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
Keywords: 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.


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Author Biography

Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro, Siksika Nation

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

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. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 4(1), 138-155.