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From Bricolage to Métissage

Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research


Gregory Lowan-Trudeau

Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research arose from a physical and philosophical journey that critically considered the relationship between Western, Indigenous, and other culturally rooted ecological knowledge systems and philosophies. This book shares two related studies that explored the life histories, cultural, and ecological identities and pedagogical experiences of Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and recently arrived educators and learners from across Canada. A variety of socio-ecological concepts including bricolage, métissage, Two-Eyed Seeing, and the Third Space are employed to (re-) frame discussions of historical and contemporary understandings of interpretive and Indigenous research methodologies, Métis cultures and identities, Canadian ecological identity, intercultural science and environmental education, «wicked problems», contemporary disputes over land and natural resource management, and related activism.


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Chapter 2: Methodological Métissage


. 2 . methodological métissage As previously described, this book weaves together findings from two relat- ed studies. In the course of the first study, which led to my doctoral disser- tation, I had the privilege to interview ten Indigenous and non-Indigenous intercultural environmental educators from a variety of backgrounds (Sto:lo, Métis, Pakistani, Japanese, various European cultures) from across Canada who draw upon Western, Indigenous, and other cultural traditions to inform their ecological identities, philosophies, and practices. Motivated by insights from participants in the first study, the second comprised a pilot project that explored the experiences of newcomers to Canada with Indigenous ecological knowledges and philosophies in Western science pedagogical contexts. I was guided through both of these research journeys by a methodology that I developed from an initial bricolage (Berry, 2006; Steinberg, 2006) or integration of Indigenous (Kovach, 2010; Smith, 1999; Wilson, S., 2008) and interpretive (Berry, 2006; Denzin, 1989; Steinberg, 2006; Willinsky, 2006) methodologies to form a new methodological métissage (mix) representative of my own identity as a Métis scholar and educator. 18 rethinking intercultural approaches From Bricolage to Métissage: A Process Berry (2006) introduces the concept of bricolage as methodology by sharing an anecdote about an Acadian friend who is constantly at work using “scraps of leftover wood…to create the most unique and charming birdhouses…no two ever look the same” (p. 87). Berry notes that, like her friend’s carpen- try projects, engaging with bricolage as a research approach involves working “with...

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