Celia Brauer

Interests: Indigenous World View, Place-based Learning, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, TEK, Indigenous Education, Sustainability, Sustainability Education

“Paths to Sustainability: Creating Connection through Place-based Indigenous Knowledge” – A Research Study in Anthropology Graduate Studies by Celia Brauer

My intention is to engage with people living in Vancouver today, offering them Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from local indigenous individuals.

For the majority of urban residents in our present-day clearcut and paved-over environment, maintaining a direct connection with the natural landscape is challenging. I believe fundamental change will happen when people engage in a practice of Place-based Learning. They can then connect more personally with local communities: the land, its flora and fauna and the indigenous people. This could facilitate a “return” to the more sustainable world view all our ancestors possessed at some point in human history.

In the last two decades I have become familiar with other non-profit environmental groups and individuals who were concerned about our common, but diminishing natural world. I also participated extensively with local First Nations people who taught me their social-ecological systems. I was gradually transformed and this deep-seated awareness which I absorb through a re-formatted lens shapes my daily life. I believe this education is a crucial component of practicing sustainability and it helps re-create a more successful long term relationship between humans and the natural world.

In the Vancouver area we are blessed with remaining natural ecosystems and numerous indigenous communities who are actively practicing their traditional culture. Their participation offers a strong positive contribution to the discussion of creating a more sustainable human-nature relationship.

To my knowledge, there is a lack of formal research examining the interaction between individuals, not-for-profits and activist communities who have learned TEK locally. I believe my thesis will benefit this; showing us a positive way forward, using a traditional knowledge base.

I have gathered 13 student participants and am inviting them to participate in 5-6 educational sessions with indigenous educators. I will interview each of the students before and after to investigate the change in their perceptions and thoughts.

False Creek Watershed Society

In 2005, I co-founded the Vancouver non-profit – The False Creek Watershed Society and have since worked as a staff member. During the last eleven years, I organized place-based education events, celebrations, gatherings, artistic projects and other community education projects and outreach. These are intended to inform the public of the many ongoing water issues present in and around the False Creek Watershed, the City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

BFA Concordia University, Montreal, Visual Arts

MA UBC, Socio-Cultural Anthropology

UBC Supervisor: Professor Charles Menzies

Published articles in Georgia Straight Online: 2010-2016 http://www.straight.com/user/33366

Conference Presentations:

Paths to Sustainability: Creating Connection through Place-based Indigenous Knowledge. Presented research at UBC Sociology Graduate School Symposium. Unsettling Knowledge: Pushing Boundaries in Social Research. Vancouver May 9, 2016

Organized an Anthropology Colloquia: Picturing Tranformation: discussions on Utsam- Witness Project with Nancy Bleck, Cease Wyss and Henry Charles. First Nations House of Learning, Jan 21, 2016

Conference Posters:

Paths to Sustainability: Creating Connection through Place-based Indigenous Knowledge. Presented poster at UBC 2016 Sustainability Research Symposium. Vancouver March 18, 2016

Paths to Sustainability: Creating Connection through Place-based Indigenous Knowledge. Presented poster at Intersections, Sfaa Conference. Vancouver March 31, 2016

2016 Graduate Student Research Award
2016 Vancouver Aboriginal Partnerships