Lessons in Learning: The Cultural Divide in Science Education for Aboriginal Learners (M4, #3)


“The First Nations people view themselves not as custodians, stewards or having dominion over the Earth, but as an integrated part in the family of the Earth. The Earth is my mother and the animals, plants and minerals are my brothers and sisters.”

– F. Henry Lickers
Biologist, member of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation

There needs to be more Canadian Aboriginal people in science and engineering occupations. However, attracting them to such positions is a challenge due in part to the contradictions between the values and philosophy of Western science and those of Aboriginal people and communities.

No wonder Aboriginal youth would find mainstream science classes confusing, being that their beliefs and ways of learning are so different from those of their Western classmates. Aboriginal values need to be validated and incorporated in order to increase their participation and engagement. Information on this website provides many suggestions of ways this can be accomplished.

There are some interesting examples of how traditional knowledge has been combined with Western science to produce mutually beneficial results. Hopefully more of these partnerships can occur in the future.


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