Trudy Cardinal

Interim Grad Coordinator, Faculty of Education - Elementary Education
Associate Professor & Associate Chair - Graduate, Faculty of Education - Elementary Education


Interim Grad Coordinator, Faculty of Education - Elementary Education

Associate Professor & Associate Chair - Graduate, Faculty of Education - Elementary Education
(780) 492-8294
632 Education Centre - South
11210 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G5




Dr. Trudy Cardinal is a Cree/Metis educator from Northern Alberta. As a former Elementary School teacher of 13 years, a mother, a grandmother, an aunty, and an Indigenous scholar she is dedicated to continuing to deepen understanding of the educational experiences of First Nations, Metis & Inuit children, youth and families. Her current research is an inquiry into former teacher education students' thinking in regards to the possibilities relational pedagogies and Indigenous ways of being and knowing create for shifting how schooling attends to literacy, particularly literacy in an Indigenous context.

Ph.D. 2014 - Department of Elementary Education, University of Alberta
Co-Supervisors: Dr. D. J. Clandinin / Dr. Vera Caine
Dissertation Title: Composing Lives: A Narrative Inquiry Into Aboriginal Youth and Families’ Stories to Live By

2010 - Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta - Indigenous Peoples Education
Supervisors: Dr. M. Stewart-Harawira & Dr. D. J. Clandinin
Thesis Title: For All My Relations – An Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry into the Lived Experiences of One Aboriginal Graduate Student
Committee:  Dr. V. Caine & Dr. R. Wimmer

B.Ed. 1995 - Department of Elementary Education, University of Alberta
With Distinction - Language Arts Focus


Trudy Cardinal’s research lends itself to: Identity negotiations of Aboriginal children, youth and families in and out of schools, narrative inquiry, Indigenous research, and teacher education.


I recall many moments as a little girl of sitting as close as possible to the women who would gather in kitchens sharing a meal, or on the land picking berries, or in vehicles travelling together to distant place. In these moments listening to the conversations I would try to understand the motivations of the characters in the stories they told. I would try to understand the subtle shift in the stories and storytellers depending on who the audience was and the context of where the conversations were held. I was already, at that young age, fascinated with stories; the stories themselves as well as the ways stories would shift in the telling and retelling. I have come to believe that the story itself should be the teacher (Archibald, 2008) and that there is much to be gained in the telling, retelling and inquiring into story. I began to see how even as a little girl I understood the importance of learning through life, through the living alongside of others and also to the ethical responsibility involved in narrative. Cole says, “their story, yours, mine—it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them” (p. 31).

Clandinin and Connelly (1998), write in the context of the education of children:
As we think about our own lives and the lives of teachers and children with whom we engage, we see possibilities for growth and change. As we learn to tell, to listen and to respond to teachers’ and children’s stories, we imagine significant educational consequences for children and teachers in schools and for faculty members in universities through more mutual relations between schools and universities. (pp. 246-247)

In my teaching in the past, in an elementary public school setting, and now as a university professor, I am aware that the relational way I engage in those activities resonates with Clandinin and Connelly’s understanding of teaching, as an experience that is relational and that takes a stance of inquiry, where people interact to tell, retell, live and relive their experiences. Embedded in this process are inherent possibilities to shift lives. I think about Cole’s (1989) words and I continue to be aware that the telling, retelling, living and reliving of experiences calls forth obligations and ways of interacting and responding to and with one another.

Attending to how my students are experiencing my teaching will require a wakefulness and attentiveness to be present in all our interactions. Excellent teaching will require that I remain faithful to the relational ontology that is also part of narrative inquiry and paying attention to the relational and relational knowing while also acknowledging that lives are always in the midst.


EDEL 495 - Seminar in Group Projects in Elementary Education II

Prerequisite: consent of Department. Sections may be offered at an increased rate of fee assessment; refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations sections of the Calendar.

EDEL 595 - Special Seminar in Elementary Education: Selected Topics

Sections may be offered at an increased rate of fee assessment; refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations sections of the Calendar.

EDEL 599 - Capstone Exercise

The required capping exercise for the course-based MEd program will consist of a presentation based on one piece of work that students select from their course assignments completed during the MEd program. The piece of work and type of presentation is chosen in consultation with their advisor according to departmental guidelines. Students will register in this course in the final term of their coursework.

Browse more courses taught by Trudy Cardinal

Scholarly Activities

Other - Featured Publications

Cardinal, T., & Fenichel, S. (2017). Indigenous education, relational pedagogy, and autobiographical narrative inquiry: A reflective journey of teaching teachers. In V. Ross, E. Chan, & Keyes, Dixie (Eds.), Crossroads of the classroom: Narrative intersections of teacher knowledge and the subject matter. United Kingdom: Emerald.

Cardinal, T. (2016 ). Literature as sites of Cross-cultural Miscommunication. Alberta Voices: English Language Arts Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. (13) 1. 27-29.

Cardinal, T. (2015). Mosoms and Moccasins... Literacy in an Indigenous Context. Canadian Social Studies, 48(1), 1-7.

Cardinal, T, Lambert, L, & Lamouche, S (2015). Living the Good Life: A Conversation about Well-being, Education, and Culture. Paideusis: The Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society, 22 (2), 8-22. (URL: /article/view/419)

Lange, E. A., Chovanec, D. M., Cardinal, T., Kajner, T., & Smith Acuna, N. (2015, June). Wounded Learners: Symbolic Violence, Educational Justice, and Re-Engagement of Low-Income Adults. cjsae: The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 27 (3), 82-104.

Cardinal, T. (2013). Stepping stones or saving story. In Clandinin, D. J.,  Engaging in Narrative Inquiry, pp 177-189. Walnut Creek CA:  Left coast press Inc. (Reprinted from LEARNing Landscapes (4)2, 79-91. Cardinal, T., 2011)

Cardinal, T. (2011). Stepping Stone or Saving Story? LEARNing Landscapes (4)2, 79-91.


Indigenous Education, Relational Pedagogy and Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry: A Reflective Journey of Teaching Teachers

Author(s): Trudy Cardinal, Sulya Fenichel.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Crossroads of the Classroom: Narrative Intersections of Teacher Knowledge and Subject Matter
Page Numbers: 243-273

Mosoms and Moccasins: Literacy in an Indigenous Context.

Author(s): Trudy Cardinal
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Canadian Social Studies
Volume: 48
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1-7

Stepping Stone or Saving Story?

Author(s): Cardinal, T.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: LEARNing Landscapes
Volume: 4
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 79-91