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Title: Demonstrating Anishinaabe storywork circle pedagogy: creating conceptual space for ecological relational knowledge in the classroom.
Authors: Peltier, Sharla
Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge;Aboriginal education;Anishinaabe education;Indigenous philosophy;Indigenous ecology;Anishinaabe relational knowledge;Anishinaabe pedagogy;Indigenous research methodology;Case study narrative;Elementary classroom;Storytelling, identity;Community;Story circles;Aboriginal educational praxis
Issue Date: 7-Jun-2016
Abstract: Aboriginal education reform policies, Truth and Reconciliation initiatives, and climate change indicators signal opportunity and an urgency for action to effect positive change through relationship with Aki1. Aboriginal peoples’ ancient and wholistic ways of knowing, being, doing, and feeling are touchstones to support timely transformative processes in education and Canadian society. Current educational initiatives emphasize learning Aboriginal content and the integration of historical perspectives and contemporary arts into the Ontario curricula. This case study of 17 participants in a grade 4/5 classroom explores a research journey in northeastern Ontario demonstrating how the oral tradition and an Anishinaabe storywork Circle pedagogy create conceptual space for Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge within the urban public school classroom. An Anishinaabe shared learning process devoid of power imbalance draws on the life experience of each student and educator in a culture and land-based approach. This study addresses the following research questions: What is Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge and what principles and concepts of Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge are made visible in a public school classroom? How is Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge socially enacted in the classroom? How does the teacher's perception of Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge transform their pedagogy? A critical Indigenous2 research theory and qualitative methodological approach bring forward a narrative inclusive of teacher and elementary student voices and participant researcher reflections and query. 1 Aki is the Anishinaabemowin term for "Land". Anishinaabemowin refers to the Aboriginal languages of the Anishinaabek people, spoken by the Algonquin, Chippewa, Delaware, Mississauga, Odawa, and Ojibway and Pottawatomi people of the Great Lakes Region. 2 The term Indigenous refers to the first peoples that occupied the continents of the world and is used in this research context to refer to all first peoples-unique in our own cultures-but common in our experiences of colonialism and our understanding of the world (Wilson, 2008, p. 15). Anishinaabe cultural ecological relational knowledge refers to a specific area of Indigenous knowledge that suits the study's local context regarding Anishinaabe cultural origins, linguistic family, and community traditions. An animated learning process and experience incorporates life experience, relational collectivity, and inner knowing for Anishinaabe cultural ecological relational knowledge regarding the self in relationship with Aki and each other. The ‘school yard as classroom’ is utilized and this is especially supportive for First Nation students in transition to the city. Students’ and educators’ engagement in an inclusive community of respect and mutual understanding supports exploration of biophilia (the love of nature) and balanced relationships. The incorporation of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway language) conveys worldview perspectives and exemplifies the Indigenous paradigm and ways of knowing. The Anishinaabe storywork Circle process builds identity and supportive relationships which are strongly associated with school success of particular relevance for Aboriginal student engagement in school. Classroom teacher praxis is stimulated in response to Anishinaabe ecological relational knowledge and an Anishinaabe storywork Circle pedagogy. A robust process for change emerges through an examination of ecological systems theory. The impacts of relationshipbuilding, creation of a kind, respectful and inclusive classroom environment to interrupt systemic hegemony and racism are discussed.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Theses
Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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