Last year I had an “aha” moment during a professional development session when we were shown the conflicting viewpoints of the Iranian hostage crisis through Google searches. The difference from Canadian Google versus Iranian Google was profound. Depending on which country you searched from, you would have two entirely different accounts of the event. As a history teacher, I’m aware that all history is biased and will vary depending on who writes it, however in this day and age, I was shocked to see such a stark difference from the same platform provider.
At the beginning of each year (being a teacher my “New Years” is September 1st) I make a personal finance, fitness, and intellectual goal for myself. This year my intellectual goal is to “challenge my confirmation bias”. I feel that I have always been a person open and respectful to others ideas, however, I’ve become more self-aware that my sources of information are from limited sources.
A recent revelation pertaining to this was after watching a Vice HBO Episode titled: ‘Post-Truth’ News & Microbiome. In this discussion, it showed Parallel Narratives of Twitter data surrounding journalism and Clinton/Trump supporters. Following only Clinton or Trump was an indication that your information circles only covered either left wing or right wing topics. As Vice puts more eloquently “[the] support had an effect on a user’s information flow as people seemed to cut themselves off from users who supported a different candidate.”
If “following” is seen as supporting, then it will be difficult to break this segregation of information for fear of reprisals from peer groups. But maybe this is what we need. Following Trump and his supporters may help to bridge the gap in our understanding of each other. While I think (at least I hope) that the same degree of polarization does not exist between Canadians and Indigenous peoples presently, I wonder, are we making an effort to truly understand and “follow” each other?
Bringing it back to our topic; focusing on my goal and engaging in this course has made me analyze my current practices. How can we break free from our singular narrative bubble and actively seek Indigenous community members both locally and nationally to “Follow”? Indigenous Tweets and other platforms of the like might be a good springboard to find new sources of information. Moreover, reviewing and reiterating our current practices for searching for literature. Pivoting from UBC summons and Google Scholar to Indigenous databases and Index’s such as the Indigenous Peoples North America and iPortal: Indigenous Studies Portal databases. Searching through these ‘new’ mediums I found significantly fewer ‘hits’ for the subject matter I was looking for, however, what I gave up in quantity I found in quality with literature that was reflecting a new perspective.
With our recent class discussions on the cultural neutrality of technology and the difference of educational goals in our Indigenous communities, I realize there is strong evidence for and against Indigenous use of technology and the extent of its benefit. However, for the non-Indigenous community, I believe that technology been an invaluable tool to help increase awareness and understanding as well as helping to promote advocacy for Indigenous communities.
Explore personal and professional histories and assumptions in relationship to Indigenous peoples histories and worldviews
Deepen understanding and knowledge of colonial histories and current realities of Indigenous people
Engage with Indigenous worldviews and perspectives that contextualize and support your understanding of the theories and practices of Indigenous education
Develop strategies that contribute to the enhancement of Indigenous-settler relations in schools, organizations, and communities
Explore Indigenous worldviews and learning approaches for their application to the classroom or community learning setting
Engage in personal and professional discussions in an online environment with others committed to understanding and advancing reconciliation
Additionally, another post-secondary resource from UVic sees the revitalization of Aboriginal languages. Technology and western education has contributed to the diminishment of Aboriginal languages, but now it is also being used to revitalize the languages not only with the descendants of native tongue speakers but with the non-Indigenous community as well. While this course, unfortunately, is not free, it does offer courses that are face-to-face with Indigenous community members as well as career opportunities to work in and with various Indigenous communities upon completion of the course. The program outcomes are as follows:
Learn foundational knowledge and skills in linguistics that are needed to undertake language preservation and revitalization work.
Build knowledge and skills in language preservation and revitalization.
Develop your ability to analyze language preservation issues relevant across Indigenous cultures and specific to your own communities.
Enhance your capacity to develop responsive strategies and programs designed to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages.
Earn a comprehensive and respected certificate.
Create a foundation for subsequent academic studies in related areas, such as education, cultural resource management and linguistics.
From CBC: Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., teen pens song about uncle’s death, garners thousands of views online
This story, published on September 16, 2017, came to my attention from my Facebook feed. Two years ago, a colleague of many years, left Victoria to take a teaching position in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Jasmine has been Michelle’s student for the last two years. Because the community that Jasmine is from is so remote (Sachs Harbour in Inuvialuit Territory), she stays with a host family in Inuvik while attending high school. At the time of the recording, Jasmine was part of a program that takes part on a ship that sails through the Arctic in the summer, visiting communities and taking part in cultural communities along the way. Apparently, a student from my school, Esquimalt High, recently took part in this program as it is open to any student that applies, who falls within the age restriction. Until the song went “viral”, Michelle did not even know that Jasmine was a singer-songwriter! Another layer to Jasmine’s viral social media experience, is her mother’s story of attending residential school. Sending her daughter away to school, however, was not an option for her.
From CBC: ‘A punch in the gut’: Mother slams B.C. high school exercise connecting Indigenous women to ‘squaw’
This story was published September 18, 2017. A Grade 9 teacher, using the Teacher’s Guide, distributed worksheets to their students that had students associate racist nomenclature with the person of origin. Apparently, the motivation was to teach students what the ubiquitous terminology of the day was, however, as the mother astutely points out, the workbook is void of context, and fails to educate students about relevant information regarding the Indian Act and the reserve system, amongst other knowledge. Turning to Michael’s essay from this week; “ Educators must help students conceptually focus the mirror rather than a magnifying glass at native people.” (p. 499) This workbook perfectly exemplifies the magnifying glass approach. What also should be pointed out, is that the teacher in question, was likely trying to incorporate the new K-9 BC curriculum that has attempted to bring Indigenous knowledge into every course. As a BC teacher, I can say with certainty, that there has not been enough (any?) professional development to facilitate this change so that BCTF members can actually teach Indigenous knowledge with confidence. I am grateful that I am taking ETEC 521 so that I can hopefully avoid making one of my students or their parents feel link I have “punched them in the gut.” Most teachers will not be paying $1600, however, in order to take such meaningful Pro-D. Moreover, I wonder how many teachers will simply side step this portion of the curriculum in fear of making a mistake? <Segway to next article…>
Marker, Michael, “After the Makah Whale Hunt: Indigenous Knowledge and Limits to Multicultural Discourse”, Urban Education, Vol. 41(5), 2006, 482-505.
From CBC: Teachers lack confidence to talk about residential schools, study says
This story was published August 20, 2017. Yes. This is me. Or rather, this was me. I feel fortunate to work at a school that devotes a portion of our Pro-D time, every year, to Indigenous education and the well-being of our Indigenous students. But still, I do not feel like I know enough to say too much in class. With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission being part of mainstream media, combined with some incredibly meaningful Pro-D, I have begun to say more, however. On Orange Shirt Day 2016, I gave my first talk to my homeroom class about the significance of the day— how could I not? I felt like I had finally broken through my self-imposed, block of ice. It is now three weeks into ETEC 521, and I feel more equipped to say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. I am looking forward to learning more, however, as I know there is much more knowledge to come!
This is Just Us: A Digital Media Documentary
At my high school, we run a course called First Peoples English, in which any student may elect to take this course, in lieu of regular English. Recently, students created the documentary, “This is Just Us.” For whatever reason, I only just learned of this documentary this week (it is amazing what you can find on your school’s website!). It is a bit of a commitment to watch, however, should you have 38 minutes to spare, you will not regret it. In the documentary, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are interviewed. As well, a local Elder, one of our school’s Aboriginal Educational Assistants and the teacher of the course are all interviewed. Topics that are touched on include: Why Digital Media? What is self-esteem? Who are you thankful for? … and more! I was blown away with the students’ candidness, honesty, bravery and wisdom in their responses. The Elder speaks of running away from his residential school, seeking refuge in Washington. This really drove home the reading of “Borders and the Borderless Coast Salish” from last week. As opposed to the educator who ran into trouble when they attempted to “teach” Indigenous knowledge using an inappropriate “magnifying glass”, Ms. Dunn helped her students “conceptually focus the mirror”, with this project. The project would not have been a success without the partnership with Dano, an actor and director from Tsawout First Nation. Dano came in once a week for a couple of months, and after getting to know the students, he decided that the common thread was how self-esteem affects individuals, families and communities.
Indigenous Leaders on How to Celebrate National Aboriginal Day
This page was published on June 20, 2017, on the University of Toronto’s website. It interviews a variety of Indigenous Leaders (a student, an Elder, and the former National Chief, amongst others), who share how they plan to celebrate June 21 and what any Canadian could also do to recognize this day. I would like to specifically highlight one piece from this page, that addresses the Canada 150 celebrations. This summer, there was a heap of dialogue concerning whether we should be celebrating 150 years of colonialism. Many people I know chose to boycott all July 1 celebrations, and they were not afraid to make it known to all who would listen. Reading this piece, you will find Phil Fontaine’s (albeit brief) take on Canada 150. I don’t think everyone shares his perspective, however, it does exemplify the power of the “positive re-frame”. That is, when a situation is not ideal or seemingly “good”, by changing our perspective a few degrees, we can sometimes see opportunity past the darkness.
Pacific People’s Partnership
PPP is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability, peace, social justice and community development for Indigenous peoples from the Lekwungen territory in coastal BC and South Pacific Indigenous peoples. I chose this site because I was able to attend a recent event at the BC Legislature on September 16, 2017, The One Wave Gathering. Five local Indigenous youth won a contest that resulted in their work being displayed on the front of four longhouses that were temporarily erected on the Legislature. The fifth artist’s work was made into a dance screen, as the judges were not able to let his work go unnoticed. Both the Songhees and Esquimalt Nation chief’s spoke at the opening ceremony. Chief Andy Thomas described the history of the land that we were meeting on, and how his Great-Great Grandparents were forced to move their village from Victoria’s Inner Harbour to the Esquimalt Harbour. I was particularly moved by the stories of the young artists and I truly felt the sense of proudness that they had of themselves and that their community had for them. That proudness wrapped itself around everyone in attendance. I will put a couple of my pictures on this blog, however, feel free to check out the Instagram hashtag, #onewavegathering to see other pictures and videos.
The following are resources on research and initiatives that include a focus on Indigenous learners and higher (post-secondary) education, including an experiential activity that can be used as a teaching tool:
This publication is dated, but still relevant to my research interests in post-secondary education, online learning and Indigenous learners. The author (one of the researchers in UVic’s Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships mentioned below) addresses the need for online learning technologies and innovative instructional design to support Indigenous post-secondary education.
The Blanket Exercise is a “teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.” This site has a video and more information about incorporating this exercise into your teaching. The facilitated exercise (taught as a workshop) typically ends with a debrief via a talking circle.
This University of Victoria (UVic)-associated program of community-university research related to early childhood development in Canada and globally provides links to their research projects and publications (including presentations and media resources), some of which are Indigenous focused. You’ll also find links to external resources with an Indigenous focus, e.g., child and youth care organizations, programs at the University of Victoria, etc.
This webpage highlights courses, programs and specialization streams related to child and youth care practice in Indigenous contexts. Additional resources at the University of Victoria are also highlighted, including a link to all programs (undergraduate and graduate level) with Indigenous content, some of which are delivered via distance/online.
This is an article about a survey identifying the learning preferences of Indigenous online learners. The authors, from Thomas Rivers University, presented their findings at the International Academic Conference on Education and E-learning in Prague (unfortunately, I’ve been unable to locate further information on this).
The list of resources below continues my research into Indigenous spirituality and its incorporation into education. A more recent theme found is the link between spiritual strength and resiliency among Indigenous people.
This article discusses the uniqueness of Indigenous spirituality in that it is closely bound to cultural practices and daily living. Therefore, when researching the topic of Indigenous spirituality and resiliency, a holistic approach is needed.
One conceptual framework suggested is that of ‘enculturation’ or the degree to which spirituality is integrated within the culture which, in turn, leads to protective factors, such as better academic achievement and lower substance abuse.
Another framework is ‘cultural spiritual orientation’ which is also predictive of protective factors against substance abuse and suicide, but which can be distinguished from the specific spiritual beliefs of the tribe in question.
The goal of the research is to enable communities to use their own cultural and spiritual traditions to promote resilience.
This article discusses how essential it is to include spirituality in any study looking at Indigenous knowledge. Spirituality is the basis for the cultural concept of ‘personhood’ which involves their relationship to others and to the world. It is intricately tied to the notion of well-being and thus must be included in any discussions of healing from colonization.
This piece discusses the reclamation of traditional spiritual practices within Indigenous communities and specifically how spiritual strength fosters general resiliency.
It is written from a social worker’s perspective on how to honour and integrate the spirituality of Indigenous clients.
Stevens sees spirituality as an important component of healing for everyone, but for Indigenous peoples, it is also central to identity, purposefulness and resilience which can be seen to be manifested in their daily living.
In this book, each chapter is filled with stories of how a limited recognition of spirituality decreases the richness of learning experiences, especially for those who see the world holistically, wherein everything is interconnected.
In addition, an absence of spirituality in education, under the auspices of ‘rationality’, undermines the knowledge foundations of Indigenous societies and belies the fact that we are connected to each other and the world in subjective ways.
For this final module, I chose to continue my investigation of the intersection of (Western) Place-based education and Indigenous learning from place. I also broadened my scope to explore some models outside of the public school system – specifically band and reserve schools.
In this paper, the author explores one student’s experiences with learning mathematics from place. The paper recounts a math unit exploring triangles that was taught to grade nine students in SOMEWHERE. In the unit, place was the inroad for intertwining Western and Indigenous math learning. The author provides a useful analysis of the distinction between hands-on, place-based learning and Indigenous learning from place. The approach taken for the unit was not so much a blending of Indigenous and Western approaches, but rather an intertwining “to increase tensile strength”. As a result of participating in the unit, students reported increased confidence in math competency as well as increased connections to the land and feelings of belonging to their culture. I found this approach to be a compliment to the idea of “Two-Eyed Seeing”, “two-way Aboriginal schooling”, and “walking in both worlds”.
[The program] uses the principles of collective impact (CI) to create new partnerships between tribal communities and STEM institutions that promote the participation and inclusion of Native American (NA) scientists in the geosciences.
Our proposed program partners the Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions (Rising Voices) member tribal colleges and communities with Haskell Indian Nations University, NCAR, Biosphere 2 (B2), and UCAR’s SOARS internship and GLOBE citizen science programs. Together, we commit to greater integration of indigenous and “traditional western” knowledge into collectively-developed climate change research projects, enhancing our collective ability to address climate change, and contributing to climate resilience in all communities.
This program is a good example of attempts to draw from the strengths of both Western and Indigenous knowledges in finding solutions to ecological problems. The fact that it is funded by the National Science Foundation indicates that such collaborations are increasingly seen to be of value within Western science organizations.
This program, which is also funded by the (U.S.) National Science Foundation, is a four-year collaboration between the Indigenous Education Institute and the University of California-Berkeley targeting informal science education professionals. This project is designed to explore the commonalities between western science and native science in the context of informal science education.
Cosmic Serpent set out to explore commonalities between Western and Native science, taking into account that Native cultures have, over millennia, developed ways of knowing that are highly adapted, interconnected, and enduring. Each knowledge system informs the practice of science and its role in society in a fundamental way, and the commonalities can provide a framework for developing mutually inclusive learning experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
This special issue is part of a series hosted by the Tyee Solutions Society. In it, reporter Katie Hyslop explores several different models for BC Aboriginal education. There is great breadth of scope here from examining the context (successes and challenges faced by Aboriginal youth in BC as well as legislation and rights concerning indigenous education, and funding for indigenous education) to specific working models of Indigenous education both within BC and internationally.
Exploring the topic of reserve/band schools
In exploring education models that chose to focus more intensely on Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, I came across several interesting newspaper articles on reserve/band schools in BC. These articles shone a light on various aspects of the schools, from how they operate to how they are funded and fit within the provincial system. Here are some of the more relevant articles I encountered.
This source comes from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), and is a collection of various topics relevant to indigenous education, ranging from incorporating indigenous ways of knowing into mainstream curricula to video interviews with Elders sharing their perspectives on education. Formats include books, videos, resource guides, and websites. This curated selection is noteworthy for its range of perspectives.
The Challenge of Indigenous Education: Practice and Perspectives
This document from UNESCO is divided into 3 parts: challenges to indigenous education, criteria for good practice, and lastly, case studies surrounding quality education of indigenous peoples. It is especially interesting to view the case studies, as they are focused in various parts of the world, and the way in which challenges were presented and dealt with in the given cultural setting. Not all case studies pertain to preK-12 education, but also highlights training, and community learning settings.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Towards Equity and Inclusivity in Ontario Schools
This document from the Government of Ontario provides short points that are easy to read, and hence offers an efficient reminder of characteristics of a culturally responsive classroom, and ways to achieve it. It is a well-organized document for reading purposes, and provides guiding questions along the way to help facilitate one’s own practice. It also includes a plethora of relevant references at the end, on related topics. This source is developed in collaboration with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
As stated on the website’s homepage, the resource was developed “to help educators in British Columbia understand how they might incorporate the First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL) into their classrooms and schools.” It is set up as a blog that includes background information on the FPPL, and insight into what “authentic” resources are. There is also an activity section created to coincide with each of the principles, and to promote conversation about indigenous learning in the community.
This website is a resource full of books related to the First Nations in Canada, as well as in the United States. It is a great resource for educators looking for supplementary material about indigenous cultures, by providing books and lesson plans for sale. The site is definitely a “store,” and thus will work for anyone looking to buy materials for their classroom, but not useful for gaining any free knowledge.
First Nations Eduction Steering Committee
As an added source, I thought I would shed light on this one again, though I have previously posted relevant information from it, but only regarding specific content on the site. It offers many resources, links, information about programs and events, and more on indigenous education. As our discussion has grown to incorporate a large variety of topics and challenges, it seems fit to include the wider site as relevant, since it also provides information on language, local education agreements, special education, and relevant publications. The Committee behind the website was founded in Vancouver by a group of participants at a First Nations education conference.
For this module’s Weblog, I focus on teachers and educators as Iexplore the following questions: How can we prepare ourselves to teach from a land-based approach? Where does land-based education fit with place-based learning? What examples are there of students using land-based education to walk in both worlds? I also continue my journey exploring two-eyed seeing and how it helps us understand integrative education.
In this interview, Tasha Spillet a Cree and Trinidadian Winnepeg educator describes the importance of land-based education for students but also for educators. Ms. Spillet is one of the instructors in the University of Saskatchewan’s land-based education cohort masters degree. She describes how land-based education shifted the way she views herself and the world and she speaks to the importance for educators of engaging in their own land-based education (instead of just reading articles about it). Another interesting feature of this interview was that Ms. Spillet spoke to land-based education in urban settings as benefiting indigenous youth, many of whom are disconnected from their cultural identity and need to be encouraged to also see their urban landscape as their land: “Underneath the concrete is still our land” (Spillet, 2017).
This camp is hosted by the Living Sky School Division. It is purposefully intended to serve Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and restore or rebuild their connection to the land and to each other. Discussion about the initiative emphasizes teaching students to walk in both worlds. “In these classes we have kids that come from both cultures . . . It is important for kids of native culture to realize the importance of keeping their own culture, but it’s just as important for western people to understand that it is a blessing to have First Nation culture alive”. The speaker is Kim Pasche, a Swiss-born experiential archeologist and one of the instructors at the camp. He emphasizes to students that all of them (Indigenous and non-Indigenous came from hunter-gatherer society, but for some of them that society has been lost. Indigenous Elders and educators join non-Indigenous educators to explore the land from both perspectives simultaneously.
Indigenous Land-based Learning Programs
This site, created by a fellow UBC student for ETEC 521, highlights several different land-based learning initiatives offered in Canada (and one in the United States). While discussion of the programs on the site is limited, it does offer a brief analysis of the focus and approach of each camp and serves as a useful portal to investigate different land-based learning initiatives. It includes reference to Integrative Science camps in Nunavut that use Two-Eyed Seeing as their guiding philosophy.
This issue is dedicated to exploring Two-Eyed Seeing: Integrative Science. It is a treasure trove of work on two-eyed seeing and offers many concrete examples of two-eyed seeing in the context of education. It also links to work on walking in both worlds.
From the editorial: “In this issue we present some of the learning activities that they and others have designed for teaching science in this way, thus enabling students to take the best from both world views, Indigenous and Western” (p. 2). The issue starts with an excellent article by Hatcher, Bartlett, Marshall and Marshall “Two-Eyed Seeing: A cross-cultural science journey” and also includes trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural science units on: birds; traditional medicines; Traditional legends and astronomy; and Solstices and Equinoxes. This issue is highly recommended to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of Two-Eyed Seeing and concrete examples of what it looks like in the classroom.
I came across this fantastic Special Issue on Indigenous Land-Based Education in my research. It has a number of great articles and in particular a valuable editorial essay entitled “Learning from the land: Indigenous land based pedagogy and decolonization” by Matthew Wildcat, Mandee McDonald, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox and Glen Coulthard. I appreciated the connection drawn in this article and in the entire issue between land based education and decolonization. I also appreciated the ability to learn about the related experiences of several different Indigenous groups within that context.
I would like to focus my research on the instructional design of e-learning in higher education that incorporates the Indigenous experience and meets the needs of Indigenous learners. I tried to get resources specifically from higher education, but found one with K-12 resources:
This course answers calls from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into higher education curriculum) by sharing the “history, culture, and wisdom of Indigenous peoples in Mi’kma’ki and across Canada.” It is offered for-credit or for general interest to the public. Classes from the Winter 2016 offering were live webcasted and then archived online.
This Canadian Indigenous-led registered charity includes 1000 resources in their online resource centre for Indigenous education stakeholders. Proven practices in the form of research, models, frameworks and educational strategies are shared for K-12, across subjects, provinces, grade levels, topics (e.g., online learning, holistic learning practices) and Indigenous affiliations.
This article is published by Cultural Survival, an organization that “advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience” (Cultural Survival, n.d.). The article highlights cases of e-learning in Indigenous communities from Australia, Kenya and the United States, and includes recommendations to develop e-learning practices that better serve the needs Indigenous communities.
This article looks at the needs of Indigenous post-secondary students taking online courses in Australia. The data was collected through “yarning,” a conversational research method, and a research study into the experiences of Indigenous post-secondary students in order to inform the design of online learning environments.
This is a media release about a massive open online course (MOOC) that introduces participants to indigenous histories and worldviews and shares teaching tools on indigenous education. The third offering ran in Winter 2017 with 8,200 registrants (mostly educators), and the next offerings are slated for Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.
The incorporation of spirituality into everyday life seems to be a value in many Indigenous communities. I am, therefore, interested in finding out how this is done within educational environments and whether or not this is even done in online learning environments. My ultimate focus will likely be on adult education, as I work in a post-secondary environment. However, at this point, I am not limiting my research to that age group.
These are the some of resources I have examined recently:
Astin, A. W., Astin, H. S., & Lindholm, J. A. (2010). Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives. San Francisco, California: John Wiley & Sons.
What is an academic’s role in a student’s spiritual development? Faculty are only responsible for the academic and professional progress of their students, aren’t they? Perhaps they are, but the fact remains that students are asking questions, such as: “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose in life?” and “What kind of world should I help to create?” These all have spiritual overtones.
This book examines the role that post-secondary education has in student spiritual development. According to Astin, et al. (2010), although religious practice may decline during these years, spiritual growth is enhanced, which in turn enhances other college outcomes.
So although this book does not deal with Indigenous spirituality in education, it is a good starting point for examining spirituality in post-secondary education, which is where my interests lie.
In New Zealand, Maori education initiatives have grown to include Maori values, beliefs, and spirituality. This challenges the definition of secular education in New Zealand.
This article discusses the moral obligation to include Indigenous values within education in order to develop understanding and respect for their unique cultural identity. Are they broad enough concepts to have relevance for a diverse student population? Some say yes. However, others believe that even concepts such as self-worth and personal identity are too personal and intrusive to be discussed in a public classroom.
On the other hand, the Maori do not believe that they should be expected to fragment their lives and values and therefore wish their spiritual values to be taught alongside the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social ones. They believe that “a natural acceptance of spirituality…creates a moral space in which people’s values and beliefs can co-exist without excuse or apology in secular education”.
Although I had planned on keeping my focus on Canadian Indigenous peoples, this article describes some issues that I believe will be faced in Canadian society as we begin to teach about aspects of Indigenous culture in mainstream Canadian classrooms.
LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the medicine wheel: Creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 409-424.
LaFever uses the Medicine Wheel as a framework for learning outcomes. She sees it as expanding the three domains of learning, as described by Bloom (cognitive/mental, psychomotor/physical, and affective/emotional) while adding a fourth dimension of spirituality.
Having begun my exploration of the psychology of learning by studying Bloom, I am most interested in seeing how his theories are enhanced by Indigenous ways of knowing.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2016, June 14). Native spirituality guide. Retrieved from http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/native-spirituality-guide
This website was found in the reference of the LaFever article. I found it intriguing that the RCMP would have a guide for their employees on the understanding of sacred practices of aboriginal peoples in Canada.
The RCMP sought out four different elders in creating the guide and gave additional thanks for permission to digitally publish this knowledge, considering the fact that many elders do not consent to having their knowledge reproduced in this fashion.
The article goes on to list important concepts, such as the Circle of Life, the Medicine Wheel, and the Four Powers. It then outlines various ceremonies and ceremonial objects.
There is also a section on the treatment of medicine bundles by law enforcement officials, particular during legal searches, so that these objects are treated with the respect that they deserve.
Although very simplistic, the information contained on the site would be a very good starting point for someone with little or no knowledge of these sacred objects and traditions.
The main thing that surprised me about the website was that it did not distinguish between Canadian Indigenous cultures. Depending on what regions of the country and RCMP officer serves in, he/she will be exposed to considerable variation in belief and practice.
Elizabeth Tisdell is also the author of the book Exploring Spirituality and Culture in Adult and Higher Education. (2003). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass. This article briefly discusses some of the themes explored more fully in her later publication.
This article discusses the connection between spirituality and culture and how educational experiences that allow for their expression can be both culturally relevant and transformative to the students involved.
What is unique about this article is that it connects knowledge construction to the unconscious processes which are often culturally and spiritually based, such as the use of image, symbols, music, and ritual.