To start, I think it is important to define reinhabitation and decolonization. Reinhabitation, as defined in the article is identifying, recovering, and creating material spaces and places that will teach people how to live well in their environments (Restoule, Gruner, & Metatawabin, 2013, p. 74). Decolonization is to “identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places” (Restoule et al, 2013, p.74).
This pertains to Indigenous peoples because a lot of the Indigenous peoples’ culture was taken away from them through colonization. Furthermore, certain Indigenous groups have gone extinct, such as the Beothuk. As a result, the Indigenous peoples are in a state of confusion on who they are. We, the dominant European culture, cannot tell them what their identity is. So, the Indigenous peoples have to use what little bits and pieces they can find to recreate their culture and identity. In the article, there is research being done on the importance of the land/territory and how one can learn from it. This shows that one does not have to learn only inside of a classroom, their surroundings will also tell them information. They can also go out into their surroundings to learn life skills (i.e. what plants can be used as medicine). A specific landmark that the Mushkegowuk people place a lot of importance on the river. The river has meaning through the social, cultural, economic, and spiritual among the community members. They relied on the river. For example, they got food, hydration, and travel from the river. The river is a big of their identity and should not be forgotten. Additionally, the interviews are a way for Indigenous peoples to reintegrate their oral traditions into their and our culture. The use of story is a completely different teaching method than the European culture uses where a student has to sit in a classroom for seven hours and absorb and recite information that has been taught to them. I believe that by using their traditional teaching methods, the Indigenous peoples will start to get more of their culture back.
In my own teaching, I will have to recognize that the European viewpoint is not the best viewpoint and I will need to break away from traditional European ways of teaching. I will have to make sure that different worldviews are identified and explored. Nowadays, there is a lot of stress put onto teaching Indigenous viewpoints. I am not saying that this is a negative thing because there will most definitely be a high percentage of Indigenous students in my classroom and they play a big part in Canada’s development. However, I do not want my students who may be immigrants or refugees to feel ostracized in the classroom. I believe a good way for students to display their culture’s traditions and viewpoints to their peers, is to do a “Canadian Identity Project.” I completed a similar project in my senior year of high school. We wrote an essay and then made our essays into videos which we showed to the class. This project was beneficial because my class has never been separated since kindergarten (I attended a K-12 school). We all knew each fairly well, but after this project, we all felt even closer and that we understood each other better. In other words, in my teaching, I want to create a sense of community in my classroom. I want everyone to feel that they are valued members of the group and should not be afraid to show off who they are.
Restoule, J.P., Gruner, S., & Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dI7wj8JcsOuMVHjWx1aKJy3XzCSoyYuc/view