Seeking Connection through Decolonization: The power of indigenous languages and place-based knowledge in the face of racism
How has unequal distribution of power resulted in the decline in Indigenous language and the loss of societal connections to the land? How might we all, from different positionalities, revitalize our relationships to indigenous land and languages, in the face of racism and attempts to perpetuate colonization? In this course students will grapple with ideological roots of the ongoing decline in Indigenous language and place-based knowledge and how their decline has implications for all peoples. To understand the connections, students will participate in Indigenous language learning (Dakota and Ojibwe) as acts of cultural production. Discussion and reading will be supplemented with visits to local sites, for example, Medicine Gardens, Bell Museum, Gibbs Farm, and Bdote to directly interact with the land as pedagogy. Through the course themes, students will experience the interconnectedness of place-based knowledge, language and human identity, while also seeing the importance of understanding the lands on which one resides and the power of indigenous languages in re-imagining those relationships.