Land-Based Learning

Land-based education has been practiced by Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island since time immemorial. While these practices vary to match the diversity of the land and its people, Indigenous education has always centred around Land as first teacher (Robidoux & Mason, 2017). Contrary to western ways, Indigenous learning and education was not segregated from daily activities such as hunting, gathering, trapping and fishing (Robidoux & Mason, 2017; Gaudet & Chilton, 2018). It flowed with the rhythms of daily life and the needs of the land, family, and community. These traditional modes of education and knowledge transfer were disrupted and broken when Indigenous peoples were violently removed from their lands through colonial acts such as residential schools and settlement-based lifestyles (Takano, 2005). To this day, Indigenous ways of knowing and learning continues to be marginalized in mainstream, eurocentric education because of its failure to acknowledge Indigenous histories, and value non-western ways of knowing, being and learning (Scully, 2012). Colonialism is continually perpetuated through the perception that land and people are separate instead of people as an extension of the land on which they live (Scully, 2012; Gaudet & Chilton, 2018). Despite these historic and continued acts of erasure, Indigenous peoples have constantly fought to maintain and reclaim their connections to traditional lands (Greenwood & Leeuw, 2007).

Land-Based vs Place-Based Education

The Urban and Rural Dichotomy

Common Themes

Land as First Teacher


Holistic Perspective

Place for Reflection

Colonial Resistance

Wise Practices

Community Initiated, Community Run

Youth Involvement


Sustenance Practices

Barriers to Land-Based Learning


Co-opting of Indigenous Knowledge

Climate Change

Additional Resources

The Wacask or Muskrat Project

Dechinta Bush University

Ilisaqsivik Land-Based Programming

Whitefeather Forest Initiative

OISE Indigenous Land-Based Education

Deh Gáh School’s Education on the Land