Braiding Indigenous and Western Science


Course description

Indigenous Science is becoming a more important part of the curriculum for BC students. This workshop focuses on the book: Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science (2016), edited by Gloria Snively & Lorna Williams.  Through a series of four engaging sessions, this 2 hour 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. If you’d like to order the Knowing Home book, you may do so through the UVic Bookstore link provided above.

Session 1- Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science
Session 2- Indigenous Science: Proven, Practical, Timeless
Session 3- Learning From Our Homeland
Session 4 – Curriculum Connections
Session 1- Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science
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. This presentation describes the under-representation of Indigenous 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. 
Session 2- Indigenous Science: Proven, Practical, Timeless
This presentation pays special attention 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 takes the view that West that Indigenous Science adds interest and authenticity to the science classroom.
Session 3- Learning From Our Homeland
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 – Curriculum Connections
Participants will be divided into two groups: elementary and secondary.  Participants will receive a 12-page overview of possible connections to the BC Science Curriculum. The group leader will provide a brief overview of possible connections to the BC science curriculum.  Participants will brainstorm and share possible additional connections, share Indigenous Science project in their home district, and brainstorm possible future projects.

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

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will have increased knowledge of:

  • Indigenous worldviews and science examples
  • Indigenous perspectives and how to incorporate them into your teaching strategies and the curriculum
  • How to create learning activities tied to place
  • SENĆOŦEN place-names in this territory
  • How to braid Indigenous Science with Western Science in school programs and curricula

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