Braiding Indigenous and Western Science

PART OF: October Pro-D

Course description

Postponed until 2018

Indigenous Science is becoming a more important part of the curriculum for BC students. Through a series of four engaging sessions, the Braiding Indigenous and Western Science workshop will provide teachers seeking new approaches to curriculum in Indigenous ways of knowing.

The examples and cases for developing science lessons and curricula provided will support teachers to weave Indigenous perspectives, worldviews, and wisdom practices into the science curriculum.

This workshop is meant to support teachers at all levels (elementary, middle, secondary).

If you're a full-time student, please contact our office at 250-721-8944 for a special registration rate.


Session 1

Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science (Book 1), (2016)  

with Gloria Snively and Lorna Williams

The science research and curricula in this book explores a vision of science education that pays attention to the unique ways of Indigenous teaching and learning. The book describes the under-representation of Aboriginal students in upper-level science courses and in science careers, outlines barriers that need to be addressed, presents Indigenous worldview and principles that represent the nature of science education from an Indigenous perspective, and provides teaching strategies and cases of culturally rich science programs in BC.  Taken together, the chapters create an image of what a culturally energized science curriculum can look like.  The book shows us how we can braid Aboriginal ways of learning with Western Science to facilitate the science education of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The braids are seen as a gift to all, to educate, strengthen, and keep important time-proven but under-represented values and perspectives in motion.   


Session 2

Indigenous Science: Proven, Practical and Timeless

with Gloria Snively and John Corsiglia

In most science classrooms around the globe, Western Science has been taught at the expense of Indigenous Science (IS).  This presentation explores definitions of science, Indigenous worldviews, connections to home place.  Special attention is given to Northwest Coast examples of Indigenous people’s contributions to science, wisdom practices, environmental understanding and sustainability practices.  Indigenous perspectives have the potential to give guidance to the kind of environmental ethics and deep understanding of sustainability that we must gain as we attempt to solve increasingly complex problems of the 21st century.  Attention is given to including IS in curricular units of study such as seasons, plants & animals, sustainable fishing, clam gardens, estuarine root gardens, weather, tools, climate change, and sustainability.  The presenter(s) take the view that West that Indigenous Science adds interest and authenticity to the science classroom.


Session 3

ÁLEṈENEȻ ȽTE: Learning From Our Homeland

with Tye Swallow

This talk will focus on ways to Indigenize a science curriculum at any grade level around the idea of Learning From the Homeland in which we find ourselves. The term to Indigenize, or Indigenization as a cultural framework, refers to learning, or relearning from a specific place and the entities that would have existed there and using those to inform, influence and guide learning. For example, place based learning through eco-cultural restoration projects and activities open up endless ways that the notion and practice of science can help us understand a place and help influence its restoration while at the same time allowing us to understand Indigenous concepts of the places we call home. Examples of Homeland based eco-cultural restoration projects at the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board such as ȾEMÁȻES I SOX̱E ENEȻ (Russell Island Clam Garden Place) and ȾIKEL I SX̱OLE ENEȻ (Bog and Willow Place) will highlight the discussion.


Session 4

Weaving Aboriginal Understandings into K-12 Science Curriculum

with Anne Tenning

Anne Tenning will share key understandings from her Master’s thesis, “Metaphorical Images of Science: the Perceptions and Experiences of Aboriginal Students who are Successful in Senior Secondary Science.”  Participants will reflect upon their own experiences in Science both as learners and as teachers.  What do teachers need to know or think about to ensure the meaningful presence of Aboriginal understandings in Science with the new K-12 BC curriculum?  What protocols and other considerations must also be a foundational part of this work?  And how does our work as science teachers connect to the TRC Calls to Action?  These are some of the themes that will come forward through this interactive workshop.  Participants are asked to bring a device that can connect to the Internet for one of the activities.

Learning objectives

  • Increased knowledge of Aboriginal worldviews
  • Increased knowledge of Indigenous science examples
  • Increased understanding of Indigenous perspectives and teaching strategies
  • Knowledge of how to braid Indigenous Science with Western Science in school programs and curricula


This workshop includes lunch. Please email our office at as soon as possible and before October 16th, if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions.

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