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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 7. Resistance Revisioned: Indigenous Renewable Energy Development and Education


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Indigenous Renewable Energy Development and Education1

Upon consideration of the resistance movements and educational efforts described in the previous chapters, one might be led to ponder possible paths forward for Indigenous individuals and communities in Canada and elsewhere. In such a spirit, this chapter presents insights from an inquiry into renewable energy development by Indigenous communities across Canada. The focus is on Indigenous leadership in developing renewable energy projects that align with traditional ecological philosophies while also providing increased economic and energy security, sovereignty, and educational opportunities. These projects build new knowledges and practices across cultural divides. Broader sociocritical concerns regarding renewable energy development, the associated challenges of renewable energy education, and Indigenous environmental education in the context of capitalist and nationalist agendas are also discussed. ← 127 | 128 →

Leading Indigenous thinkers such as Anishnaabe scholar and leader Laduke (2014) and Maori scholar Maria Bargh (2010), both supportive of Indigenous renewable energy projects in general, note that some Indigenous communities are in fact held back by outsiders’ over-romanticization of Indigenous environmental traditions; they don’t want Indigenous peoples to embrace and become leaders in contemporary technologies as it challenges their outdated notions of Indigeneity. Bargh also notes that such a view fails to fulfill the provisions enshrined in the UN’s International Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people to not only continue traditional harvesting activities on traditional lands, but also to pursue development in a contemporary manner.

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