Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Bringing Knowledges Together
The natural world and environmental issues present critical points of convergence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and their knowledge systems. This qualitative study engaged with 18 Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental practitioners in interview conversations to explore their experiences in cross-cultural environmental collaborations. The research undertakes a complexity theory approach to answer the following research questions: 1.a) What skills, values, knowledges and approaches do environmental practitioners need to enable Western and Indigenous knowledge systems to come together in addressing environmental challenges? 1. b) What does effectiveness and/or success look like in cross-cultural environmental collaboration? 2. How can post-secondary and professional development educational programs impart the skills, values, knowledges and approaches that their students need to effectively engage in work that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and their knowledge systems in addressing environmental challenges? This study applied multiple lenses to analyze and interpret the data. The author’s own reflections as both a practitioner and researcher working and teaching in crosscultural environmental contexts were a central component of the study. Through this analysis a set of skills, values, knowledges, approaches, attributes, and roles emerged. The findings reaffirm the importance of respect, relationship, responsibility, and reciprocity as central values in Indigenous praxis and identify additional values. The application of a critical theory lens illuminated that subtle racism and microaggressions influence environmental collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The study proposes a curriculum and program design for post-secondary and professional development contexts, that draws upon multiple pedagogies to prepare learners to work cross-culturally in respectful ways. These findings are relevant to environmental practitioners currently working in the field and contribute to a further articulation of an emerging Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences (IESS) pedagogy. Author Keywords: Cross-cultural collaboration, Curriculum Development, Environmental Education, Indigenous Studies, Professional Development
Environmental Health Management Practices in Indigenous Communities
Environmental factors play a critical role in the health and well-being of people worldwide and the distribution of the burden of disease associated with environmental causes is disproportionately high in marginalized populations, including First Nations. In this way, environmental health problems are as much social and political problems as environmental and must be addressed as such. In Canada, the division of responsibilities for environmental health, in combination with the jurisdictional complexities of health and environment regulation and service provision on-reserve creates a First Nations environmental health management system with significant gaps. This research set out to explore the question: What are the current strengths and challenges in First Nations environmental health policy and management? A qualitative exploratory design organized in two stages and employing key informant interviews, document review and a community case study was used to examine this topic. In the first stage a review of existing programs and policies applicable to Ontario First Nations and a series of interviews with key experts on the topic in the province were conducted. A conceptual framework of the core elements affecting environmental health management in First Nations communities was developed and then applied to a case study with Mississauga First Nation in Northern Ontario. The framework included five core elements: Environmental Health Jurisdiction and Responsibility; Participation in Environmental Health Decision-Making; Access to Environmental Health Resources, Communication of Environmental Health Information; and, Role and Influence of Leadership. The findings indicate that "internal" issues, like community-based decision-making and support for environmental health initiatives seem to be least affected by the "external" issues such as access to federal funding. The "internal" issues were also shown to be critically important factors having impacts on environmental health management practices and policies in Mississauga First Nation. While there are countless barriers associated with the "external" factors that have significant impacts on environmental health management practices and policies, this research suggest that the "internal" factors can potentially be the most important factors in creating positive change in this area and as a result warrant further study in order to improve the state of environmental health issues in First Nations. Author Keywords: Community, Environmental Health, First Nations, Framework, Policy
Know*ledge Constellations and Re*constellating
The purpose of this study was to explore the educational implications of a clearer understanding of the practice of using multiple, including Indigenous, knowledges when finding solutions to place-based environmental issues. The impetus for my research came from a growing sense of urgency to address environmental issues within both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Some have argued that communities will be most successful in understanding and resolving such issues if ways can be found to work with different knowledges. However, the practice of bringing together multiple knowledges is not yet consistently effective. At the same time, there is a recognised need for individuals who are able to use different knowledges to address urgent environmental concerns. Unfortunately, there is minimal programming advice based on the perspective of individual practitioners available to guide post-secondary institutions wishing to meet this need. This lead to my first two research questions: What are the key principles and concepts in a narrative describing how individual practitioners think about using knowledges when finding solutions to place-based environmental issues? and What are the implications of this understanding for teaching and learning, especially in post-secondary Indigenous-and-Environmental education? In my project, I used a relational research approach that led to a third question: How is a complexity-inspired interpretive approach suitable for exploring these questions? I had coherent conversations with sixteen practitioners who were deliberately using multiple, including Indigenous, knowledges to find solutions to place-based environmental issues. Practitioners and I co-created a Know*ledge Constellation Story to describe how they think about using knowledges in their work. In a group coherent conversation with five educators who were familiar with Indigenous-and-Environmental education, we explored the educational implications of this story. Together, we finalised a Teaching-Learning Story of Re*constellating and identified ways to prepare students to practice re*constellating, including teaching strategies and program considerations. The Know*ledge Constellation Story and the Teaching-Learning Story of Re*constellating will inform post-secondary Indigenous-and-Environmental education. Graduates from such programs will be better prepared to engage with communities to address environmental concerns, meet legislative and policy requirements, and support research efforts that would benefit from a clearer understanding of the practice of re*constellating. Author Keywords: Complexity-Inspired Interpretive Approach, Conditions of Emergence, Indigenous-and-Environmental Education, Know*ledge Constellations, Principles of Re*constellating, Teaching and Learning
Hiya 'aa ma pichas 'ope ma hammako he ma pap'oyyisko (Let Us Understand Again our Grandmothers and our Grandfathers)
The Tamalko (Coast Miwok) North Central California Indigenous people have lived in their homelands since their beginnings. California Indigenous people have suffered violent and uncompromising colonial assaults since European contact began in the 16th century. However, many contemporary Indigenous Californians are thriving today as they reclaim their Native American sovereign rights, cultural renewal, and well-being. Culture Bearers are working diligently as advocates and teachers to re-cultivate Indigenous consciousness and knowledge systems. The Tamalko author offers Indigenous perspectives for hinak towis hennak (to make a good a life) through an ethno-autobiographical account based on narratives by Culture Bearers from four Indigenous North Central California Penutian-speaking communities and the author’s personal experiences. A Tamalko view of finding and speaking truth hinti wuskin ʼona (what the heart says) has been the foundational principle of the research method used to illuminate and illustrate Indigenous North Central California consciousness. Author Keywords: Consciousness, Culture Bearers, Indigenous, North Central California, Penutian, re-cultivation
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina; mashkikiiwaadizookewin
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina- mashkikiiwaadizookewin: Cree and Anishnaabe Narrative Medicine in the Renewal of Ancestral Literature Jud Sojourn This work represents an experiment in developing Cree and Anishnaabe nation-specific approaches to understanding Cree and Anishnaabe texts. The binding premise that guides this work has to do with narrative medicine, the concept that narrative arts, whether ancestral storytelling or current poetry have medicine, or the ability to heal and empower individuals and communities. As âtayôhkêwin in Cree and aadizookewin in Anishnaabemowin refer to ancestral traditional narratives, and while maskihkiy in Cree, and mashkiki in Anishnaabemowin refer to medicine, maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina and mashkikiiwaadizookewin mean simply `narrative medicine' in Cree and Anishnaabemowin respectively. After establishing a formative sense for what narrative medicine is, this work continues by looking at the bilingual Ojibwa Texts (1917, 1919) transcribed by William Jones in 1903-1905 on the north shore of Lake Superior and in northern Minnesota Anishnaabe communities, those spoken by Anishnaabe community members Gaagigebinesiikwe, Gaagigebinesii, Midaasookanzh, Maajiigaaboo, and Waasaagooneshkang. Then focus then turns to the bilingual Plains Cree Texts (1934) transcribed by Leonard Bloomfield at the Sweet Grass Reserve in Saskatchewan and spoken by Cree community members nâhnamiskwêkâpaw, sâkêwêw, cicikwayaw, kâ-kîsikaw pîhtokêw , nakwêsis, mimikwâs, and kâ-wîhkaskosahk. The themes that emerge from looking at these texts when combined with an appreciation for the poetics of the Cree and Anishnaabe languages provide the foundation for looking at newer poetry including the work of Cree poet Skydancer Louise Bernice Halfe, centering on the contemporary epic prayer-poem The Crooked Good (2007) and the works of Anishnaabe poet Marie Annharte Baker, focusing on Exercises in Lip Pointing (2003). Each poet emerged as having an understanding her own role in her respective nation as renewing the narrative practices of previous generations. Understandings of the shape or signature of each of the four works' unique kind of narrative medicine come from looking at themes that run throughout. In each of the four works the maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina - mashkikiiwaadizookewin, the narrative medicine they express occurs through or results in mamaandaawiziwin in Anishnaabemowin or mamâhtâwisiwin, in Cree - the embodied experience of expansive relationality. Keywords: Cree, Anishnaabe, nêhiyawêwin, Anishnaabemowin, narrative medicine, traditional stories, poetics, poetry, literary criticism, literary nationalism, Indigenous, indigenist. Author Keywords: Anishnaabe, Anishnaabemowin, Cree, Indigenous, nêhiyawêwin, Poetics

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