Learning From Place

List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative. How might you adapt these ideas/consider place in your own subject areas and teaching?

Reinhabitation is highly prevalent within the Mushkegowuk community. In this article it is stated that the elders, adults, and youth of the community take a 10 day river trip that focuses on learning from the land around them. The river was essential of the theme due to the cultural and historical significance. As they were on the trip they would explore the learnings of the people and the land, as well as related topics such as governance and land management. These teachings would be retained much easier in this environment than in the classroom, due to the importance of the land to these kinds of topics such as the culture of the people who live there . This is why teaching from different environments can help students learn more than always teaching the youth in desks. “Kellert (2005) has said that connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development. In the case of the Fort Albany First Nation, this connection to nature and land was all the more significant for its contributions to an additional dimension of development: the cultural identity of the people.” (73)

Both reinhabitation and decolonization are interconnected when learning from a place, and they both rely on one another. Teaching through the cultural and historical place such as the river can help decolonize the curriculum. “Gruenewald (2003), paraphrasing Bowers (2001), says decolonization as an act of resistance must not be limited to rejecting and transforming dominant ideas; it also depends on recovering and renewing traditional, non-commodified cultural patterns such as mentoring and intergenerational relationships.” (74) The idea of decolonizing the curriculum is important, but the challenges differ from where you are teaching your class. If you were teaching in a big city, a 10 day trip like the one displayed in the article would be next to impossible. On the other hand, Smaller trips could be just as beneficial. When I was younger I went to Batoche with my school for a full day, and this was my first experience with decolonizing the curriculum. I feel like being there in general gave everyone more of a complex understanding of the history and cultures that were present, which would not have been translated to us if we were only learning it in the classroom.

As a Social studies minor I will have to explore the curriculum from an unbiased viewpoint. As I grew up my education tended to sway towards a Eurocentric viewpoint, as treaty education use to be seen as less important. All history of Canada should be treated as equal, due to how diverse the Canadian government says we are. I will keep in mind teaching as a place as an educator and plan to use trips to specific landmarks that would give a more in depth understanding of certain cultures and historical timeframes on certain topics.

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