During late March to Mid-May 2022, we formed a reading and discussion group focused on familiarizing AIM members with the Land-Based Wilderness Program (2021)created by the educator and scholar Kahérakwas Donna Goodleaf who is Turtle Clan, a citizen from the Kanien’kehaka Nation, and the Director of Decolonizing Curriculum and Pedagogy at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Concordia University.
The group was coordinated by Diego Bravo, and we held four Zoom discussion sessions of one hour each. Before each session, we committed to read two texts and watch audiovisual materials related to the specific theme prepared for each session. The reviewed materials of discussion were selected by Arseli Dokumaci and Diego Bravo.
The sessions were divided into themes that had the following order:
Session 1: Gratitude (With the presence of Kahérakwas Donna Goodleaf)
Session 2: Land-based education
Session 3: Land
Session 4: Kahnawake
A major goal of these sessions was to introduce each other with land-based education pedagogies as Indigenous-led decolonial methodologies for learning, mental/physical health resources, cultural wellbeing and community empowerment. The sessions had also the intention of making us aware of important pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial histories, traditions and realities of Haudenosaunee culture. At the same time, these exercises helped us gain a deeper understanding of the place-based needs and histories behind land-based education practices, particularly in the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake.
We were grateful to have been able to expand our sensitivity, critical knowledge and active awareness regarding the cultural wellbeing and community building in the neighboring reserve of Kahnawake.
Importantly, these sessions contributed to our ongoing search for building informed and strong ethical foundations for AIM as anti-colonial collective. Therefore, to continue establishing ourselves as a critical group of researchers/artists/facilitators always subject of being accountable in our present and future interactions with Indigenous communities and territories. The discussions compelled us to pursue (dis)locating AIM lab as an anti-colonial space on the stolen lands that Concordia University is located and where we operate as AIM.