a Doctor of Education degree.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
Now that I am in the role of Director of Instruction in Surrey Schools, the largest school district in BC, I have many opportunities to frame the history of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada as one that needs to be spoken of truthfully. In order to have true reconciliation, we have to listen to the stories of Indigenous peoples in Canada who have survived genocide and vow to live our lives differently. A few years ago, these terms would not have been permitted with respect to the traumatic history of Indian residential schools. Such an analogy would have been rejected outright.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
We, Indigenous educators, are always looking for the language and terms that accurately describes our experiences of severe oppression in Canada and how to change our situation of exclusion from benefiting socially and economically. If we come to understand that including Indigenous peoples in gaining the benefits of the land and resources in the same manner as other Canadians, is a positive situation, and the term ‘inclusion’ helps us to understand that, then Canadians should adopt this notion when it comes to the relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
If I was to offer any words of wisdom for current students and advice for newly graduated folks it would be to accept the feedback from instructors and professors that is offered. That was one of the most difficult barriers for me, to accept feedback on my writing and scholarship. Belonging to a marginalized group, Indigenous peoples, I knew that my education was not of the same quality as others and I always felt that. Now that I have a Doctor of Education degree from UBC, I feel that I have an education that is equitable to other Canadian scholars.