Learning From Place – Reading Response (October 7th, 2019)

Within this research project conducted by Restoule, Gruner and Metatawabin in conjunction with the Fort Albany First Nation, youth and elders travelled the Kistachowan river of Northern Ontario. During this trip, an intergenerational dialogue opened in order to share stories, language and history from this paquataskmik, or traditional territory. In order to record and share these learnings, youth conducted interviews with elders that were later broadcast on local radio as well as a photo and video project to commemorate the trip. Most importantly, youth and elders of Fort Albany First Nation were able to connect to traditional lands that tie their community’s history together.

As for reinhabitation and decolonization, this project allows for both youth and elders to be able to partake in acts of resistance against colonial ideas of knowing, learning and being. Reinhabitation is seen in elders speaking on their family member’s burial places, and introducing youth to the names for sections of the river in their own language. This project is also decolonizing learning, as the youth who participated were acknowledged with school credit for partaking, showing that this knowledge is as valuable as any learned in a classroom. On top of this, decolonization is strongly linked to keeping Indigenous language alive and transferring down to the younger generation in order to loudly say that Indigenous people will not be silenced.

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