Most religions have ceremonies of thanksgiving, respect, and reciprocity. For myself, I did not really grow up practicing a religion but I know for myself that I do respect others practices, religion, and culture. Recently we had gone a school field trip to the Industrial First Nation residential school burial site. While we were there was a lot of discussion on religion and what we believe. It was a good start on how to write this blog post but for me, something else happened at the site. Deep inside I felt the need to show my respect or I would also call this a calling. Audrey did not feel comfortable allowing us into the boarded area of the burials but for myself, I had the urge to go in and show my respect. Intentionally that day I packed a grocery bag to maybe sit on my but to my surprise maybe the whole feeling of grabbing was to help. I had asked Audrey if it was okay to go into where the bodies were buried and clean up the garbage I saw. No one is taking care of these people and where their home is now. It is important to now respect not just for people you love but others who have been love but now are lost. I would count this as a way of an offering or ceremony because I allowed my emotions to break me down to make a connection with these fellow people. I had used tobacco to allow myself in by making a door, I had walked around cleaning up garbage and closed opens with the tobacco symbolizing a door making it complete and more sacred, During this whole time I was speaking to them apologizing, asking if they were okay, hoping they were okay and wishing that someone was looking out for them in sort of life a prayer. I finished my ceremony by closing the door I had my with tobacco as I said my goodbyes. This feeling has changed my life, and I never knew I could feel this way. I thank that land and those people for show me a new way. Thank you.
Every day we live our life and participate in activities, but the thought usually never occurs that we are on stolen decolonized land. Especially for me after talking up the class I had never really thought about it before. In reality, we all think we are just having innocent fun and not really thinking about the consequences that allow this.
For my visual piece, it shows the different levels of nature. The bottom klinex box has a pattern that reminds me of waves, then the next one represents rocks, then we have leaves again, the weird shapes represent colonization and lastly leaves again. It is meant to show nature in steps; I tried to relate this piece to being outside mostly camping. These are different parts that you partake when camping. We boat/ fish on the water, lay upon the rocks and sand, stay in tents/ campers and play in the woods. It had never occurred to me that this lifestyle was not always ours. Just in the fact that this land has not always been ours, we do some activities were we are not giving back to the land which is always been the main purpose or to respect the land. I know for fact is on the body of water there is garbage sometimes or I have witnessed cans being tossed into the lake. This isn’t respecting our Earth. Not only did we take over land that was not ours but still choose to treat it with no respect. I know now that the next time I participate in activities to have an open eye about relearning and unlearning the land. Tell people they are doing something disrespectful to the land and they need to stop. I need to stand for our land because it can not do that by itself. There was a duty to care of this land and out of respect we should continue that sacred piece about the land. Further on I will unlearn my bad habits and relearn the land to make good habits.
When I think about common sense a Canadian ideal of the wilderness; I think of a stereotyped approach that we should be in igloos and dog sledding. Another view is that if the land is not touched/ or helped by a human then it is still classified as wilderness. With that I don’t mean that people walking through is disrupting or declassifying wilderness; it is when humans make permit paths or add buildings, etc. In my story, it may not be your typical Canadian ideal but I know from class discussion that a lot of people have gone canoeing. I chose the one time I went canoe because that is the one time I felt where there was almost a full connection to the wilderness. Or at least of what I understand of what should be wilderness. Usually, on a lake, there isn’t much for humans to expand. Canoeing through the lake there were not many houses around; at some points, you would think you were in a different society. It is crazy to think that houses are literally everywhere and it is weird not to see them or expansions. From not getting distracted from advancements; I found it easier to focus on the task i was doing. Looking in the lake and observing little fish moving, dodging around rocks and looking at how tall the grass was along the shore. Comparing this canoe trip with my family to schooling activities like ski trip. outdoor ed, other environmental education trips. With my family, we did not have someone narrating everything we saw, but we took the time on our own to try to focus and build an understanding. Schooling events either slam you with facts of our surroundings or it is not even mentioned. It is very one or the other; it also makes it harder to build a real connection with the land when most of those trips are very high paced and time-crunched. The biggest problem that most of the trips the land has been changed to accommodate people so is it really wilderness? Comparing to our ESCI class when we go outside and find a quiet space. In that time you notice things that you did not before when you use your senses: seeing and sound in particular it is easier to make a connection and an understanding. Comparing to treaties and historical events First Nations and settlers had different opinions on what wilderness was. For First Nations people the land was their home, therefore, they did not classify it as wilderness. It was always deemed normal to First Nations people to live off the land and respect it meaning only taking what you need and when you take; you give back something in exchange. As for settlers, the land was their resource where they can take as much as they want and not give anything back. That the sole purpose of the land was to use. With settlers idea, they deemed it was okay to continue this practice and take what they wanted even if it was already being used by someone or something else. Which them continues into treaties being made and land being changed.
Comparing to Braiding sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer I took a quote from the chapter: Epiphany in the Bean to Canadian commonsense wilderness. The quote I chose was ” you wouldn’t harm what gives you love” pg.124. Recalling on talking about school field trips I stated that it isn’t wilderness if it is human-made, for example, most ski hills are human-made to accommodate our recreation. Our Earth is giving us resources and home yet we decide to destroy it. If we loved the Earth, we would give back more then what we take. In every other sense if someone or something loves us; our mother the commonsense thing would be to love her back. Whats the difference between our mother and our Earth? They both give us shelter, love, home and support us. Why cant we love them the same?
Eco-literate is a term with many meanings but one broad idea that everyone can agree on is that being Eco-Literate has two meanings: Eco and Literate. Eco is not harming the environment and literate means having education or knowledge.
A poem that I found that relates to my eco-literate love letter was Mack’s poem. In Mack’s poem he states his own personal eco-literate movement and as for my poem I’m trying to put a more eco-literate lifestyle in the schooling system for the learners. As for mine is a check list on what the learners should be learning so they can to follow the independent eco-literate lifestyle. Essentially mine is a broad understanding for learners and Mack is that learner who it made a difference on. That being eco-literate and making a change isn’t easy. That the main similarity is having the same idea of having learners who make a change; I found this quote which is relevant from Mack’s poem: “Recycling is such a small step you see. We could change the Earth, you and me.”
A poem that I found that was not as relatable to my eco-literate letter was Laura’s poem. In Laura’s poem she states that humans are misusing the land and not giving back anything in return. That humans greed over looks the respect they should have for Earth. Her poem consist of the wrong doings between the Earth and humans:
“Is it a relationship,
If it is one sided?
If one only gives
And one never gives back,
Is it going to last?
One will wear out
And be forced to fade away,
Leaving the other with nothing.”
As for my letter it is demonstrating how to implement it in schooling. Rather then always stating what we are doing wrong; we should only be talking about all the right things we can do. Laura’s poem is looking at the destruction from the past and present as for my love letter is to aim in the future to teach our learners. Laura also agrees near the end that it is possibly for change with the use of knowledge but it will have to be drastic :
The knowledgeable can leap
Repair what has been broken”
The main idea is always wanting to rejuvenate our plant but the idea can not make a change unless their is action. That if we don’t make change WITH the Earth, not only are we destroying the Earth; we are destroying ourselves; our humanity.
The one particular class reading that compared to my love letter was David Orr’s chapter on What is Education? David Orr states: “ the plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind”. As for my eco-literate love letter I stated us as educators should be teaching our learners. That the main points would be to make an eco-literate learner who would be more open to make a change in the future. After reading the similarities, differences and referencing to reading has changed my eco-literate understanding. Rather than just teaching learners to be successful eco-literate people; we should be teaching them how to love this Earth on another level. That we are more then eco- literate people! WE ARE AND CAN BE PEACEMAKERS, HEALERS, RESTORES, STORYTELLERS AND LOVERS OF EVERY KIND! That this is what our Earth needs from us. It doesn’t need us to just know that we are eco-literate because having that knowledge doesn’t mean you are going to make a change. We need to aim bigger and be all those things that make us a companion with this Earth. The Earth will always need something and as do we but we need to be more Earth orientated.
Educators also know as story tellers or the the starting point will guide you to be eco-literate activists. You will discuss the importance of taking care of nature, what you can do to help, and how it makes you feel. The end goal of being taught Eco literacy is raising eco-literate you to be influenced socially and emotionally through the lenses of eco-literacy. With social and emotional intelligence it allows for your abilities to see others perspectives, values, and show concern. Ecological intelligence allows for you to under natural systems and having empathy for all life. Educators will provide you with this knowledge:
- Developing empathy for all forms of life
All organisms- including humans- need food, water, space and survival. By having a better understanding of the common needs this allows us to shift from a superior human view to humans as members of the natural world. With this it will allow us to demonstrate empathy when we consider the quality of life of other life forms. That our brains are wired to feel empathy and concern for other living things.
2. Embrace sustainability as a community practice
By learning about the ways that plants, animals and other living things are dependent on each other inspires you as learners to consider your role. That were you stand in the community and seeing value on how you can strengthen those relationships by thinking and acting accordingly.
3. Make the invisible visible
That the decisions being made have consequences. There are so many different ideas and opinions which lead to conflict. Some still believe that global warming isn’t real. This part allows you to be taught about what the superior human race has done to the planet and the consequences. With this it analyzes problems to create solutions.
4. Understand how nature sustains life
This is having an understanding on how nature has sustained their life on this planet. That if the human race had just looked outside and followed the role of nature that we there might of been a better chance of survival/ surviving. That the obvious way of proper living is a natural way.
Eco-literate people and learners have learned from nature that all living organisms are members of a complex web that relay on one another for survival . Present generations will a have a duty to sustain life into the future. That we must only take what we need, and not to abuse resources in order to survive. Students are required to look long term when making decisions about how to live.
From reading Maple Nation it demonstrates how reliant and important the land is to a community and each and everyone of us an individual. This society had build their community around maple trees/ maple syrup hence the name maple nation. For myself I found it trickery to think of a way to do a power act of reciprocity with the land. I think a relevant one from me that I could accomplish is as a future educator. Being a future educator I can give back to the land by essentially using it more in my every day classroom or making students aware of the bond they can have with the land. My commit to trying to give back is that I recycle, I donate my clothes so they get reused but reducing is still a work in progress for myself.
My big leap into action is getting more knowledge on what I can do to have a better understanding of myself and the land. With maple nation full reliant on there lives around maple trees. I need to understand what I can to have a deeper or a more environmental bond with the Earth. I have always been the try to turn off the lights when not using them but I think the next step is unplugging things need power when I’m not using them for example: my printer, tv, fan, etc. I also need to find a better way in reducing in sense I reduce my clothing then make it reusable. But my goal for reducing is to reduce the amount of packaged products I buy. I think these are important steps to conquer on the way to find a bigger picture for the land and I.
My visual representation just demonstrates the leap I have taken already with recycling. There is paper, can and bottles which are all current things right now I recycle. But the m&m wrappers represent liter. That everyday on journeys you notice liter; it is my new goal to try to pick up garbage if I see it. That this small step is a start on cleaning up our land. I’m very excited to continue my walk along the land but ready to leap more into action. This is a small leap but I hope to have a big leap one day.