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Indigenous Traditional Practices In Education Essay

667 words - 3 pages

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 forth creativity in the classroom through their belief systems, values and experiences. However, assumptions that Indigenous knowledge lacks value cause teachers to believe that modern science practices are most accurate in regards to comprehension (Snively & Corsiglia, 2000, p.25). By introducing Indigenous perspectives in environmental education, students and teachers can implement traditional practices inside and outside of classrooms that are essential to aiding the environment. At present, Barnhardt & Kawagley (2005) explain existing issues with mainstream schooling failing to lack tolerance and recognition of Indigenous peoples’ existence and teachings in a...

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