Generative Learning and the Making of Ethical Space: Indigenizing Forest School Teacher Training in Wabanakik


  • Katalin Eve Koller Carleton University
  • Kay Rasmussen Lakehead University



Indigenous, land-based pedagogy, community-driven, Indigenize, training, ethical space, generative learning



 This reflection on community-driven research in process is written from the perspective of graduate student co-researchers collaborating with Wabanaki community co-researchers on a pilot project involving a Wabanaki and a non-Indigenous organization. Three Nations Education Group Inc. (TNEGI) represents three Wabanaki schools and communities in Northeast Turtle Island. The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada (CNAC) offers a Forest and Nature School Practitioner Course (FNSPC) for educators seeking to operate forest schools. These diverse organizations have developed a pilot FNSPC training for a group of TNEGI educators, with the purpose of Indigenizing the FNSPC. This is necessary to address the Eurocentric forest and nature school practices in Canada, which often fail to recognize the herstories, presence, rights, and diversity of Indigenous Peoples and places. TNEGI educators envision a land-based pedagogy that centers Wabanaki perspectives and merges Indigenous and Western knowledges. In the FNSPC pilot, the co-researchers generated course changes as they progressed through the pilot, decolonizing the content and format as they went. Developing this Indigenized version of the FNSPC will have far-reaching implications for the CNAC Forest School ethos and teacher training delivery. This essay maps our collaborative efforts thus far in creating an ethical research space within this Indigenous/non-Indigenous research initiative and lays out intentions for the road ahead. 

Author Biographies

Katalin Eve Koller, Carleton University

Katalin Doiron Koller is Acadian-Hungarian living in unceded Wolastokuk, New Brunswick, Canada. She is owner of Earthonomical Policy Solutions and has worked with Wabanaki communities for over a decade.  She is a doctoral candidate in human geography at Carleton University studying spaces of cross-cultural solidarity.




Kay Rasmussen, Lakehead University

Kay Rasmussen is a mixed-race woman of Indigenous and European heritage. She holds a Masters of Education for Change in Environmental and Sustainability Education from Lakehead University. Kay is also an education consultant working to support Indigenous land-based education in the early years.     




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How to Cite

Koller, K. E., & Rasmussen, K. (2021). Generative Learning and the Making of Ethical Space: Indigenizing Forest School Teacher Training in Wabanakik. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 7(1), 219–229.

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