Rediscovering Traditional Teaching and Language Learning: Interpreting a Journey of Story, Song, and Dance at Camp Garezers

Andrejs Kulnieks

Abstract


The following paper examines ways of learning about unfamiliar landscapes as adapted by the Latvian diaspora community in North America after World War II. I draw on ancestral focal practices including storytelling, singing, dancing, and the creation of art forms to examine a process of familiarization with the non-urban environments of a Latvian summe rschool—Camp Garezers, near Three Rivers, Michigan. A dialogue between landscape and traditional ways of learning is part of my relationship withplaces I live and to which I seasonally return. Rediscovering ancestral ontologies and epistemologies in non-urban landscapes are a method of deepening understandings and involves an inquiry into what it means to be “dis-placed” from ancestral landscapes. Learning to sing ancestral songs and dances, as well as inventing new ones, is a way of developing my awareness of the sacred nature of Garezers.

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