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Earth as Relative: An Indigenous Lens for Sustainability in Higher Education, Part I
July 26 @ 12:00 pm - July 30 @ 2:00 pm EDT$195
This educational program will take place over three days: July 26, July 28 & July 30, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Tired of the same old messages around recycling, light bulbs, and composting? Attend this workshop to learn about a deeper and more lasting message of sustainability. See how Indigenous language, culture, and history can be integrated into campus and community life and provide a new lens for sustainability work.
For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples have depended on a sustainable relationship with the environment. Indigenous knowledge provides perspectives and approaches to sustainability that have withstood global change and are based on a deep respect for Mother Earth. Many of these perspectives are often quite different from those used in modern sustainability programs, which are largely based on the principles of Western worldviews. Western science, for example, uses impartial, linear thinking to provide generalizable explanations for how nature works (often with the help of technology), whereas Indigenous knowledge is more holistic and dependent on having in-depth knowledge of a particular place and on forming strong bonds with nature. Western worldviews say, “I am separate from and should control nature,“ while Indigenous knowledge says, “I am a part of and should work with nature.” Each has its benefits as we move towards a more sustainable future. As Earth’s climate continues to warm, global biodiversity continues to decrease, and soil and water quality continue to decline, different ways of thinking and knowing must be integrated into cultural norms.
This workshop is intended for faculty, administrators, staff and students of all disciplines and at all educational levels, as well as community leaders and change agents who wish to integrate sustainability and an Indigenous way of thinking into their work.
This will be Part I of an expanding conversation.
Event Date & Time: July 26, July 28 & July 30, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT
Location: The workshop will take place online via Zoom
Registration Fee: $195 (AASHE members), $275 (AASHE non-members)
- Registration deadline is Monday, July 26, 12:00 p.m. EDT.
- Payment is accepted in the form of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover cards, ACH transfers or checks.
- Cancellation Policy: A 20% processing fee applies to any cancellation prior to Friday, July 16, 2021. No refunds will be given after Friday, July 16, 2021.
- No substitutions are allowed.
- Review all Terms & Conditions.
Attendee Engagement & Learning Outcomes
This workshop is designed for attendees to participate fully throughout the three days in exercises, discussions, personal reflection and planning so that they come away from the workshop with an understanding of potential next steps they can take on their own campuses. The format will include opportunities for participants to bring forward topics from their own experiences to inform the discussion and gain insight from the perspectives of the presenters as well as fellow participants.
Workshop participants will be able to:
- Analyze their own attitude, behaviors, and beliefs regarding humans’ responsibility to the Earth.
- Define key terms of the time such as: treaties, colonization, sovereignty, environmental justice, reconciliation, privilege, trauma, and the 7th Generation.
- Describe Bemidji State University’s Wellness Model for Sustainability.
- Compare the holistic (physical, mental, spiritual and emotional) ways that Indigenous people consider or interact with the environment with the evidence-based (linear, objective, and measurable) way that Western scientists consider the environment.
- Identify and understand institutional racism and oppression found in education and analyze their impacts.
- Cultivate skillful means of communication and mindful inquiry through educational awareness, listening, patience and action.
- Consider a Land Acknowledgement for your workplace.
- Create space for diverse voices and be a good ally.
Erika Bailey-Johnson, Sustainability Director, Bemidji State University
Erika Bailey-Johnson is starting her fourteenth year as the first Sustainability Director at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. She was also appointed the Coordinator of the People and the Environment academic program in 2016 and teaches one class per semester. She works in the Ganawendakamigaawigamig (Office of Earth-Caretaking or Sustainability Office). She completed her BA in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1998 and her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from BSU in 2006. Her background is in science teaching, and Erika and her husband taught for two years in Mexico and three years in Kuwait before returning home to Northern Minnesota. In 2014, Erika was named one of the top 40 under 40 business professionals in the region by Prairie Business Magazine, and in 2015 as one of the top 40 under 40 professionals in the Midwest working to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy by Midwest Energy News. She speaks at regional and national conferences on BSU’s unique sustainability model which includes a wellness component and an emphasis on integrating Indigenous voices. She served on Governor Dayton’s Committee on Pollinator Protection from 2016 to 2018. Erika is currently on the board for Happy Dancing Turtle in Pine River and the alumni board for the University of Minnesota, Morris. She is a founding member of the City of Bemidji Sustainability Committee, and for the past three years has been the Director of the Niizhoo-gwayakochigewin project to integrate an Indigenous lens into campus sustainability work and academic programs and the Co-PI of Endazhi-manidoowaadak to work on race relations in her community. Her first book project was recently published and is a bilingual Ojibwe/English children’s book to connect children to the Ojibwe language and Mother Earth. Erika is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe.
Kathryn Gonzalez, Transformational Coach, Embodied Wisdom
Kathryn’s journey has been informed by a deep desire to understand and nurture the relationship between people and the land, and to inform the systems we create and the ways we walk on the Earth, individually and collectively. Like many, this journey has taken twists and turns that inform her current focus, which centers on the inner dimension of sustainability and is anchored in awareness-based social change practices. Kathryn completed her Masters’ degree in Forestry where she studied the Human Dimension of Forest Resources. From there she began a career as a Kundalini yoga instructor, blending contemplative practices and embodied awareness that informs change at the personal, collective and systemic levels. Transformation has been at the heart of her path of inquiry and she currently serves as a transformational coach to inform inner leadership practices that re-imagine our relationship with Self, others and the Earth.
Beth Mercer-Taylor, Sustainability Education Coordinator, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Beth Mercer-Taylor is one of two sustainability education program co-directors at the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She manages academic programs, including the Sustainability Studies Minor, an interdisciplinary, free-standing program with more than 200 undergraduates enrolled and the IonE Educators, a year-long cohort program for faculty and staff to develop their own own sustainability courses and projects. She teaches two interdisciplinary courses on energy that integrate equity, sustainability and systems-thinking. She supports students, staff and faculty centering environmental justice and indigenous-led environmental approaches to sustainability, including the development of a community-engaged course on Environmental Justice, the creation of projects like a new podcast called Just Sustainability and the revision of an annual student research expo into a sustainability and equity program centering indigenous perspectives. Beth participates in the University’s Diversity Community of Practices and is active in IonE’s Diversity Equity Inclusion Justice committee. She works with colleagues across the University system of five campuses to learn, support one another and push forward justice and anti-racism in their programs. In the past, she served as a city councilmember in Falcon Heights, as a real estate lawyer and land use planner.
Ana Munro, English and Global and Cultural Studies Faculty, North Hennepin Community College
Ana Munro teaches Creative Writing, Nature and Literature, Global Literary Perspectives and Community Organizing at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Previously, Ana taught Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in England and English as a Second Language in Christchurch, New Zealand and Lyon, France. She worked as an investigative journalist for many years in the United States and the UK. Her book of poetry Above the Dance of Clouds, was published in 2014, and she is the recipient of the Wisconsin News Association Award for Journalism for her series on the theft and return of Strawberry Island to the Lac du Flambeau Nation, the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction-Short Story, the James R. Carlson Fellowship from Eckerd College for innovation and creativity in fiction, and the 2017 James Farrell Re(Cognition) Award, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions towards advancing sustainability efforts in the Upper Midwest. In 2019, Ana was awarded the Education Minnesota Foundation in Excellence in Teaching and Learning to travel to Brisbane, Australia, to attend and present at the Australian Research in Education Conference, and learn more about Aboriginal education and Storytelling as research.
Ana has facilitated multiple sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion trainings, events and workshops, including presenting at AASHE’s, AWP’s (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) and ASLE’S (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment) annual conferences and the New Zealand’s Association for Research in Education 2015 and 2018 Conferences on Maori Homelands. She is a graduate of Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Closing the Achievement Gap Institute, and is a Doctoral Candidate of Higher Educational Leadership at St Cloud State University, focusing on creating systemic change in higher education for students of color and American Indians.
Ana loves reading books, looking for frogs and salamanders with her children in the forest, going for very long walks, traveling to remote places and is happiest outside in the middle of nowhere.
Shirley Nordrum, Extension Educator, Tribal, University of Minnesota Extension
Simone Senogles, Co-Director of Indigenous Feminisms Program, Indigenous Environmental Network
Simone Senogles is Anishinaabe from the Red Lake Nation in Northern Minnesota. She is a member of the leadership team at the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) where she has worked for the last 20 years. Her programmatic work is focused on indigenous women’s leadership and the importance of lifting up their work and power. IEN is an indigenous led and operated Environmental Justice organization working with indigenous communities and nations in the US and Canada. IEN works on climate justice, sustainable communities, a just transition away from a fossil fuel economy and more.
Any questions about the workshop?
Please contact Daita Serghi, email@example.com