“Moving Forward”: Arts and Indigenous Reciprocal Leadership in a Neehithuw (Woodland Cree) School Arts Project

Keywords: Arts, reciprocal leadership, Indigenous leadership, Indigenous wellbeing, culture, decolonisation


This article discusses an arts-based program carried out in a Neehithuw (Woodland Cree) school in northern Saskatchewan. Using historical photographs, students wrote a poem and then performed the poem for various audiences. The teaching/learning relationship based on Neehithuw language concepts and values allowed student leadership to develop so that students were comfortable bringing their lived culture into the curriculum. Thus, the project illustrates the effectiveness of the arts as well as a pedagogical approach that uses Indigenous reciprocal leadership to enact Neehithuw1 concepts and values to achieve educational decolonisation and cultural affirmation.


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Author Biographies

Warren Linds, Concordia University

Warren Linds is an Associate Professor in the Department of Appled Human Sciences at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Warren’s research interests include applying arts-based, critical pedagogy, and applied theatre to address issues of social justice, and well-being working with Indigenous youth.

Janice Victor

Janice Victor is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Her research interests include social justice, well-being, healing, indigenizing colonial institutions, child welfare, community development, agency, restorative justice, as well as, qualitative and arts-based methodologies.

Linda Goulet

Linda Goulet is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Indigenous Education at First Nations University of Canada, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Linda’s research interests include Indigenous pedagogy, Indigenous youth wellbeing and the arts, and collaborative research.

Lacey Eninew

Lacey Eninew is Woodland Cree First Nations from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, and a high school teacher based at Rhoda Hardlotte Memorial Kethanow High School. Lacey’s research interests include land based/arts education and its impact on the resurgence of Indigenous identity in First Nation youth.

Keith Goulet

Keith N. Goulet is Nehinuw (Cree) and currently a PhD student based at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. As a fluent Cree speaker, Keith’s research interests include a study of the Cree language and Indigenous history. His dissertation examines the Cree concept of land and the colonial history of dispossession.

Erika Licón

Erika Licón is a Ph.D. Candidate on Social Solidarity Economy at the Individualized Program, Concordia University, Montreal. She has extensive experience designing and implementing university-level social innovation programs. Erika's ,research interests include youth wellbeing, the solidarity economy, epistemologies of the South, and de-colonizing research methodologies for addressing social and environmental justice.


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How to Cite
Linds, W., Victor, J., Goulet, L., Eninew, L., Goulet, K., & Licón, E. (2019). “Moving Forward”: Arts and Indigenous Reciprocal Leadership in a Neehithuw (Woodland Cree) School Arts Project. WINHEC: International Journal of Indigenous Education Scholarship, (1), 67-83. Retrieved from https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/winhec/article/view/18820