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COVID-19 Webinar Series

Covid-19 has drastically altered the landscape of education globally. For Indigenous land-based educators, whose immersive programs require that students be out on the land together, these changes are particularly concerning. In response to these concerns, Dechinta hosted a Covid-19 Webinar Series in the summer of 2020 to examine the risks of moving Indigenous land-based education online and to brainstorm possible solutions or alternatives to carrying out land-based education during the pandemic. We also created a report and toolkit to assist educators and students who are continuing their land-based programming during COVID-19. This project was carried out in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. 
 
The first webinar focused on Navigating Indigenous Land-Based Education and Pandemics in the North and featured experts on land-based education from the North. The second webinar focused on a similar topic but with educators from other parts of Canada and beyond.  The third webinar gathered together Indigenous academics from across Canada and the US to discuss the pandemic and land-based education in university settings.  The fourth webinar focused on Queering Land Based education and making programming that is meaningful and respectful to a diversity of gender and sexual orientations. We also included two in depth interviews with Elders - Fred Sangris from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Doug Williams from Curve Lake First Nation. We also had a third in-depth interview on queering land based education with Manulani Meyer and Melody McKiver.
 
Our Final Report and all of the webinars (complete with curriculum resources) are available below. The webinars are also available to watch on our YouTube Channel.

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Indigenous Land-Based Learning in the Era of COVID-19: Report

We created a report to summarize these webinar conversations and include resources to assist educators and students who must carry out their land-based programming in alternative ways during the restrictions of Covid-19. Our aim with these webinars and this report is to address the specific impact of coronavirus on Indigenous land-based education, while providing resources that bridge some of the specific educational gaps coronavirus has produced for Indigenous people in both the North and across Turtle Island. Dechinta hopes that in doing so, we can provide both theoretical and practical tools to educators, students, and community members to support them in navigating their own relationship to Indigenous land-based education and practice in the era of coronavirus.

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Webinars and Interviews

Navigating Indigenous Land-Based Education and Pandemics in the North
 

This webinar examines the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous land-based education in the North. The panelists, a group of students and young professionals who are involved in Indigenous land-based learning in Northern communities, discuss the unique ethical concerns and considerations of doing online land-based education during the restrictions of the pandemic. The speakers talk about how they have engaged in Indigenous land-based learning in the past, how they have adjusted their approaches during COVID-19, and the politics of colonial knowledge production that is illuminated by online learning. They also touch on the wisdom of the land, its centrality to Dene life and politics, and why online learning cannot replace land-based pedagogy. 

A transcription of this webinar is available here

Indigenous Land-Based Education and the Impact of COVID-19
 
This webinar explores the unique ethical concerns of moving Indigenous land-based education online from the perspective of academics and university professors. Participants explore their own experiences teaching land-based education and how their role as educators has been impacted by COVID-19. They emphasize that land-based learning ethically necessitates face-to-face engagement and a physical connection to the land that cannot be replicated in a socially distanced, online environment. They also reflect on how land-based programming requires an environment that prioritizes relationships and student well-being and transformation, and that attempting to move this type of intimate and immersive learning online is unethical and potentially harmful.

A transcription of this webinar is available here

Academic Perspectives on Indigenous Ethics & Land-Based Education During COVID-19
 
This webinar explores the unique ethical concerns of moving Indigenous land-based education online from the perspective of academics and university professors. Participants explore their own experiences teaching land-based education and how their role as educators has been impacted by COVID-19. They emphasize that land-based learning ethically necessitates face-to-face engagement and a physical connection to the land that cannot be replicated in a socially distanced, online environment. They also reflect on how land-based programming requires an environment that prioritizes relationships and student well-being and transformation, and that attempting to move this type of intimate and immersive learning online is unethical and potentially harmful.

A transcription of this webinar is available here

Queering Indigenous Land-Based Education
 

This webinar is focused on the concept and practice of queering land-based education. The panelists, who have lived experience as Two Spirit, trans, LGBTQQIA+, and queer individuals, critically reflect on how queer Indigenous perspectives can inform thinking and approaches to doing online land-based education, especially during COVID-19. The webinar begins by exploring what it means to queer Indigenous land-based pedagogy, while participants explain how they have queered their own work and approaches to land-based education. The webinar also explores how queering land-based education can support generative learning that rejects approaches to Indigenous knowledge rooted in binaries, toxic nationalism, ableism, and heteropatriarchy. As well, the panelists think about how we can approach Indigenous education and traditional practices in alternative and creative ways given the forced restrictions of the pandemic.

A transcription of this webinar is available here

Queering Land-Based Education with Manulani Meyer and Melody McKiver 
 
In this conversation, Melody McKiver and Manulani Meyer discuss how they understand queering land-based education and how they have been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Melody McKiver is an Anishinaabe musician and composer from Sioux Lookout, Treaty 3 in Northwestern Ontario. They are also a youth worker committed to supporting Indigenous students. Manulani Aluli Meyer is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer who grew up on the sands of Mokapu and Kailua beach on the island of O’ahu. The Aluli ohana is a large and diverse group of scholar-activists dedicated to Hawaiian education, justice, land reclamation, law, health, cultural revitalization, arts education, prison reform, food sovereignty, transformational economics, and music. Manu works in the field of indigenous epistemology and its role in world-wide awakening.
 

A Conversation with Yellowknives Dene Elder Fred Sangris
 
In this video, Yellowknife Dene Elder Fred Sangris teaches us about the history of sickness and epidemic in the North. Fred Sangris is a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation. He is the former Chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nations (N'dilo) and land claim negotiator. He is a community negotiator with the Treaty 8 Yellowknives Dene, a cultural historian, trapper, storyteller and hunter who cares deeply about the land. Fred lives in Téɂehdaà (Dettah).

A transcription of this webinar is available here

A Conversation with Curve Lake First Nation Elder Doug Williams 
 

This video provides a conversation with Curve Lake First Nation Elder Doug Williams who discusses the importance of returning to history, tradition, and the land during COVID-19. Gidigaa Migizi (Doug Williams) is from the Mashkinonzheh (Pike Clan) of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg nation. He is from Curve Lake First Nation, he is a pipe carrier, a sweat lodge holder, a ceremonial leader, a past chief, a hunter, a fisher, a trapper, a ricer, and a sugar-busher. He is a knowledge holder and is fluent in Nishnaabemowin. Doug is an Associate professor and Director of Studies for the PhD Program in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and teaches the land-based course for the PhD program. He is also the author of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This is Our Territory, which was published by ARP books in 2018.

A transcription of this webinar is available here

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