Campus Directory: Cynthia Chambers

University of Lethbridge

Cynthia Chambers


PhD (Curriculum Studies) & MA (Reading/Language Arts), Department of Communications and Social Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria; BEd (Elementary Education), College of Education, University of Saskatchewan


Indigenous knowledge and literacies (Canadian north and southern Alberta), interpretive inquiry (hermeneutics, narrative and auto-ethnography), lifewriting (autobiography, personal essay and memoir), cultural, social and political differences and its effects

Research Areas

Learning from place, Indigenous literacies, Indigenous perspectives on curriculum, lifewriting


I was born in Vancouver BC but spent my early childhood in Edmonton and moved to the Yukon and then the NWT where I spent most of my childhood and early adult life. I attended 21 schools from kindergarten to grade 12 in three provinces, two territories and the state of Washington. After I graduated from high school in Yellowknife NWT, I was married and had two sons, Kristen and Che Erasmus. I worked for the Company of Young Canadians and the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre until 1974 when I left Yellowknife to complete my B.Ed. at the University of Saskatchewan. My daughter, Theresa was born in Saskatoon. After teaching for the Sturgeon Lake First Nation, I returned to Yellowknife and worked with Dene Language Programs in the Department of Education. With my three children I returned to Fort Good Hope, where I had lived as a child, to work for the Dene Community Council on a community-based history research project. In 1983, I moved my family to Victoria BC where I completed my M.A. (Language Arts) and Ph.D. (Curriculum Studies). In 1989, I joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge where I teach undergraduate courses in literacy and language education, curriculum and indigenous peoples education, as well as graduate courses in curriculum and research.

Selected Publications

Pihuaqtiuyugut: We are the long distance walkers. Temporary Exhibit opening at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Museum, Yellowknife, NWT, 21 September 2008. Exhibit team includes: Cynthia Chambers, University of Lethbridge; Helen Balanoff and Jill Vaydik, NWT Literacy Council; Emily Kudlak and Alice Kaodloak, Ulukhaktok, NWT; and PWNHC staff (Joanne Bird and Dot Vanvliet.

Blood, N. & Chambers, C. (Producers/Writers/Directors). (2006). "Kaaáhsinnooniksi: If the land could speak…" [Digital-video documentary]. (Produced in cooperation with Alberta Community Development Branch and the University of Lethbridge.

Chambers, C. and E. Hasebe-Ludt with C. Leggo, A. Oberg, D. Donald & W. Hurren. 2008). Metissage. Chapter 11. In J. G. Knowles & A. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples and issues (pp. 141-154). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chambers, C. (2006). "The land is the best teacher I ever had;" Places as Pedagogy for Precarious Times. JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 22(3), 27 - 37.

Chambers, C. (2006). Where do I belong? Canadian curriculum as passport home. Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies, 2. Available at

Balanoff, H. & C. Chambers (2005). Do my literacies count as literacy? An inquiry into Innuinaqutun literacies in the Canadian North. Literacies, Issue 8.

Chambers, C. (2004, Spring). Research matters: Finding a path with heart. Journal of Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, 1(3), 1-17.

Chambers, C. (2003). As Canadian as possible under the circumstances: A view of contemporary curriculum discourses in Canada. In W. Pinar (Ed.), Handbook of international curriculum research (pp. 221-252). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Chambers, C. (2003). On being a disciple of memoir: In E. Hasebe-Ludt & W. Hurren (Eds.) Curriculum intertext: Place/language/pedagogy (pp. 101-107). New York: Peter Lang.

Chambers, C. (2003, Fall). Things I carried with me…: A pilgrimage to Manitow Sakahikan (text plus 2 minutes streamed video). Educational Insights.

Chambers, C., Hasebe-Ludt, E., & Donald, D. (December, 2002). Creating a curriculum of métissage (text, audio, still images). Educational Insights

Chambers, C. (1999). A topography for Canadian curriculum theory. Canadian Journal of Education, 24(4), 137-150.

Chambers, C. (1997). On taking my (own) medicine: Memory work in writing and pedagogy. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 14(4), 14-21.

Yamagishi, R., Houtekamer, T., Good Striker, E., & Chambers, C. (1995). Mitakuye oyasin: Stories of sacred relations. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 11(4), 75-99.

Chambers, C. (1994). Looking for a home: A work in progress. Frontiers: A Journal of Woman Studies, 15(2), 23-50.

Research Interests

My research interests include: indigenous literarcies and languages; narrative, autobiography, personal essay and memoir as forms of inquiry for educators; interpretive inquiry--particularly hermeneutics. I am particularly interested in difference--cultural and social and political (rather than psychological)--and its effect. I also write about teaching and the teaching life.

Current Research and Creative Activity

TitleLocationGrant InformationPrincipal InvestigatorCo Researchers
Learning from Place (not listed on the grant as a researcher; however I participate in project activities, as well as continue to research this topic on my own) Southern Alberta Aboriginal Knowledge Learning Centre/ Canadian Council on Learning.

Narcisse Blood, Red Crow College Ryan Heavy Head, Red Crow College
Pitquihiraluavut Puiglimitavut (We will not forget our ways): Bringing home photographs of the Inuinnait Collection at the British Museum Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Aboriginal Research Grant, $250,000.00, 2007-10.

H. Balanoff, NWT Literacy Council C. Chambers, University of Lethbridge; E. Kudlak, Angulalik & D. Keith, Kitikmeot Heritage Society Nunavut
Re-writing literacy in Canadian cosmopolitan schools E. Hasebe-Ludt, University of Lethbridge C. Chambers, University of Lethbridge; C. Leggo, University of British Columbia
Systematic review of research: Aboriginal children B. Burnaby, University of Newfoundland C. Chambers, University of Lethbridge
Ulukhaktok Literacies Project Northern Research Development Grant, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, $40,000.00, 2004-09.

C. Chambers, University of Lethbridge Helen Balanoff, NWT Literacy Council

Previous Research

TitleGrant AgencyCompletion Date
Internationalization Cultural Difference, and Migration: Developing a Curriculum for Teacher Education Canada-European Community Program for Co-operation in Higher Education and Training, Human Resource Development Canada 2006
New Literacies and Their Significance for Education and Society Research Support Fund, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge 2001
New Literacies: Teacher Education and Society Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 2001
Literacy, Teacher Education & Society Research Excellence Envelope 2000
Damaged and Needing Help: Family Violence Amongst Aboriginal People in Yellowknife / Lútsel K'é, NT Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1993
Student Teacher's Experiences Beginning Teaching Faculty of Education Research Fund, University of Lethbridge 1991

Curriculum Vitae


Edit this Content