In class, we have been discussing and deconstructing the idea of wilderness. Growing up I would have described wilderness as a place with no humans, where wild animals live, and outside of the city. This class has now opened my eyes to why that view of empty of land (wilderness) is problematic.
For my creative visual I wanted to illustrate the conflicting views I was taught in school regarding outdoor education. My visual piece is a set of glasses looking at a chalkboard with the heading “OUTDOOR EDUCATION”. In one lens you see a very commonsense photo of what wilderness is and the other lens is a city skyline. I wanted to represent how schools teach us to put the economy before anything else and how nature/wilderness is treated as only an escape or place of recreation. This way of teaching is problematic because it reproduces the binaries: civil vs. wild and culture vs. nature.
In an assigned reading “Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring Contested Spaces of Outdoor Environmental Education” by Liz Newberry, Newberry further explains why outdoor education plays a role in reproducing and enforcing colonialism. In one line she explains that “[i]n dominant and colonial images of wilderness, Aboriginal presence is either erased or Aboriginal people are themselves recast as nature.” Thinking of my own outdoor education experiences growing up I do not remember learning about any First Nation, Metis, or Inuit people. This is a problem because it made me believe that there are empty lands and lands that have no other context than what I was seeing. Going through the education program and going to treaty education camps I have fortunately gotten to unlearn many colonial views. I look forward to continuing and sharing my education.
In my last post, I wrote a letter to my friend Sydney thanking her for many things. On the surface, this letter seems very simple; however, this letter is not only a thank-you but also demonstrates my understanding of eco-literacy. Two of my classmates that also had similar understandings to my own are Robyn and Raylin. All three of our posts express gratitude to someone else for teaching us how we can be more eco-literate people. As just said I am thanking my friend Sydney in my poem, Robyn is writing to someone named Alissa and thanking them for being an eco-literate person and Raylin discusses how she is grateful for what she learned from her grandmother’s garden.
In Robyn’s blog post titled “Dear Alissa” one of the very first lines is, “[t]he empathy and recognition you have for all life forms is truly inspiring” which reminded me of my letter to Syndey where I mention my gratitude for Sydney for never putting herself above other animals and always being respectful. Raylin also discusses this mutual respect between person and animal in her poem/letter titled “Secret Garden”. Raylin explains how her grandmother and the garden taught her about animals’ and plants’ importance to us. In one line she says how she is thankful for learning “[t]hat a flower has as much life as us / That without them / We cannot be” demonstrating her understanding that plants are far more beneficial to this world that we as humans sometimes recognize.
In the book Braiding Sweet by Robin Wall Kimmerer, reciprocity is mentioned many times. Kimmerer uses this word to help readers to understand that eco-literacy is more than “going green” (or whatever other environmental slogans you want to use) but it is also about recognizing what the earth gives back to us and reciprocating those gifts. One thing that both Raylin and Robyn discuss that I do not think I mention is this idea of reciprocity. In “Dear Alissa” one of the lines talks about how Alissa is always “[r]especting the environment as a gift from mother nature herself.” To me, showing respect is a form of reciprocity. Raylin also mentions how the garden reciprocates the earth’s gifts to us by being a “secret oasis … for all living things”.
These poems and letters can be used to help learn about eco-literacy and understand different ways we can all be eco-literate.
I am writing this letter to thank you. Thank you for answering any question I have ever had about nutrition and it’s connection to the environment. Thank you for inspiring me to take the leap to consuming less meat. Thank you for sharing articles and documentaries about climate change with me. Thank you for continuing to educate yourself and committing yourself to being conscientious of your impact on the environment. Thank you for keeping a positive attitude towards disrupting climate change and focusing on positive change instead of dwelling on the negative. Thank you for never being condescending or holding yourself higher than others including the earth and its animals.
Since I have become interested in being a more eco-friendly person you have been the one I have turned to for questions about consumption in general and more specificallynutrition and cosmetic products. I am also grateful for how you will listen to me for hours on end talking about whatever new environmental challenge I have decided to take on, and how, if I fail you never show judgements and instead just offer encouraging words to help me try again. You are also always interested in what I learn in school about education, especially Treaty Education, and how that is connected to your studies as a Nutrition student.
You, Sydney, are an eco-literate person that I look up to for so many things and I am so grateful to have you on my journey to becoming more eco-literate.
In ESCI 302, we were asked to look into a movement called The Leap Manifesto. This movement encourages people, governments, and really, the entire world to take the leap into a more sustainable lifestyle that will help to disrupt climate change. This manifesto along with the documentary Before the Flood encouraged me to finally take the leap to being a vegetarian. I have not eaten red meat for nearly two years and in February I decided to stop eating chicken as well, but I was still eating seafood. There are many reasons for the change in my diet but the main reason was that of the meat industries’ harmful effects on the environment.
For my second creative journal, I filled in the outline of a cow with a collage of photos of food found in magazines. If you look closely at the different magazine clippings you will notice that there is no meat in any of them. This journal entry is supposed to represent what I will be eating as a replacement for meat. Another thing that makes me a bit nervous about this new transition is the stigma there is around vegetarianism. I have decided that another powerful action I will take is to try and educate people on how consuming less meat can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To confidently do that, however, I first have to educated myself which leads to the first action I will take along with becoming vegetarian; I have started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
If you know of any other resources I should check out to help this transition please comment below. I am excited and anxious for this new change!
For my first creative journal, I chose to draw a word picture using the word environment. Throughout the picture, I included drawings of things that I think of when I hear that word. As you may have already noticed, the second n in “environment” is missing. I realized after I had already completed the drawing that I spelled the word wrong (don’t worry my major isn’t English). Although this was completely unintentional I found it to be quite metaphorical. Often we as humans can be so focused on the task at hand that we forget to take in the big picture around us.
The letter T in my drawing is a tree with a bird which reminds me of walking through Narrow Hills Provincial Park and listening to the birds sing. A specific time that I always feel connected to the environment is when I go to my stepdads cabin at Narrow Hills. My time at the cabin consists of walking through the trails, swimming in the lake, and sitting by the campfire.
In the park, there is no cell phone reception so you are completely unplugged. There I really get to focus on mindfulness and truly breathe in my surroundings more than any other place I have been. Although I believe technology has many great purposes I also think it is important to teach students how to detach themselves from their devices. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer writes about how much there is to learn from the land as long as we, as students, are mindful and that is what I believe part of environmental education is: Learning to be mindful and how to influence our students to do the same.
Here is my Summary of Learning for ECS 210. To read more about what I have learned this semester checkout the ECS 210 category!
I am lucky enough to be taking an EMTH class with Gale Russel this semester and I have been learning and thinking a lot about Mathematics, and my role in Math. I do not believe that I experienced oppression in Math; however, looking back at the Math I was taught, it was very exclusive to Western worldviews. The way I was taught was that there was one way to do and interpret everything, and I was taught Math through lecture rather than experience. This does not make room for any other worldview or make room for students that do not succeed when taught by lecture.
There is a contrast between Inuit Mathematics and the Western Mathematics I was taught. 3 differences or ways the Eurocentric ideas are challenged by Inuit Mathematics are:
- Inuit Mathematics uses a base 20 numeral system where general Western Mathematics is typically done in base 10
- All cultures use some type of measurements for clothing and shelter. Measuring is done using different body parts in Inuit cultures rather than using measuring tools such as rulers like in Western Mathematics.
- The Inuit people also do not focus on one set way, unlike the eurocentric mathematics. For example, their calendar changes every year based on their environment.
Altogether I do not think one way of viewing Mathematics is superior to the next. However, the Indigenous worldview makes room for all types of Mathematics which I believe is important for an anti-oppressive Math classroom.
Pretext: For our blog this week we were asked to think about a response to a teacher that is having difficulty implementing Treaty Education in their classroom because of resistance from their students and their colleagues lack appreciation for Treaty Education
Firstly I would remind this intern that they are doing everything right by persisting with Treaty Education especially in a school where it is a seemingly inferior topic. I would also tell them that Treaty Education is relatively new to the education system and people’s resistance is unfortunately expected. Since their colleague does not see the importance in teaching Treaty Education and will likely not be easily convinced of its value, I would suggest that they remind that colleague that it is mandatory as it is a part of the Saskatchewan curriculum; as Claire said in class “back everything you do with the curriculum.” In addition, I tell this teacher to use the resources out there to try to educate their colleagues on why Treaty Education is needed in schools and what it means to be a treaty person.
In regards to their students, this teacher’s lesson is probably one of the first and few times they have been asked to think about First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples’ worldviews. The purpose of Treaty Education in to teach people about the history of the land we get to live on. It is to inform people that because of European settlement some people have been privileged to have great success and other people to be forcefully marginalized or assimilated into a new culture. Treaty Education is about informing people that peaceful promises were made between nations so that everyone could share this land and cultures could thrive together. So it is important that this teacher’s students learn these things and maybe a lesson on privilege to introduce the topic would be beneficial. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to get through to people when they have grown up hearing and learning from others who share racist or ignorant views of the Indigenous people in Canada. Hopefully, these students will eventually come to the realization that they are treaty people. They are on this land because of promises of many things such education, agricultural assistance, money, and much more; many of these promises were not kept.
I hope that my response and these points would help the teacher to persist in her mission of teaching treaty education. I know that I will likely see the same resistance in my career but I understand the purpose of treaty education and I know that I want it to be a part of my classroom regardless of others view of treaty education.
Throughout the reading, reinhabitation and decolonization can be seen. Reinhabitation means to find and create ways that help people to live in their environments. In the article, reinhabitation is happening through the dialogue that is being created between the youth and Elders. The Elders are teaching the youth about the First Nation’s traditional ways of knowing and the youth are teaching the Elders about their perspectives of the world and their environment. Additionally, the 10-day trip on the Kistachowan River is the central part of this research which I also think shows reinhabitation because of the river’s connection to nature and history for the First Nation. Decolonation happens when we start to end and change the ways that have previously had a negative impact on Indigenous people. In this article, decolonization can also be seen through the Elders sharing their ways of knowing because this worldview helps to dismantle the worldview that European colonizers forced on the First Nations’ people.
In my own classroom, I really want to teach through the lens of an Indigenous worldview, which for me might mean that I will often be challenging the worldview that I grew up to accept. I also think another thing that this article stressed was getting help from different programs in the community and I can use this idea in my own classroom. Having Elders come speak to my students and reaching out to programs that are part of reconciliation are things that I want to do in my classroom. Lastly, I think that knowing the resources that are out there is important. Groups like STARS along with all of the amazing professors I have met through the program and other classes are all people that I can reach out to if I do need help adapting these ideas in my classroom.