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? Reading response to “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” by Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner and Edmund Metatawabin.
- During the 10-day river trip, Fort Albany First Nation community members shared with each other names of numerous places along the river. By doing so, they identified and recovered those physical spaces.
- The boats used for the river trip were material spaces, in which various generations learned from one another about ways to “live well” (p.74).
- Youth interviewed older members of the community. They did so in person. The physical spaces in which they conducted those interviews were temporarily transformed into places where they taught each other how to “live well” (p.74).
- The project allowed older members of the community to think about the Cree word paquataskamik, which refers to the totality of their traditional lands and everything in that land. It’s an expansive, inclusive term that has fallen into disuse by all but the older generations. It’s very different from noscheemik, which Mushkegowuk youth typically use when they refer to the bush. Local youths’ preference for noscheemik may reflect how younger generations view the land differently than their elders – more limited, more circumscribed by non-Indigenous concepts and policies that have divided the land (e.g. reserves, Crown land etc.). The research project helped younger generations better understand paquataskamik by getting out on the land and experiencing it in its totality.
- Members of the Fort Albany First Nation spent time thinking critically about extractive industries while they were on the river. They had time to reflect on what could be lost if mining were to proceed in or near their traditional lands.
- They and their ancestors have lived on their traditional lands and used the Kistachowan River since time immemorial. The river trip allowed them to experience their paquataskamik, including the river, in ways their ancestors did long before colonization.
- The project was informed and infused by Indigenous ways of knowing, which have guided the actions and shaped the perceptions of countless generations of Mushkegowuk Cree, and continue to do so today.
Indigenous people have been living on the land we now call Canada for thousands of years. The land has shaped their ways of knowing. I plan to teach social studies and English. In response to TRC Call to Action 63(iii), which calls for the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to “[build] student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect,” (2015, p.7) I intend to Indigenize my classroom. I plan to integrate stories and ways of knowing specifically from the peoples who are indigenous to whatever land I end up teaching on. I also intend to integrate stories, perspectives, practices and materials from Indigenous people of other areas. And I plan to learn about, and possibly emulate (if possible and appropriate), Indigenous ways of relating with students, colleagues and members of whatever community I end up working in (e.g. non-confrontational communication strategies).