Abstract Detail

Paths forward: Engaging Indigenous science and knowledge

Smith, Selena [1].

Indigenous representation in pedagogy: my journey in place-based learning, DEI, and self-reflection.

Over the past several years, I have been making an effort to increase Indigenous representation in my classes. My motivation is two-fold: 1) Diversity, equity, and inclusion shows that we need to change what and how we teach if we are to make any progress in addressing the major challenges facing our world today – including climate change, ecological stress, and environmental racism. 2) With the increase of online communications during the pandemic, I was able to progress in reclaiming my own Indigenous heritage. As a result, I have re-framed a lot of my pedagogy around relationships, reflecting a common theme in the epistemologies of the Michif/Otempisiwak, Anishinaabek, and others. I teach classes at the intersection of biological and earth sciences, which is also an ideal setting to bring in these concepts of relationships. The increased access to media and books such as Robin Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass offers another set of resources to engage students with, such as interviews with birch bark biting artists, and historical film clips of Manoomin (wild rice) harvesting and processing with the Anishinaabemowin words. In several classes, students read and discussed chapters of Braiding Sweetgrass and we related that to choices about conservation, science communication, and the worldviews that influence us. For other experiences, classes meet with Tribal experts and learn about the conservation work they are doing on, which can include discussions about the complexities of navigating cultural and Settler government policies. As with many relationships, time is a key factor here, and decolonizing a curriculum is a slow, personal, and thoughtful journey to be undertaken.

1 - Department Of Earth & Environmental Sciences, 1100 North University Avenue, Room 2534, NUB, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, United States

Undergraduate teaching

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: C8003
Abstract ID:674
Candidate for Awards:None

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