Haig-Brown, Celia

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Haig-Brown, Celia

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Celia Haig-Brown is a Euro-Canadian ethnographer, researcher, professor, and university administrator based at York University. She is best known for her research working with former students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, updated in 2022 with Indigenous collaborators and published as "Tsqelmucwílc: The Kamloops Indian Residential School, Resistance and a Reckoning." Her research and scholarship focuses on the indigenization of education in the Canadian context and interrelations between Euro-Canadian and Indigenous Haig-Brown has also directed and co-produced film documentaries, including Peq'ilc: Coming Home (2011), Cowboys, Indians and Education: Regenerating Secwepemc Culture (2012), and Listen to the Land (2018). Her most recent project, Rodeo Women: Behind the Scenes, a documentary on the role women play in the rodeo circuit.

Haig-Brown completed a BA in Zoology and English at the University of British Columbia in 1968. She completed her teaching certificate (Science and English) in 1970 at the University of British Columbia. She later completed a MA in Curriculum and Instruction in 1986, writing a thesis "Invasion and Resistance: Surviving the Kamloops Indian Residential School" which would later form the basis for her 1988 monograph "Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School." Her PhD in Social Foundations of Educational Policy from UBC was completed in 1991. Her thesis, "Taking Control: Power and Contradiction in First Nations Adult Education" would later form the basis for a 1995 monograph published by UBC Press.

She served as a researcher, curriculum developer and instructor in several educational programs tied to Indigenous education and adult learning facilities in British Columbia before joining the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in 1990. She taught various courses on feminist pedagogical practices, educational theory and practice, social issues in education, and gender equity in teacher education. She later joined York University in 1997 and taught graduate courses in the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and the School of Women's Studies in the area of feminist research methods, decolonization, indigenization of school curriculum, Indigenous pedagogies, land-based pedagogy; and the Indian Residential Schools and the impact of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and undergraduate courses on the foundations of education and models for education.

Beginning in about 2007, Haig-Brown shifted into roles in university administration, university governance, and research ethics. She served on York University's Senate, chairing from 2009-2010. She served as a member of numerous committees related to research ethics, and York's' Indigenous Research Ethics Board. From 2013-2015, she served a three year term as Associate Dean, Research and Professional Learning within the Faculty of Education. From 2015-2020, Haig-Brown served a five-year term as Associate Vice-President Research for the university.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Haig-Brown began developing her research outputs as documentary films, many in partnership with her niece Helen Haig-Brown. In 2008 she produced and co-directed with Helen Haig-Brown "Pelq'ilc: Coming Home", a film focusing on the place of education in renewing Indigenous culture and tradition. The piece focuses on the children and grandchildren of residential school survivors first interviewed by Haig-Brown for her MA thesis.

In 2012 she produced and co-directed with Helen Haig-Brown "Cowboys, Indians and Education: Regenerating Secwepemc Culture" which again focused on the experience of children and grandchildren of former Kamloops Indian Residential School students working on traditional knowledge revitalization efforts.

In 2018 she produced and directed "Listen to the Land" a documentary focusing on the experience of members of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and their complex relationship with the land and contemporary economic realities of mining exploration in the territory.

Haig-Brown was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2022. She retired from York University in January 2024.


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2024-03-19. Creation A. St.Onge.


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