Traditional Indigenous Knowledge / Science Resources for Teachers #CreeSimonSays

Thanks to #CreeSimonSays on Facebook for inspiring this conversation, and thanks to the teachers who contributed with their favourite resources. I was intrigued with some of the additional titles a quick Google search turned up. I can’t speak to the quality of all of them, but they look awfully promising.

I hope it goes without saying that additions to this list are welcome at any time!

Some more general ideas contributed to the thread:

  • Biology: body parts -illnesses-traditional medicines, animal names, homes, wild food preparation
  • Ecology: relationships between lakes, fish, water plants, animals who eat them, trees, birds etc. It is taught as that as people we are an essential member of lands too, traditional harvesting and non-wasteful uses of natural materials for tools, shelter, transportation
  • Chemistry: building a fire, cooking over a fire, finding drinkable water, hide tanning w brains
  • Physics: ways to haul meat, building tents/teepees/tarps (angles, weight distrib., winds, drafts, snowshoe construction, navigating w landscape, stars, trees, wind direction and hunting
  • Basic science approach: In-depth observation skills used to notice change on land and also long term and multi-generational changes of lakes, trees, animals, birds etc.
  • Invite elders into classrooms to teach protocols and prayers. Explain to students why we use sweet grass sage fungus cedar etc. Maybe even take them out and teach them how to identify and gather. I know when I was in school I loved going on field trips even if it was just outside the school.
  • Chemistry and biology: Learning the internal organs of the animals in the Cree language. Possibly include a hunting/fishing lesson.
  • Earth Science/Biology: Plants/ trees medicinal plants resource books gift of language and culture
  • Incorporating Cree language into themes, discuss Indigenous concepts or theories along with theories from other areas, encourage students to go out into the community to find Elders or others to find answers to questions and then have group discussions.
Michell, H. (2013). Cree Ways of Knowing and School Science. Vernon, B.C.: JCharlton Publishing Ltd.
Cree Ways of Knowing
Aikenhead, G., & Michell, H. (2011). Bridging cultures: Indigenous and Scientific ways of knowing of know nature. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada.
Bridging Cultures
KNOWLEDGE SHARING FAIR: An Inquiry Approach to Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into the Science Curriculum Grade 4-8. Created by Kelli White (2010) on behalf of the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Division. Within the resource the focus is on Indigenous ways of knowing and incorporated the 5E Learning cycle as well as a science fair component.
Knowledge Sharing Fair
This one is based on BC curriculum, but again, there are some great ideas to build on and uses a 7E model of learning (environment, engage, explore, elder, explain, elaborate, evaluation).
Science First Peoples
An annotated bibliography that showed up on the same search: Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education: A Bibliography of Resources includes many titles that mention science specifically.
Bibliography: Decolonizing and Indigenizing Education
Natalie Swayze: Bridging the Gap: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Science in a Non-Formal Environmental Learning Program
Bridging the Gap
Wilfred Buck the Star Guy
From Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre: Wilfred Buck: The Star Guy. Buck is a science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC).
A pdf slide presentation about Constellations by Wilfred Buck, also from MFNERC
Leroy Little Bear talks about similarities and contrasts between Indigenous Knowledge, “Western” Science and his work on metaphysics. You can watch a primer on YouTube
Leroy Little Bear
Learning Indigenous Science from Place: Research Study Examining Indigenous-Based Science Perspectives in Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis Community Contexts, November 2008
Learning Indigenous Science From Place
Bridging cultures: scientific and indigenous ways of knowing nature / Glen Aikenhead, Herman Michell. Available from Pearson. Read more about it here.
Bridging Cultures Description
From Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, "Non-Immersion (English) Science, Gr. 1-8.
Kwayaciiwin Science 1-8 (non-Immersion)
Gift of Language and Culture in Onion Lake, Saskatchewan has a "Nature" menu link that includes Astronomical terms, Six seasons, Trees, and Weather
Gift of Language and Culture
There’s even a Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (who knew?)

One Response

  1. Michell, H. (2013). Cree Ways of Knowing and School Science. Vernon, B.C.: JCharlton Publishing Ltd.
    Aikenhead, G., & Michell, H. (2011). Bridging cultures: Indigenous and Scientific ways of knowing of know nature. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada.

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