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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 5: Environmental Educators’ Perspectives


. 5 . environmental educators’ perspectives I am very grateful to have had the incredible opportunity to engage in con- versation with some of Canada’s most experienced and inspiring intercultural environmental educators. As mentioned in earlier chapters, this journey was a constant process of reflection—a spiraling dialogue between the participants, the literature, and myself. As I came to the end, I found that some of my origi- nal questions had been answered, however new questions had inevitably risen in their place. Another conundrum that I faced was that every participant had a unique perspective on the topics and questions guiding this study. How then, to make sense of it all? I realized that I needed to revisit the literature, discuss my thoughts with trusted peers and mentors, and reflect on my original research questions to begin making sense of all of these ideas and questions that had arisen during the interviews. My original research questions were: 1. Can Western and Indigenous knowledge of the natural world be blended theoretically and in practice? If so, how? 2. What characterizes the ecological identities of contemporary inter- cultural environmental educators? 3. Do they embody ecological métissage? If so, how? 82 rethinking intercultural approaches 4. How might the concept of ecological métissage [and/or similar con- cepts] reshape environmental education in Canada? I also revisited the methodologies that guided me in the initial stages of this research such as Kovach’s (2010) thoughts on Indigenous methodol- ogies and the various interpretive and narrative researchers who...

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