Lindsay Morcom Profile

Lindsay Morcom (Saskatchewan & Exeter 2006) is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She was previously a lecturer and tutor of linguistics at both Oxford University and the First Nations University of Canada at the University of Regina. Lindsay holds a doctorate in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology from Oxford University and a Master’s in Linguistics from the University of Regina.

Rhodes Project: Where do you call home?

Lindsay Morcom: Right now I live just outside of Kingston, Ontario, but I’m originally from Regina, Saskatchewan.

Rhodes Project: Who are your favorite authors?

Lindsay Morcom: David Bouchard. He writes children’s books that focus on Aboriginal and Métis Canadian culture. They are absolutely stunning and so moving. I also love to read Neil Gaiman and Salman Rushdie.

Rhodes Project: What is currently playing on your iPod?

Lindsay Morcom: I listen to CBC Podcasts - The Age of Persuasion and Vinyl Café. They are delightful.

Rhodes Project: When did you first become passionate about education?

Lindsay Morcom: I think I realized during my doctorate that teaching was where my heart was. Then I went on to work for the Department of National Defense in Educational Research and really fell in love with it. It wasn’t my original area of study, but I did do the Developing Teaching and Learning Certificate at Oxford. That really introduced me to education research and how interesting it can be. It makes you think differently. With the job I have right now, it both ties in my love for education with my real passion for Aboriginal language and culture. It just worked out perfectly.

Rhodes Project: What first inspired your interest in Aboriginal language and culture?

Lindsay Morcom: It originally came through academics. I did my undergraduate at the University of Regina where the Department of Linguistics was through the First Nation University of Canada. Through the passion of the professors there, I came to realize how fascinating the languages and cultures in Canada and the United States are.  I also have Métis heritage, and I have loved being able to learn about my own heritage through my work, and then using my work to give back to the community.

Rhodes Project:  What is the best part of your job now?

Lindsay Morcom: The best part of my job is the students and the communities I work with. I run a program here at Queen’s that does on campus training for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who are training to be teachers with a focus on Native languages and culture in the classroom. We also do community based training through three Aboriginal education institutes that we partner with. It’s a really great partnership. We have Six Nations Polytechnic at Six Nations in Southern Ontario, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute on Manitoulin Island, and Seven Generations Education Institute in Fort Francis. At Six Nations, at least six Iroquoian languages are spoken, along with some others. Then we have two Ojibwe-speaking communities, with some people also speaking Oji-Cree. They are fantastic people to work with. The students are amazing and committed. They’re doing great things and I’m really lucky to be a part of it.  It’s also great to be able to apply what I learned in my doctorate, which looked at Aboriginal languages, to the programming that I’m doing now to help communities look at how best to maintain and grow their languages.

Rhodes Project: What is the most challenging part of your job?  

Lindsay Morcom:  Sometimes it can be a challenge to convince non-Aboriginal people that there is a reason for culturist programming and that the education of Aboriginal children is of extreme importance and can’t be done in the same way you would educate in any classroom. It’s a battle that I think is being won, but not everyone understands that Aboriginal people do belong to a different culture from mainstream urban, non-Aboriginal people. It would be like taking someone out of a classroom in Toronto and plunking them in a classroom in Japan and expecting them to do well. That’s ludicrous. We need to adjust education so that it’s engaging, useful and appropriate for Aboriginal children. Sometimes people don’t see that, but usually we can show them that that’s the case.  Finding ways to build bridges between communities is a big part of my job, and although it is difficult I think it is very much worthwhile.

Rhodes Project: Who is your favorite fictional heroine?

Lindsay Morcom:  When I was a teenager I read The Song of the Lioness series about a female knight named Alanna.  She was a strong female character who thought for herself and was independent but still feminine.  I also loved Skeeter , Aibileen, and Minny in The Help.  As I’ve grown older I’ve really come to appreciate portrayals of strong women.  I think there is a need for more feminist literature that encourages women to be proud leaders who think for themselves.

Rhodes Project: Who is your favorite real-life heroine?

Lindsay Morcom:  It’s too hard to pick just one.  I admire the on-site coordinators, administrators, and elders who I work with here at Queen’s and in the communities we partner with.  I am inspired by their commitment to education and their love of their communities and I want to strive to emulate their passion for justice in my work.  I am lucky to be surrounded by such a great team of women.  I have also learned a lot from General Tammy Harris, who was the base commander while I was at CFB Borden, and who mentored me on leadership.  It was really inspiring to watch her lead so effectively.

Rhodes Project:  What would readers on our site be surprised to learn about you?

Lindsay Morcom: I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m not full of many surprises. They might be surprised to learn that I’m one of the few Rhodes Scholars who don’t do sports at all. I hate sports. My sport at Oxford was beer boat rowing. I can barely walk without falling over.

Rhodes Project: What do you do to relax?

Lindsay Morcom: I spend a lot of time with my awesome husband and my two dogs. When I need to relax I go outside. I live in the middle of the forest in a lovely house that’s on five treed acres. I’ll go out into our trees and just be by myself and just be outside for a while. I love where I live.

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