Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 252


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


In A Call to Action, Curry Stephenson Malott appeals to North American educators to acknowledge their essential role in the ongoing struggle for sustainable and ethical ways of living as humans. Malott joins a rising chorus of scholars who warn about a singular focus on the conflict between Indigenous and Western epistemologies (e.g., Glen Aikenhead's "Integrating Western and Aboriginal Sciences: Cross-Cultural Science Teaching" in Research in Science Education, 2001; Ray Barnhardt and A. O. Kawagley's "Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Alaska Native Ways of Knowing" in Anthropology and Education Quarterly 2005; and Ladislaus Semali and J. L.Kincheloe's editors' introduction to their 1999 What Is Indigenous Knowledge?: Voices from the Academy). He advocates instead for educators to recognize how Indigenous knowledge and Marxist analyses inform one another and together offer a path toward unification and transformation.

To begin the process of transformation, Malott calls on educators to reflect on their responsibilities to the land on which they live and teach. In this way, educators may recognize that they are connected to one another and to the land, which may revolutionize their curriculum and pedagogy. In fact, Malott seeks to extend the appeal and reach of critical pedagogy by centering the issue of human relationship to land. Readers encounter some discussion about the role of humans as caretakers of the land and environment and a brief critique of how notions of resource scarcity breed a culture of fear and greed. We also read about a few examples of organic community development organized around natural resources like the Columbia River in the U.S. and the Lacondon Forest in the Mexican state of Chiapas.