Curriculum as Place
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). 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?
One of the examples of decolonization is in the documentaries the Indigenous youth are tasked with creating. “Fifteen interviews were collected and formed the basis for a short audio documentary, titled The Kistachowan River Knows My Name, which aired in the local community and on Wawatay radio, which reaches a wide audience in northern Ontario.” The documentaries create intergenerational relationships through the interviews, and by airing them on the radio, it spreads the history to a wider audience. The facilitators and the students then go on a trip to the river, to see the land itself. They rename words and areas on the map of the area into the Cree language, and they are encouraged to use Cree in their assignments. The students learned how the Mushkegowuk Cree community perceives land, the environment, and traditional cultural and economic practices in relation to social and economic well-being. They learn about the development proposals in the Treaty 9 region. There are hydro development projects and multiple announcements about potential roads and mining projects. “As the region became seen externally as a new frontier for extractive development, it was also a time of resurgence of Indigenous identities and cultural practices.”
We cannot escape who we are, and where we are and have been is a large part of constructing that. I believe that being a good role model and educator requires one to be honest with themselves, and part of that requires us to actualize where we are and where we have been. I will be reaching out to elders and knowledge keepers in my community to come and talk to my students to incorporate different perspectives in the classroom; a perspective from those with the authority to speak their story. I will also prioritize teaching practices that focus on the land. Teaching the holistic aspect of nature in all subjects in the classroom, and taking our projects outside as well as on field trips and nature walks, are some of the ways this can be accomplished. This must be prioritized because a connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development. I will also post treaty maps in my classroom, as well as maps showing the different nations of Canada pre-colonization.