Global Field School: Indigenous Costa Rica

Welcome to SOCD02H3F - Global Field School: Indigenous Costa Rica

SOCD02H3 - Global Field School: Indigenous Costa Rica: This intensive international field school course is an experiential and land-based learning trip to Indigenous territories in Costa Rica, in order to learn about settler colonialism, Indigenous communities, and UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

Students will learn with Indigenous Costa Rican university students and community partners in order to draw links between policy frameworks (UNDRIP), ideologies (colonialism) and the impacts on Indigenous communities (e.g. education, health, food security, language retention, land rights). The course involves 14-16 days of in-country travel.

Global Field School 2022 - Student Perspectives

In June 2022, a group of UTSC students enrolled in a course on UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples) traveled to Costa Rica to take part in two weeks of intense land-based and experiential learning in Indigenous Costa Rican communities. They were joined by partners from TEC University, and a group of Indigenous Costa Rican students. The group then travelled, with their new friends, to these Indigenous students’ home communities of Talamanca BriBri, Borruca, Terraba, Broran, and Cabecar and Ngobe territories.

Leadership team: Prof. Dani Kwan-Lafond; Paul Pritchard (Teaching Assistant); community partner Blair Fewster (Retired social worker, trip founder); guest faculty Prof. Kisha McPherson (Toronto Metropolitan University); and a team of Costa Rican community partners, coordinated by Canadian-Costa Rican Laura Solano Moya (Nippising University and Canatico Tours) who are Professors and staff from TEC University in Costa Rica. They are Diana Segura, Prof. David Arias, Prof. Marinela Gamboa, and others.

Trip Overview:

Day 1-3: TEC University (main campus). Sharing circles, student activities, and lectures from Professors at TEC who lead projects in the communities we will travel to in the following days. We also have time for the UTSC and TEC students to get to know each other before travelling.

Day 4-7: Land-based learning in Talamanca BriBri, and Cabacar communities. We visit community projects to learn about the cultural significance of cacao (e.g. Casa Aiko), and Indigenous women’s associations (Kabata Konana). We stay in a local village, with no cell service, no electricity, and lots of insects and animals! Students are challenged by the climate and the activities, which include day-long hikes. We are accompanied by some of our TEC University partners and students, who help us to understand everyday life, and help keep us safe and healthy, during our stay.

Day 8: Back to the city for one day: hot showers (maybe) and clean laundry!

Days 9-16: We stay at Las Cruces Biological Station, a research station operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies; this is located in Ngobe territory. We spend several days learning about Indigenous health projects in the area, and land back movements in Terraba and Broran territories.

Check out the photos from our trip here.

These blog posts by our students tell the story of the trip: