The national program, the Kikandaaswiwin Mookiisin (KM) Indigenous STEAM Program, is an educational and career initiative of the School of Indigenous Studies and the First People’s Centre at Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario, developed with national partner Actua.
“Now more than ever, educators, school boards, and senior levels of government are looking for new classroom settings.”
The KM Indigenous STEAM training includes six virtual sessions for Actua network member instructors and teachers interested in delivering “on-the-land” programming for youth. Program graduates earn three college-level general education credits.
“Now more than ever, educators, school boards, and senior levels of government are looking for new classroom settings to teach youth,” said Doug Dokis, director of Actua’s National Indigenous Youth in STEM (InSTEM) program. “Many are turning to outdoor, experiential learning environments. Indigenous people have always used the land as a classroom.”
The program, which began June 15, involves sessions led by Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers, and STEAM practitioners, as well as 32 hours of individual, home-based learning and group discussions.
“Actua has been delivering on-the-land for-credit programming across the country for the past three years through our InSTEM program model,” Dokis added. Actua’s InSTEM program engages Indigenous youth in STEM through school workshops and summer programs.
“We are proud to be supporting this ongoing learning through our partnership with Canadore College to launch [this new program],” said the Actua director.
The KM Indigenous STEAM training program is designed to increase participants’ understanding of Indigenous STEM activities, cultures, histories, current realities of Indigenous communities in order to help equip them to teach on the land.
The training will enable participants to connect with Actua instructors, partner STEAM instructors, and land-based educators across Canada, with support from Actua’s InSTEM team.
KM or Kikandaaswiwin mookiisin is Ojibwe for “knowledge springing forth.”
“Kiikandaaswiwin Mookiisin speaks to the land as our teacher,” said Mary Wabano, director of the First People’s Centre at Canadore College. “Everything we need for life is here for us on the land, hence our dependent relationship with the land, and water should be our first understanding. The time to deepen our collective understanding of this fundamental relationship has never been more critical.”
“Indigenous Knowledge in STEAM is taking a lead in the development of technology based in ancient ways of knowing,” said Wabano. “This is but a small step to sharing our approach to preparing our youth for futures in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics rooted in Indigenous Knowledge and our connection to our lands.”
Actua is a not-for-profit organization that teaches STEAM to youth across Canada. It focuses on engaging underrepresented, at-risk youth in northern and remote communities and claims to serve over 200 Indigenous communities across the country.
Once the first round of training is completed, Actua and Canadore College will begin developing subsequent training opportunities for K-12 teachers and Indigenous high school youth.
Image source Actua via Facebook