Education through Ecological Restoration – Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture

Spencer Foundation supports IAS webinar to be held on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020

This Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Monday, October 12th), higher education and community partners will be attending a webinar designed for non-Native researchers and educators who want to build their capacity for working respectfully with Indigenous Communities. Culturally Responsive Research Relationships is an Earth Partnership-Indigenous Arts and Sciences webinar event, facilitated by Dr. Nicky Bowman is anticipated to be the IAS initiative’s most highly-attended event ever. 

The October webinar is one facet of a multi-dimensional research grant awarded to Earth Partnership (Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, UW-Madison) by the Spencer Foundation: Earth Partnership Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Co-creating a Sustainable Model of Indigenized Science Education. Over the course of two years, Earth Partnership and Dr. Bowman (Wisconsin Center for Education Research, UW-Madison) are collaborating with long-term Indigenous Arts and Sciences partnering Native Nations (Bad River, Lac du Flambeau, and Red Cliff Bands of Lake Superior Ojibwe and the Ho-Chunk Nation) to co-develop a tribally-driven participatory research partnership model.

In an effort to reimagine a tribal-university partnership based on mutual respect and shared interests, Earth Partnership Indigenous Arts and Sciences began in 2011 in response to tribally-identified needs for water stewardship, protection of subsistence harvest, resilience in the face of climate change impact on cultural practices, and Native youth access to higher education and natural resource careers. IAS is structured around a three-dimensional approach that engages educator, youth, and community partners in integrating western science with Indigenous Knowledge through place-based, ecological restoration, and stewardship education. This process of “indigenizing” science through IAS has resulted in important successes to date, and as the program model evolves to meet increasingly diverse needs and goals, it is also providing methods and approaches that can be adapted to other tribal-university partnerships. An emergent model that emphasizes capacity building for tribal partners to author the development and implementation of an indigenized science education model positions tribal partners as powerful agents in improving educational outcomes in their communities and demonstrates how sovereignty can be exercised and affirmed through community-based research. 

In the current project, a new model for research and tribal partnerships will document necessary conditions, contextual factors, and the design theories, implementation methods, and practice domains of collaborative indigenized science education. From a traditional ecological knowledge standpoint, the joint tribal-university team will respectfully incorporate oral histories, traditional teachings, cultural practices and protocols, with a special commitment to hold one another accountable for collaborative work. This Spencer project seeks to integrate the best of inter-relational scientific, Indigenous, and earth justice theories and methods, braiding together a co-designed, co-implemented model that embodies the scientific, cultural, and spiritual roots of this shared work.