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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 3. A Rose by any Other Name: Repressive Tolerance, Burnout, and Hope in the New West


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Repressive Tolerance, Burnout, and Hope in the New West1

In this chapter I reflexively explore my experiences with the historic rise of the New Democratic Party in the province of Alberta in 2015 that was quickly followed by the victory of the federal Liberal Party, toppling conservative dynasties at both levels. As a Métis environmental activist, educator, and academic born, raised, and returned to Alberta after several years away, these shifts were sources of hope, but also completely disorienting at times. This line of theoretical inquiry and reflection is especially significant due to the unprecedented shift in government that occurred in Alberta, a region under intense environmental scrutiny, which bears implications for the rest of Canada, North America, and the world.

In framing this chapter I draw upon Marcuse’s (1965) notion of repressive tolerance, consideration of insider/outsider dynamics and positioning (Maloney, Jordan, & McLaughlin, 1994; Smith, 2012), and insights into ← 49 | 50 → activist educator burnout (Gorski & Chen, 2015) to reflexively explore and articulate my experiences with these events as a public scholar and educator.

This autoethnographic (Ellis, Adams, & Bochner, 2011) inquiry employs a narrative approach to provide a theoretically grounded exploration of past and present personal experiences with the shifting political dynamics in Alberta and Canada. I draw from a variety of sources, including review of my personal journal and social media activity from the time period...

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