Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 119–128 | Cite as

Gateway to understanding: Indigenous ecological activism and education in urban, rural, and remote contexts

  • Gregory Lowan-TrudeauEmail author


This article is a response to Kassam, Avery, and Ruelle’s insights as presented in this forum on rural science education. Topics considered include troubling the urban/rural divide in the context of Indigenous knowledge and expanding to include the common Canadian notion of the “remote”, a designation rooted in our national colonial narrative for the mythic, typically northern, wilderness sparsely inhabited by primarily Indigenous peoples. These concepts are further considered through exploration of Indigenous and allied ecological activism in Canada and the United States related to the proposed Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines. This discussion concludes with an argument for the inherent pedagogical opportunity presented by such cases for contemporary educators to engage students in consideration of wicked problems, geographically rooted cognitive diversity, and the legal, economic, ecological, and cultural underpinnings and ramifications of the current events prominent in their home communities and abroad.


Indigenous Ecological Education Activism Canada 


  1. Agyeman, J., Cole, P., Haluza-DeLay, R., & O’Riley, P. (Eds.). (2009). Speaking for ourselves: Environmental justice in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  2. Awasis, S. (2014). Pipelines and resistance across Turtle Island. In T. Weis, T. Black, S. D’Arcy, & J. Kahn Russell (Eds.), A line in the Tar Sands (pp. 253–266). Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, J. S. (1983). Women as centre and symbol of the emergence of Metis communities. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 3, 39–46.Google Scholar
  4. Carrington, K., McIntosh, A., & Scott, J. (2010). Globalization, frontier masculinities and violence: Booze, blokes and brawls. British Journal of Criminology, 50, 393–413. doi: 10.1093/bjc/azq003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Climate Action Network. (2013). Canada wins ‘Lifetime Unachievement’ fossil award at Warsaw climate talks. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  6. Collective, Kino-nda-niimi (Ed.). (2014). The winter we danced: Voices from the past, the future, and the Idle No More movement. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Davenport, C. (2015). Senate fails to override Obama’s Keystone pipeline veto. The New York Times Online. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from
  8. Donald, D. (2004). Edmonton pentimento: Re-reading history in the case of the Papaschase Cree. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 2, 21–54.Google Scholar
  9. Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel. (2014). Decision statement issued under Section 54 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and Paragraph 104 (4) (b) of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act. Ottawa: Government of Canada. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from
  10. Foster, J. E. (2007). Wintering, the outsider male and the ethnogenesis of the western plains Métis. In P. C. Douad (Ed.), The Western Métis: Profile of a people (pp. 91–103). Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre. (Original work published 1994).Google Scholar
  11. Francis, D. (2005). National dreams: Myth, memory, and Canadian history. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gibbins, R. (2005). Meaning and significance of the Canadian-American border. In P. Ganster & D. E. Lorey (Eds.), Borders and border politics in a globalizing world (pp. 151–168). Oxford: SR Books.Google Scholar
  13. Gorlewski, J., & Porfilio, B. (2012). Revolutionizing environmental education through Indigenous hip hop culture. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 46–61.Google Scholar
  14. Gunton, T., & Broadbent, S. (2013). A spill risk assessment of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Burnaby: School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University.Google Scholar
  15. Hall, B. L., Clover, D., Crowther, J., & Scandrett, E. (2013). Learning and education for a better world: The role of social movements. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Harding, D. (2013). Environmental rhetoric: A framing analysis of stakeholder claims surrounding the Northern Gateway pipeline. Unpublished master’s thesis, Concordia University, Montreal.Google Scholar
  17. Jickling, B. (2003). Environmental education and advocacy: Revisited. The Journal of Environmental Education, 34, 20–27. doi: 10.1080/00958960309603496 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kassam, K. A. S., Avery, L. M., & Ruelle, M. L. (2016). The cognitive relevance of indigenous and rural: Why is it critical to survival? Cultural Studies of Science Education. doi: 10.1007/s11422-016-9745-5.Google Scholar
  19. Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). The fortress, the river and the garden: A new metaphor for cultivating mutualistic relationship between scientific and traditional ecological knowledge. In A. Kulnieks, D. R. Longboat, & K. Young (Eds.), Contemporary studies in environmental and Indigenous pedagogies (pp. 49–76). Rotterdam: Sense. doi: 10.1007/978-94-6209-293-8_4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. LaDuke, W. (2014). Ending the age of fossil fuels and building an economics for the Seventh Generation. In T. Black, S. D’Arcy, T. Weis, & J. Kahn Russell (Eds.), A line in the Tar Sands (pp. 229–239). Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  21. Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2015a). Pipe dreams: A tale of two cities. In M. Robertson, R. Lawrence, & G. Heath (Eds.), Experiencing the outdoors: Enhancing strategies for wellbeing (pp. 37–48). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2015b). Teaching the tension: Indigenous land rights, activism, and education in Canada. Education Canada, 55, 44–47.Google Scholar
  23. Malenfant, E. C., Lebel, A., & Martel, L. (2010). Projections of the diversity of the Canadian population. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  24. Menzies, C. R. (Ed.). (2006). Traditional ecological knowledge and natural resource management. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  25. Neil, G. (2014). An inquiry into the Northern Gateway pipeline. Calgary: Connect Charter School. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from
  26. Ozog, S. (2012). Towards First Nations energy self-sufficiency: Analyzing the renewable energy partnership between Tsou-ke Nation and Skidegate Band. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George.Google Scholar
  27. Prystupa, M. (2014). Janet Holder quits Northern Gateway pipeline. Vancouver Observer Online. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from
  28. Raffan, J. (2008). Emperor of the North: Sir George Simpson and the remarkable story of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar
  29. Reject and Protect. (2014). Reject and protect. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from
  30. Rivard, E. (2008). Colonial cartography of Canadian margins: Encounters and the idea of métissage. Cartographica, 43, 45–66. doi: 10.3138/carto.43.1.45 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Theobald, P., & Herley, W. (2009). Rurality, locality, and the diversity question. In S. R. Steinberg (Ed.), Diversity and multiculturalism: A reader (pp. 423–434). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  32. Trans Canada (2015). Keystone XL pipeline. Retrieved April 1, 2015, from
  33. Vink, M. J., Dewulf, A., & Termeer, C. J. A. (2013). The role of knowledge and power in climate change adaptation governance: A systematic literature review. Ecology and Society, 18(4), 46. doi: 10.5751/ES-05897-180446 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weber, B. A., Geigle, J., & Barkdull, C. (2014). Rural North Dakota’s oil boom and its impact on social services. Journal of Social Work, 59(1), 62–72. doi: 10.1093/sw/swt068 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wheatley, B., & Paradis, S. (1995). Exposure of Canadian aboriginal peoples to methylmercury. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 80(1–4), 3–11. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-0153-0_1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Personalised recommendations