Métis traditional environmental knowledge and science education
Vizina, Yvonne Nadine
A chasm exists between science curriculum offered within K-12 and post-secondary education systems, and the needs of national and international decision-makers with respect to the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges within processes aimed at protecting global biological diversity. World governments seek to protect biodiversity through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and consideration of Indigenous knowledges has emerged in governing texts. Yet, sustaining Indigenous knowledges as global wisdom will not be possible if young people lack opportunities to learn Indigenous traditional environmental knowledge as an integral part of their education experience. Métis traditional environmental knowledge can be a modality of science education that will engage learners in understanding relationships with the natural world and the importance of developing sustainable lifestyles within holistic lifelong learning. In advancing this contention, a series of interviews were conducted with Métis traditional land users from North West Saskatchewan. The interviews provided data in 17 thematic areas including: balance, economic, environment, harmony, health, Indigenous knowledge, political, social, spirituality, values, land, language, people, self, imagination, tradition, and learning. Results were used to respond to the four primary research questions: According to traditional land users in North West Saskatchewan, what is Métis traditional environmental knowledge? How does Métis traditional environmental knowledge in North West Saskatchewan align with established theories of Aboriginal epistemology and supporting principles? What evidence and arguments exist that support the development of Métis traditional environmental knowledge as a modality of science education? How can Métis traditional environmental knowledge be developed as a modality of science education? Findings support development of holistic education processes that comprise a broad scope of knowledge integral to understanding our environment. Métis traditional environmental knowledge requires learners engage in activities outside the classroom, participating in experiences that facilitate an understanding of holistic thinking in intellectual, physical, affective and spiritual domains. Traditional environmental knowledge and practices of Métis People can inspire learners in science education, improving their engagement, understanding and decision-making abilities concerning the natural environment.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeLovrod, Marie; Regnier, Robert; Aikenhead, Glen
Copyright DateAugust 2010