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Pedagogy for Restoration

Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education


David Krzesni

Pedagogy for Restoration seeks to understand the conditions leading to the destruction of Earth in order to discover pedagogy for restoration. As we degrade the planet we degrade ourselves and as we degrade ourselves we degrade the planet. Moral development and socialization significantly influence our participation in, construction of, or resistance to the systems of oppression that degrade us. The process of restorative education recognizes that humans are fundamentally good and moral and seeks to promote healthy moral development. We must help students meet their basic needs, center their own identities and experience, and simultaneously emphasize community and relationships to help them find a sense of purpose. These efforts facilitate social and ecological restoration by allowing students to reach a physical and emotional place that is conducive to learning and self-efficacy so that they may engage with whatever issues they find important in their own way and on their own terms.
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The United States is a nation defined by its original sin: the genocide of American Indians. Everything afterward is just another chapter in the fall from grace…. No reparation, no penance, no atonement can ever erase the eternity of genocide. Life ever after will be forever stained by the attainment of this “carnal knowledge.” Such an inauspicious beginning raises significant questions about the viability of this so-called democratic experiment: Is it possible for democracy to grow from the seeds of tyranny? Can the “good life” be built upon the death of thousands? (Grande, 2004, p. 31)

I began this project as a student at Western Washington University, an institution built on occupied territory of the Lummi Nation. As a graduate of that institution, I find myself to be complicit in the continuing process of colonization of America. But I refuse to silently collude by ignoring inconvenient and uncomfortable truths. Colonization is not a historical event and the oppressive, violent, tragic, and painful results of the ongoing invasion of America are plain to see for anyone who dares look with a critical eye. They are also easily ignored. Many of us have the luxury to overlook or even deny that people are suffering and dying at the expense of our own privilege and ignorance. To begin this project of restoration in any other way than to acknowledge colonization would be not only fraudulent, but also demeaning ← ix | x → of those who suffer this injustice, to those who...

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