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Building a Sustainable World through Open Education
Monday, October 16 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Bridging the Gap: Advancing Reconciliation in Education Through the Authentic Interweaving of Traditional Indigenous Knowledge in Canadian Classrooms

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Indigenous community centered land-based learning is at the core of Indigenous Knowledge and pedagogy and has been effectively applied and adapted within First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities for millennia, however, its application in contemporary Canadian Institutions is relatively new. Traditional Indigenous knowledge systems, a once overlooked and underutilized source of information is proving to be an invaluable, if not essential, asset in advancements in numerous domains including health, justice, environment, politics, governance, and education. According to Redevers (2016) scholars, academics, stakeholders, governments representing diverse local, regional, national and international institutions are vigorously seeking input from Indigenous communities in numerous disciplines to come up with viable resolutions to identify, address and confront serious challenges facing contemporary society. The traditional ecological knowledge of Elders, Knowledge Keepers, cultural advisors, and communities have led “[s]cientists, global leaders, and designers [to turn] to Indigenous peoples and their [traditional ecological knowledge] more than ever as a means of solving some of the serious challenges faced on the planet today” (p. 9). Education is no exception. As Oskineegish (2020) states “Land-based learning with and by First Peoples can help us transcend [...] harmful experience[s]. Outside of Western thought, pursuits, and knowledge — and beyond fighting racis[m] within the walls of a trespassing state’s institution — Indigenous [and non-Indigenous] students [alike] begin to thrive.”

More than a program, Indigenous Studies Program at NorQuest college strives to be a community centered in Indigenous culture, community, and relationships – to self, one another, the land and our more than human relatives. In everything we do, we honor and uphold traditional Indigenous values, principles, and practices; Students, faculty, staff, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and Cultural advisors, collaborate to create a learning environment grounded in a culture of inclusion and belonging where we all can walk and learn alongside one another, with and from community and the land. Authentic, meaningful, and purposeful seasonally aligned Indigenous community centered land-based learning experiences are at the heart of our curriculum.

Indigenous Studies Program students, accompanied by Inuk community leader, scholar, educator, course designer, instructor & program chair Jeanien Bell will highlight our INST 1376 Indigenous Health & Wellness course. Through engaging session participants in an interactive, community centered, land-based participatory experiential learning opportunity mirroring the way students in the Indigenous Studies Program come to know, our session will invite participants to witness and reflect on how they too can authentically interweave scholarly academic endeavors with Indigenous community service, engagement, and relational networks of support to challenge conventional contemporary notions of teacher, text, and classroom, modeling a way forward in decolonizing, Indigenizing and reconciling education.

This would be an opportunity for us to share how we can walk alongside Indigenous communities, co-leading in the movement towards true education for reconciliation; set the standard, lead the way, push boundaries, break barriers, and make waves. We are at the forefront of a renaissance, a pivotal moment in the history of Indigenous Education, we simply require increased relational networks of support to move forward in a good way.

Keywords: Indigenous Pedagogy, Indigenous Land Based Learning, Community Engaged Learning, Reconciliation to Reconcili-action, Inerweaving Indigenous & Western Scholarship, Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Health & Wellness, Relatioships & Relationality

Session outcomes and takeaways: In an ever-changing world, now more than ever, it is essential to reclaim, restore, establish, build, maintain, preserve, and nurture ties to traditional Indigenous ways of knowing, ways of being, ways of doing. It is through the revitalization and implementation of traditional land-based community centered principles and practices coupled with those from other cultures that we can enrichen our understandings of the complexities of ongoing issues and bridge gaps. It is in the spirit and intent of Treaty, walking side by side in partnership, that the solutions to contemporary societal challenges can be found.

The proposed 90-minute Action Lab takes a blended format alternating between presentation, individual reflection, group dialogue, discussion & experiential participatory learning to allow session participants to witness / engage in experiences that will support them in recognizing how to
1) enhance understanding of how Indigenous Ways of Knowing can support in establishing, building, nurturing and maintaining relationships between and among self, one another, land, water, and our more than human relatives
2) structure a course that blends contemporary Canadian approaches to education with those of Indigenous communities
3) Evaluate and assess student learning while honoring and upholding traditional Indigenous values, principles, and practices
4) Co-create learning spaces and experiences / co-instruct with Indigenous community members
5) participate in a series of interactive traditional physical activities and games
6) Reflect, discuss, and identify practical ways to interweave traditional Indigenous knowledge into their educational practice.

Presenters
avatar for Jeanien Bell

Jeanien Bell

Inuit Edmontonmiut Community / Inuit Community Development & Education Foundation


Monday October 16, 2023 1:00pm - 2:30pm MDT
Poplar (S13/14) Edmonton Convention Centre