Considering the allegiances and alliances of technologies and global capitalism, as well as their rearrangements of time, space, bodies, and ecologies, my research works to encourage equitable, socially just, culturally inclusive and environmentally responsible technology discourses in education. For example, researching with students in Canada and the USA, we explored technologies associated with the domestic sphere and Indigenous Peoples as equivalent conversations to the multimedia and industrial technology discourses offered in schools. A book based on this research, Technology, Culture, and Socioeconomics: A Rhizoanalysis of Educational Discourses was published by Peter Lang Publishing (2003).
While teaching at Massey University in Aotearoa-New Zealand, I was invited to participate in the reshaping of the Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum into Hangarau: i roto i te Marautanga o Aotearoa, a curriculum connecting Maori technologies with epistemology, spirituality, and place. Encouraged by this experience, my partner Dr. Peter Cole and I have been conducting SSHRC-funded research with members of his community (Stl’atl’imx) to support them in their language, cultural and socioeconomic renewal, as well as their educational initiatives. Technological literacy in this context includes, but is not limited to, technologies of daily survival (e.g., foods, nutrition, medicines, clothing, housing, transportation, ecoliteracy); technologies of nurturance (e.g., personal, community and spiritual well-being, artforms, ceremony); communication technologies (e.g., narrativity, Ucwalmicwts language learning, multimedia); and, technologies of place (land, water, air, community sustainability). For the Stl’atl’imx, ‘sustainability’ means that you give back more than you take. The data collection and dissemination are in oral, written and multimedia formats so that the materials can be used in a variety of educational contexts.
Fig. 1: Culturally modified tree in Stl’atl’imx territory – some of the bark was removed to make baskets and other cultural artifacts without felling the tree, allowing the tree to continue living and sustaining other lifeforms
I am currently planning the next phase of this research that will be a reciprocal exchange of ‘traditional’ and/as current epistemologies and technologies between the Elders/knowledge keepers and youth from the Stl'atl’imx communities in BC and Quechua and Aymara communities within and around Cusco, Peru.
Fig. 2: Quechua woman in Chinchero, Peru, showing us the plants from which they get the vibrant colours used to dye the alpaca wool clothing
Central to my research is the creation of reciprocal and culturally respectful research ethics to ensure that the co-participants play a lead role in the research design so that their intellectual and cultural properties are protected, and so that they are the primary beneficiaries of the research.
Dr. Pat O’Riley
Visiting Associate Professor