I have personally been on many outdoor education trips. I have been on two week long camping/hiking/canoeing trips in September and I have also been on two winter camp/treks for a week at a time as well. These camping experiences happened as I attended my school called CLBI (Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute). On top of that, I have worked at a camp called Kinasao for many summers in a row, where I have been on at least four other canoe trips across the lake and where we have camped outside in tents. I find camping and canoe trips to be refreshing and also freeing. It seems as though I am traveling in the open air with a fresh sent or breeze on my face. My creative journal piece is a picture that I colored and it basically sums up my experience on my canoe an camping experiences. It was always a fun, enjoyable experience that never had a dull moment. Everyone on the trip was learning together and we all became closer to one another as well.
Now that I look back on my outdoor education experiences, I realize that we spent a lot of time getting to know each other, but only a little bit of time admiring the land. We didn’t even spend any time relating our wilderness experience to the Aboriginal heritage or culture when we should have. I realize now that it would have been a more valuable experience if our school had encouraged everyone on the outdoor trip to think about was what Newbery explained in her article. Newbery explains that canoe trips in Canada are heavily loaded experiences that often carry idealized notions about Canadian identities, fur trade histories, Aboriginal heritage, and fantasies of wilderness (Newbery 2012, p. 31) and this is what I have failed to think about as I have journeyed on my different canoeing and camping trips. Knowing that Canoe trips have the potential to create a meaningful educational experience about Aboriginal culture, we as future educators need to create opportunities for students to learn from and about Aboriginal cultures, while also being mindful of idealizing and historicizing those opportunities. Newbery thinks that this could be an important way of combating the Euro-centrism that pervades educational practice. Even though Newbery often witnesses educators still teaching in a way that avoids exploring the culpability of Canada and Canadian people, we need to start creating opportunities for our students to learn about the Aboriginal culture as we learn about the environment because the two are very much intertwined. We could also help encourage other teachers to create meaningful opportunities to teach their students on Aboriginal culture so that more students will be aware of the culture.
As I have been gaining information on ways of giving thanks or recognizing the historical story of the land, I think that I will try to be more aware of what treaty land I am walking on and respect that treaty land as well. I can also give thanks for the historical land by saying a thankful prayer to the Creator and mother Earth for the land and the environment that I am standing on or using. One final way that I can give thanks is by offering tobacco to the land whenever I use the land’s resources. My hope is to be more thankful for the land and be more aware of the Aboriginal culture of the land that I walk on.