Rethinking our Science: Blackfoot Metaphysics Waiting in the Wings. Reflections by a Blackfoot
Dr. Leroy Little Bear
Blackfoot researcher, professor emeritus at the University of Lethbridge, founding member of Canada's first Native American Studies Department, Director of the Harvard University Native American Program and recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education.
April 12 2021 | 11AM - 12:00 PM ET
Q&A 12:00pm -12:30pm ET
Free Webinar Registration:
Event Date: April 12th, 2021
Event Time: 11:00am to 12:30pm ET
Event Location: Zoom webinar
TALK ABSTRACT: Every morning we get up and we simply ‘do’ but never question the foundational basis of what we ‘do’ is based on. We simply take for granted that this is the way it is, when all along the foundational basis, in other words, our metaphysics colonize us into a particular pathway of thinking and a particular way of doing things. It is, therefore, important to realize how our metaphysics colours our science and where those metaphysics are taking us. If, for instance, we are planning a STEM program for Indigenous students, we should be cognizant of Indigenous metaphysics.
BIOGRAPHY: Leroy Little Bear has himself become an institution. This veteran educator and renowned academic is a model for all Indigenous peoples striving for success in higher learning. The founder of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge – where he served as Chair for 21 years – also went on to become the founding Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program. He’s co-authored three texts – Pathways to Self-Determination: Native Indian Leaders Perspectives on Self-Government, Quest for Justice: Aboriginal Rights in Canada, and, Governments in Conflict: Provinces and Indian Nations in Canada – and helped write Justice on Trial, the report of Alberta’s Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and Its Impacts on the Indian and Métis Peoples of Alberta. A member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Little Bear contributed to publications for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the area of criminal justice issues, did the same for the Assembly of First Nations on constitutional issues and has provided legal advice to numerous Indigenous organizations on land claims, treaties and hunting and fishing rights. He is now recognized as one of the continent’s leaders in the advancement and acceptance of Indigenous American philosophy. When he began his studies in the 1960s he quickly determined he wasn’t attending university for himself. Instead, Leroy Little Bear did it for his people. “Educating Native students was my way of making a difference,” he says. “If I can graduate ten or fifty Native students then that makes a big difference.” He has already succeeded. (From https://indspire.ca/laureate/leroy-little-bear-2/ )
ABOUT THIS WEBINAR: The Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) was awarded four years of funding through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience grant. The PromoScience program funds research intended to encourage youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. NSERC awarded QUBS with four year of funding to create learning activities designed to bring together Indigenous ways of knowing and being and environmental science and technology. This project is intended to foster an appreciation for the sophistication and complexity of Indigenous knowledge in all students. The project aims to be collaborative, drawing on the expertise of local Indigenous knowledge holders and educators, as well as faculty members from the departments of Biology, Environmental Science, Geography, and Education. Through this collaboration QUBS will design culturally responsive learning bundles focused on grade 9 and 10 Ontario Science outcomes. Activities will incorporate and explore some of the major issues facing humanity from both Indigenous and STEM perspectives: the biodiversity crisis, global climate change, traditional Indigenous knowledge systems and the environment, invasive species, and contaminants in the environment. After the unit plans have been piloted and refined, 10-15 min videos for each unit plan will be created. QUBS will also offer a series of hands-on, land-based training opportunities at Elbow Lake for secondary school teachers. The learning bundles are designed to be taught on the land at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre. We are also creating options so that the units can be taught on the land near schools should this be needed.
Dr. Littlebear's visit will provide QUBS with guidance regarding how to bring Indigenous ways of knowing and being alongside Western scientific principles in the Ontario Science curriculum. We are grateful for the support provided for this webinar by the Queen’s University Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP). The Indigenous Teacher Education Program provides an opportunity for teacher candidates to specialize in Indigenous education, and qualifies graduates for Ontario College of Teachers certification. ITEP is honoured to be in conversation and circle with Leroy Little Bear. His dedication to and advocacy for Indigenous education, rights, self-governance, language and culture is inspiring. Little Bear is also recognized as one of the continent’s leaders in the advancement and acceptance of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. All teacher candidates and community members will benefit from his wisdom, knowledge, and excellence regarding how to bring Indigenous knowledge into mainstream institutions such as schools.
This event will be live and recorded on Zoom, and available on the QUBS Youtube channel.
Indigenous Teacher Education Program