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INDSPIRE 2018: Land Based Learning

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

Land based learning featured prominently at Indspire 2018. Below are a few highlights and insights.

We've Always Known about STEM

presented by:

Doug Dokis: Senior Advisor, National InSTEM Program, Actua, ON

Noreen Demeria: Manager, National InSTEM Program, Actua, ON

Doug Dokis has set up a summer camp program through Actua that provides STEM education from the Indigenous perspective. Students receive credits for the program. Check out this link to a CBC article and interview with Doug about the summer camp, where he explains the many benefits to all students, not just Indigenous students, from a land based, hands on STEM program that incorporates traditional Indigenous knowledge.

Planning for Outdoor Educational Experiences

Lois Philipp: Principal

Nimisha Bastedo: Secondary Teacher

"Learning on the land grounds the students in "Place", grounds them in "who they are", and prepares them to go out in the world." Lois Philip, at Indspire 2018

Deh Gáh School runs an extensive land based learning program for all ages, and for credits. School will start at the beginning of August to take advantage of better weather for the camps. The community is involved in planning and helping at the camps.

Lois and Nimisha explained in detail the process of planning and preparing for the camps, and the importance of creating ties to curriculum with the program so students can get credit, and the challenges of funding the land based learning program at their school.

Our People Will Be Healed

The movie Our People Will Be Healed features a beautifully filmed segment on the culture camps offered at Norway House, Manitoba.


It is clear from this conference that First Nation communities are taking the lead in establishing land based learning programs, and tying these programs to provincial curriculum requirements.

Land based learning can benefit all students, not only Indigenous students. Other education jurisdictions will be able to learn and benefit from the ground breaking work that First Nation communities are doing all across Canada.

Our take-away as architects and learning environment planners is to be cognizant of the significance of the land based learning programs to many First Nation communities, and to allow for the infrastructure required to support these programs in the planning and design of their schools.

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