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Indigenous Sustainabilities: Decolonization, Education, and Collaboration at the Ojibwe Winter Games

By B. Marcus Cederström, Tim Frandy and Colin Gioia Connors

Abstract: In this article, we examine the collaborative efforts of university-employed folklorists with Waaswaaganing Anishinaabe (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) teachers and community leaders in what is currently known as northern Wisconsin. Focusing on the Ojibwe Winter Games—an annual weeklong event in February for middle school students that aims to revitalize traditional competitive games—we suggest that decolonizing sustainability education requires recognition that sustainability is pluralistic and culturally specific. Educators must facilitate a restorative systemic shift towards Indigenous sustainabilities through Indigenous-centered pedagogies and methods of knowledge production. In order to accomplish such a shift, our responsibility as academics and public folklorists must always be to the Indigenous communities with whom we work. We explore the role of non-Indigenous collaborators in Indigenous-led decolonization efforts, in developing educational systems that support and sustain Indigenous knowledge systems, and in the repatriation and rematriation of land, language, and culture.

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The Cure is in the Cause: A Rationale and Guide for Scaling Up Indigenous Principles & Practices for Resilience and Sustainability

By Dawn Marsden

Abstract: Healing a world on the brink of eco-social collapse requires an understanding of how planetary health has declined, how sustainable societies worked before, and how we can restore them. Global colonizing processes established a worldview of economic domination and competition that has had detrimental impacts upon our social and environmental systems. Archeological and mathematical studies of the rise and fall of human civilizations concluded that egalitarian societies with low environmental exploitation were the longest lasting in human history, and that high economic stratification, and/or overexploitation of resources were precursors to societal collapse. Indigenous community systems were relatively egalitarian and environmentally sustainable. Hypothetically, if we use Indigenous eco-social systems as a guide for community planning, then eco-social collapse can be averted, and eco-social resilience and sustainability can be restored. A framework of Indigenous principles and practices is included, with examples of goals, activities and indicators.

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