Relational Systems Thinking
That's How Change is Going to Come, From Our Earth Mother
Keywords:Indigenous Knowledges, decolonizing, mother earth, healing
We explore the notion of the need to decolonize systems thinking and awareness. Taking a specifically Indigenous approach to both knowledge creation and knowledge sharing, we look at awareness-based systems change via a Haudenosaunee (Mohawk) two-row visual code. The authors explore the sacred space between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of thinking and knowing, to identify pathways for peaceful co-existence of epistemologies. Based on conversations with Haudenosaunee elders and Western systems thinkers, along with data from a DoTS webinar, we identify cross-cultural dialogues as a doorway to healing, to transformation and to spiritual understanding. A reconnection with Mother Earth and with each other is fundamental to disrupting global patterns of trauma and mass corrosion of the spirit.
Ahenakew, C.R. (2017). Mapping and Complicating Conversations about Indigenous Education.
Diasaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, 11(2), 80-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15595692.2017.1278693
Aikenhead, G. & Michell, H. (2011). Bridging Cultures: Indigenous and Scientific Ways of Knowing Nature. Pearson Canada Inc.
Aluli-Meyer, M. (2008). Indigenous and authentic: Hawaiian epistemology and the triangulation
of meaning. In N.K. Denzin, Y.S. Lincoln, & L.T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies (pp. 217-232). Sage.
Asch, M., Borrows, J., & Tully, J. (2018). Resurgence and Reconciliation: Indigenous-Settler Relations and Earth Teachings. University of Toronto Press.
Bartlett, C., Marshall, M., & Marshall, A. (2012). Two-Eyed Seeing and other lessons learned
within a co-learning journey of bringing together indigenous and mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (3), 331-340.
Bell, N. (2018). Anishinaabe Research Theory and Methodology as Informed by Nanaboozhoo,
the Bundle Bag, and the Medicine Wheel. In D. McGregor, J.P. Restoule & R. Johnston (Eds.), Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices and Relationships (pp. 175-186). Canadian Scholars.
Bortoft, H. (1996). The Wholeness of Nature. Goethes Way toward Science Toward A
Consciousness Partcipation in Nature. Lindisfarn Books
Brown, L. & Strega, S. (Eds.) (2005). Research as Resistance: critical, indigenous, & anti-oppressive approaches.Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Browner, T. (2002). Heartbeat of the People: Music and Dance of the Northern Pow-Wow. University of Illinois Press.
Cajete, G.A. (2015). Indigenous Community: Rekindling the Teachings of the Seventh Fire. Living Justice Press.
Cajete, G.A. (2010). Contemporary Indigenous education: A nature-centered American Indian philosophy for a 21st century world. Futures, 42, 1126-1132. doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2010.08.013
Cajete, G.A. (2000). Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence. Clear Light Publishers.
Capra, F., & Luisi, P.L. (2014). The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge University Press.
Coleman, D. (2019). The Good Mind and Trans-Systemic Thinking in the Two-Row Poems of Mohawk Poet Peter Blue Cloud. Studies in American Indian Literatures, 31 (1-2), 54-82.
Coulthard, G.S. (2014). Red Skin White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. University of Minnesota Press.
Deloria Jr., V. & Wildcat, D.R. (2001). Power and Place: Indian Education in America. Fulcrum.
Ermine, W. (2007). The Ethical Space of Engagement. Indigenous Law Journal, 6(1), 193-203.
Evering, B. (2016). Know*ledge Constellations and Re*constellating: Narratives to Inform Indigenous-and-Environmental Education. https://digitalcollections.trentu.ca/objects/etd-464
Gaudry, A.J.P. (2011). Insurgent Research. Wicazo Sa Review, 26(1), 113-136. doi:10.1353/wic.2011.0006.
Geniusz, W. (2009). Our Knowledge is not primitive: Decolonizing botanical Anishinaabe Teaching. Syracuse University Press.
Hatcher, A., Bartlett, C., Marshall, A., & Marshall, M. (2009). Two-Eyed Seeing in the Classroom Environment: Concepts, Approaches, and Challenges. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 9 (3), 141-153.
Hill Sr., R.W. & Coleman, D. (2019). The Two Row Wampum-Covenant Chain Tradition as a Guide for Indigenous-University Research Partnerships. Cultural Studies, 19 (5), 339-359. doi: 10.1177/1532708618809138
Holling, C. S. (1973). Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Annu.Rev.Ecol.Syst., 4(1973), 1–23. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.es.04.110173.000245
Johnston, R., McGregor, D., & Restoule, J.P. (2018). Introduction, Relationships, Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, and Responsibility: Taking Up Indigenous Research Approaches. In D. McGregor, J.P Restoule & R. Johnston (Eds.), Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices and Relationships (pp. 1-21). Canadian Scholars.
Kapyrka, J., & Dockstator, M. (2012). Indigenous Knowledges and Western Knowledges in Environmental Education: Acknowledging the Tensions for the Benefits of a “Two-Worlds” Approach. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 97-112.
Kimmerer, R.W. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.
Kovach, M. (2009). Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. University of Toronto Press.
Kovach, M. (2010). Conversational Method in Indigenous Research. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 5(1), 40-48.
Kovach, M. (2005). Emerging from the Margins: Indigenous Methodologies. In L. Brown & S. Strega (Eds.). Research as Resistance: critical, indigenous, & anti-oppressive approaches (pp. 19-36). Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Kuokkanen, R. (2008). What is Hospitality in the Academy? Epistemic Ignorance and the Im(Possible) Gift. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 30(1), 60-82.
Latulippe, N. (2015). Bridging Parallel Rows: Epistemic Difference and Relational Accountability in Cross-Cultural Research. The International Indigenous Policy Research Journal, 6(2). http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol6/iss2/7
Marsh, T.N., Cote-Meek, S., Toulouse, P., Najavits, L.M., & Young, N.L. (2015). The Application of Two-Eyed Seeing Decolonizing Methodology in Qualitative and Quantitative Research for the Treatment of Intergenerational Trauma and Substance Use Disorders. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1-13. doi:10.1177/1609406915618046
McGregor, D. (2008b). Linking Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science: Aboriginal Perspectives from the 2000 State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, XXVIII,(1), 139-158.
McGregor, D. (2009). Linking Traditional Knowledge and Environmental Practice in Ontario. Journal of Canadian Studies, 43(3), 69-100.
McGregor, D. (2011). Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations and sustainable forest management in Canada: The influence of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 300-310.
McGregor, D., Restoule, J.P., & Johnston, R. (Eds.) (2018). Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices and Relationships. Canadian Scholars.
Ransom, J. (1999). The waters. In Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (Ed.), Words that Come Before All Else: Environmental Philosophies of the Haudenosaunee (pp. 25-43). Native North American Travelling College.
Ransom, J.W. & Ettenger, K.T. (2001). ‘Polishing the Kaswentha’: a Haudenosaunee view of environmental cooperation. Environmental Science & Policy, 4, 219-228.
Sasakamoose, J., Bellegarde, T., Sutherland, W., Pete, S., & McKay-McNabb, K. (2017). Miyo-pimātisiwin Developing Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory (ICRT): Improving Indigenous Health and Well-Being. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 8(4). http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol8/iss4/1
Scharmer, C.O. (2009, 2016). Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges. (2nd Ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Scharmer, C.O. (2020, June 28). Turning Toward Our Blind Spot: Seeing the Shadow as a Source for Transformation https://medium.com/presencing-institute-blog/turning-toward-our-blind-spot-seeing-the-shadow-as-a-source-for-transformation-aff23d480a55
Sheridan, J. & Longboat, D. (2006). The Haudenosaunee Imagination and the Ecology of the Sacred. Space and Culture, 9(4), 365-381. https://doi.org/10.1177/1206331206292503
Senge, P., Scharmer, C.O., Jaworski, J. & Flowers, B.S. (2004). Presence: Human Purpose and The Field of the Future. Society for Organizational Learning.
Senge, P. & Sterman, J. D. (1992). Systems thinking and organizational learning: Acting Locally and thinking globally in the organization of the future. European Journal of Organizational Research, 59, 137-150. https://doi.org/10.1016/0377-2217(92)90011-W
Simpson, L. (2011). Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence. Arbeiter Ring Publishing.
Smith, L.T. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed Books Ltd.
St. Pierre, M., & Long Soldier, T. (1995). Walking in the Sacred Manner: Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians. Simon & Schuster.
Stonechild, B. (2016). The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality. University of Saskatchewan Press.
Sweeny, K.A. (2014). Re/Imagining Indigenous – Western Knowledge Relationships A Case Study, Trent University Indigenous Environmental Studies Program. http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34109
Tuck, E., & Yang, K.W. (2019) Series Editor Introduction. In S. Windchief & T. San Pedro (Eds.), Applying Indigenous Research Methods: Storying with Peoples and Communities. Routledge.
Wagamese, R. (2011). One Story, One Song. Douglas and McIntyre.
Wildcat, D. (2009). Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge. Fulcrum.
Wilson, S. (2008). Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. Fernwood Publishing.
Wilson, D.D. & Restoule, J.P. (2010). Tobacco Ties: The Relationship of the Sacred to Research. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 33(1), 29-45.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Melanie Goodchild
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.