The Pat Clifford Award

2014 – CEA Pat Clifford Award Winner: Protest as Pedagogy

Dr. Gregory Lowan-Trudeau’s research has the potential to instill critical understanding of Indigenous ecological knowledge, rights, and contentious natural resource development issues among teachers and students.

Dr. Gregory Lowan-Trudeau
2014 Pat Clifford Award Winner Dr. Gregory Lowan-Trudeau and Nominations Committee Chair Dr. Michele Jacobsen.

CEA is pleased to recognize Dr. Gregory Lowan-Trudeau – Assistant Professor in the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education – as the recipient of its 2014 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education for his work in developing a critical understanding among current and future teachers of the link between Aboriginal ways of knowing, the historical basis for land claims and rights, and how this relates to contemporary resource development issues and associated activism.

A Métis scholar and land-based science and environmental educator, Dr. Lowan-Trudeau’s research employs concepts such as ecological métissage to consider the relationship between Western and Indigenous ecological philosophies and knowledge, and the theoretical and practical implications for teachers when integrating these ways of knowing into student learning. His sophisticated understanding of the tensions that resource extraction issues – such as oil and gas pipeline development – raise for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people also has the potential to inject a critical, but optimistic perspective into such discussions in Canadian classrooms and beyond.

“My goal is to provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth alike with a more grounded understanding of the treaties and Indigenous rights in their region, and I’m excited by the potential impact that this could have on them as they move on to take leadership roles in society,” says Dr. Lowan-Trudeau. “I suspect that it would change how land use and resource planning are conducted, and on a broader political and societal level, advance a move towards increased mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.”

The future implications of Dr. Lowan-Trudeau’s explorations of the learning that can arise from ecological activism in Indigenous contexts are also boundless. This line of inquiry could further influence the development of provincial curricula, foster increased understanding among future teachers of all of these concepts for the benefit of youth, and provide further insight into the relationship between educators and activism.

“I was captured by Dr. Lowan-Trudeau’s philosophy of ecological métissage, which prompts a new way of thinking about Indigenous issues,” says Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Chair of the Pat Clifford Award Nominations Committee. “And I was touched by the relevance of his work on activism, which is really important to us at this moment as Canadians and will make a very deep contribution to our education systems.”

Related reading: Teaching the Tension – Indigenous land rights, activism and education in Canada, by Gregory Lowan-Trudeau – Education Canada Magazine

To access a bibliography of Dr. Lowan-Trudeau’s work, please visit:

The Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education

This award is administered by the Canadian Education Association (CEA) and recognizes the work of emerging researchers – their research contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground or revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada.

About Pat Clifford

Pat Clifford was one of the co-founders of The Galileo Educational Network, which is based in Calgary, Alberta. Pat had an extensive teaching background from primary through graduate level, and was the recipient of numerous awards for both research and teaching practice. Pat passed away in August of 2008 but she left a gift to us in her teaching, scholarly writing, poetry and stories. As a teacher, Pat was steadfast in her belief that each child had the right to succeed brilliantly, and brought to them her own love of literature, writing and history. This award is dedicated to her memory.