Land is Relative

The Learning from Place article (2013) talks about this idea that the land that we live on is relative. Meaning, the land that you are standing on right at this very moment may have some specific meaning to you. Trade places with somebody. Now ask them what that exact same location means to them. It could and will likely mean something completely different. Depending on many varying aspects and concepts of life, the locations, places and things mean something entirely different regarding whom you ask.

This article makes mention of a quotation that really stands out to me. “What is the role of land/territory, and what strategies are people developing to maintain the Mushkegowuk ‘way of life,’ particularly in face of pressures to enter into the world of large-scale extractive capitalism” (pp 73). This mention was seemingly vital throughout the course of their project. Throughout fostering positive relationships with Cree and Mushkegowuk Elders, they were able to discover historic and traditional narratives that accompanied the land of study. Basically, through these relationships they were able to rename and rewrite (decolonize) the history of the land through someone else’s eyes. In this case it was re-written in the eyes of the individuals who found the land first.

In my own classroom, I can see myself taking advantage of fostering positive intergenerational relationships between my students and individuals outside of our school. Through these relationships, students will be able to gain knowledge into what the land that they inhabit used to be like. They can build on their concepts on what the land means to them as well as understand that it may mean something different to everybody. The land tells a story, a unique story to every individual that graces its presence.

I’ve incorporated a few videos as examples of the importance and actual practice of Learning from the Land. Can be a great way to incorporate “field trips” into your classroom. Students will love getting out of the stuffy classroom and engaging with something real and alive.



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