Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research
Chapter 1: Introduction
. 1 . introduction Motivated by recent environmental initiatives such as Saddle Lake’s water treatment system and T’Sou-ke First Nation’s solar energy project and in- spired by examples of cultural métissage in Canadian history, the purpose of the doctoral study that led to the development of this book was to explore “ecological métissage” as an emerging vision for environmental education in Canada (Lowan-Trudeau, 2012b, 2013b). The concept of ecological métis- sage arises from Thomashow’s (1996) description of “ecological identity,” as the way that we understand ourselves in relation to the natural world, and an understanding of “métissage” as the mixing or blending often associated with culture or ethnicity (Chambers, Donald and Hasebe-Ludt, 2002; Nguyen, 2005; Pieterse, 2001). For the purposes of this inquiry, ecological métissage denotes a blending of two or more ecological worldviews at a personal and/or cultural level as represented in personal identity, philosophies, and practices. This theme is also supported by an increasing number of scholars and educators who advocate for the integration of Indigenous, Western and other knowledges in our collective attempts to address the world’s current ecologi- cal crises. Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental educators alike are working to bridge cultural gaps as well as to revive and preserve Indigenous traditions and ecological knowledge, ever conscious of the delicate balance 6 rethinking intercultural approaches between respectful sharing and misappropriating or misusing Indigenous knowledge. However, as our field has grown, divergent perspectives have emerged regarding the current and potential relationship between Indigenous, West- ern,...
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