The Indigenous Garden Project: Reflecting on Land-Based Education, Decolonizing and Garden Spaces in British Columbia’s K-12 Education System




Lever, Jacqualine

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Indigenous Garden Project was a garden classroom built for the Nala’atsi Program, an Indigenous alternate education program. The project, initially envisioned as purely a garden, was built into a Science 11 course for students attending the alternate program. Students, staff and community members contributed to the planning and building of the multi-use area. The garden contained over fifty different plants (including native plants used for food and medicines by Indigenous peoples), a greenhouse, and a cedar smokehouse. The project centered on Indigenous pedagogies, incorporated Elders and knowledge keepers into the learning space, and provided students with the opportunity to experience science in a hands-on experiential learning environment. This reflective paper outlines the beginnings, building process and end of the project. It details the experience of the garden for the author, several students and a Nala’atsi staff. The literature review discusses the importance of decolonization in education systems, issues regarding racism and settler colonialism in outdoor education, land-based learning versus place-based learning and the benefits of garden-based learning environments. Reflections and recommendation for educators who wish to begin a garden-based learning space are provided. The paper also provides reflections and requirements for educators about incorporating Indigenous education in a decolonizing way into their teaching.



Indigenous education, land-based education, garden-based education, place-based education, decolonization, experiential learning