Land as life: (Virtual) learning from Indigenous knowledge-keepers
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Land as Life is a community-led and created undergraduate course in the Faculty of Xwulmuxw/Indigenous Studies at Vancouver Island University that has been running for 18 years. Every year it is planned and created by local Indigenous Knowledge-Keepers with the course instructor. The class is structured around teaching and learning in community-engaged settings, off campus from local Elders and community members from local nations, such as the Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus, Quw’utsun and Penelakut territories. A research Project Team was formulated to explore the impacts of the course to share with the university community about how Indigenous land-based pedagogy traditionally stems from the land and how the Indigenous community members (Elders/Knowledge Keepers) exemplify how land-based and community-centred education benefits both the student-participants and the community at large. The specific contributions of this project demonstrate the benefits of an integrated course delivery, one that is informed by Indigenous pedagogies and due to COVID-19 had to be virtual. The analysis of the data, included in the film, provides the Vancouver Island University community understanding of the transformative student impacts resulting from the course, even in a virtual ‘crisis teaching’ format.