VANCOUVER (CityNews) — Dr. Amie Wolf feels betrayed and minimized by the University of British Columbia after the administration allegedly destroyed her interim reports on twelve teaching candidates.
Wolf, who is of Mi’kmaq ancestry, is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education. She has taught a required course on Indigenous Education since July 2020, giving prospective teachers the background to teach Indigenous topics and perspectives in every subject area and grade.
Twelve of the teaching candidates didn’t take kindly to many of the things Wolf was putting forward.
“I said to the teacher candidates, ‘You being asked to teach Indigenous topics as a Caucasian person who knows nothing about our cultures of which there are 600 different, distinct nations, is the government’s spin on assimilation. We are built on the blood and the attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples. And I said you’re about to go on the payroll for one of the most ruthless colonial regimes in the world,” Wolf explains.
“There are teacher candidates here who are showing tendencies of white supremacy, which means vicious pushback against my message, and that’s what I experienced in the class.”
Wolf says the interim reports on these students reflected her assessment that they were not ready to educate students about Indigenous subject matter.
“It was stuff like on a discussion board, I would say, ‘What are the realities for Indigenous students in education today?’ One of these 12 students says, ‘I’m white, how should I know?’ Period. Just so disrespectful.”
Wolf says the 12 students privately complained to the teacher education office. soon after she says she had call with the dean, Dr. Marianna McTavish, about the reports that help assess student progress.
“I phoned her and she said, ‘Amy we’ve received an anonymous letter from a parent about the interim reports and the assessments being too harsh.”
Next, came a Zoom call with program leaders in which they told her the reports had been purged.
“Amie, we’ve deleted your interim reports because of this letter sent to the president’s office, and we’re asking you to also delete your copies, and to never speak of the content of the interim reports to anyone,” she says she was told.
My dear friends. I see many people reading what I write. I'm honoured. Please be loud about what has happened to me at UBC re: erasure of my assessments reporting bias against Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous women (me). Thank you. I need your help. I can't do this alone.
— Dr. Amie Wolf (@AmieWol45816678) January 20, 2021
In June of 2019, the province introduced a new professional standard for teachers, requiring them to commit to both truth and reconciliation.
“Under the new standard, all educators are expected to commit to respect and value the history of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada, and to foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives, integrating these worldviews into the classroom,” according to a statement announcing that change.
Dr. Wolf still passed the students on the condition they learned how to respectfully teach Indigenous perspectives in a classroom context.
In an emailed statement, UBC says in part that interim reports are used for a variety of reasons.
“In the matter at hand, the Interim Reports were generated because of a change to the students’ enrolment. At no time are interim reports forwarded to the President’s Office or to any government body outside of the University,” that email reads.
UBC did not confirm if the reports were destroyed by the president’s office, or if Dr. Wolf was told to never speak about the reports.
“For privacy reasons, we will not comment further on any allegations that have been raised,” the statement says.
Dr. Wolf says she has now been placed on administrative leave, and says she’s not being offered more contract work as a sessional instructor.
“I think UBC is probably on the hook. I’m not sure, but I’m going to find the legal issues in this and I’m going to go all the way,” Wolf says.
“They played a very poor game at the wrong time, with a person that is ready and able to resist.”