About Indigenous Environmental Studies at Trent University

Indigenous Environmental Studies is a new and emerging discipline. It’s an innovative program that takes certain aspects of Indigenous Studies and certain aspects of Environmental Studies and the sciences, brings those two areas together in a really, I guess I want to call it a
creative way. I think it’s actually one of the most unique things on the planet personally, because it’s an amalgamation of indigenous knowledge and science. I always wanted to do something that involved my indigenous background and then also I’ve always loved science, so being able to combine both of those
backgrounds, I thought it was absolutely amazing that I could do that, and that a school actually offered that. Indigenous Environmental Studies really blew my mind when I started talking to Dan Longboat and learning about what it was that he was trying to
accomplish here, so the connection to land and understanding of culture and how
culture is actually a product of land. Well, it’s a small community of people who are very welcoming. So, that for me, like, building relationships, has been the biggest part. In my opinion, we have the best students in the whole University. Best in terms of vision, a sense of responsibility, a sense of – I guess – empowerment, that they work to empower
themselves, a sense of engagement in both their
learning within the University, amongst themselves as a community and
with the outside community as well. They see themselves as a group of really highly motivated students that are really working to create
change in the world. Obviously the small classroom sizes that we have, all of the students are engaged with their faculty member or their instructor or their professor on a first name basis typically. They’re having discussions outside of the classroom as well as being able to ask questions
and get engaged in classroom discussion and not being you know one of the four hundred masses
in the first year class, as an example. And the other is that element of
community: the activities that are going on as part of the IES community that students can get engaged in. Students are engaged here in the rooftop garden as an example. Students are engaged in other action-related initiatives on-campus and off-campus, that are related to the IES theme and
what they’re learning in the classroom, that they’re passionate about and they
want to do something about. I think what the students are going to gain from the program and from the first year — first-year experience — is to wear down
those pre-conceptions that they had of what a university
education is supposed to be like or might be like, and also what a program within any one Department might be like. We’re crossing departments, crossing
faculties, and crossing communities with all of our classes and all of our learnings
that students are engaged in. So we really are not — we really sort of
blow apart that idea of universities being organized and
students’ learning being organized in silos within a department within a
program and the fact that there’s — or the idea
that there’s really only one one best way to learn and one knowledge
to learn from. If you want to learn the real history of Canada and understand all the different perspectives of where we live and where it is that we need to go as as a
community, as a country, this is a program that will definitely open your mind I feel as though it’s probably one of the most important programs.

Comments 2

  • They saved the best for last!

  • Awsome.. we've been needing another useless study that can be used to invade the hard sciences with pie in the sky, hug yourself, drum circle, pseudo science, nihilistic, marxist indoctrination based, re-education, group think, utopianism.. YAY!!???

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