Decolonization and Traditional Place-based Learning

In this article there are many examples of reinhabitation and decolonization. Kellert, (2005) states “connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development.” (pg.70) Firstly, the 10-day river trip where the children adults and elders travelled together on traditional waters and lands while discussing their thoughts and learnings on relations, governance and land management, was a trip that allowed the community to become closer while also having a greater understanding of how past events have damaged their history, language, culture and traditions and how the community can move towards reinhabitation and decolonization. The article also states that decolonization is not only rejecting dominant ideas, but also recovering traditional cultural patterns such as intergenerational relationships. The elders understanding of geography, stating that “every curve in the river has a name” is lost over time through the destruction of traditional ways of learning and knowing from colonization.

The FAFN (Fort Albany First Nations) have a greater appreciation and deeper relationship with the environment than the dominant euro-centric knowledge and learning provides, with more language to describe the land and how it gives them everything they require. The youth of the FAFN have lost this deeper connection and do not even use the same language to describe the land, as they don’t possess the same understanding as the elders.

            As Kellert stated, a youth’s connection to nature is incredibly important for their development, and place-based learning is a good way to incorporate nature into curriculum and teaching allowing students to learn subject content and be able to have a deeper connection with nature, giving them a deeper understanding of themselves and a greater connection with their community. As the article states, “By supporting and creating a space for dialogue and learning between Cree youth and elders, this project helped strengthen the bond the Mushkegowuk people have with the river, the land and themselves.”

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