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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 6. Critical Media Literacy and Engagement: Insights from Indigenous Environmental Movements and Educational Contexts


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Insights from Indigenous Environmental Movements and Educational Contexts

Indigenous environmental movements are increasingly featured in popular, independent, and social media; Standing Rock, Idle No More, and other manifestations of resistance often capture attention across North America and beyond. As described in previous chapters, I have participated in such movements and, as a result, with popular, alternative, and social media in a variety of ways in both a personal and professional manner (Lowan-Trudeau, 2017a, 2017b, 2018).

Through various media engagements, I’ve had experiences ranging from empowering to demoralizing and frustrating. I’ve had great experiences wherein I felt respected in sharing personal and research-based insights with independent and popular media outlets related to critical issues. I’ve also had the wording of letters to the editor slightly altered, quotes taken out of context, and misleading headlines presented in relation to my comments. With the support of media savvy colleagues, I’ve also learned that it’s possible to actively engage with media creators, for example, by contacting editors and producers to request retractions or changes if necessary. As a result of such experiences, I’ve learned to be cautious with, but not completely opposed to, media engagement—I often decline media requests, but not always, because I do believe that media engagement can be a powerful vehicle to speak truth to power and share important insights. ← 111 | 112 →

As an educator, I’ve also come to understand the...

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