Identity Texts as Decolonized Writing

Beyond the Cowboys and Indians Meta-Narrative


  • Shelley K. Taylor University of Western Ontario



Aboriginal languages, dual language books, representations, identity texts, meta-narratives, decolonized writing


Research indicates that when students’ identities are affirmed in micro-interactions between themselves and teachers, they are more likely to invest themselves academically (Cummins, 2001). Aboriginal students faced with pedagogical materials that negatively represent their culture are loath to invest themselves in their schooling. This reflection on practice describes the implementation of a dual language book project designed to produce positive identity texts to counter damaging representations of marginalized group members. The participant-authors were Aboriginal parents who wrote books intended for their preschool-aged children in their ancestral language and English. These parents created identity texts to reflect their children’s identities back to them in a positive light (Cummins, this volume) and, in so doing, they engaged in a form of “decolonized writing.”

Author Biography

Shelley K. Taylor, University of Western Ontario

Shelley K. Taylor is Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario. She has researched the effects of growing societal multilingualism on schools, educators, and plurilingual children. Her main focus has been on immigrant, First Nations, and indigenous children enrolled in bilingual education – French immersion programs in Canada, a Danish-Turkish bilingual/bicultural education program in Denmark, and the introduction of multilingual language education programs in Nepal. She co-edited a special issue of The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and edited TESOL ’s Bilingual Basics series from 2004–2007.


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How to Cite

Taylor, S. K. (2011). Identity Texts as Decolonized Writing: Beyond the Cowboys and Indians Meta-Narrative. Writing and Pedagogy, 3(2), 289–304.



Reflections on Practice