We are the Salmon Family: Inviting Reciprocal and Respectful Pedagogical Encounters With The Land

  • Cher Hill Simon Fraser University
  • Neva Whintors Surrey School District
  • Rick Bailey q̓íc̓əy̓ First Nations
Keywords: posthumanism, ecological education, Indigenous education, nonhuman agency, caring for Salmon


Through this action research project, we endeavour to reconfigure pedagogical encounters involving children and the natural world to be more reciprocal and respectful, as well as responsive to the ecological crisis. The goal of our research is to advance understandings of how to educate children to become good relatives to all the beings on these Lands. We are guided by the question: How can we educate children to live like Salmon People (those Indigenous to this place), which is the sacred responsibility of all those residing on the Coast Salish territories? Practices that contributed to shifting relationship between people and the Land and moved our community beyond our human-centric engagement were participatory and embodied. They included acts to care for Salmon and other beings as relatives, as well as experiencing Land as agential and existing independently of human desire. We see our research as a site for what Kari Grain calls “critical hope.”

Author Biographies

Cher Hill, Simon Fraser University

is an Assistant Professor and a Teacher Educator in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her current research aims to develop empirically informed understandings of posthuman ecological education, while taking immediate action to care for salmon. She is a passionate supporter of participatory learning and community-based educative initiatives.

Neva Whintors, Surrey School District

is a primary teacher with 22 years of experience. She is passionate about lifting up the gifts of students, particularly the strengths of her most vulnerable learners. She loves learning with and through the Land, by following the lead of place, as well as her students’ interests, and building emergent curricular connections.


Rick Bailey, q̓íc̓əy̓ First Nations

is currently serving his sixth term as the q̓íc̓əy̓ Councillor of First Nations Title and Rights, Fish and Wildlife, Treaties, and Justice. He is a respected Leader and the Fisheries Manager within q̓íc̓əy̓ First Nations. Rick works tirelessly to encourage communities to care for Salmon, and has been hunting and fishing nearly all his life, learning these skills from his father, grandfather, and Elders.


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How to Cite
HillC., WhintorsN., & BaileyR. (2023). We are the Salmon Family: Inviting Reciprocal and Respectful Pedagogical Encounters With The Land. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 8(4), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v8i4.70802