New Athletics Education Program Combining Western Science and Indigenous Culture

Far from home in northern Ontario, Moxie Manitwabi recently joined 16 Indigenous youth in rural Nova Scotia to fuse traditional knowledge with Western science in a program called Melchikunuauti. I was.

“I moved here from Ontario. It was just me and my mom and I felt really disconnected from this land and culture…I felt like I needed to connect more. So yeah, it was a lot of fun. ‘ said Manitwabi, a member of the Wikwemcoon Indians of Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron.

“It’s important to stay connected and remember our culture, language and land.” The week-long program is now held at a former farm called Windhorse on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. It was developed by the Ulnooweg Education Center, an Indigenous registered charity, and SuperNOVA, an initiative at Dalhousie University promoting his STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

We provide accommodation, meals and transportation to participants free of charge.

Ulnooweg Education Center, which owns Windhorse Farm, is an Indigenous Registered Charity dedicated to empowering Indigenous communities across Atlantic Canada. (Dylan Jones/CBC)

Caitlin McPhail, SuperNOVA development coordinator at Dalhousie University, said:

“We are merging Indigenous science with Western science and giving them the opportunity to see how the two really come together in a collaborative way.” Siksika First Nation, Southern Alberta.

Melkiknuawti explains the idea that knowledge of nature can be a path to strength. The program itself was inspired by a similar program created by Actua, a national organization that supports young people in her STEM learning through members of universities across Canada.

Caitlin McPhail is Melkiknuawti’s lead organizer and development coordinator for SuperNOVA at Dalhousie University. (Dylan Jones/CBC)

Dawson Smith, an Acadia First Nations participant in Nova Scotia, says his mother was thrilled to see him return to his roots and that it’s important to keep the culture alive.

“Our elders, they lost all their culture and language, but I think it’s great [for me] to learn again. ”

Holly Griffiths, a mechanical engineer by profession, is part of Digital Mi, a program that brings together Canada’s leading experts, scientists, businesses, universities, and STEM-focused organizations to provide educational programs for Indigenous youth. We have worked with Ulnooweg on various programs such as ‘kmaq. (Dylan Jones/CBC)

Holly Griffiths, director of science and innovation at the Ulnooweg Education Centre, said the point of the week-long program was not only to get indigenous youth interested in STEM, but also to encourage STEM ideas. says. Etuaptomuk.

Etuaptomuk means binocular vision in the Mikmaw language, a perspective that combines Western and Indigenous teachings rather than separating them.

Program participants and instructors went on nature walks to identify and age tree species (Dylan Jones/CBC)

“this [Indigenous science] It was kind of isolated, not treated or characterized as scientific knowledge, even though it has thousands of years of history,” Griffiths said.

“So we just put it back together and introduce science and STEM concepts in a more meaningful way, because we want to make these meaningful connections through observation and by completely immersing ourselves in nature and all our senses.” If so, it is very important.”

According to Nancy Turner, a researcher who has studied indigenous knowledge of plants and the environment of northwestern North America for more than 40 years, indigenous peoples identify more than that. 400 species Medicinal plants, lichens, fungi, algae.

Indigenous people make up about 4% of Canadian adults, but less than 2% of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations are indigenous. Canadian Conference Boardan independent research institute.

Jonny Hird, one of the content instructors, said programs like this make STEM more accessible and help participants change their minds about how they personally think about STEM concepts. says he wants it.

“We have found that there are so many barriers to learning STEM for Indigenous youth. There is none.”

McPhail hopes to expand Melkiknuawti to other parts of the state and possibly the entire country.

“We are looking forward to having this available in the summer, not just for one week. We hope this will be something we can offer year-round in various communities in Mimaki.”

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