Spent the last week or so working on the problem statement for my dissertation....
Scholars have argued that western culture has an “interpretative monopoly” (Battisti, p.10) on the language and culture of Indigenous peoples, and that research by non-indigenous people on indigenous language and culture is fraught with colonial values and inexorably linked to European imperialism. Because of this inherent colonialism, care and partnership are required to facilitate the de-colonizing music education. (Battisti, 2012; Kallio, 2020). Other scholars have argued that culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) is a research framework that fosters work to sustain linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism within education. (Alim &Paris, 2017; Good-Perkins, 2021). These scholars believe that CSP focuses on sustaining and supporting plurality, rather than simply making it relevant.
However, music education in Nova Scotia is firmly ensconced in a Western paradigm. Elementary students are taught singing in the Bel Canto style, and most of the music education in middle school and high school falls within the choir, orchestra, band paradigm. Music education is delivered with an underlying praxial philosophical approach in that students are expected and directed to learn about music through creating, making and presenting (NSDEECD, 2020).
Although the music curricula in Nova Scotia have undergone a rewrite over that last five years and are now philosophically and practically rooted in culturally sustaining pedagogies, the resources to present music of Mi'kma'ki in a praxial philosophical environment do not exist. More importantly, the underlying understanding of how to create these resources respectfully and authentically does not exist. The music of Mi’kma’ki exists within an alternate epistemology than the music of Western Europe. Rooted in nature, song, chant, and intimately connected to dance, Mi’kmaq music both modern and traditional is vast and relatively under-researched. A study is necessary to explore respectful and authentic ways to create Mi'kmaq music resources and decolonize the delivery of the COB paradigm to allow for the delivery of curricula that is rooted in CSP and grounded in a praxial philosophy.