The Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science (TRACKS) Program was developed in the spring of 2010, under the direction of a small group of interested students, professors and community members involved with the Indigenous Environmental Studies (IES) Program at Trent University. The reason for its inception, was a strong belief amongst these individuals in the importance of the work accomplished by the IES program, and the sense that students of a much younger age would benefit tremendously from access to programming that brings together multiple ways of seeing and understanding the world – specifically focusing on the central theme of the IES program, that brings together Traditional/Indigenous Knowledge and science.
In 2012 TRACKS embarked on its first season of active program under the umbrella of the Kawartha World Issues Centre and in partnership with Hiawatha, Curve Lake, and Alderville First Nations. Since then the program has added Scugog First Nation to its list of partners, worked closely with Niijkiwendidaa Anishinaabekwewag Services Circle and Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, and collaborated with countless other community organizations.
In 2018 TRACKS signed on as a member of the Actua network, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization.
What do we do?
TRACKS seeks to venture into a very new area of education – one that truly blends cultural knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, and scientific ideas and ways of knowing. Many youth programs are doing excellent work in delivering cultural programming, and science, math and technology programming. TRACKS seeks to bring these knowledges together in a way that enables indigenous youth to reconcile the differences between them provide youth with the tools to enable a critical exploration and discourse of concepts and methodologies within each of them. As this type of programming is so new and innovative, the TRACKS team is conscious of wanting to build a solid foundation to the program, allowing time for consultation with various partners (communities, students, education workers, Traditional Knowledge holders), and room for adaptation, improvement and steady growth of the program.
What makes TRACKS programming unique?
The TRACKS philosophy and curriculum evolved from Indigenous ways of knowing, and incorporates fundamental concepts that are linked to scientific inquiry and technological problem solving. Ideally, the program will enable students to make inferences and draw links between the various scientific concepts and cultural knowledge, according to their lived experiences. Such an approach reaffirms the critical message that Indigenous Knowledge and science can work hand-in-hand to explore, describe and explain the natural and physical world.This approach to education is the foundation and focus of the IES Program at Trent University. Nesting ourselves within this program gives TRACKS a base of experience and knowledge to draw from in creating unique curriculum for a younger audience.
What is our mandate?
Through fun, educational and experiential programming, TRACKS aims to:
- Instill a sense of pride for Indigenous Knowledge systems
- Help students understand the interconnectedness of all living things
- Demonstrate the balance of cultural values and scientific inquiry
- Introduce youth to diverse knowledge systems and fields of study
- Connect youth with strong, motivated and dynamic mentors
- Encourage youth to think about math and science skills as potentially valuable skills in achieving their future goals
TRACKS is committed to creating accessible experiences for campers of ALL abilities! If you are interested in knowing more about our accessibility policies and practices, just ask!