In this paper, we explore reinhabitation and decolonization through the journey of the Mushkegowuk Cree people. The students go on a 10 day river trip where they learn ways to connect and learn from the land, by the stories told by elders. With the help of a varying age group, here are some of the ways reinhabitation and decolonization happen through this trip:
- Relations and bonds began to form between youth, adults and elders. Elders were able to share their life experience and knowledge to the youth.
- Language and history was shared
- Exploring the land and learning that the land isn’t just physical
- Embracing their background.
These examples are working towards decolonizing Western beliefs, and reintroducing their Indigenous backgrounds. This exercise promoted the cultural traditions and knowledge, rather than suppressing them. This act alone, is the beginning to decolonizing and reinhabitation. This trip has had many positive impacts for these students, because they are deconstructing the world they are accustomed to and learning what came before. Without this learning approach, I don’t believe that these students would feel as impacted.
As a future teacher living in Saskatchewan, I think that this concept is very beneficial to all youth. Allowing a student to learn about their history and where they come from helps them discover who they are. Discovering identity is something that all teachers should feel obligated to help or at the very least support. I think bringing the history of the land, and Indigenous history is something that is impactful for all students. Learning from our environment has a long lasting effect on a student, which is why I would like to integrate place based learning in my future classrooms.