On Braiding at OE Global 2023

Following the OEGlobal 2023 conference vision of braiding is something I believe/hope we can generate here in OEG Connect.

In addition to organizing some conference sessions using a typical thematic approach, we will also apply the concept of Indigenous braiding. In many local Indigenous cultures, particularly First Nations, braiding is a significant cultural practice with tremendous symbolic meaning, including the feeling of connectedness to the “creator, their ancestors, and the land,” (Monkman 2017). At OE Global 2023, some sessions will interweave and braid together different tracks and sessions to capture this spirit of connection and belief in a better future for all through the power of open education. Our aim is to provide each participant with the opportunity to experience the beauty of Indigenous braiding by intricately weaving some distinct conference tracks, leaving them with insight into other subject areas and a more holistic experience.

This approach aligns with the Cree understanding of natural law by the word wahkôhtowin meaning “everything is related” and appropriately the name chosen by NorQuest College for their Indigenization strategy. Thus acts of braiding are to make visible and share those interconnections.

Braiding in This Space

We create braids with the words and ideas we write here, but it’s more than sharing notes and links. It should include reflection on Indigenous perspective from the places we are and work, considering our own positionally, and even how it is we are learning/listening/being with others.

Braiding in the world is an act we do with our hands, and here in Connect your hands can act via our devices to braid the conference experience. The tools available start with your heart and mind, but also include, when speaking in this text box space:

  • Hyperlinks. The basic unit of connection on the world wide web is linking from one place to another. Link often in your posts. Link to specific conference sessions or resources included in them. Link to your own resources to make a connection. Link to other projects, people, places, that you can connect to presentations, sessions
  • @ People. We braid not only links and ideas, but ourselves. Use the @ in your connect message to mention another person (find their username in the discussions, the directory, or searching by typing the @ followed by their name). A mention creates a direct notification to another person, as an invitation to respond back.
  • Tag (and tag often). When you create a new topic, make use of tags to connect your post to larger ideas. themes, places. If you start typing a tag in the optional tags box of the editor here, the system will suggest tags that exist or you can create new ones.

What are ways you see we can together braid during the OEGlobal 2023 experience? What if this was done before, during, and after the event?

This is where you can put the Reply button below to work.

Are any conference participants involved in the just-launched Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS), with 37 participating partner schools & orgs, focused on the intersecting issues of climate change, cultural places, and food security? With their attention on knowledge exchange and educational materials, seems there could be a good role for the OEG community here. Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science : UMass Amherst

Thanks for bringing CBIKS to our attention, Curt, it could not be more connected. We should definitely be interested in the braiding in of all the opens (science, data, resources, pedagogy), and as you note, the space in the project for knowledge exchange (and a photo of a place I know well!).

We would be curious to see what braids conference attendees can make between the conversations and topics presented next week, with CBIKS.

Wow, this is a perfect strand in the conference braids.

Thanks for all these references and links! Having some useful words to describe (and search for) these expanding areas is incredibly important.

Related to these subjects is the idea of the “Third Archive” which has been coined by Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly in their book Songlines: The Power and Promise (Thames & Hudson, 2020). Thames & Hudson have a series of texts Neale has edited which braids together various ways of knowing. The series entitled First Knowledges covers topics including memory, farming/agriculture, design/art, astronomy, plants, law, and innovation. I’ve read several and they’re truly stunning.

For those interested in astronomy, I’ll also mention the work of Duane Hamacher along with a variety of Australian elders who are putting together Indigenous knowledge with modern physics. He’s got a large number of journal articles, but his recent 2022 text is a fantastic introduction to that space.

Neale, Margo, and Lynne Kelly. First Knowledges Songlines: The Power and Promise. 1st ed. First Knowledges 1. Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Thames & Hudson, 2020.

Hamacher, Duane. The First Astronomers: How Indigenous Elders Read the Stars. Allen & Unwin, 2022.

Thanks Chris, but I am an amateur researcher, this is a job for maybe some real librarians (say hello if you are out there). I appreciate these Australian references as most of the ones I have been finding are from here in Canada (a noticable lack of ones from that country just south)

For fun, I tossed a query into Elicit

How can Indigenous ways of knowing and concept of braiding be applied to western scientific approaches?

This was its summary that it rendered from 4 papers

The application of Indigenous ways of knowing and the concept of braiding to Western scientific approaches has been explored in various contexts. Wilcox (2023) emphasizes the need for more support in fostering interdisciplinary collaborative work, particularly in addressing environmental impact and reclamation. Snively (2018) underscores the potential of Indigenous perspectives in guiding environmental ethics and problem-solving, while also advocating for the inclusion of Indigenous Science in the classroom. Weiss (2013) and Hopkins (2019) both highlight the importance of understanding and respecting multiple ways of knowing, with the latter specifically focusing on the use of a community-based participatory research approach to address questions about freshwater mussel health. These studies collectively underscore the value of integrating Indigenous knowledge and Western science, and the need for mutual respect and collaboration in this process.

It provides what looks like are good references (referencing Semantic Scholar). I went down one path to Semantic Scholar where I had a flashback to my university days of learning how to use the Science Citations index.

What’s helpful is exploring the other papers that reference the one I followed, where now I into Indigenous people of Borneo (Dayak): Development, social cultural perspective and its challenges.

So we are seeing a braiding with environmental science, astronomy (for the Duane Hamacher references you provided), and public health fields. I’m curious if this has gone farther than science?

Also just found Duane Hamacher web site for The First Astronomers https://www.thefirstastronomers.com/