Land Inquiry - UWO Sarah GAsperi educ 5461 002

Western Neighborhood (2017)
Wildlife - Western Neighborhood (2017)

Near the Althouse Education building is a small chid-care centre that is located between Althouse and main campus. Walking around the Western University neighbourhood I was able to document an array of things. The population seemed quite large, as there are 20,000+ students roaming around campus walking to and from each class. As I walked around the Western University neighbourhood I could not help but notice the wide variety of services that are located on campus for students to use. Some services are career services, programs and resources, as well as support services.

Walking around campus I began to notice the immense representation of settler colonialism… one image that caught my eye was the image of geese sitting in the middle of the Western University neighbourhood. I could not help but take a picture and think about settler colonialism as I walked by these geese having their afternoon lunch right in the middle of campus. This territory has been taken over by the mass amount of buildings and students that bombard the walkways and roads.

It's off to campus we go -- a walk through the Indigenous presence - Western Neighborhood (2017)

As I began my journey to campus, I did some research and gained knowledge as to who I should be talking to regarding the purpose of this assignment. I found my way toward the Indigenous support service office. This service is dedicated to supporting undergraduate and graduate Indigenous students. It was amazing to see the support that is provided to students and the culturally responsive program. They were able to provide me with a better understanding of what they do and the Indigenous presence located on campus. Having the opportunity to ask critical questions really opened my mind about the purpose of this inquiry.

Indigenous Services - Western Neighborhood (2017)

As I walked along campus a few images come to mind when thinking about the various presences located on campus. The Indigenous service centre provided great information about the Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden and its relevance to the campus. This presented indigenous presence at Western University. In addition, right outside the Indigenous presence I captured a photo of a crane in the sky with men working hard and long in order to build enormous buildings. This reminded me of settler presence, as it shows the growth and expansion of the land and what we use it for. Finally I added the photo of the childcare centre because it reminded me of immigrant presence. Families that move here, grow together and the young children who are our future.

Three Different Presences - Western Neighborhood (2017)

After walking around throughout the Western University neighbourhood, I came back with a better understanding about Indigenous presences. It was great to see the support they have and the different things on campus that represent them. When I began to think about a provocation for a small group of young children I thought about the Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden. This was located on Western University’s main campus right beside the greenhouses. These greenhouses hold a variety of plant life and are open for public use. In addition, right outside the greenhouses and garden are multiple signs that outline a “no smoke zone.” This entire area provides such learning growth and would provide students and their families to engage with nature as well as learn about the environment and healthy living. In Wildcat’s article it is outlines that “…studying instances where we engage in conversations with the land and on the land in a physical, social and spiritual sense.” (Wildcat, 2014, p. 2) I believe that encouraging students and their families to visit the greenhouses and medicine garden would be beneficial toward their child’s learning. Maybe a possible field trip to allow parents and their children to engage with the land physically, socially, and spiritually. On our provocation we will visit the greenhouses and engage with the plant life, this will provide opportunity for children to understand the care that is needed in order for plants to survive. We can also learn about the importance of the food and medicine garden, and the presence of Indigenous culture. We can then begin to discuss the multitude of signs surrounding the garden. The use of no smoking signs and how important it is to keep our environment and ourselves healthy.

Two Elements - The Indigenous Food & Medicine Garden & Greenhouse - Western Neighborhood (2017)

What plants are in the greenhouse? How do the differ from the Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden?

Will this allow students and their families the opportunity to re-embed themselves into the land?

How does this type of provocation relate back to settler colonialism?

Wooden Figures - Western Neighborhood (2017)

Throughout this course I have learned about the importance of provocation. It was a little difficult for me to understand the importance and allow myself to dig deep throughout our own provocations. Slowly each week I allowed myself to dig into the readings and expand my mind. After having fruitful conversation with fellow pre-service teachers, I began to understand the importance of learning through provocation and the importance of documentation. The two inquiries I have done thus far have allowed me to think about learning through a different lens.

The Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden - Western Neighborhood (2017)

I believe that incorporating both the element of a greenhouse and the Indigenous Food and Medicine garden will allow children and their families the opportunity to explore the importance of plant life and our land. How plant life survives in a healthy environment and how we can give back to the land. This also will connect them to the Indigenous culture, as they will be able to engage with the garden and learn about its purpose.

Indigenous Presence - Indigenous Service Office, Graduation Sash, Kettle Rock - Western Neighborhood (2017)

Reaching out to Indigenous services allowed for questions and history discussions. I was able to ask questions as well as engage with the land myself by visiting the Indigenous presences they spoke of. They discussed the importance of acknowledging Indigenous students, Indigenous presences within the neighbourhood and the importance of the land itself. They directed me to a Kettle Rock located in the D.B Weldon Library, as well as pieces within the Indigenous service office. In Call’s to Action part 10 under section Child Welfare it states that the federal government is being called upon in order to draft a new legislation that outlines the commitment to funding and improving education and develop culturally appropriate curricula (Calls to Action, 2012, p. 2). I began to think about the importance of inquiry-based learning and how this type of learning will allow children to engage in an improved education and learn the appropriate culture of Indigenous people. Conducting my own land inquiry was quite the experience, as I was able to learn about the multitude of Indigenous presences within education life such as social gatherings and clubs students can be apart of. This inquiry was insightful and I now understand the importance of reconnecting children to land.

References

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. (2012). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Retrieved January, 2017, fromhttp://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

Wildcat, M., Irlbacher-Fox, S., Coulthard, G., & McDonald, M. (2014). Indigenous Land-Based Education (Special Issue). Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3). http://decolonization.org/index.php/des/issue/view/1584/showToc

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