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.