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date: 07 March 2021

Relations, Aliveness, Love: Curriculum in the Spirit of the Earthlocked

  • Jodi Latremouille, Jodi LatremouilleUniversity of Calgary
  • Lesley TaitLesley TaitUniversity of Calgary
  •  and David W. JardineDavid W. JardineUniversity of Calgary


Images and practices of relations, aliveness, and love provide a way to reconcile knowledge and its schooled pursuit with the wisdom required in our current, ecologically desperate times. This desperation is rooted, in part, in threads of the efficiency movement that were inherited by education in the early 1900s and left schools with a curriculum legacy that has become exhausted and counterproductive. This inheritance can be countered with ideas from the traditions of hermeneutics and ecological thought. But they are also countered with life-affirming and life-sustaining Cree ideas: wahkohtowin, wicihitowin, and sakihitowin. Practicing these ideas can help align work inside and outside schools with the characteristic spirit (ethos) of our earthly being, and can provide the grounds for a pointed critique of, and alternative to, the regnant regimes of contemporary schooling. wahkohtowin means, briefly put, “all things are related/all things are our relations” and wicihitowin refers to “the life-giving energy that is generated when people face each other as relatives and build trusting relationships by connecting with others in respectful ways.” sakihitowin means “love.” Reimagining curriculum as constituted by living fields of relations while also considering not only the energeia, the “aliveness” that is generated in the face-to-face care of and learning the ways of such living fields, but also the deep affection that is both needed for and produced by such reimagining, increases the prospects of our ecological future and the future of the more-than-human world.

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