Canoe Trip

J.P. Restoule’s 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)

After reading J.P. Restoule’s article called ” Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing”, I can say that I have found a few examples of reinhabitation and decolonization. For example, there is reinhabitation happening during the canoe river trip. There were youth, adults, the generation in between, and elders participating, which meant that the relationship between all of the people was growing and their knowledge was being shared. The generations of people were sharing about the relations between the people and the lands and also the related issues of governance and land management (p. 70). As the generations of the people came together on the land, they were able to advance their community’s recognition and reclamation of the Mushkegowuk knowledge, culture, and cultural identity by having them participate in community building activities (p. 70). Knowledge was also passed down from the community members and the elders about the Mushkegowuk people by conducted interviews done by the youth. I found that decolonization occured as the generations of individuals on the canoe trip came together on their land and water to experience the place together traditionally. They also discussed and communicated to one another using their Cree language. I think this traditional communication allowed redistribution of knowledge and language, which was being lost due to colonization many years ago. Overall, decolonization occurred when the people freely spoke in their own Cree language, shared their traditional knowledge, and renamed and reclaimed their original places with their original names in the Inninowuk language.

I believe that knowing the history or background of a certain place where you have lived will greatly benefit anyone. I believe this because I think that knowing your history of the places that you have lived gives you a sense of your own identity. This would also benefit people who are just visiting a new space or place. If students go on a field trip, I will give them some historical knowledge that they will hopefully remember and be able to share with others after they leave. My hope would be that my students become aware of the history of the land that they walk on and that they will grow to appreciate it. If I ever take my students on a field trip, I will make sure to touch on the historical background of that place or even get an elder to come in and speak to them before we attend the field trip. I will also try to help them become more aware of what reinhabitation and decolonization mean. I would hope to do this by taking them on a field trip so that they can learn by doing.

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