EC&I 832

Thread-ful Thinking

I briefly discussed Indigenous epistemologies in one of my previous blog posts, Culturally Responsive Digital Identity. I highlighted how I am responsible for my epistemology, places and ways of knowing, and remembering what is valuable about knowledge vs. knowing. Essentially, Indigenous epistemologies help me to use language to interpret and communicate ideas. This week, I want to dive a little deeper into what this means and how I make sense of the information, media, and world around me.

“The only knowledge that we can claim as our own is our experiences” (Weenie, personal communication, June 10, 2023).

Unlike traditional epistemologies that value scientific information and data, Indigenous epistemologies value experience and heart. They are fluid, relational, and non-linear in nature. Every encounter, every moment of connection or disconnection, becomes a thread in the fabric of understanding. Although I may not yet see the full picture that is being created, I can recognize each thread as an invaluable source of wisdom. In my own life, I have come to appreciate how this dynamic understanding of knowledge allows me to weave a more intricate and nuanced picture of understanding. As I encounter information in various forms of media, whether it’s news articles, a film, or a social media post, I am guided by the principle that knowledge is not confined to a single narrative. Each piece contributes to a broader, interconnected web of understanding. In this journey of understanding, I find that my responsibility for my epistemology prompts me to consider not only what is presented but also what might be omitted, silenced, or marginalized. So, as the picture becomes clearer, I can step back and decide which threads might not be the correct shade or fabric and where the holes in my picture exist.

Willie Ermine, another one of my professors during my studies, mentioned the concept of the golden thread, which is when you follow an idea to find out where it may lead and what knowledge it may provide to you. Do you ever read an assignment and immediately think, “I know exactly what I am going to do”? That is your golden thread. It is an idea that makes itself known and shows your individual gifts through your exploration of knowledge. This notion of following knowledge encourages me to embrace the unknown and unexpected. That blog post I wrote about culturally relevant digital identity? It was almost never written. However, I had a golden thread appear and I knew that I had to follow it, regardless of how it turned out.

As I engage with the information and media around me, I strive to be more conscious of the threads that present themselves and the pictures that are formed. I recognize that each encounter, whether with an online article or an in-person conversation, has the potential to contribute to my evolving understanding of the world. By weaving together diverse perspectives and following the golden threads of knowledge, I am on a continuous journey of understanding. 

“Knowledge is an entity; you can work with it or against it” (Ermine, personal communication, May 13, 2023).

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Think about the two quotes within this blog. How do they align with or challenge your own understanding of knowledge? 
  2. What is a “golden thread” moment in your life where an unexpected idea led you to valuable knowledge or insights?


  • Mr. D. Dickson

    The two quotes from your blog “The only knowledge that we can claim as our own is our experiences” and “Knowledge is an entity; you can work with it or against it” are both thought provoking and realistic to me. First off, I personally believe that personal knowledge is derived from personal experience. Without personal experience then people are only working off of others thoughts. Active engagement is necessary to be able to analyze the experience and think critically about the impacts of the said experience. I feel that knowing is to understand and understanding is acquired knowledge. The second quote hits closer to home as knowledge is powerful and it can shape our existence. However, it is also important to to remember to work with your knowledge but be willing to still be opened minded to new experiences and no opportunities to broaden your own knowledge base. Great blog Chantal!

  • Kimberly Kipp

    Hi Chantal, I love this blog post – it painted such a beautiful but realistic picture of my life in my mind. In a broad sense, taking my Masters has been a golden thread. It was suggested and considered many times after undergrad, but the timing was never “right” or I didn’t believe I was ready/worthy. And then, one day, for no particular reason…I applied. I think of all the further insights, personal growth, struggles, and creative projects that have now woven into that single thread, and it’s just awesome. I always tell my students and children to never stop learning, when we stop learning we die. If I make it to 80, I hope to be that white-haired lady on the stage receiving her second doctorate (or some such accomplishment)…maybe I’ll see your there 😉

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