The below videos and writings are centered around the concept of place based birth. I feel like this is a very important addition to the analyses on how western medicine has contributed to colonizing practices by dismissing practices outside the sphere of linear fragmented scientific method approaches to healing. In addition exposing these biases, these films and writings also serve as great examples of how Indigenous media can help to decolonize the notions of western supremacy. It is also a great example on how, through appropriate cross-cultural exchange, how western medicine can benefit from acknowledging the expertise of Indigenous medicines and healing.
- Knowing the Land Beneath Our Feet
Knowing the Land Beneath Our Feet is an Augmented Reality tour of the land on which sits the University of British Columbia. Upon watching the creators’ video, we see their intention is to educate and provide the opportunity to connect with the land (unceded Musqueam land). Links below include Eleanor Hoskins blog post entitled “Place Based Learning Technologies” as well as detailed background information about Knowing the Land Beneath Our Feet. Is learning truly place-based when it is virtual? Can one truly connect with the land when it isn’t a real environment? Could augmented reality help people who feel displaced to connect to place – from a distance? Could the creation of such a virtual tour help Aboriginal youth articulate and develop their knowledge of place?
- First Mile
First Mile promotes and supports ICTs in rural Aboriginal communities across Canada. The site has a “Community Stories” section which highlights digital developments in these communities, from global citizenship workshops, to how communities are using social media, to physical connectivity. These community stories could serve to inform other participating and nonparticipating communities of potential uses for ICTs in their community. The site also hosts published research related to rural Indigenous communities, technology, and the challenges they may face. It isn’t surprising to see that different challenges are faced and addressed differently depending on the community. Is willingness to welcome digital technologies a major factor in these projects?
- Modern Science, Native Knowledge
In contrast to Tim Michel’s thoughts in his interview for week 12 where he indicates that Indigenous people are and feel displaced, this video produced by The Natural Conservancy, emphasizes how the Heiltsuk people feel a direct connection to and responsibility for the land (The Great Bear Rainforest). This is interesting given the detrimental effects of colonization on the Heiltsuk. Jessy Housty articulates the importance of place when it comes to identity, “we don’t make sense anywhere else in the world, this is our place and we have a responsibility to take care of it”. Like when Dr. Walsh (below, see post 4) discusses using multiple ways of knowing to conserve the environment, this too is emphasized, in particular the knowledge of the Heiltsuk people. Is it fair for this responsibility to lie on Aboriginal people, specifically in the preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest? Isn’t it at risk as a result of colonization?
- Australia’s Biodiversity: Indigenous Perspectives
Dr. Fiona Walsh, explains the interconnectedness between biodiversity, place, and Aboriginal people in Australia. As an elementary school teacher, who has taught “biodiversity” for a number of years from an exclusively Western perspective, the way Dr. Walsh explains the relationship between humans and plants, from the perspective of using as much knowledge from multiple sources (western science, aboriginal knowledge), provides a good example of how to approach the BC curriculum with Indigenous worldviews authentically. As environmental concerns grow, place-based learning and indigenous worldviews seem to be at the forefront, Dr. Walsh echoes this, suggesting the more knowledge we have, the better equipped we will be to conserve the environment.
- Aboriginal communities embrace technology, but they have unique cyber safety challenges
The digital divide in rural aboriginal communities and in lower socio-economic communities is one thing, but there are other challenges that arise in communities that may not have the digital fluency that is required in order to use the internet/devices safely. This article highlights some of the challenges in security and protocol when people in Aboriginal communities have access to a limited amount of technology. This article reminds us that things like cyber safety, money, online passwords, texting, etc. are all products of western society.
For this final module, I chose to continue my investigation of the intersection of (Western) Place-based education and Indigenous learning from place. I also broadened my scope to explore some models outside of the public school system – specifically band and reserve schools.
In this paper, the author explores one student’s experiences with learning mathematics from place. The paper recounts a math unit exploring triangles that was taught to grade nine students in SOMEWHERE. In the unit, place was the inroad for intertwining Western and Indigenous math learning. The author provides a useful analysis of the distinction between hands-on, place-based learning and Indigenous learning from place. The approach taken for the unit was not so much a blending of Indigenous and Western approaches, but rather an intertwining “to increase tensile strength”. As a result of participating in the unit, students reported increased confidence in math competency as well as increased connections to the land and feelings of belonging to their culture. I found this approach to be a compliment to the idea of “Two-Eyed Seeing”, “two-way Aboriginal schooling”, and “walking in both worlds”.
NSF Includes: Envisioning Impact – Integrating Indigenous and Western Knowledge to Transform Learning and Discovery in the Geosciences
Here is a quote from the website:
[The program] uses the principles of collective impact (CI) to create new partnerships between tribal communities and STEM institutions that promote the participation and inclusion of Native American (NA) scientists in the geosciences.
Our proposed program partners the Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions (Rising Voices) member tribal colleges and communities with Haskell Indian Nations University, NCAR, Biosphere 2 (B2), and UCAR’s SOARS internship and GLOBE citizen science programs. Together, we commit to greater integration of indigenous and “traditional western” knowledge into collectively-developed climate change research projects, enhancing our collective ability to address climate change, and contributing to climate resilience in all communities.
This program is a good example of attempts to draw from the strengths of both Western and Indigenous knowledges in finding solutions to ecological problems. The fact that it is funded by the National Science Foundation indicates that such collaborations are increasingly seen to be of value within Western science organizations.
This program, which is also funded by the (U.S.) National Science Foundation, is a four-year collaboration between the Indigenous Education Institute and the University of California-Berkeley targeting informal science education professionals. This project is designed to explore the commonalities between western science and native science in the context of informal science education.
The group has produced a beautiful and informative ebook based on their project outcomes, which is available to download free on their website. Here is a quote from that book:
Cosmic Serpent set out to explore commonalities between Western and Native science, taking into account that Native cultures have, over millennia, developed ways of knowing that are highly adapted, interconnected, and enduring. Each knowledge system informs the practice of science and its role in society in a fundamental way, and the commonalities can provide a framework for developing mutually inclusive learning experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
This special issue is part of a series hosted by the Tyee Solutions Society. In it, reporter Katie Hyslop explores several different models for BC Aboriginal education. There is great breadth of scope here from examining the context (successes and challenges faced by Aboriginal youth in BC as well as legislation and rights concerning indigenous education, and funding for indigenous education) to specific working models of Indigenous education both within BC and internationally.
Exploring the topic of reserve/band schools
In exploring education models that chose to focus more intensely on Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, I came across several interesting newspaper articles on reserve/band schools in BC. These articles shone a light on various aspects of the schools, from how they operate to how they are funded and fit within the provincial system. Here are some of the more relevant articles I encountered.
- How Chief Atahm Elementary School Became a Success Story (The Tyee, September 6, 2011)
- First Nations School teaches “all that culture stuff” (Globe and Mail, October 13, 2012)
- Low graduation rates at reserve schools put aboriginals in jeopardy: report (Globe and Mail, January 24, 2-16)
For this module’s Weblog, I focus on teachers and educators as I explore the following questions: How can we prepare ourselves to teach from a land-based approach? Where does land-based education fit with place-based learning? What examples are there of students using land-based education to walk in both worlds? I also continue my journey exploring two-eyed seeing and how it helps us understand integrative education.
CBC UnReserved interview with Tasha Spillet: Indigenous Learning on the Land instead of a classroom
In this interview, Tasha Spillet a Cree and Trinidadian Winnepeg educator describes the importance of land-based education for students but also for educators. Ms. Spillet is one of the instructors in the University of Saskatchewan’s land-based education cohort masters degree. She describes how land-based education shifted the way she views herself and the world and she speaks to the importance for educators of engaging in their own land-based education (instead of just reading articles about it). Another interesting feature of this interview was that Ms. Spillet spoke to land-based education in urban settings as benefiting indigenous youth, many of whom are disconnected from their cultural identity and need to be encouraged to also see their urban landscape as their land: “Underneath the concrete is still our land” (Spillet, 2017).
For more about this program, see this article: Land-Based Education: Taking Knowledge back to its roots
Land-based learning brings native and non-native cultures together
This camp is hosted by the Living Sky School Division. It is purposefully intended to serve Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and restore or rebuild their connection to the land and to each other. Discussion about the initiative emphasizes teaching students to walk in both worlds. “In these classes we have kids that come from both cultures . . . It is important for kids of native culture to realize the importance of keeping their own culture, but it’s just as important for western people to understand that it is a blessing to have First Nation culture alive”. The speaker is Kim Pasche, a Swiss-born experiential archeologist and one of the instructors at the camp. He emphasizes to students that all of them (Indigenous and non-Indigenous came from hunter-gatherer society, but for some of them that society has been lost. Indigenous Elders and educators join non-Indigenous educators to explore the land from both perspectives simultaneously.
Indigenous Land-based Learning Programs
This site, created by a fellow UBC student for ETEC 521, highlights several different land-based learning initiatives offered in Canada (and one in the United States). While discussion of the programs on the site is limited, it does offer a brief analysis of the focus and approach of each camp and serves as a useful portal to investigate different land-based learning initiatives. It includes reference to Integrative Science camps in Nunavut that use Two-Eyed Seeing as their guiding philosophy.
Green Teacher: Education for Planet Earth (Fall 2009 issue)
This issue is dedicated to exploring Two-Eyed Seeing: Integrative Science. It is a treasure trove of work on two-eyed seeing and offers many concrete examples of two-eyed seeing in the context of education. It also links to work on walking in both worlds.
From the editorial: “In this issue we present some of the learning activities that they and others have designed for teaching science in this way, thus enabling students to take the best from both world views, Indigenous and Western” (p. 2). The issue starts with an excellent article by Hatcher, Bartlett, Marshall and Marshall “Two-Eyed Seeing: A cross-cultural science journey” and also includes trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural science units on: birds; traditional medicines; Traditional legends and astronomy; and Solstices and Equinoxes. This issue is highly recommended to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of Two-Eyed Seeing and concrete examples of what it looks like in the classroom.
Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society (December 2014 edition)
I came across this fantastic Special Issue on Indigenous Land-Based Education in my research. It has a number of great articles and in particular a valuable editorial essay entitled “Learning from the land: Indigenous land based pedagogy and decolonization” by Matthew Wildcat, Mandee McDonald, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox and Glen Coulthard. I appreciated the connection drawn in this article and in the entire issue between land based education and decolonization. I also appreciated the ability to learn about the related experiences of several different Indigenous groups within that context.
Dr Gregory Cajete is the Director of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico. In this talk he explains how Aboriginal ways of knowing are indeed compatible with western science.
He is very much involved in integrated curriculum development that is culturally responsive and aims to engage Aboriginal learners.
Module 4, post 5.