Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge

Through discussion and plant identification activity, students learn about Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge. Students also examine a case study community members monitor, understand, and raise awareness about how climate change is impacting the whitefish population.

Program Details

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Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge


•Computer with projector •Access to the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre •Learning from the Plants.pdf •Indigenous and WS Plant Knowledge.pdf •Creating your own Food Guide.pdf •Bagidiwaad Alliance.pdf •Discussion Questions.pdf

We recommend inviting an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper or community member in to help communicate holistically what Indigenous Knowledge is to your students. 


Teacher discusses with students how, like Western Scientists, Indigenous peoples also often examine bodies of water to understand the impacts of climate change on their communities. Indigenous ways of knowing are often referred to as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). In the QUILLS program, however, we refer to these ways of knowing and being as Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge (IK). This is because TEK often ignores the holistic nature of IK. IK is a type of observational land-based knowledge gathered over time. IK is valuable, as understanding how a land-base has changed over time can complement the knowledge collected by scientists.  

Teacher shows the following video as a way of introducing TEK/IK: To further introduce IK, teacher can lead a discussion with students. Background information is provided for teachers in the Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge.pdf.

Optional Extension:

Students engage in activity found in Learning from the Plants Creating your own Food Guide.pdf to learn more about Indigenous land-based knowledge. To facilitate the activity use Indigenous and WS Plant Knowledge.pdf.

Optional Extension:
  • Students engage in their own long-term observational monitoring project by interviewing family members, teachers, or friends who have lived in the Kingston/ Frontenac Arch area about what local lakes looked like in past generations and changes that have been observed. Students can share their findings in a class Talking Circle. (Instructions regarding how to conduct a talking circle in a good way are included in the QUILLS Teacher’s Guide.)