This week in ECS 210, we were asked to read through an article about a “research project that is dedicated to honouring Mushkegowuk Cree concepts of lands, environments and life in Fort Albany First Nation”.
Prior to reading this article, I had never heard about Fort Albany First Nation before. I had to google where on the map it was to get some sort of context of the setting of this research paper. Below is a picture of the map to outline where Fort Albany First Nation is.
Prior to reading this article, I had no previous knowledge about traditional Mushkegowuk ways of knowing. I have taken some classes to learn more about traditional Indigenous ways of knowing, but I know that there is so much more that I can learn. I know that I am not an expert on Indigenous ways of knowing, but I am eager to expand my knowledge about Indigenous ways of knowing and traditional values and beliefs.
From reading this article, I have learnt a lot about Mushkegowuk ways of knowing and the Fort Albany First Nation. A connection to nature is important for many people, but for Fort Albany First Nation, the connection to nature and land is more significant than just helping improve a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development; it is the cultural identity of the people. For Mushkegowuk, the land is more than just a resource; it is a spiritual and material place that all life springs from.
The author of this article did not pretend to know everything about Fort Albany First Nation or about the perspectives of the Mushkegowuk Cree. The group of researchers ASKED the community about their perspectives on the land and environment. One of the most important aspects of this research article was the project with the river as a theme to bring the youth and the elders together. This project was a ten day river trip with youth, adult and elder participation to learn more about traditional lands and waters. This project’s goal was to “foster development of meaningful space for intergenerational dialogue and community research on social and economic relationships rooted in Mushegowuk conceptions of life and traditional territory”.
While reading this article, we were asked to find examples of reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the article. Reinhabitation is identifying, recovering, and creating material spaces and places that teach people how to live well in the total environment (p.74). Decolonization is identifying and changing the ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (p. 74). In the article is states that reinhabitation and decolonization depend on each other.
I saw many examples of reinhabitation and decolonization in this article, but as a whole, the river trip was a huge example of both of these topics. As the group went on the excursion, they documented the sites of significance to the community. By documenting these sites, the community is taking steps into reinhabitation. As communities and people are able to reclaim the sites and routes that have traditional and historical significance, they are taking steps to reinhabitation. While on the excursion, the essay discusses that the river is a way of life for the people. The river has much more meaning to it other than just a body of water. The river has physical, emotional and spiritual uses and meanings. The river is also used as a cemetery and as a way to remember the people that have passed away. By sharing this information, the author is taking part in decolonizing. When I think of a river, I only think of a body of water. I did not think of other meanings that it could have for different people.
This article gave me a lot of insight and knowledge that I have not previously learnt before. I have never thought about the environment having such an impact on people’s lives. I think from reading this article I must realize that there are different types of knowledge that are important to students. When I am teaching, I must understand that knowledge and curriculum can come from more than just the textbooks and what is given by the government. Knowledge and teachings can come from the community and the environment around the students I am teaching. As a future teacher, I will integrate more Indigenous knowledge into all subjects.
Thank you for reading my blog post!