Response: “Learning from Place”

The research project described and the trip to the traditional lands of the Mushkegowuk shows numerous examples of rehabilitation and decolonization throughout. Simply the act of returning to a place can be a way of doing both of these things. Place is a heavy influence on culture and it does this through many means. Living near water might mean that fishing, canoeing, or swimming is a large part of a group’s culture. There are so many factors involving place that can influence the way in which a people live.

Another way that they went about decolonization was the restoration of traditions that the Mushkegowuk people had kept during their history. This was done in the form of interviews by the younger people with others in their community. This had the effect of not only having people pass down their skills, knowledge, and traditions to the youth, but also when it was turned into an audio documentary it became a form of oral storytelling. I thought this was a neat way of using modern technology and knowledge and integrating it with traditional ways of knowing.

As a Social Studies major I imagine I will have numerous opportunities to discuss how place is important to culture and people. I think this is especially true with Indigenous Peoples as their understanding of the land and how it works is much more intimate and emotional than European ideas of land. Talking about language, with regards to place is also important. I think incorporating the importance of place with knowledge and history is a good way to give students a better understanding of what they are learning.

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