Video: Learning on Sacred Land

Summer courses at the new kihcihkaw askî space in Edmonton give teachers a chance to experience foundational Indigenous knowledge they can bring into their classrooms.

Every summer, the U of A Faculty of Education’s Summer Institute offers two land-based learning courses to introduce in-service teachers to foundational First Nations, Métis and Inuit ways of knowing, being and doing. The courses form part of the faculty’s graduate certificate in educational studies.

This year the institute was held at kihcihkaw askî-Sacred Land, a new Indigenous sacred space in Edmonton that provides a natural setting for ceremonies, sweat lodges, traditional arts and intergenerational learning.

According to instructor Trudy Cardinal, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education who offers a course called “Bringing Life to Literacy Learning,” this summer’s two-week institute allowed students to “come together to live and feel in their whole bodies what it is that they might be reading about.”

Cardinal says the land-based experiential learning encourages students to imagine how they might bring foundational Indigenous concepts like connection to the land and being in relationship with the environment into their own classrooms.