Skip to main content Accessibility help

A Deeper Understanding of Cultural Safety, Colonising and Seating in a Teacher Education Program: A Preliminary Study

  • Ed Harrison (a1), Peter McKay (a1), Marsha Spencer (a1) and Bernadette Trimble (a1)


This preliminary study considers the implications of where students of Aboriginal descent sat in a teacher education classroom, its significance in relation to the space of the classroom, the importance of the place to the individual and its links to creating a climate of cultural safety in the classroom. Six students from two cohorts of varying sizes were interviewed as to why they sat where they did in the classroom and why the place where they sat remained relatively stable. The study uses quotations from the students and reflectively seeks to understand their experience in the class. Risking themselves in a university context which itself is the product of the very colonisers who created the conditions for cultural genocide through residential schools. It is tentatively concluded that where First People sit in the classroom maybe reflective of the territory to which they belong.


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Ed Harrison, School of Education (Terrace), University of Northern British Columbia Ringgold standard institution, 4837 Keith Terrace, B.C. V8G 1K7, Prince George, British Columbia V2N 4Z9, Canada. Email:


Hide All
Amsler, S. (2015). Book review: Boaventure de Sousa Santos, Epistemologies of the South: Justice against epistemicide. Sociology, 49, 1005–1007. doi: 10.1177/0038038515574657.
Bolton, R., & Richard, D. (2013). Xweliqwiya: The life of a Sto:lo Matriarch. Edmonton, Alberta: AU Press.
Carlson, K.T. (2010). The power of place, the problem of time: Aboriginal identity and historical consciousness in the cauldron of colonialism. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.
de Sousa Santos, B. (2014). Epistemologies of the south: Justice against epistemicide. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Easthope, H., Liu, E., Judd, B., & Burney, I. (2015). Feeling at home in a multigenerational household: The importance of control. Housing, Theory and Society, 32 (2), 151170.
Hart, M., & Ben-Yoseph, M. (2005). Introduction: Shifting meanings of home. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 30 (1–2), 17.
Hayes, H. (2007). (Be)coming home: An existential perspective on migration, settlement and the meaning of home. Existential Analysis, 18 (1), 28.
Johnson, L.M. (2000). A place that's good: Gitksan landscape perception and ethnoecology. Human Ecology, 28 (2), 301325. Retrieved from
Macdonald, J. (nd). Feasting to decolonize the community: Building a moral community for the 21st century. Retrieved from
Madison, G. (2006). Existential migration: Conceptualising out of the experiential depths of choosing to leave “home”. Existential Analysis, 17 (2)
Malpas, J. (2012). Heidegger and the thinking of place: Explorations in the topology of being. London, UK: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Massey, D. (2005). For space. London, UK: Sage.
Schouls, T. (2003). Shifting boundaries: Aboriginal identity, pluralist theory, and the politics of self-government. Vancouver, Canada: U.B.C. Press.
Sinha, S., & Bryzzheva, L. (2012). Embodied reimagining of pedagogical places/spaces. Educational Studies, 48, 347365. doi:10.1080/00131946.2016647149.
Sterritt, N. (2016). Mapping my way home: A Gitxsan history. Smithers, Canada: Creekstone Press Ltd.
Sterritt, N., Marsden, S., Galois, R., Grant, P., & Overstall, R. (1998). Tribal boundaries in the nass watershed. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.
Totusek, P., & Station-Spicer, A. (1982). Classroom seating preference as a function of student personality. The Journal of Experimental Education, 50 (3), 159163. Retrieved from
Tupper, J., Carson, T., Johnson, I., & Mangat, J. (2008). Building places: Negotiation of spaces and citizenship in schools. Canadian Journal of Education, 31 (4), 10651092.


A Deeper Understanding of Cultural Safety, Colonising and Seating in a Teacher Education Program: A Preliminary Study

  • Ed Harrison (a1), Peter McKay (a1), Marsha Spencer (a1) and Bernadette Trimble (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed