Engaging Indigenous and Indigenist methods in student outreach: Building human capacity in Arctic research

Lead Author Beth, Leonard
Institution Contact Center for Cross-Cultural Studies University of Alaska Fairbanks 1-907-474-7451
Co-Authors Ocean Mercier, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Theme Theme 4: Building Long-term Human Capacity
Session Name 4.6 Gaining a better understanding and awareness of the Arctic through education and outreach
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 03:15 PM - 03:30 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Engaging students in interdisciplinary communication around Indigenous knowledge[s], science, local and global issues impacting Indigenous communities is a vital part of Indigenous and Arctic studies higher education programming. Many of us, as Indigenous scholars, are situated within institutions located on Indigenous lands therefore in our minds Indigenous cultures occupy rightful places and spaces within these contexts. A key challenge is the creation and expansion of safe Indigenous spaces within Western institutions; spaces that can both support student learning and communication, while facilitating transformative student contributions on issues affecting Indigenous peoples of the Arctic and beyond.

In this session we examine an Arctic-Pacific virtual exchange between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) joint videoconference course “Science and Indigenous Knowledge in Global Contexts." We describe our design of the collaborative digital spaces, pointing out aspects that facilitated and challenged engagement between and among students. We then discuss the learning outcomes of the engagement, using selected commentary from student evaluations and online forum posts.

Building long-term human capacity in the Arctic and beyond should require the engagement of Indigenous peoples in formulating policies and programs (see, for example, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). In this regard, three aspects of the exchange motivate us to continue this Arctic-Pacific initiative. In our analysis of student communication to date we find these virtual exchanges provide: a critical sense of place[s] in local and global senses; reorient students’ understandings of Indigenous identities; and cause students to reflect on their current and future roles in shaping spaces that promote Indigenous safety, self-determination and sovereignty. These all contribute to ‘glocality’, that is, critical processes promoting human capacity and citizenship that are locally embedded yet globally connected.
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