Literacies of place: Towards a worldview of kinship
Language, like culture, is interdependent with an ecology of place, and the language we use helps to shape our cultural understanding and ways of relating to these ecological places. This thesis explores the ways language, both written and oral, can weave us into the land, and perhaps, too, how land can weave us into language. “Land” in this thesis is referring to the ecological community within a place, and includes the perspective of interrelationship and care inherent in an Indigenous worldview of kinship. In Western culture, written language may have contributed to abstracting and distancing the relationship between humans and the land. In the context of teaching writing, this thesis explores the language and the writing that bring humans back into intimate reciprocity with the land. Through a complex weaving of diverse narrative, the thesis explores Indigenous languages and ways of knowing and relating to land, nature writing that embodies these ways of knowing, and pedagogy that is informed by Indigenous epistemologies. This thesis develops a “literacy of place” that honors Indigenous worldviews, ethics of kinship, and ways of knowing. Recognizing that students need fluency in multiple literacies that prepare and empower them for engaged leadership and expression in the complexities of our time, a literacy that addresses our relationship to our ecological places is a sacred responsibility of higher education. A literacy of place should be responsive to cultural contexts, critical of historical privilege and oppression, and creative in its recognition of cognitive pluralism. Indigenous pedagogy is a rich resource for the growing movement towards place-based, sustainability education.
Native American studies
0740: Native American studies