Dissertation Title:

Thinking Differently About Knowledge(s): Narratives to Inform Environmental Collaboration

Abstract of Research:

I am looking at articulating the principles and language of the processes of knowledge integration from the perspective of individual environmental practitioners. There is a widespread and growing interest in, as well as legislative and policy support for, knowledge integration that includes Indigenous knowledges. This national and international attention recognizes the importance of such integration to maintaining or enhancing global biocultural diversity, finding new solutions to environmental issues and supporting environmental justice. Indigenous understandings have and will lead to new insights and practices addressing these and other complex environmental problems. Educational institutions in Canada, including Trent, are recognizing that individuals and communities are more likely to find new solHPIM1083 (Large)utions by using multiple, including Indigenous, knowledges. However, there is currently no theoretical framework or ‘map’ available to guide curriculum development in this area.  Moreover, even what is meant by integration isn’t always clear and neither are the processes of knowledge integration. At the same time, there are a growing number of individuals who are practicing knowledge integration in environmental collaboration. Research that learns from these individual practitioners has not yet been undertaken.


The methods in this project are complexity-inspired and participant-driven. Stage one coherent conversations with individual practitioners allow us to explore and describe the processes of knowledge integration more specifically. The context and format of these conversations are determined by participants. Stage two group coherent conversations with practitioners and educator-theorizers will identify and confirm the principles involved in the stage one interviews. A final group conversation in stage three will articulate the implications of this work for programming to benefit schooling at all levels.


My research will inform the development of a conceptual understanding of knowledge integration. It will not only benefit curriculum development at all education levels, but will contribute to the broader context of the practice of knowledge integration in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, governments, industries, business, non-governmental organizations, and in other academic institutions. It will help resolve knowledge conflicts in decision-making processes that require the involvement of diverse knowledges. Finally, it will lead to more innovative solutions to complex environmental issues.

About the researcher:

The bones of my German ancestors are in the mountains of Eastern Europe as well as along the North Sea. In my family, I am the first generation to live and raise children on the north shore of Lake Ontario. I continue to speak German along with the Kanyen’ké:ha (Mohawk) that I am now learning. For over 20 years, I was a secondary school math, science, dance, computer and cooperative education teacher. My practical experience with these issues comes from working with Knowledge Holders and others on the 2009 First Nations’ Environmental Assessment Toolkit along with subsequent training modules for the Chiefs of Ontario. I have participated in curriculum discussions for the Indigenous Environmental Studies program at Trent University.

Recent Awards/Scholarships:

  • Northern Research Endowment Fund (Yukon College) 2014/15
  • Northern Scientific Training Program 2014/15
  • Symons Trust Fund for Canadian Studies 2013/14
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, may2011-apr2014
  • Dean’s Award of Excellence, 2011-2013
  • Research Fellowship, 2010
  • Dean’s PhD Scholarship, 2010
  • Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award (Nominated), 2010
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2009,2011(declined)
  • University Entrance Award, 2009
  • OSSTF S. Hunter Henry Memorial Fellowship, 2008


  • Ph.D. Candidate, Indigenous Studies, Trent University
  • M.A. (Curriculum), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  • Cooperative Education Specialist, York University
  • Combined Mathematics/Science Honours Specialist, York University and University of Toronto
  • B.Ed. (Intermediate/Senior Mathematics and Science), University of Toronto
  • B.Sc. (General Science), McMaster University