Below is a description of the courses I have taught and designed or partially designed over my nine year post secondary teaching career. I taught at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario for three years, First Nations Technical Institute for three years, The Centre for Engage Learning Abroad (In Cayo District, Belize) for three years, was coordinator of Indigenous studies at College of the Rockies for one year and am currently a session lecturer at Laurier University.
I am also currently teaching and coordinator of Indigenous studies at Conestoga College in Kitchener Ontario.
INDIGENOUS STUDIES: THE NORTH AMERICAN JOURNEY (DEVELOPED)
This course explores Canada’s First Nations people’s relationships with land, resources, cultures, and each other, as well as historical and contemporary relationships between Aboriginal people and settler governments in Canada. The course includes an overview of Indigenous cultures, colonialism, cultural and political re-emergence, and the importance of the wampum belt. The Truth and Reconciliation Report, UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal people, and the Ipperwash Inquiry will serve as core learning tools. Supporting the maintenance and revitalization of traditional indigenous values, languages, cultural identity and spirituality is highlighted. This is an experiential course and participation is required. Field trips will include a visit to the Residential School in Brantford, the building of a sweat lodge, and a visit to Crawford Lake.
ANISHINAABE THIRTEEN MOONS: AWAKENING THE SPIRAL
Explore a year of Anishinaabe life by being exposed to various cultural activities practiced throughout a thirteen moon cycle. Anishinaabe is the name of an indigenous people who thrived throughout the woodlands of present day Canada and includes the Ojibway, Mississaugas, and Odawa. By honouring the earth, fire, wind, and water the Anishinaabe lived harmoniously with all of creation. Customary teachings included storytelling, maple sugar making, fishing, wild harvesting, planting, fasting, and sweat lodge ceremonies. These activities are known collectively as “the way of a good life.” Awaken the spiral within and learn the four pillars of the Anishinaabe worldview.
SOCIAL ISSUES III – ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
Students will identify and critically examine cultural diversity with respect to Aboriginal populations. Specifically, course content focuses on topics pertaining to cultural and systemic forms of discrimination and oppression of Aboriginal people. The course also increases knowledge and awareness of important teachings/practices across various Aboriginal nations in Canada. Also to be explored are the various government-legislated Acts that have defined Aboriginal people, the colonial impositions made upon them, and conflicts arising over land claims and treaty agreements. The course will end by addressing the healing that is taking place in many Aboriginal communities and their right to self-determination. Students will participate with a community agency dealing with aboriginal issues.
UNIVERSITY OF LAURIER
TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE
This course will introduce students to traditional ecological knowledge(TEK). Indigenous people have for generations used their understanding of the world around them to create complex, dynamic systems to sustain themselves and to maintain their cultural knowledge. The students will learn about the relationship of Indigenous people and their environment with TEK being the focus of how that relationship is addressing food security, sustainability, and culture.
THE MEDICINE GARDEN
This course introduces you to principles and practices of applied Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and medicinal plant use, with a focus on sustainability. Basic plants, including those used for sustenance and those used as medicines will be explored. You will have opportunities to work with Indigenous knowledge stewards from the local region to learn more about plants in the area and how they may have been or are currently being used. Students will be given opportunities to harvest, dry, and make basic medicines as part of their community service hours. Protocols around traditional Indigenous knowledge in relation to working with plant and food medicines will also be covered. Students will draw from literature capturing primarily the views of Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe medicine people, as these are the two primary Indigenous nations in the area where Laurier campus is locate
THE CENTRE FOR ENGAGED LEARNING ABROAD (CAYO DISTRICT, BELIZE)
HEALTH, BELIEF, AND ETHNOMEDICINE: TRADITIONAL HEALING and MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Contemporary Indigenous groups have a long history of working with plant foods and medicines. The places where they thrive have a rich biodiversity that ranges depending on their climate. The foods and medicines they use support holistic approaches to health, healing, and wellbeing. Around the globe traditional health practices are fading, however, traditional healers remain widely consulted and essential members of their communities. This course offers an introduction to the world of traditional health, as it is practiced and integrated into daily life in Western and Southern Belize.
FANSHAWE COLLEGE (LONDON, ONTARIO)
ANISHINAABE THIRTEEN MOONS: THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE ANISHINAABE WORLDVIEW (DESIGNED)
Student traverse through a year of Anishinaabe life by being exposed to traditional activities within each moon-cycle. Students gain basic insight into several traditional practices such as maple sugar making, fishing, hunting, gathering wild pants, fasting, sweat lodge ceremony, artistic expressions, and ‘the way of the good’ life. Students have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Archaeology where they learn how some of the original people of this local land lived. Students also learn about the relationships amongst various Aboriginal groups in Ontario first-hand, from guest speakers, including Elders, and traditional knowledge stewards. The course will be taught using Anishinaabe worldview with a focus on decolonizing assumptions and stereotypes about Indigenous peoples.
INDIGENOUS RESURGENCE IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT (DESIGNED)
Students gain exposure to Indigenous resurgence movements across the globe. Within this framework, students learn about the current efforts of Indigenous artists, authors, athletes, photographers, musicians, film makers, educators, and language revitalizers who collectively are changing stereotypes about Indigenous populations. Students learn firsthand from guest speakers about ways they can co-facilitate this movement and acquire a deeper knowledge of Indigenous people and their vibrant history, which is reshaping conceptions of the future.
TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE (DESIGNED)
Students engage directly with traditional Indigenous knowledge of Southwestern Ontario through the words of local Elders and knowledgeable community members. Through exposure to traditional knowledge forms, which continue to guide Indigenous people both locally and globally, a sense of community and respect for culture and identity will be fostered. Originating largely through local community member input, this course will provide students with an experience of the interconnected circle that defines Indigenous knowledge. Students will be exposed to ancient philosophies that continue to guide local Indigenous groups through first hand accounts and select literature. Students will be assisted in developing a deeper sense of the metaphysical foundation of Indigenous knowledge.
FOUR SACRED DIRECTIONS (CO-DESIGNED)
With a focus on raising awareness of the environmental management practices of Indigenous nations, students journey to the four sacred directions of Turtle Island. Beginning in the East students travel South, than West, and finally North to discover the lifestyle of featured Indigenous nations. As they travel to each direction they will learn about customs, ceremonies and responsibilities of woman and men in day-to-day life that encompass the past, present and future. Broken down into four main sections students will be exposed to the seasonal and cultural variance of Indigenous groups on Turtle Island.
GLOBAL SPIRITUALITY (DESIGNED)
Spiritual traditions the world over instruct their faithful to engage in and reach higher states of consciousness. Through ceremonial practices, studying sacred geometry, various forms of meditations and the consumption of medicinal plants, these groups have revealed revelations to the world. From the Massai to the Maya, to the hopi to the ancient Egyptians, this exploration of ancient Indigenous belief systems will reveal remarkable peoples who, despite every effort to assimilate them, have maintained many of their core principles into the present day. Sometimes referred to as mysticism, shamanism, or divination, insights into spiritual traditions practiced around the globe will empower a deeper respect and heightened awareness for the ancient peoples who mastered the earth, cosmos and universe.
INTRODUCTION TO FIRST NATIONS STUDIES (FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY COURSE)
A survey of Canadian First Nations issues from academic and community perspectives, including Indigenous knowledge, cultural traditions, historical background, oral history, socio-political context, arts, language and culture.
FIRST NATIONS TECHNICAL INSTITUTE
INDIGENOUS BASED HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF ADDICTIONS (DEVELOPED
This course is designed to equip students with an understanding of an Indigenous based wholistic healing perspective on the phenomenon of addictions. Students will gain perspective and knowledge on the concept “everything we experience in life is wholistic by nature” in relationship to addictions. The impact of psychoactive drugs on our society will be examined in this course. An analysis of the use and impact of alcohol, psychoactive prescription medication, street drugs, over-the-counter drugs, caffeine, nicotine, and problem gambling will be conducted. An overview of practical drug concepts, theories of drug abuse, health promotion and prevention and the Ontario addiction treatment system will be covered. Students will learn how to assess at-risk users and review evidence-based treatment modalities.
PSYCHOLOGY THROUGH THE LIFESPAN WITH AN INDIGENOUS CONTEXT (DEVELOPED)
This course is designed to present an overview of the study of human development from conception to late middle age. The most recent research findings concerning physical, social and cognitive development will be studied and applied. Within an Indigenous worldview the notion of the stages and responsibilities of life are very important and will be covered by this course.
THE ETHICS OF SOCIAL SERVICE WORK WITH AN INDIGENOUS CONTEXT (DEVELOPED)
As a Social Service Worker you are continually challenged with balancing the competing needs of the Code of Ethics, agency policies and practices, the law and your own personal values. This course will introduce you to the foundations of ethical thinking and rationales for ethical decision-making. You will learn about the role of ethics, values and professional standards in social service work and apply general ethical principles to particular situations through the use of case studies, practice vignettes, structured exercises and group discussions. You will be introduced to the Ontario Social Work and Social Service Work Code of Ethics and learn about your professional responsibilities.
GROUP WORK FOR SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS (DEVELOPED)
This course offers an introduction to the theory and practice of group work and examines the elements that are required for its successful practice. Students study the use of group work as a social work intervention. Specific skills required for group facilitation are discussed and practiced.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DEVELOPED)
Through the study of community development theories and practices, students identify community needs and explore strategies for change. Opportunities to participate in a community project are identified through dialogue with the social service community. This course is designed to promote organizational, communication and collaboration skills and team work.
SOCIAL WELFARE (DEVELOPED)
This course focuses on the development of the social welfare system in Canada and the impact that social policies have on the formation, growth and delivery of services at the municipal, provincial and federal level. In particular the issues of inequity, poverty, homelessness, oppression, and discrimination are studied using current social work theories. Students examine their own values and practices to develop their knowledge and to critically analyze current social welfare policies and practices.
DIVERSE POPULATIONS (DEVELOPED)
This course introduces students to a variety of populations served or supported by Social Service Workers. It gives students the opportunity to increase their awareness and improve their understanding of the complex issues related to the diverse populations discussed. Attitudes, perceptions and beliefs in relation to selected populations are identified.