Sea, Land and Sky: Curriculum Enhancement

The Dean’s Office provides annual funding through a spring call for proposals to faculty who seek to enhance and/or develop new curricular elements with a greater Indigenous focus. That can be in the form of field trips, materials, invited speakers, new course content or other innovative approaches that engage undergraduate students in learning about Indigenous histories, traditional knowledges and contemporary concerns. 

2023 Funded Projects

Collaborative Field School — Squamish First Nation

David Burley, Archaeology

The 2023 archaeological field school's practicum course is in collaboration with the Squamish First Nation on the Seymour, Capilano and Mission Reserves in North Vancouver. Beyond archaeological method, students will learn Squamish traditional history, cultural values and protocols from faculty and Squamish partners. They will also work with Squamish cultural technicians and participate in activities geared toward community engagement, including a Squamish youth archaeology day, and a meeting with Elders.

River and Ecological Restoration: An introduction through multiple forms of knowledge

Shawn Chartrand, Environmental Science

The goal is to develop a curriculum, lectures, assignments and field components for the ecological restoration introductory course. Class content will be designed around both Western science and Indigenous traditional knowledge and developed around four general themes: Views of rivers and landscapes, impacts to rivers and landscapes and their usage, stewardship and restoration of rivers and landscapes, and the role of community in stewardship. Students will gain an appreciation for viewing and understanding rivers and lanscapes as part of a much larger whole, which some call the Earth system. They will also gain an understanding of the current state of rivers globally, get an overview of approaches to restoration, and learn how communities engage in restoration and what can be learned from different forms of engagement.

Towards unbecoming on geoscience field trips

Andrew Perkins, Tracy Brennand and Jonathan Cripps, Geography

Geoscience fieldwork is often process-based, western science-focused and increasingly temporary. This work proposes to develop short (2–5 minute) videos or podcasts about landscapes of traditional territories by local Indigenous knowledge keepers combined with an interactive digital map to trace the connecting points of fieldtrips in GEOG 213, 313 and 312, and experiential learning excercises in GEOG 111. Following an introductory learning experience intended to prepare students for the discomfort of unbecoming and potentially novel ways of knowing communicated in the videos, students will have the opportunity to preview these videos or podcasts while travelling between field sites so that they are fresh in their minds as they experience the landscapes through which we travel.

Coordinating Community Curiculum

Andréanne Doyon, Sean Markey, Meg Holden

This project aims to coordinate community outreach and course involvement with Coast Salish First Nations within the REM undergraduate planning program stream. Research and outreach will be conducted to construct a coordinated engagement model with regional First Nations. The project will also provide an opportunity to engage with Coast Salish Nations to reflect upon Indigenous and decolonial course content and pedagogies interwoven throughout the program curriculum.

2022 Funded Projects

Food is Medicine: Decolonizing Food Systems, Learning Circles and Workshop

Tammara Soma, School of Resource and Environmental Management

Recognizing the harm of colonialization to the food system and reflecting upon the TRC Calls to Action, these learning circles and workshops aim to mobilize the healing power of food (physically, spiritually, and environmentally) by engaging undergraduate students in REM 357 (Planning for Sustainable Food Systems) and SD 281 (Introduction to Sustainability) in learning circles led by T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss and Senaqwila Wyss. These interactive learning circles will help students understand Indigenous worldviews on sustainable food systems and expose them to alternative learning methodologies. REM 357 students will also have the opportunity to engage in a tea blending ceremony to learn about traditional food knowledges and the role of food as medicine.  The learning circles will be a significant departure from my usual method of teaching the Indigenous module at REM and will help decolonize my pedagogical approach. In addition to the learning circles, parts of the workshops will be filmed to develop a short documentary on “Food is Medicine” with award-winning filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk (CBC). The documentary will follow my journey as a professor and my efforts to Indigenize my courses and learn from Indigenous knowledge keepers.

Indigenizing SFU Archaeology’s Curricula Through Local First Nations Voices

Rudy Reimer, Archaeology

This work will create a series of video interviews with representatives of local First Nations made available for SFU Archaeology instructors to use in a range of courses. The focus of these videos will be on the knowledge and perspectives of Indigenous peoples on topics including, but not limited to, cultural resource management, repatriation, cultural significance of archaeological sites, resource use, place names, language, cultural protocols, and territories.  Filming will occur at archaeological sites, in the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, in SFU Archaeology laboratories, and at places identified by Indigenous peoples. Deliverables will include five 20 minute segments and ten 10 minute segments, shot in 4K and edited in Final Cut Pro. Access to locations will be by road or boat with water access provided with the use of SFU Archaeology’s research vessel.  All video content (raw and edited footage) will be shared with the Indigenous groups and individuals involved in this work so that it can be available for their own use.

Creation and collection of Indigenous Video and Podcast Content for “Canada” Course

Nadine Schuurman and Leanne Roderick

The goal of the project is to remake the Canada course (GEOG 162) to represent First Nations and other BIPOC members of Canadian society (past and present) more fully. Rather than focus on triumphs of colonization and settlement, we will explore the spatial and social changes that resulted as they affected First Nations and other ethnic groups, as well as social (e.g. labour) movements. With a focus on gathering content to Indigenize the Canada course, we plan to use an hour of course time every week to offer podcasts and video content composed of First Nations voices explaining aspects of Canadian geography, including access to fisheries, land tenure and control, effects of the railway incursion, access to safe drinking water, threats from climate change, political representation, and other topics that arise from conversation with First Nations contacts.