During our Five Minutes of Silence, as I laid under the framing of a Tipi, starring at the light grey sky, I pondered what this space had formerly meant to me and what factors were inspiring my change of perspective of this space now. While admiring the wood structure, I wondered where the wood had originally come from, what environment it previously grew in, and what prayers/ceremonies were offered in order to use these trees.
I have always been interested in First Nations culture, and after hearing and experiencing Joseph’s insightful teachings and environmental perspectives and applying them to my Five Minutes of Silence, the First Nations University suddenly became a much more complex and intriguing space to me.
This space had become one of my ““places of initiation”… [as I] wonder[ed] the largeness of the world seen and unseen” (Louv).
When Louv states, “When people share these stories, their cultural, political, and religious walls come tumbling down. And when that happens, ideas can pour forth — and lead to ever more insightful approaches,” I felt as though this directly related to our experience with Joseph. He challenged us to view the environment in a different way, and let our class participate in his cultural practice of showing appreciation and thanks to the environment by spreading tobacco on sacred treaty land. By learning about and experiencing Joseph’s actions, I branch off of those ideas and form my own thoughts of how I personally connect and show respect to nature and treaty land, which further deepened and expanded my knowledge of what it means to participate in environmental education.
Joseph truly understands “…the primal power of connecting children and nature…” (Louv), and values the importance of encouraging children and students of all ages to appreciate and find meaning in our land. My time with Joseph was extremely beneficial to my development as a teacher. With the more stories, beliefs, and cultural values I am exposed to, the more I can connect and relate to my environment, a it enriches my own understanding of environmental education that I hope to share with my future students.
Louv, R. (n.d.). Leave No Child Inside. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://orionmagazine.org/article/leave-no-child-inside/