Learning from Place: Reflection

In the article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” we are taken through the process that aims to reinhabit the ways that the Mushkegowuk used to learn and live, as well as any acts to westen/colonize their land were trying to be reversed. Some examples of reinhabitation and decolonization throughout the narrative include:

  • All community members interacting and learning from each other 
    • The article mentions that coming into the project, the community wanted to bring the generations to not only share knowledge but to use this knowledge to restore specifically the meaning for the land and the river and their relevance (not just a resource). 
    • This was also done through interviews between the community youth and Elders for an audio documentary and the article specifically states, “The point of the interviews was to encourage intergenerational relationships and catalyze knowledge transfer from Elder generations to youth. The interviews were not “data” but ways of bringing together community, of fostering dialogue and generating spaces for socializing conceptualizations of the territory from a Mushkegowuk perspective” (p. 74-75). 
  • The “reborn” interest and knowledge of the river 
    • Elders and youth would go for walks down the river and learn about ways to live off the river and lands as well as note key sites along the way. Together, they also explored the history, language, issues of governance, and land management. Through this process, youth and even some adults began to understand (or “relearn” how the way of life used to be) “the importance of land for social and economic well-being among people in the remote First Nation as well as documented sites of significance to the community, experienced routes that hold great historical significance, and brought people together in the sharing of knowledge” (p.75). 
  • Language and Terminology used within the community
    • The words paquataskamik and Kistachowan Sipi were the Albany River’s original name. Paquataskamik is Cree word that describes the natural environment. However, when Europeans colonized the land, it was divided and regulated into treaties and reserves which resulted in a loss of significance of what paquataskamik is. 

As a continue to pursue my journey of becoming a teacher, I hope that I can use these ideas in my own classroom and subject areas. As a physical education teacher, I can easily integrate Indigenous games into my lessons! There are so many games that students are playing now that have Indigenous roots and are unaware of it. An example of this would be a game such as “British Bulldog”. This game is a tag game played often in elementary schools that consists of one or two people being “it” in the middle, while the rest of the class tries to travel from one side of the gym (or other playing area) to the other side without being tagged. This same game was played by the people in the Dakota region, but instead it was called “Tatanka Tatanka”. Tatanka means buffalo and was created to mimic the husbands, fathers, and grandfathers that would leave to hunt. You could easily take even just this simple game and apply the history of it to other disciplines. indigenous 

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4 thoughts on “Learning from Place: Reflection

  1. I agree with that the community-based learning demonstrated reinhabitation and decolonization. I remember playing British Bulldog in school but never knew it was so similar to an Indigenous game. You mention that there are many games with Indigenous roots other may not be aware of, I’d be very interested to hear of any more that you know.

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  2. Hi Jocelyn,
    This post is set up very clearly and I found it very helpful how you outlined the points you found in the article that work towards reinhabitation and decolonization. Thank you for sharing your personal connection to physical education and how that shapes your pedagogy and incorporating Indigenous perspectives. You shared the example of the game “Tatanka Tatanka,” another example is lacrosse, which has historical ties to First Nations and Metis cultures. Another lesson is also Metis social dances which ties nicely into Physical Education curriculum. Additionally, physical education can connect to the natural environment like the project discussed in the article by taking students outside on class walks, nature hikes, etc. One point that I think is critical to consider is not only doing activities that can tie to Indigenous perspectives but discussing these connections with students in meaningful ways. As educators, we do not only want to check off boxes of meeting Indigenous teaching requirements. We want to create dialogue with students to have a deeper understanding of the value of Indigenous Ways of Knowing for their learning.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and opening this conversation!

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