From Bricolage to Métissage

Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research

by Gregory Lowan-Trudeau (Author)
©2015 Textbook XVI, 159 Pages


Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research arose from a physical and philosophical journey that critically considered the relationship between Western, Indigenous, and other culturally rooted ecological knowledge systems and philosophies. This book shares two related studies that explored the life histories, cultural, and ecological identities and pedagogical experiences of Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and recently arrived educators and learners from across Canada. A variety of socio-ecological concepts including bricolage, métissage, Two-Eyed Seeing, and the Third Space are employed to (re-) frame discussions of historical and contemporary understandings of interpretive and Indigenous research methodologies, Métis cultures and identities, Canadian ecological identity, intercultural science and environmental education, «wicked problems», contemporary disputes over land and natural resource management, and related activism.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Author’s Note
  • Related Publications
  • List of Tables & Figures
  • Prelude: A Tale of Two First Nations
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Methodological Métissage
  • Chapter 3. Articulating a Métis Worldview: Exploring the Third Space
  • Chapter 4. In Search of Common Ground: To Blend or Not to Blend?
  • Chapter 5. Environmental Educators’ Perspectives
  • Chapter 6. Three-Eyed Seeing?
  • Chapter 7. Implications for Environmental Education in Canada and Beyond
  • Chapter 8. Final Thoughts & Future Directions
  • References
  • Index
  • Series Index


First and foremost I would like to acknowledge the ongoing support and encouragement of my family. I am grateful to you all for your encouragement and guidance. Thank you. Merci. Wela’lin.

I would also like to recognize and extend deep gratitude to the participants in both studies for their generous insights.

The staff and faculty of the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education also deserve great appreciation, most especially my doctoral supervisor, Dr. Gail Jardine, for her unwavering commitment and dedication to facilitating my research journey. Many thanks also to my doctoral supervisory committee that involved, at different stages, Dr. Ann Sherman, the late Dr. Jeff Jacob, Dr. Cecille DePass, and Dr. Sylvie Roy. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and adaptability. Thanks also to the external examiners of my doctoral dissertation, Dr. Cynthia Chambers and Dr. Mishka Lysack.

Warm thanks also to the staff and faculty of Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education for providing me with a physical, intellectual, and existential home-away-from-home during the last two years of my doctoral studies. Special thanks especially to Dr. Connie Russell and Dr. Bob Jickling for your ongoing insight, encouragement, and friendship. Thanks also to Dr. Russell ← ix | x → and Dr. Justin Dillon for inviting me to contribute to this series and for your excellent editorial support.

I would also like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Foundation, the University of Calgary, and the University of Northern British Columbia.

Finally, I would like to extend warm appreciation to Rachel Mishenene for contributing the beautiful painting found on the cover of this book. Chi Meegwetch. ← x | xi →


100% of the author’s profits from this book will be donated to Indigenous and environmental education initiatives. ← xi | xii →

← xii | xiii →


Modified excerpts from the following publications are gratefully reproduced here with permission:

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (under review). Three-eyed seeing? Considering Indigenous ecological knowledge in culturally complex contexts. Alberta Science Education Journal.

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (in press). Indigenous environmental education in North America and beyond. In C. Russell, J. Dillon & M. Breunig (Eds.). Environmental Education Reader. New York: Peter Lang.

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2013). Indigenous environmental education research in North America: A brief review. In R. Stevenson, M. Brody, J. Dillon & A.E.J. Wals (Eds.), International handbook of research on environmental education (pp. 404–408). New York: Routledge & The American Educational Research Association.

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2014). Considering ecological métissage: To blend or not to blend? Journal of Experiential Education, 37(4), 351–366.

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2013). Navigating the wilderness between us: Exploring ecological métissage as an emerging vision for environmental education in Canada [Thesis Synopsis]. Environmental Education Research, 19(2), 253–254.

Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2012). Methodological métissage: An interpretive Indigenous approach to environmental education research. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 113–130.

Lowan, G. (2012). Expanding the conversation: Further explorations into Indigenous environmental science education theory, research, and practice. Cultural Studies in Science Education, 7, 71–81. ← xiii | xiv →

Lowan, G. (2011). Adrift in our national consciousness: Meditations on the canoe. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 23(4), 25–29.

Lowan, G. (2011). Ecological métissage: Exploring the third space in Canadian outdoor and environmental education. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 23(2), 10–15. ← xiv | xv →


Table 1. Methodological Métissage (Lowan-Trudeau, 2012a; 2012b)

Figure 1. Methodological Métissage (Lowan-Trudeau, 2012a, 2012b)

Figure 2. The Third Space (Lowan, 2011a, 2011b)

Figure 3. Ecological Métissage ← xv | xvi →

← xvi | 1 →


Two Aboriginal1 communities in western Canada, Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta and T’Sou-ke First Nation on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, have recently been capturing the attention of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal leaders, scholars, and educators due to innovative environmental initiatives and associated social, economic and educational developments.

In Saddle Lake a revolutionary, low-impact water treatment system has attracted interest from other remote Aboriginal communities (Narine, 2009). Saddle Lake was once a highly polluted body of water; community members had to boil all water prior to consumption due to inadequate waste and fresh water treatment facilities (Drake, 2006). After repeated appeals, the community received financial assistance from the federal government to clean up the lake and develop a new water treatment system. Against the advice of government and industry experts, Saddle Lake partnered with researchers from the University of Alberta to develop a revolutionary water treatment system. The project managers were influenced by the vision of their Elders to embrace modern science guided by traditional wisdom. As one participant commented, “It’s always been a desire of the Elders to embrace sound science and…traditional holistic teachings to fashion healthy drinking water” (Narine, ¶ 6). ← 1 | 2 →

Rather than using chemicals to treat their water, further tampering with the highly disturbed ecosystem, the Saddle Lake team developed a system that uses a non-invasive integrated membrane filter (Narine, 2009). Saddle Lake’s treatment system has been highly successful and is now in high demand across Canada. The project’s managers are presently busy sharing the technology with other Aboriginal communities.


XVI, 159
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2013 (September)
reframe multiculturalism indigneous education
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XIV, 159 pp.

Biographical notes

Gregory Lowan-Trudeau (Author)

Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, PhD is a Métis scholar and educator. He is Assistant Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of First Nations Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. Greg is the 2014 recipient of the Canadian Education Association’s Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education.


Title: From Bricolage to Métissage
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178 pages