The Youth Knowledge Fair as Land-Based Education

  • Tracking Change: Local and Traditional Knowledge in Watershed Governance -- Global Knowledge Symposium UN New York 2019

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  • The Youth Knowledge Fair – in place of a traditional science fair – is a means of implementing land-based education. The Fair engages with traditional Indigenous knowledge within the Makenzie River Basin, under the direction and in partnership with Indigenous communities, but in this case facilitated by a settler educator. It provides a concrete space to explore land-based education carried out by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together, in efforts to support both Indigenous resurgence and the “hard unsettling work” required by settler educators. Grounded in Indigenous conceptions of knowledge, the fair provides a decolonized alternative to mainstream expressions of democratic science education. The students’ projects are largely informed by local mentors, who teach them according to local processes and potentially on the land. Students develop research posters on the connections between their home ecosystems, histories, and communities under the direction of elders, family, community members, and teachers. Students have choice in how to visually, textually, and orally represent this knowledge, rather than having it categorized for them and separated from its holistic context. By returning to their communities following these knowledge sharing activities, students complete the circle and are able to dialogue again with their communities about what they have learned through the process of sharing their knowledge.

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    Conference/Workshop Poster
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International