Reinhabitation and Decolonization

While reading Learning from Place: a Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing, it became apparent that reinhabitation and decolonization were important concepts strongly embedded within the article’s contents. Reinhabitation was demonstrated through the efforts of the community and advisory panel to renew relationships with the land, water, and surrounding environment. Community members recognized the environment as a complex being from which all life stems, rather than a resource for use. Concentrated focus on respect for the environment, as well as emphasis on living in harmony with it were deeply present. Decolonization was demonstrated through revival and priority of Indigenous ways of knowing. Use of intergenerational relationships, Indigenous language, and Indigenous cosmology are a few examples of acts that work to decolonize.

When I consider my own teaching career and the roles reinhabitation and decolonization will play as part of pedagogy as place, I consider each concept to play slightly different roles. When I consider reinhabitation, I envision it to fulfill two roles. The first role concerns the area of environmental education, as the main purpose of this subject is to teach us how to live in harmony with the environment. This purpose is almost synonymous with the definition of reinhabitation, which means “to teach us how to live well in our total environments”. Secondly, I view reinhabitation as a good general concept for classroom manner. Students, teachers, and curriculum should relate and exist in harmony, in order for education to be an effective and peaceful experience for all those involved. When I consider decolonization, I see it as a concept to be incorporated into all subject areas. Teaching is a political act, and should aim to decolonize in all areas. Much of this includes recognizing the realities of Indigenous history and culture, and incorporating Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing as equal to western worldviews and ways of knowing. Certainly reinhabitation and decolonization can help strengthen our practice as educators.

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4 thoughts on “Reinhabitation and Decolonization

  1. I noticed many similarities between my blog post and yours. We both interpreted it in similar ways and took note of the reinhabitation and decolonization discussed throughout. I like how you worded the evidence of decolonization in that it was “…demonstrated through revival and priority of Indigenous ways of knowing.” I also like how you described how to demonstrate it in your teaching. I interpreted this section in a different way when I was writing, but it is interesting to see how you thought of it. Good post!

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  2. Wow! Very thought provoking post! I loved how you incorporated what reinhabitation and decolonization mean to you. I agree with all of them. I think the main point of your blog post was that we need to learn to live in respectful harmony with the cultures, environments, and things around us. If we are able to do this, maybe we will be able to fix some of the problems in the world. We can especially do this in the classroom because relationships are so important! Thanks Tianna!

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  3. I really liked your take on this post. The connections you made to environmental education were very insightful and I think these two teachings go really hand in hand. I also really liked your connection to classroom manner because that makes this kind of teaching not just thrown in randomly, but a part of the whole of the classroom. Very good post!

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  4. HI,Tianna.
    Your posting help me a lot to understanding reinhabitation and decolonizaiton. First time when I read the article, I was thinking what should I list for reinhabitation and decolonization. Then read one more time. Soon I can see many efforts from Indigenous group for that. And your definition of those which are “Reinhabitation was demonstrated through the efforts of the community and advisory panel to renew relationships with the land, water, and surrounding environment”, and “Decolonization was demonstrated through revival and priority of Indigenous ways of knowing” help me to better understanding of the meaning of rein habitation and decolonization.
    Also, I like your two ways of consider your own teaching career. The first role concerns the area of environmental education, as the main purpose of this subject is to teach us how to live in harmony with the environment.I have similar ideas as yours, I want to teach children about the value and importance of environment. So I want to take them to field trip, it doesn’t have to be far away. It’s okay even in front of school, and just let the student feel the nature such as fresh air and smells of trees. In addition, I want to invite someone from indigenous community and share their story to children to learn their culture and traditions. We are all belong to treaty and I think everyone has to know even a little about Indigenous cultures and language.
    Thanks for sharing!

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