Coming Soon

Margaret Kress

Ph.D.

Saskatchewan, Canada

A Notion of Gentle Teaching and Indigenous Knowledge: Land as Teacher and Healer

A Saskatchewan born woman, Dr. Margaret Kress, originates from the south grasslands in Treaty Four territory and the Métis homelands. She carries the name Tahkwaki Waapikwani Iskwew (Bear Clan) and acknowledges her Michif ancestors and her Euro-settler (French, English German) ancestors as resilient and life-giving peoples who have influenced her journey. Margaret’s life focus is centred on advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples and peoples with disabilities, and her academic and personal efforts have elevated frameworks of human rights, inclusivity, and Indigenous reclaim of culture, knowledge and wellness. As a scholar, teacher and researcher, she works with several universities and generates transformative, inclusive and Indigenous storywork to help herself and others ‘become the change’. Her work continues to influence the actions of thousands of teachers and community workers across Canada, and her current engagements include community-based research initiatives with and led by Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick. Margaret’s selected scholarship contributions include Land As Relation: Teaching and Learning Through Place, People, and Practices (2023); as well as others in: European Perspectives on Inclusive Education in Canada: Critical Comparative Insights (2022); Métis Rising: Living Our Present through the Power of Our Past (2022); Climate Chaos: Eco-feminism and the Land Question (2019); Ethics, Equity and Inclusive Education (2017); and Honouring Indigenous Women – Hearts of Nations (2012). Margaret has been in engaged in a multiplicity of community volunteer projects in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick including advocacy and awareness initiatives associated with #MMIWG and their families; currently she is a board member for Saskatchewan Alternative Initiatives and Chokecherry Studios Inc., two organizations respectfully supporting persons with intellectual disabilities and youth in the Saskatoon area. She honours children and teachers across the lands who have taught her about the human condition, traditional knowledges, plant medicines and more – you can find her in the northern boreal forests and on the prairies learning from her relations there. Margaret is the mother of three children, two sons, Andrew and Robin, and her daughter Mackenzie, who has been central to her focus of generating human rights advocacy, inclusive policy, and gentle teaching for all beings.

Program Description

The situating of land knowledge and pimatisiwin as a framework for Gentle Teaching through spatial justice aids human service supporters and educators in strengthening their understandings of authentic belonging and support of Indigenous children, youth and adults with disabilities. Through the sharing of Canada’s colonial history, we come to understand that relationships of benevolent care and education, and their attachments to ableism, normalcy, eugenics, and white privilege, show how Indigenous peoples continue to be marginalized in the twenty first century. This justice work asks educators to shift their perspectives of benevolence and teachings, and their notions of inclusion, wellness and engagement, by using an Indigenous lens to see and hear the faces and voices of Indigenous humans and their kinships. This presentation highlights the necessity of the psychology of Gentle Teaching and Indigenous Knowledges of Land as teacher and healer! Natural law, spatial justice and Indigenous epistemologies merge as synergistic, inclusive, and holistic entities that Gentle Teachers must embrace in the support of Indigenous peoples. This work concludes by presenting how Gentle Teaching and Indigenous Ways of being, knowing and doing on the land should be honoured in this quest of creating an equitable and caring society celebrating and supporting all life beings, and especially those with disabled ontologies.

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