A trickster tale about integrating Indigenous knowledge in university-based programs

  • Moore S
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Abstract

Written as a trickster tale and co-narrated by the researcher and a trickster figure (Crow), this writing considers the challenges of bringing traditional ecological knowledge to environmental studies and science programs. The researcher describes a project to raise and release salmon, which was collaboratively developed and carried out by members of a First Nations community and staff at the local public school. The participants gathered in learning circles, shared stories of salmon and the river, and then ceremoniously released the salmon in the spring. Although at a different academic level, the research highlights key components of the work between formal education institutions and Indigenous communities to bring traditional knowledge into education programs. Trickster challenges the researcher's version of the story, suggesting it is simply a nice little story. Instead, he claims that the story has to be turned inside out. This takes the research story to “trickster space” (Vizenor, as cited in Blaeser 1996, p. 162), which is characterized by the contradictions and confusion that exist when moving from an Eurocentric to an Indigenous world view. The researcher concludes that in order to integrate Indigenous knowledge into university-based programs, scholars must develop relationships with members of the local First Nations communities and learn their ways of understanding the world.

Author-supplied keywords

  • First nations education
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Trickster

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Authors

  • Sylvia Moore

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