Preparing Our Home by reclaiming resilience

Lessons from Lil’wat Nation, Siksika Nation and Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, Canada


  • Lilia Yumagulova Preparing our Home & Simon Fraser University
  • Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro Siksika Nation
  • Casey Gabriel Lil’wat Nation
  • Mia Francis Akwesasne Mohawk Nation
  • Sandy Henry Lil’wat Nation
  • Astokomii Smith Siksika Nation
  • Julia Ostertag Dalhousie University



Indigenous knowledge, Decolonizing curriculum, Disaster resilience, Youth, Community-led education


Indigenous communities in Canada are faced with a disproportionate risk of disasters and climate change (CIER, 2008). Indigenous communities in Canada are also at the forefront of climate change adaptation and resilience solutions. One program in Canada that aids in decolonizing curriculum for reclaiming resilience in Indigenous communities is Preparing Our Home (POH). Drawing on three POH case studies, this article seeks to answer the following question: How can community-led decolonial educational processes help reclaim Indigenous youth and community resilience? The three communities that held POH workshops, which this article draws upon, include: The Líľwat Nation, where Canada’s first youth-led community-based POH Home curriculum was developed at the Xet̓ólacw Community School; The Siksika Nation, where the workshop engaged youth with experienced instructors and Elders to enhance culturally informed community preparedness through actionable outcomes by developing a curriculum that focused on hazard identification, First Aid, and traditional food preservation; and Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, where political leaders, community members, and community emergency personnel gathered together to discuss emergency preparedness, hazard awareness and ways to rediscover resilience. The participants shared their lived experiences, stories, and knowledge to explore community strengths and weaknesses and community reaction and resilience. The article concludes with a discussion section, key lessons learned in these communities, and recommendations for developing Indigenous community-led curricula. These recommendations include the importance of Indigenous Knowledge, intergenerational learning, land-based learning, participatory methodologies, and the role of traditional language for community resilience. We contribute to the Indigenous education literature by providing specific examples of community-owned curricula that move beyond decolonial education to Indigenous knowledges and experiences sharing, owned by the people and led by the community.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro, Siksika Nation

Siksika Elder and former Director of the Dancing Deer Disaster Recovery Centre, Siksika Nation


Aikenhead, G.S., & Michell, H. (2011). Bridging cultures: Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing nature. Pearson Education Canada.

Anthony-Stevens, V., & Matsaw Jr, S. L. (2019). The productive uncertainty of indigenous and decolonizing methodologies in the preparation of interdisciplinary STEM researchers. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1-19.

Auger, A., Fayany, G, Mathews, B., Christmas, C., and Donnelly, E. (2019). Indigenous youth voices: A way forward in conducting research with and by Indigenous youth. First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada.

Bang, M., Curley, L., Kessel, A., Marin, A., Suzukovich III, E. S., & Strack, G. (2014). Muskrat theories, tobacco in the streets, and living Chicago as Indigenous land. Environmental Education Research, 20(1), 37-55. https://doi.org10.1080/13504622.2013.865113

Battiste, M., & Henderson, J. (2009). Naturalizing indigenous knowledge in eurocentric education. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 32(1), 5-18.

Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (2005). The circle of courage and positive psychology. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 14(3), 130-136.

Canning, P. C. (2018) ‘I Could Turn You to Stone: Indigenous Blockades in an Age of Climate Change’, International Indigenous Policy Journal, 9(3).

Cajete, G. A. (2005). American Indian epistemologies. New directions for student services, 2005(109), 69-78.

CIER (2008). Climate Change and First Nations South Of 60: Impacts, Adaptation, and Priorities. Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources.

Corntassel, J., & Bryce, C. (2012). Practicing sustainable self-determination: indigenous approaches to cultural restoration and revitalization. Brown Journal of World Affairs, 18(2), 151-162.

Francis, M. (2019) Preparing Our Home: Lessons from Akwesasne Nation.

Gabriel, C., Henry, S., & Yumagulova, L (2019) Preparing Our Home: Lessons from Siksika Nation.

Grande, S. (2015). Red pedagogy: Native American social and political thought. Rowman & Littlefield.

Jacob, W. J., Cheng, S. Y., & Porter, M. K. (2015). Indigenous education: Language, culture and identity. Springer.

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.

Kirkness, V. J., & Barnhardt, R. (2001). First Nations and Higher Education: The Four R's - Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility. In R. Haype & J. Pan (Eds.), Knowledge Across Cultures: A Contribution to Dialogue Among Civilizations. Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong.

Kuokkanen, R. (2007). Reshaping the university: Responsibility, indigenous epistemes, and the logic of the gift. University of British Columbia Press.

Kuokkanen, R. (2010). The Responsibility of the Academy: A Call for Doing Homework. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 26(3), 61-74.

Líl’wat Nation (2019). Pala7míntwal̓ I úcwalmicwa múta7 ti tmícwa: The Land And People Are One.

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. (n.d.). About.

Munro, D. (2019) Preparing Our Home: Lessons from Siksika Nation.

Newberry, T., & Trujillo, O.V. (2019). Decolonizing education through transdisciplinary approaches to climate change education. In L.T. Smith, E. Tuck, & K.W. Yang (Eds.), Indigenous and decolonizing studies in education: Mapping the long view (pp. 204–214). Routledge.

Nxumalo, F., & Cedillo, S. (2017). Decolonizing place in early childhood studies: Thinking with Indigenous onto-epistemologies and Black feminist geographies. Global Studies of Childhood, 7(2), 99-112.

Poitras Pratt, Y., Louie, D. W., Hanson, A. J., & Ottmann, J. (2018). Indigenous Education and Decolonization. In G. Noblit (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press.

Simpson, L. B. (2014). Land as pedagogy: Nishnaabeg intelligence and rebellious transformation, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3), 1–25.

Siksika Nation. (2020). About.

Smith, T. (2016). Make Space for Indigeneity: Decolonizing Education. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(2), 49–59.

Smith, L. T., Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2018). Indigenous and decolonizing studies in education: Mapping the long view. Routledge.

Snively, G., & Williams, Wanosts’a7 L. (2016). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science. University of Victoria.

Snively, G., & Williams, Wanosts’a7 L. (Eds.). (2018). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science. Book 2. University of Victoria.

Tuck, E., McKenzie, M., & McCoy, K. (2014). Land education: Indigenous, post-colonial, and decolonizing perspectives on place and environmental education research. Environmental Education Research, 20(1), 1-23

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, education & society, 1(1).

Turner, N. J. and Clifton, H. (2009). “It’s so different today”: Climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Global Environmental Change, 19(2), 180–190.

Williams, G., Wanosts’a7 L., & Snively, G., (2016). “Coming to Know”: a framework for Indigenous Science Education. In Snively, G., Williams & Wanosts’a7 L. (Eds.), Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science (pp. 35-52). Victoria, BC.

Wolfe, P. (2006). Settler-colonialism and the Elimination of the Native. Journal of Genocide Research, 8(4), 387–409.

Yumagulova, L, Munro, D, & Whitehair, R. (in press). Disasters and Resilience on Turtle Island in Tribal Management and Emergency Services in the 21st Century: Research and Practice. Springer.

Zavala, M. (2016). Decolonial Methodologies in Education, Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory (January) (pp. 1-6).




How to Cite

Yumagulova, L., Yellow Old Woman-Munro, D. ., Gabriel, C. ., Francis, M. ., Henry, S., Smith, A., & Ostertag, J. (2020). Preparing Our Home by reclaiming resilience: Lessons from Lil’wat Nation, Siksika Nation and Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, Canada. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 4(1), 138–155.