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Decolonising and Indigenising Psychology Committee (DIPC)

DIPC members:

Andrew (Hyounsoo) Kim, Assistant Professor

David Day, first generation settler, Professor

Karl Szpunar, White settler, Associate Professor, Director of Psychological Science Training

Dr. Todd Girard profile

Todd Girard, White settler, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director

Anik Obomsawin, Abénaki First Nations, Graduate Student

Fiona Thomas, South Asian settler, Assistant Professor

Kristin Vickers, White settler, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director

Toronto Metropolitan University

Becky Choma (Project Lead), settler, Professor, and Co-Chair EDIJ

Toronto Metropolitan University

Iloradanon Efimoff, Haida and White settler, Assistant Professor

Toronto Metropolitan University

Stephanie Cassin, second generation settler, Professor, Director of Clinical Training

Caroline Erentzen, third generation White settler, Assistant Professor

Jaiden Herkimer, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Graduate Student

Dr. Tae Hart profile

Tae Hart, third generation settler, Professor


We are a team of academics in the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University. We are developing a new university course on (temporarily called) critical perspectives on colonialism in psychological research, teaching, and practice. Our program does not currently offer any courses focusing on the impact of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples or psychology. This is a serious gap, especially considering the harm caused to Indigenous Peoples in Canada by the discipline of psychology and by Toronto Metropolitan University’s former namesake.

In response to the Calls to Action following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the Canadian Psychological Association (the national professional association for the science, practice, and education of psychology) has urged all psychology programs to improve what they term “Indigenous cultural literacy.” Our goal is to begin to address this call through the development of a new course. The course proposal we are aiming to develop will likely include the following topics, among others:

  • The impacts of colonial history and current systemic racism and discrimination
  • The residential school system and intergenerational trauma, along with other past and present harms
  • The understanding that settlers and newcomers are guests on Indigenous territory, and therefore have an additional responsibility to respect those ways of knowing
  • An introduction to Indigenous knowledges
  • Indigenous psychology
  • Cultural allyship

Thanks to two grants, one from the Indigenous Education Council (IEC) at TMU and another from the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CELT) at TMU, we are currently conducting an environmental scan of available content related to “the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples and psychology” and consulting Indigenous scholars and Knowledge Holders. We are incredibly grateful to those who have already shared their insight and knowledge with us, and to the IEC and CELT for their ongoing support. 

We plan to share a copy of our findings and course recommendations in a report with all interested parties, including by posting a report on this webpage.