Connecting to the Land and Culture
CBEEN member Brittany Haugen recently attended the CASS 2019 First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Gathering in Edmonton with the support of a professional development bursary. She reflected that “This conference was filled with meaningful connections to the land, roots of Culture and how it can be embraced and embedded into any program. I have always known that relationship is very important but what this conference taught me is that relationship is the foundation of everything that we do. This is not just the relationship between people but to also includes and respects the relationships we have with our environment and everything that makes up our environment. It is about how we acknowledge where we are in this world and all the teachings that have come from the plants and animals. The ways in which we can improve our environmental education programs is to spend time building relationships with plants and animals and by talking about what relationships and connections we have in our communities. We can do this by researching what plants and animals are native to our area and thinking about what teachings they have to share and how as a program could build a relationship with them. It is also very important to connect with local experts on the environment and area to know what types of stewardship opportunities there are for you and your programs to get involved in. I think that in a time of Truth and Reconciliation it is important to know what was almost lost because of colonization, this being the deep connection to our land. I believe that when we embrace the teachings of the Medicine Wheel in that we are all connected we can celebrate diversity and differences.”
Brittany recommends the following resources for other educators:
To follow-up on this event, Brittany shares “I plan to build students relationships with plants and animals in our area. I started by connecting with Teachers in our School to create more opportunities for youth to get involved. We have a trip booked to Millennium park to see the Camas in bloom and to learn about the Cultural connections and importance of this plant to our history and future of our community. We have also connected with the Native Plant society and was given information on a new project that students can get involved in called KinSeed. I am inspired to start a healing Garden to go along with the garden we already have to enhance the experience to all by including an Indigenous perspective/worldview. I also plan on supporting the building of relationships by including a “Featured” plant or animal on my bulletin board that can rotate monthly. With this I will include teachings that they have and significance to local Indigenous Peoples.