Decolonizing in an Era of Climate Change and Denial

Spring 2018
Evening and Weekend
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling
Marja Eloheimo square
ethnobotany, environmental and cultural anthropology, plant studies

We live in an era of climate change and its denial. We also live in a country founded on genocide and its denial. How are these denials related? Through explorations of science, history, and literature, we will examine practices, paradigms, and politics that undergird these denials and their counterpoints—patterns of renewal, resiliency, and sustainability . We will focus on learning how to transform mainstream cultural and ecological narratives, and how to support Indigenous leadership, justice, and restitution in environmental policy making. We will identify existing colonial structures and examine how they diminish ecological and cultural diversity. We will learn to engage in careful and respectful research, develop tools to craft essays for particular audiences and purposes, cultivate the practice of storytelling, and develop methods to critically examine texts and the media.  We will explore relationality as both paradigm and practice, and as a method of decolonization and reciprocity. Through nature journals and hands-on engagement with the Longhouse Ethnobotanical Garden, we will cultivate an intimate and enlivened relationship with plants, people, and place. We will explore the Coast Salish cultural context of the garden, including the Lushootseed language, as we deepen our understanding. As we work to cultivate authentic voices, informed narratives, and skills to actively transform the twin denials of colonization and climate change, we will ask: how can we cultivate communities of kindness that nurture hope and renewal in difficult times?  How might the seeds of ecological diversity and cultural diversity be the seeds of survival? Activities include lectures, workshops, careful reading, thoughtful writing, meaningful research, maintaining a nature journal, field work, and garden care.  Texts include: The Collapse of Western Civilization  by Oreskes and Conway; An Indigenous People’s History of the United States  by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; as well texts by Naomi Klein, Winona LaDuke, Rebecca Solnit, Linda Hogan, and others.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: education, writing, sustainability and justice, environmental studies and management, Indigenous studies and leadership, cultural ecology, plant studies

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$75 for museum entrance and project supplies

Scheduled for: Evening and Weekend

Located in: Olympia

Final schedule and room assignment:


Advertised schedule:

Every Wednesday, 5:30-9:30p; April 4-June 6 and Alternate Saturdays 9:30a-5:30p (April 7 & 21, May 5 & 19, June 2)  

2018-03-15Program is now accepting Freshman
2018-02-16Program fees updated: Now $75 (was $55)