Forestry & Environmental Management

A Student Perspective: Coming Together, Learning Together

Author: Logan Keoughan, MEM student

Posted on Dec 4, 2019

Category: Faculty

"Coming Together, Learning Together" was an important step in Indigenizing the Forestry and Environmental Management (ForEM) faculty.

We hosted the workshop with the help of Indigenous elders, professionals, knowledge keepers and practitioners from the east coast of Turtle Island. Our guests led and guided presentations and discussions on Indigenous knowledge, practices and ways of knowing. Over two days, we learned about topics such as:

  • Etuaptmumk (Two-Eyed Seeing)
  • Indigenous/Aboriginal Forestry in Canada
  • Treaties & Duty to Consult
  • Indigenous wildlife management
  • The importance of language

In addition to presentations and discussions, we scheduled two talking circles to allow participants to come and share their thoughts, learnings and feedback. I was surprised by how many people showed up to openly share their thoughts and feelings about what they had learned. It reinforced that ForEM students, faculty and staff wanted an opportunity to learn, connect and be open to Indigenization and Indigenous ways of knowing.

Building lasting relationships

Events like this are a first step towards building meaningful and lasting relationships with First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, in order to respect, honour and build upon our Treaties. We are all treaty peoples; non-Indigenous peoples have responsibilities to honour the Treaties, and I believe we must create and renew strong relationships so that we can work together to combat all manner of issues affecting our planet today.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the University of New Brunswick have issued Calls to Action to begin the healing process, and they include bringing Indigenous knowledge into classrooms, faculties, buildings and more.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who participated, particularly our guest speakers, and my fellow organizers Tom Beckley, Ted Needham, Kara Costanza, and many others. Our workshop “Coming Together, Learning Together” was one of the greatest events I have ever been a part of. I felt so honoured to help organize it, and I felt so fulfilled when it all came together.