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


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.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gregory Lowan-Trudeau.

Additional information

Lead Editors: L. Avery and D. Long.

This paper is part of the special issue Cultural Studies of Rural Science Education.

This review essay addresses issues raised in Karim-Aly Kassam, Leanne Avery and Morgan Ruelle’s paper entitled: The cognitive relevance of rural: Why is it critical to survival? doi:10.1007/s11422-016-9745-5.

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Lowan-Trudeau, G. Gateway to understanding: Indigenous ecological activism and education in urban, rural, and remote contexts. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 12, 119–128 (2017).

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  • Indigenous
  • Ecological
  • Education
  • Activism
  • Canada