Vision for
Teaching & Counselling

My vision of Land-based Teaching is informed by the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Struggling with the idea of how “an immigrant society could become indigenous to place,” she concludes that if they cannot be indigenous, they still need “to throw off the mind-set of the immigrant” and become naturalized to the lands they live on. We each need “to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.”

To this end, Kimmerer introduces us to two non-indigenous plants

that model this work and that informs my teaching. The first is

garlic mustard, a plant that sprawls across the forests where I live.

It expands its range by poisoning the soil and spreading roots that

crowd out native wildflowers. For Kimmerer, garlic mustard mirrors

colonial ways that are caught in a positive feedback loop, such

that the uprooted emptiness within fosters a kind of hunger that

grabs for more. The other non-indigenous plant Kimmerer lifts up

is common plantain. Often found in cracks of sidewalks, this plant

grows in a rooted way that does not sprawl and offers anti-microbial medicines that makes it useful as a poultice for wounds. But as Kimmerer counsels, common plantain also has cultural medicine. Indigenous peoples have brought common plantain into their healing bundles because it can heal wounds, and does so while finding a relational niche amongst the land’s original inhabitants rather than taking up all the space. It is not Indigenous, but it has become “naturalized.”

Following this story, my teaching/workshops (and counselling work) with Canadians is informed by two interrelated acts. The first aims at decolonizing garlic mustard tendencies that need pruning within ourselves and the institutions we inhabit. The second act helps to nurture the naturalizing spirit of plantain in those pruned spaces so we can give our cultural gifts without trying to be “the gift”; that colonial conceit which is always trying to progress people into a deep forgetting of their roots and responsibilities. I will often work with Cayuga Elder Norma Jacobs who can bring in Indigenous (indigenizing) teachings.

garlic mustard.jpg

Academic Teaching

Eco-Social Work in Climates of Change

Relational Accountability: Social Work with Indigenous Peoples

Wholistic Healing (co-taught with Cayuga Elder Norma Jacobs)

​Environmental Education

Ecological Worldviews

Religion & Environment

​​

Image to Left: Garlic Mustard

Community-Based Education

Below are a sample of community-based education initiatives that I have been involved in creating and often co-delivering:

"Land-based Decolonizing of Canadian Citizenship", Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (co-delivered with Norma Jacobs & Chizuru Ghelani)

"Eco-Social Work in Climates of Change," Ontario ECampus (online course)

"Land-based Education of Indigenous-Settler Relations", Canada EcoSchools (co-created with D. Bannerjee and supported by High Park Nature Centre), 

"Decolonizing Certificate Module - Learning from the Land: Decolonizing & Naturalizing Relations ", Centre for Indigegogy (co-delivered with Cayuga Elder Norma Jacobs),

"Cultures, Climate, Care", Goethe Institut (partially co-delivered with Cayuga Elder Norma Jacobs)

If interested in a workshop that can be tailored to your group needs, email me at tleduc@wlu.ca

Image to Right: Common Plantain

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