Rethinking Intercultural Approaches to Indigenous Environmental Education and Research
Chapter 3. Articulating a Métis Worldview: Exploring the Third Space
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ARTICULATING A MÉTIS WORLDVIEW: EXPLORING THE THIRD SPACE
England had kings, queens, and jacks. But we had the jokers. We were the jokers. Outside the deck, across the ocean, dancing our little jigs of happiness.
— Jessica Grant, Come Thou Tortoise (2009, p. 141)
When considering the contemporary blending and/or integration of Western and Indigenous knowledge and philosophies in Canada, one solution that comes to mind is simply adopting the worldview and practices of the Métis people. However, in this chapter I argue that identifying and adopting the “Métis worldview” as a model for contemporary métissage (ecological in this case) would be inappropriate because a singularly identifiable Métis worldview does not exist. While certain similarities in language patterns, spiritual beliefs, and other cultural markers can be identified, the diversity between and within Métis communities and people in Canada is greater than their commonalities.
Nevertheless, what can be most commonly identified is a “Third Space” mentality (Richardson, 2004): amenability to incorporating two or more cultures, languages, and spiritual traditions on an individual, community, and regional level. Rather than seeking to reduce and essentialize the vast diversity of the Métis world to an exclusive set of cultural and epistemological characteristics, I demonstrate that what is required is an understanding of the ← 31 | 32 → spirit of métissage—a Third Space mentality. I believe that it is this spirit or mentality that is required for successful...
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