Learning from Place

Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin’s article titled “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” tackles the way in which Cree youth embrace their culture and community. The entire article features many examples of reinhabitation and decolonization. The article brings attention to the different problems that need to be addressed within the culture, including language, relationships among the people and nature, and history.

The authors discuss a river trip that would help learners to understand how the concept of intergenerational cooperation. In an understanding of how to cooperate with the people in the canoe with you and nature around you, there is a development of relationships back to an older way of thinking within the concept of everything being intertwined. Teaching the students about the interconnectedness of the Earth is a very good way to have them get connected to their roots and this teaching could also bring benefits to the Earth itself. If learners are taught that they are connected to the Earth, there is more of a focus on protecting that. Another example of reinhabitation and decolonization is that of speaking in your native tongue to name places. This also includes learning the importance of the water and the land, again relating to the interconnectedness of the body and the Earth.

These ideas can be adapted into a future classroom plan. The general concept of allowing your students to know where they come from and allow them to connect back into their cultural roots is very important. This allows them to acknowledge their connections to who their ancestries are. For my field of social studies, knowing what happens in the past is very important. Students learning about their past can actually help them gain an interest in history, and not just their baseline past. Speaking from personal experience, knowing the deep  history of my family sparked an interest in me with history itself and also my culture, which a lot had been left behind in the “homelands”.

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