Understanding traditional ecological knowledge through Kwakwaka'wakw story




Isaac, Irene

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There is a low percentage of First Nations students participating in senior high school sciences and pursuing the field of science. This thesis describes the development of a cross-cultural science and environmental education program using traditional Kwakwaka'wakw stories as a focus for exploration. Conversational interviews with elders, resource persons and cultural teachers provided invaluable interpretations of time honored stories, their place in Kwakwaka’wakw culture, how they were passed down from generations as teaching stories, and how they tied Aboriginal students to the land and to each other. Lessons were pilot tested in grade 6/7 at the T'lisalagil'akw Band School in Alert Bay, BC. Observations and a range of evaluative techniques all combined to show that the students understood the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the people, they understood a range of western science concepts, they practiced mayaxala (respect for the people and land), and they understood what it means to be Kwakwaka'wakw.



Science, Study and teaching, Environmental sciences, Kwakiutl Indians