AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Indigenous elders' pedagogy for land-based health education programs : Gee-zhee-kan'dug Cedar pedagogical pathways

by Alannah Earl Young

Institution: University of British Columbia
Department: Educational Studies
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2057990
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/52622


This qualitative research articulates and develops an Anishnabe-Nehiyaw Cree perspective of a tribal pedagogy. The author weaves elements of critical ethnographies, Indigenous oral histories and critical tribal and feminist theories throughout the dissertation. She describes five pedagogical pathways that were developed through an Indigenous conversation method (Kovach, 2010) in 8 research circles with 18 Indigenous Elders in central, rural Manitoba. The research utilizes Indigenous storywork methodologies to gather and interpret the research on Indigenous local land-based pedagogies. The specific Gee-zhee-kan’-dug Cedar pedagogy is described by the Indigenous Elders who teach at a 24 year long land-based health education program. The author outlines five pedagogical learning pathways as key findings, which are: 1) culture: facilitating access to the revitalization of tribal Indigenous knowledges; 2) land: developing local co-partnerships and genealogies connected to territories; 3) orality: using story, ceremony, songs, prayers, language, dreams, performance, and genealogy as the primary modes of teaching; 4) community: aligning educators with local self-determining initiatives such as food sovereignty and access to healthy water and plant medicines; and 5) ethics: interweaving practices with sustainable, health-enhancing and decolonizing agendas. From the example of this Cedar pedagogy, the researcher proposes a framework for educators who want to develop their own local, land-based pedagogies. This framework includes five elements: 1) research local Indigenous nation’s culture and stories, and partner with appropriate resource people; 2) prepare materials and information required for students to learn in the class and on the land, and make space for and provide access to Indigenous knowledge holders; 3) follow local protocol principles, including proper expression of the value principles, negotiate local relationships to land, and modify protocol principles for each context; 4) apply the pedagogy by taking people out on the land, encouraging the use of all of the senses, and engaging respectfully with local peoples and places; and 5) reflect on the experience by sharing local stories of transformation and reconnection to lands/plants. The research concludes with a discussion on how Indigenous knowledge systems can inform land-based pedagogies, and how these pedagogies can have a pivotal role in strengthening peoples’ wholistic health.