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Protest as Pedagogy

Teaching, Learning, and Indigenous Environmental Movements


Gregory Lowan-Trudeau

Written during a time characterized by catalyzing Indigenous environmental movements such as Idle No More, political upheaval, and the final years of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Protest as Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Indigenous Environmental Movements was motivated by Gregory Lowan-Trudeau’s personal experiences as an activist, educator, and researcher. Insights from interviews with activists and educators in a variety of school, community, and post-secondary contexts are presented in relation to teaching and learning during, and in response to, Indigenous environmental movements. Looking toward future possibilities, the rise of renewable energy development by Indigenous communities across Canada is also considered. Throughout Protest as Pedagogy, these inquiries are guided by a theoretical framework built on concepts such as decolonization, Herbert Marcuse’s repressive tolerance, Elliot Eisner’s three curricula, and broader fields of study such as social movement learning, critical media literacy, Indigenous media studies, and environmental communication.

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Chapter 1. Narrating a Critical Indigenous Pedagogy of Place: Education, Activism, and Research


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Education, Activism, and Research1

I was born, raised, and currently reside in Calgary, Alberta, a city of just over a million people that is a few hundred kilometers north of the Montana border, where the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains meet the western fringe of the Canadian prairies. One of the last areas of permanent European settlement in Canada, Fort Calgary was built at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers in the late 1800s. As such, it is quite beautiful as far as cities go, with sweeping prairie and mountain views and clear glacial water flowing in from the south and northwest. Calgary is also, somewhat notoriously, known across Canada and in many parts of the world as a center of oil and gas development.

Including recent additions, my family has been in this region for five generations on my father’s side and four on my mother’s. My paternal ancestors arrived first. They were poverty-stricken settlers of mixed Lenapé (Delaware) and European ancestry who, like many of the eastern nations (Bouchard, Foxcurran, & Malette, 2016), had progressively migrated, meandered, and, most likely, been pushed across ← 11 | 12 → the American prairies over several generations from eastern Pennsylvania through Kansas and Iowa, before crossing the border near the turn of the century to settle and homestead north of Calgary near the town of Crossfield in the northern stretches of Blackfoot...

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