Sherman’s Research – The End of the Beginning

This marks the last weblog for ETEC 521. The selection this time includes missing pieces to the final project. However, the end is only the beginning of my journey in my venture into stories and their importance to indigenous peoples, as well as their strength that can be harnessed in future curricula development. This topic is broad and I am certain that my research would not even be close to complete within the bounds of 2000 words. For the time being though, I will look at this as an appetizer to my on going hunger for learning as an educator.

Exploration #16 – Invoking the Spirits of Our Ancestors

Klasky, P.M. (2010) Invoking the Spirits of Our Ancestors: the place and power of song in the protection of land and cultures. Retrieved from

This article discusses the power of songs in the context of protecting land and culture, and decolonization. The article reviewed songs that were performed to government to express the importance of land and cultures. Each of these songs was explained, and many analogies to nature were used in these songs to convey very real and very strong emotions. These songs were recorded to provide younger generations with a gift of guidance passed down from their ancestors.

Personal Connection:

The indigenous songs and stories are not often shared with students in mainstream education, so it is difficult for many to appreciate a culture that is rarely shared. I think this is also the case for a lot of indigenous youth who has moved away from reserves and lives in mainstream society; understanding of their own heritage would be rather difficult for them. From this article, I learned that with technology, record of these songs that holds a lot of knowledge can be shared with the younger generation with less of a risk of loss due to the passing of an indigenous singer. Beyond sharing these songs with students with indigenous backgrounds, I think, if appropriate, sharing of these songs with children with non-indigenous backgrounds would be a wonderful alternative learning. I was especially drawn by the first song of Newe Huvia as I think it is a great teaching of respect and ecology to all living things that shares the same niche with us – it is simply more emotionally engaging than a textbook of theories.

Exploration #17 – Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Alaska Native Ways of Knowing

Barnhardt, R., and Kawagley, A.O. (2005). Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Alaska Native Ways of Knowing. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 36(1), 8 – 23.

This article compares the Indigenous Knowledge Systems to Western Science. When placed in a Venn diagram, the two knowledge systems share quite a bit of common ground. The differences often complement one another to form more holistic learning that fits 21st century demands in education. The article mentioned a little bit about residential schools, but focus mostly on potential to change our current education system to better serve our diverse learners.

Personal Connection:

I am the type of person who do not enjoy conflicts, and I still hold tight to my naïve ideal that seemingly opposite views and values can work together to make a grand picture to better portrait our understanding of our world. Of course, this is not always as easy as snapping Lego pieces together for joining Western and Indigenous ways of learning. There are invisible issues that exert resistance to the merger of two worlds. However, laying out the plan as this article has would usually help kick start the change. This article help bridge the gap of my research in terms of incorporating indigenous wisdoms into today’s education.

Exploration #18 – Exposing Legacy of the Indian Residential School System

Gray, R.R.R. (2011). Visualizing pedagogy and power with urban native youth: Exposing the legacy of the indian residential school system. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 34(1), 9-27,103. Retrieved from

This article discusses the Indian Residential School System in Canada. The multigenerational impact of residential school spans many facets of life: social, cultural, economic, political, spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and linguistic. The article attempts to bring more public visibility to the impact felt by today’s youth from the legacy of residential schools.

Personal Connection:

Throughout my exploration, I have not yet looked into how storytelling (and other indigenous ways of knowing) was interrupted by colonization. I think this is an important to examine the impact of residential school, when I look into making changes to our curriculum today to be more holistic. I find that knowing about residential school and its impact also brings out the reason as to why it is important to modify our way of teaching as well.

Exploration #19 – The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place

Gruenewald, D.A. (2003). The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place. Educational Researcher, 32(4). 3 – 12. Retrieved from 3700002

This article attempts to combine “place-based education” and “critical pedagogy” into a more rounded pedagogy that encourage reflection on educational practices in relationship to the place we live in and the impact it has towards future generations. That is, to incorporate social and ecological consciousness into education, in contrast with the standardized mainstream that focuses on facts that are difficult for student to relate directly to their lives and the place they inhabit.

Personal Connection:

I am currently taking ETEC 565A along with ETEC 521 this term. The discussion of teaching of ethics came up in our forum, and I do not think any of us recall any teaching of that existing in our current mainstream curricular. And for the minimal that does exist, they are often taught out of context, which students tend to disregard and push away. I think “critical place-based education’ would be more fitting to teach social and ecological consciousness than the disconnected lessons that we have. Perhaps this is another great thing about stories and how they help us make sense of this world.

Exploration #20 – Reflection on Intergenerational Trauma: Healing as a Critical Intervention

Quinn, A. (2007). Reflection on intergenerational trauma: Healing as a critical intervention. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 3(4). 72 – 82. Retrieved from

This article reviews the intergenerational trauma that was brought about by residential schools in Canada. Statistics reveal that provincial and territorial care for aboriginal children is not effective in dealing with the intergenerational trauma, and that getting to the source by healing the traumatic experience is needed to break the trauma cycle.

Personal Connection:

This is a slight deviation from my exploration on storytelling, as I want to know what we are doing and why we need to take action on changing our curriculum to be more inclusive of indigenous students. I was interested to know what sort of resources and help we are currently providing indigenous children in dealing with the residential school legacy. After reading this article and connecting with other readings I have done, I believe that incorporation of indigenous ways of learning in our curriculum is a great way to bring about healing. A lot of the time mainstream curriculum lacks engagement with the emotional side of learning by focusing solely on scientific facts and carved-in-stone history. This offers very little to people in trauma. This, did not provide me with a solution, but it certainly gave me a reason to want to make changes to my own practice.


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