Land as our Teacher (LAOT) is a 5-year research project that began in May 2019. It hopes to explore the benefits of land-based pedagogies for Indigenous youth/young people (16-29). The project has three main objectives: knowledge generation, mobilization, and translation.
LAOT will offer land-based activities that provide teachings on our relationships to the land with the goal of preserving cultural heritage, strengthening Indigenous pride, pedagogies, and well-being. From there, LAOT will explore how land-based activities impact those who participate in them. Finally, after gathering this data and feedback, participants will be given opportunities to co-construct the knowledge generated by these land-based activities and have creative outlets to share their experiences. All of this fills a major gap in the knowledge base as there has been little research on the impacts of land-based teachings for Indigenous youth, their families, Elders, and Indigenous post-secondary students.
This research will use land epistemologically, pedagogically, and methodologically as a model for developing culturally appropriate ways of learning as a direct response to the TRC “Calls to Action” #10, which calls upon the government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation, specifically the development of culturally appropriate curricula.
LAOT expects to improve the well being and cultural capacities of these youth, strengthen their sense of belonging, build deeper relationships between Indigenous youth and their greater communities, and be a crucial and additional voice in a desertified landscape of how land-based programming and Indigenous pedagogies can affect the ways in which Indigenous youth and post-secondary students learn and think about sustainability, wellness, and climate at Concordia and across Canada.