Indigenous Traditional Practices in Education Essay

Indigenous Traditional Practices in Education Essay

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Indigenous peoples were forced to adopt the non-Indigenous culture through structures of domination that provided the system for downgrading Indigenous peoples and their traditional practices. The history of Indigenous people’s identity, culture, heritage and teachings, has been misconstrued and misrepresented over generations, creating the idealized image of Indigenous peoples as savages that need to be “civilized”. This originated from colonization affecting Indigenous peoples’ values on land and traditional practices. The Western perspective has been implemented in science-based approaches to aiding the environment. Due to mainstream society, education systems are science-based, while lacking the traditional knowledge of environmental management that Indigenous peoples practice. Based on historical issues in disregarding Indigenous practices, it is essential to question whether education systems are implementing sufficient Indigenous studies by introducing the Indigenous perspective on land, human connection to Mother Earth, and the traditional knowledge of managing the environment.

The traditional approaches influenced by Indigenous peoples are acknowledged, however, these practices are not appropriately embedded in education systems, specifically in the Western science curriculum. For instance, Snively and Corsiglia (2000) propose that Western society recognizes Indigenous studies in areas such as: art, music, literature, drama and political and economic systems. However, these practices are not of value in Western science. Introducing students to traditional practices is necessary if students are to learn to appreciate Indigenous teachings and perspectives on land. Snively & Corsiglia (2000) clarify that students bring fo...


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...s ensure respect for the community’s Aboriginal knowledge and begins to nurture students’ coming to knowing. (p. 343)
It is evident that education systems are lacking traditional knowledge causing the Western worldview of science-based knowledge to expand. The expansion of Western notions in managing the environment has pushed aside traditional knowledge as students have difficultly understanding the connection between humans and nature. Rist (2006) acknowledges that disregarding traditional knowledge as part of a science-based approach to the environment is causing disappearance in traditional knowledge.

In respects to traditionally managing the environment, educators can begin by introducing the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to students which can aid the environment and help create a balance between science-based approaches and traditional approaches.

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