Module 4: Respecting Cultural Knowledge

This page from the ANKN website features a set of guidelines for educators, elders, teachers, researchers, writers and illustrators.  The guidelines were compiled after meetings and workshops with participants such as members of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, and the final document was ratified by representatives from the Native Educator Organizations.  The guide encourages educators and curriculum designers to incorporate indigenous knowledge into the classroom in ways that are beneficial to all, constructive, and respectful.

Significantly, ANKN recognizes Elders as authorities on cultural matters; yet, the guidelines are also geared to them.  Aside from the sharing of knowledge appropriate to the place, Elders have a responsibility to review contracts, release forms, and research transcripts, including papers that are to be made public.   They must also secure copyright for all cultural information that is documented.  These are important aspects of the Elders’ job description.  Not only does it ensure that accurate and appropriate information is shared, it protects this knowledge from commodification and misuse.

Guidelines for illustrators and writers specify that traditional names for places and objects must be retained as much as possible and authorship must be shared with individuals in the community who contributed to the creative work.  They must also ensure that sensitive information be made accessible as dictated by Elders.

This site is useful for research on place-based learning because it helps educators evaluate the source of the knowledge that they may acquire for their classes.  It is also enables them to recognize and validate prior knowledge that students bring to the learning environment.


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