Acts of living with: Being, doing, and coming to understand Indigenous perspectives alongside science curricula

  • Author / Creator
    Wiseman, Dawn
  • This inquiry engages with the complexity of bringing Indigenous and Western ways of knowing, being, and doing together; both in K-12 science curricula and research. It responds to Canadian provincial/territorial policies and programs, adopted since the turn of the century, that mandate integration of Indigenous perspectives across K-12 curricula, with a particular focus on science curricula as a complex location for integration. The inquiry began as an exploration of the intersection between policy, practitioners, and practice as a means of considering what it means to integrate Indigenous perspectives in science curricula. Given that it draws on people, traditions, and thinking that emerge from both Indigenous and Western ways of knowing, being, and doing, the inquiry also began by drawing on elements of Indigenous research methodologies and ecological interpretations of hermeneutics in order to create a space in which both traditions might circulate together. As I engaged with doing the research, I concurrently found myself struggling with what it means to take up inquiry that simultaneously honours different traditions, and what it means to decolonize research. This struggle manifested primarily through discomfort with the place of theory and methodology within research and the manner in which these concepts act and allow for action. As I engaged in conversations with policy, practitioners, and practice, I re/cognized that struggles I was having with respect to methodology paralleled the struggles practitioners were having in terms of engaging with Indigenous perspectives in science curricula. This re/cognition occurred around specific instances where both I, and the people with whom I was having conversations, bumped up against a difficulty with language. That is, while we could clearly point to the existence of something at play, we were simultaneously without adequate language to describe and talk about it. Given the difficulty posed by a lack of words, I let go of assumptions to both reflect on and search for a means of considering the phenomena I refer to as the inarticulable. Guidance arose from both traditions that inform my doing and being. I was visited, guided, and accompanied by the tricky teacher, Coyote, AND images of the world at play and in flux via mappings of complex, recursive equations, specifically the Lorenz attractor. These visions returned me to the root of conversation as the act of living with, and allowed me to re/cognize both my own process of coming to understand, AND the coming to understand of the people with whom I had conversations, as recursive acts of living with where the discomfort of the inarticulable set in motion a cycle where doing and being preceded knowing. The dissertation thus represents the research AND it is the research, and–as a means of supporting readers in coming to understand–it is written to reflect the recursive acts of living with in which I, and the people with whom I had conversations engaged.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Carr-Stewart (Policy Studies)
    • Sutherland, Dawn (University of Winnipeg, external examiner)
    • Donald, Dwayne (Secondary Education)
    • Eppert, Claudia (Secondary Education)
    • Pimm, David (Secondary Education, ret'd)
    • Nocente, Norma (Secondary Education)