"Colonizing Minds: Public Education, the "Textbook Indian", and Settler Colonialism in British Columbia, 1920-1970"

Sean Foster Patrick Carleton


This article examines the relationship between public education, the representations of indigenous peoples as the Textbook Indian in secondary school textbooks, and the struggle for settler hegemony in British Columbia between 1920 and 1970. In drawing inspiration from critical pedagogy, the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, and postcolonial theory, this work shows how education in general and textbooks in particular were powerful tools of a project of colonizing minds. The colonizing minds project refers to the state’s process of manufacturing and manipulating public education to justify and rationalize colonialism and the development of settler society in British Columbia to students as commonsensical. This article argues that the colonizing minds project was subtly refashioned over time to reflect the needs, struggles, and changing historical circumstances of settler society in British Columbia during the twentieth century.


colonialism, education, textbooks, aboriginal people

Full Text:


ISSN 0005-2949

BC Studies
University of British Columbia
Rm 2, 6303 NW Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

T: 604.822.3727
E: info@bcstudies.com