A Search for Decolonizing Place-Based Pedagogies: An Exploration of Unheard Histories in Kitsilano Vancouver, B.C.


  • Elizabeth Ruth Henry University of British Columbia


This paper explores the ways that place-based pedagogies can facilitate dialogue on colonization, or some of the "dark matters" of environmental education, specifically by engaging non-Indigenous adults in decolonizing dialogues. I share findings from an action research project with Kitsilano Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Working with seven adults, I facilitated a series of three workshops, in which I invited participants to learn forgotten or unheard Aboriginal, immigrant, and settler histories in their neighbourhood. Participants primarily chose to research the histories of Euro-Canadian settlers; however, they were willing to talk about colonization, decolonization, and reconciliation. I suggest integrating practices from arts-based education, indigenizing and decolonizing pedagogies, and anti-racism education to further engage learners in decolonizing their place-based learning.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Ruth Henry, University of British Columbia

While visiting Musqueam territory, Elizabeth Henry completed her MA in Adult Education at UBC. Her thesis, Learning our histories at Kits House – A search for decolonizing place-based pedagogies, investigates pedagogies designed for non-Indigenous adult learners. She has worked as an environmental adult educator at the Fraser Basin Council, Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, and several community centres in Vancouver.