Water Inquiry with an Indigenous Perspective
Our vision for Canada is to protect water resources for all living things and future generations. Our vision is to help children understand water from an Indigenous perspective: that it deserves the respect from us that is one of a reciprocal relationship. Water gives us life: we need to conserve and protect it. This issue is important to our community because our school is within walking distance of Lake Simcoe. We drink the water from the lake, swim in it, catch fish from it, play in and on it when it’s frozen in the winter time. The Chippewas from Georgina Island, our closest First Nation allies in education, have become the advocates for protecting the water. Through them, we’ve learned that protecting Lake Simcoe is important for all of us to understand and make a part of our daily living habits.
From March 22nd to April 23rd (the opening day of the UN Decade for Action for Water Sustainablility to our Earth day at Lakeside P.S., we walked to the water after we learned about Josephine Mandamin, Water Walker. The students learned the Nibi song in Ojibwe and made copper pot necklaces in the style of the pot that Josephine carries on her water walks. We did hands-on inquiry with our students to learn about oil pollution in water, garbage in water and how to conserve water at home and at school. Students learned about issues related to bottled water, as well as boil water advisories for many of our First Nations communities in Canada, including Georgina Island. We engaged the entire school community by inviting them to a Community Event at our school on April 23rd, 2018 to see the actions we’ve been doing to learn about Water and an Indigenous perspective of water.
Reflection & Celebration
We learned that doing an environmental inquiry with an Indigenous perspective across multiple grades, learning frames and integrated subjects allowed for us to go deeply into enviromental and cultural topics with our students. Our challenge was our time frame: we’d like to start earlier in the year and include the entire school. This was a project for early years, K-3, but the entire staff was curious, so we’d like to do a bigger inquiry next year with the entire school. We connected to Clearwater Farms upcoming water event on June 23, 2018, and forwarded this information to the school community to ensure that families can continue this learning.