Land as Our First Teacher


Land as Our First Teacher

3 years ago 3 years ago Published by
This factsheet was developed by YouthREX.


When talking about the land as our first teacher, we acknowledge that each Indigenous cultural group on Turtle Island has a distinct worldview and teachings that guide how they relate to the world. The worldviews and the relation to land/Mother Earth also differ between Indigenous groups on Turtle Island and people who have come to settle here.

What each Indigenous group does have in common is the fact that all creation is interconnected to land and each other. The land creates and sustains our lives and livelihoods and this is a relationship that we must respect and give time to, as that connectedness nourishes our spirits.

The use of land-based learning with Indigenous youth provides them with space to return to their first teacher and reconnect with themselves and to all relations, from the rocks to the stars. Land-based learning must include Elders and work towards the aims of their community needs. The foundation of learning is a decolonial approach that will start with the individual and increase leadership among Indigenous youth.

This factsheet explores how Indigenous peoples relate to the land, in terms of body, mind, and spirit, and offers three wise practices and seven pedagogical approaches to reconnect to the land.

You can also watch the recording of a YouthREX webinar hosted and facilitated by the authors, Michelle Kennedy and Joey-Lynn Wabie: Land As Our First Teacher.

Kennedy, M.-L., & Wabie, J.-L. (2020). Land as Our First Teacher. Toronto, ON: Youth Research & Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX).

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