Decolonization and Reinhabitation

For seminar – use your blog to record and respond to the following prompts:

The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:

(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)

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

 

  1. Within Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing we can see reinhabitation and decolonization in multiple ways. Firstly the trip itself was “ten days in their traditional waters and lands, youth, elders, and the generation in-between” (p. 70) By re-visiting and spending time on the land that belongs to Fort Albany First Nation they are learning how to live in their total environments. Decolonization is happening by educating the minds of the participants and changing their way of thinking. They are learning Indigenous knowledge through the elders who are sharing their wisdom on the trip and gaining insights into Indigenous culture. The entire trip was dedicated to reinhabitation and decolonization and they were successful in their mission.
  2. As a colonizer (third generation immigrant from Ukraine) I am immediately a part of the dominant culture because I am “white” (I say “white” because technically Ukrainians are North Asian but that’s a rant for another time) therefore I should be responsible as an educator to make sure that I am teaching in a way that contributes to reinhabitation and decolonization and breaks the “common sense” narrative. Teaching in these ways can be hard to do especially since the curriculum is created by the dominant groups and systems and their ideologies. One way that I can adapt these ideas and knowledge in my subject areas is by using the land as a teacher, which is something I also learned in my ESCI 302 class that I took in the spring. Indigenous cultures often use the land as a resource for knowledge and it works well with subjects like science or social studies. It really is a simple but effective way to reinhabitate and decolonizes. I was also taught by an elder who was speaking in one of my classes that effective teaching in their culture often takes place in the form of storytelling. Especially with younger ages, storytelling is a great way to captivate your students and by using this method to teach you are at least attempting to change the common way of thinking. I do think that we can teach effectively not using the common sense ways and that not only are we practising in reinhabitation and decolonization but we are appealing to different styles of learners. I really see it as a win-win situation for both the teacher and the student.

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