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On reserve education : looking towards the future by connecting to the past Carr, Kailee Jul 31, 2008

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ON RESERVE EDUCATION: LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE BY CONNECTING TO THE PAST by KAILEE CARR BSc, The University of British Columbia, 2005 BEd, The University of British Columbia, 2006 A GRADUATING PAPER SUBMITIED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Curriculum Studies & Educational Administration and Leadership) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 2008 © Kailee Carr, 2008 TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE INTRODUCTION 3 A historical review of Indigenous education 4 TRANFORMATIONAL EDUCATION THROUGH HEALING 12 The Native Training Institute, an approach to healing and learning 13 COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATION THROUGH CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE CURRICULUM 19 An analysis of curricular practices 21 The new direction, a shift in curricular ideological values 25 The demand for culturally responsive content 29 A syllabus of correlation 33 Community-based education rooted in culturally responsive curriculum 35 The necessity of including spiritual elements within education 39 Oral stories, a distinctive approach to transmitting culture and sacred beliefs 40 Expanding the language of instruction 44 IMPLEMENATION OF INDIGENOUS EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES THROUGH ENHANCED EDUCATOR TRAINING AND SUPPORT 47 Exploring alternate perspectives 49 The richness of local educators 52 CONCLUSION 55 REFERENCES 57 2 INTRODUCTION My father's generation was a happy, singing people. They were a proud people. They were a strong and healthy people. They knew what they wanted and what was good for their own. The Indian aspired to a clean and wholesome mind and a staunch, fearless heart. He was at peace with his god and he was at peace with himself (Clutesi, 1994, p.9). The words of the late George Clutesi, a Tseshaht artist and storyteller, resonate deeply with me. Spending my early formative years in Ahousaht, a small First Nations reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island, I am aware of the cultural richness of my relations. The beat of drums, in unison, combined with the strong voices of intergenerational singers conveys a nation of people linked to their ancestors, the natural world and the Creator. When my community is immersed in song and dance at a potlatch or cultural ceremony, every person is connected and our Nation is sure and steady. The strength of my people is as powerful as the heartbeat of the drum. Educating youth traditionally paralleled the drum circle; it involved respecting the ancestors, mother earth and the Creator and required the effort of all generations. However, history reveals a break in this customary learning process. Residential schools abruptly altered this historic approach to teaching, and the effects of these institutions linger stilL Mi'kmaq scholar, Marie Battiste states "we need to take a look at where we have been and where we are going. First we must become painfully aware of what has happened to children and to Aboriginal people across Canada, and then we must seek to fmd ways to resolve those problems" (Battiste, 2000, p. 198). Without a doubt, the harm that has been inflicted upon the Indigenous populace must be recognized and support provided in order to renew the pulse of the drumbeating Nations. Chief Ron Ignace, of the Skeetchestn Indian Band from the Shuswap Nation articulates: 3 Education can be a weapon or a tool. In the past, it was used as a weapon that separated families and communities, and almost destroyed First Nations cultures and languages. Today, Aboriginal communities want to use education as a tool to rebuild their nations, to strengthen their culture and language (B.C. Human Rights Commission Report, 200 I b, p.ll). Through education, First Nations people are aiming to reclaim their ancestral teachings and blend the traditional Indigenous way of life with their modem reality. Indeed, this is a necessity in contemporary on reserve education as we must look towards the future by connecting to the past. This paper will explore the following three aspects in the journey towards on reserve educational reform, transformational education through healing, community-based education through culturally responsive curriculum, and implementation of Indigenous educational approaches through enhanced educator training and support. A historical review of Indigenous education Indigenous peoples have suffered many adverse effects resulting from colonialism. Marie Battiste (2000) imparts: The military, political, and economic subjugation of Aboriginal peoples has been well documented, as have social, cultural, and linguistic pressures and the ensuing detrimental consequences to First Nations communities, but no force has been more effective at oppressing First Nations cultures than the educational system. Under the subtle influence of cognitive imperialism, modem educational theory and practice have, in large part, destroyed or distorted the ways of life, histories, identities, cultures, and languages of Aboriginal peoples (p.193). Education played a major role in the disturbance of an entire peoples' way of life. Foreign educational institutions dislocated the cultural inheritance of generations of Aboriginal children, thus altering the ethos of Indigenaity. 4 Edgar H. Schein (1992) articulates that the cultural climate of a new institution is greatly shaped by the leaders, or founders, of the organization. "At a later stage climate will be a reflection and manifestation of cultural assumptions, but early in the life of a group it reflects only the assumptions of leaders" (p.230). In the case of Indigenous schooling, this is especially true. The government, in partnership with various churches, created the residential school system with a vision of colonization and assimilation. These schools represented solely the worldviews of the Europeans, emphasizing only colonial customs and values. Further, these institutions portrayed Indigenous reality as substandard, reflecting the desire, of the government and church, to alter rather than include the Aboriginal population's place within Canadian society. In 1874, a report was published, by the Province of Canada, wherein "clearly expressed is the perception of superiority of the European culture, the need ' ... to raise them [the Indians] to the level of the whites,' and the ever-increasing pressure to take control of land out of Indian hands" (Haig-Brown, 1988, p.29). The government utilized education, in the form of these mandatory residential schools, as a method to exert their power over the Aboriginal populace by seeking to manipulate and manage their identities. This educational methodology sought to control the Indigenous community's way of life by dictating how Aboriginal people should act, speak and think. The reasoning for this can be recognized by exploring the following statement, "what leaders consistently pay attention to communicates most clearly what their own priorities, goals, and assumptions are" (Schein, 1992, p. 237). By insisting on English language, imposing foreign religions and impressing an alien routine, the government of Canada overtly emphasized European 5 knowledge and lifestyle as superior to Indigenous values and traditions (NIB, 1972; RCAP, 1996; Battiste, 2000; BCHRC, 2001b). These educational practices reveal the true purpose of Indigenous schooling, eradication of Aboriginal culture through superseding European ideology. In addition to this damaging mandate, many residential schools exposed children to further harm by inflicting physical, sexual and emotion abuse. These exploitations injured countless students and resulted in intergenerational pain and suffering. The negative repercussions caused by this governmental education policy have affected generations of First Nations people. Indeed, residential schools "left a potent legacy of language and culture loss, sexual abuse, disruption of parenting knowledge, and erosion of self-esteem" (Marker, 200412005, p. 91). Although residential schools have been abolished, restricting conditions are still present in many on reserve schools. First Nations culture and language classes are often held separately, afforded only a fraction of the time and resources the government syllabus is allotted, and Indigenous ways of knowing are not adequately integrated into the mainstream curriculum presented in the classrooms (RCAP, 1996). Thereby, Aboriginal people continue to be regulated by the government through exclusion. Indigenous ways of knowing continue to be perceived as inferior to western thought and as such are essentially ignored in the provincial curriculum (RCAP, 1996). The very fact that First Nations world views are still disregarded in the provincial curriculum is evidence of its second-rate status. Presently, Aboriginal students remain regulated by omission through excluding Indigenous history, culture and thought from mainstream 6 educational discussion. Marie Battiste (2000) offers her insight into this practice, which she describes as cognitive imperialism: [It] is a form of cognitive manipulation used to disclaim other knowledge bases and values. Validated through one's knowledge base and empowered through public education, it has been the means by which whole groups of people have been denied existence and have had their wealth confiscated. Cognitive imperialism denies people their language and cultural integrity by maintaining the legitimacy of only one language, one culture and one frame of reference (p. 198). The Indigenous community is speaking out against cognitive imperialism, challenging these exclusionary practices, and insisting on educational control. In 1972, First Nations leaders demanded Indian control over Indian education (NID, 1972); however, the government has yet to fully relinquish their power over Aboriginal schooling (Kirkness, 1998). Ashforth and Mael point out that resistance is triggered by an apparent threat to one's identity (Ashforth and Mael, 1998). Current government-regulated learning institutions pose a danger to First Nations identity and therefore generate forceful resistance. The Assembly of First Nations recognizes the threat to the Aboriginal spirit inherent in government instituted education (NIB, 1972). This resistance is not just at the macro-political level, but is evident within the local First Nations population. Aboriginal students in British Columbia bear a 38% graduation rate, while non-Aboriginal students display a 77% graduation rate in the same school year (BCRRC, 2001 b, p.5). This statistic indicates that First Nations students are not completing their academic programs at comparable level with non-Aboriginal learners, which can be due in part to Aboriginal students resisting their current educational environments. This example is indicative of the motivation behind the Assembly of First Nations Indian control over Indian education petition. 7 Attaining educational sovereignty is not a simple process, it is complex as it involves historical, political, economical and societal facets. There has been significant conflict created in the struggles of Aboriginal people striving to achieve complete authority over Indigenous education. Mary Jo Hatch (2006) outlines the critical conception of power, control and conflict, emphasizing that "conflict is an inevitable consequence of capitalism and its resultant social and economic inequalities" (p. 252). This statement can be aptly applied in the context of the Assembly of First Nations' call for educational control. Individualism and capitalism have permeated the dominant mainstream learning institutions and this presents a major disturbance for societies that do not place high value on free enterprise and the competition inherent in the global economy, yet suffer the negative consequences of these ideologies. The effects of this are greatly felt in schools on reserve which experience many social and economic inequalities as compared to schools off reserve (RCAP, 1996). By the government withholding power from Indigenous people, these inequalities persist and the source of these disparities remains concealed. For example, many Aboriginal students' reading levels are below the provincial average (RCAP, 1996). The government's former funding policy for many on reserve independent schools is far below that of public schools (Morrow, 2007). This situation results in reduced educational conditions such as fewer teacher aides and less reading resources available to assist student learning. Thus, when students with learning difficulties do not get the support needed, the cycle of social and economic inequalities continues. Denying educational authority to Aboriginal people hinders the capacity building opportunities of Aboriginal communities. Donnellon and 8 Kolb (1997) reveal that by denying the less powerful the right to be heard and their opinions regarded in decision making, powerlessness will continue. They further go on to state that "people with power act to retain it", perceiving power sharing as a problem, viewing the situation as a form of power loss, and therefore aim to maintain authority (p.172). These circumstances may illuminate the underlining struggle between the Indigenous population demanding sovereignty and the government's hesitation to relinquish its control. However, the hierarchical relationship between the government and the Indigenous populace needs to be deconstructed to remove this discriminatory chain of command. Dwayne E. Heubner (1999) brings to light that "if man does not learn to converse with those who surround him and impinge upon him, then he must find other ways of dealing with them; either ignoring them or turning them into objects of use or control" (p.81). The history of Indigenous education has been one of government control and oppression, where Aboriginal people's voices were silenced and two-way conversation was absent. Presently, Indigenous communities are working to engage the government in fair dialogue; most of this discussion takes the shape of treaty negotiations. First Nations people are calling for educational control and many communities look to this change as a way to grow stronger as Nations. Cree educator Vema Kirkness (I 998b ) describes this new direction for Aboriginal education: In schools and other educational institutions under our authority, we have the right and the opportunity to put in place what we believe to be quality education for our people. We are in charge. We owe it to our people, after decades of oppressive church and government control, to release them from this bondage by creating the kind of education that will truly liberate us so we can have the independence once 9 enjoyed by our ancestors (p.ll). The Indigenous community is standing up against regulation and control, aiming for authority over their own learning and the right to guide their own future. First Nations leaders have the task of bringing to end an era of domination and opening conversation for a healthier relationship. Marie Battiste avows that "it becomes our greatest challenge and our honour to move beyond the analysis of naming the site of our oppression to act in individual and collective ways to effect change at many levels and to live in a good way" (Battiste, 2000, p. xxii). We must seek change and release the government from their position of oppressor so that Canadian society and the Indigenous populace can co-exist and live in a more humanitarian manner. Paulo Freire (1970) provides insight into this situation, Sooner or later being less human leads the oppressed to struggle against those who made them so. In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity become in turn oppressor of the oppressor, but rather restorers of the humanity of both ... the oppressors, who oppress, exploit and rape by virtue of their power, cannot fmd in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both (p.28). First Nations peoples have the strength to deconstruct the former hierarchical power structures, challenging the present power relations with the government in favor of a relationship of equality rather than disparity. In order for sincere discourse to commence, the current educational frameworks of power and control need be critiqued and questioned as to release the oppressive conditions and discontinue the cycle of assimilatory practices. Through breaking free of the previous power relations and welcoming positive interactions with Canadian society, the Aboriginal populace can 10 redefine their relations with the outside world. Through education, First Nations peoples can create improved connections with mainstream society while maintaining Aboriginal identity. Indigenous education is able to bridge these two contrasting ways of life by incorporating the best from both worlds, highlighting the strengths of each. Sami scholar Rauna Kuokkanen conveys the telling remarks of Luther Standing Bear, "while the white people had much to teach us, we had much to teach them, and what a school could have been established upon that idea?" (Kuokkanen, 2006, p.l 0 1). 11 TRANSFORMATIONAL EDUCATION THROUGH HEALING Indigenous people have endured and are striving to rebuild their communities by deconstructing the western paradigm. This path towards decolonization starts with the education of youth and necessitates community participation and decision-making. "The elders were very clear on this point. We must begin with the children" (Lane, Bopp & Bopp, 1984, p.2). Governing the development of their future generations involves Aboriginal communities gaining jurisdiction over the on reserve academic institutions, steering their own direction in educational transformation and building the capacity of their local communities. Michael Fullan describes capacity building, through education, as "a policy, strategy, or action taken that increases the collective efficacy of a group to improve student learning through new knowledge, enhanced resources, and greater motivation of people working individually and together" (Fullan, 2007, p. 58). Taking Fullan's words and interpreting them in the context of Aboriginal education, the first and foremost action to be implemented would be healing. A restorative approach to learning must be sought that seeks to support and make well students' spirit. The wellbeing of First Nations learners must be addressed in order to treat emotional barriers to learning and improve student achievement. First Nations communities are taking the steps towards healing the emotional wounds of the past. This process involves understanding the causes of this pain and releasing the negative feelings associated with these experiences. Indigenous scholar Michael Marker (2004/2005) describes the Coast Salish high school experience, In advancing the work of healing and revitalizing First Nations 12 communities, we need to understand the present conditions for Aboriginal teenagers and their families. We also must come to understand how these conditions have evolved from the political climate of the recent past (p.91). Exploring the history of colonization reveals oversights in the area of Indigenous education. Further, examining current educational practices brings to light areas for improvement. It is important to acknowledge the difficulties experienced by First Nations youth within the academic setting both past and present. By recognizing the vast impact that the government schooling policy has on Indigenous peoples, healing can begin. Further, by understanding the rationale behind these mandates, Aboriginal education can move in an alternative direction for healing and learning. Local community knowledge and traditions must be the heartbeat of the school. In order to move forward and gain strength as a Nation, the wisdom of the ancestors must be in focus when implementing a healing and learning pedagogy. An example of a Nation that has created a school system that reflects the educational values of their community is the Nisga'a people of the Nass River Valley, who have been one of the leaders in the area of Indigenous education in British Columbia. The Nisga'a Nation created and implemented a bilingual-bicultural curriculum that is reflective of the local community. This holistic approach to education, as "a total way of life", encompasses the leamer's entire being, including the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual realms with a curriculum that integrates both Nisga'a culture and language (McKay & McKay, 1987, p. 64) The Native Training Institute, an approach to healing and learning The Native Training Institute (NTI) developed a model for transformational education, blending First Nations wisdom with non-Native knowledge while allowing 13 healing and emotion to merge with learning. "The Medicine Wheel provided the NT! with a holistic philosophy for education that addressed the cognitive as well as the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms while respecting local culture and traditional knowledge" (Brown, 2006, p.1 04). The Medicine Wheel, which originates from the people of the Plains, is a symbol of the interconnectedness of the universe, valued for its ability to "help us see or understand things we can't quite see or understand because they are ideas and not physical objects" (Bopp, Bopp, Brown, & Lane, 1984, p.9). This ancient representation includes the four dimensions necessary for genuine learning, which are the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual elements. The Medicine Wheel contains the "four aspects of every person's nature ... reflected in the four cardinal points of the medicine wheel" (Bopp, Bopp, Brown, & Lane, 1984, p. 29). Diagram l: Medicine Wheel for "true learning". (Adapted from Brown, 2006, p.29). Envisioning the Medicine Wheel in the framework of education, it becomes apparent that learning cannot simply focus on the cognitive, or mental, as knowledge extends beyond the facts and figures within an academic syllabus. In fact, the teachings of the Medicine Wheel highlight that a true learner's position is in the center "connected equally to all 14 points" (Bopp, Bopp, Brown, & Lane, 1984, p. 40). This holistic approach to teaching is beneficial for Aboriginal communities as this traditional pedagogy establishes a safe and healthy space for learners to reflect on painful issues past and present that create obstacles to learning. These learning blockages are defmed as "qualities, personal and systematic, that prevented the students form learning" and encompass all the dimensions of the Medicine Wheel (Brown, 2006, p. 108). Realms Learning Blockages Physical .:. negative experiences and teachings about the Aboriginal physical presence combined to create a negative body awareness and feelings of physical shame . • :. invalidation of Aboriginal knowledge created a negative view of Aboriginal intelligence that contributed to a negative self-concept. Mental This created mental anxiety and left students conflicted about the validity of Aboriginal knowledge and doubting their own intelligence and academic ability . • :. conflict between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal knowledge belied feelings of cultural shame and fears that non-Aboriginal education was cultural suicide because of the lack of Aboriginal content. .:. residential and public school experiences invalidated Spiritual Aboriginal culture and spirituality, creating a negative self-image filled with spiritual/cultural pain arising from the conflict between Native spirituality and Christianity. . :. negative self-esteem based on the experience of emotional pain . Emotion This created a conflict between the positive emotions of love and hope and the negative emotions of hate and fear. Table I: Learning blockages in the four dimensions of learning. (Adapted from Brown, 2006, p.109). The above table provides an example of the learning blockages that may be present for Aboriginal learners; each realm of the Medicine Wheel is interconnected, and thus learning blockages are correlated. Indigenous education must address each dimension of 15 the Medicine Wheel as a learning blockage in one aspect of the circle will affect the other dimensions of the learners self. This process will require deliberation through the healing pedagogy of the Medicine Wheel to remove each of these barriers, permitting academic success. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel advocate an open and safe environment in which communication is fostered within schools allowing students to talk about their experiences. This dialogue allows learners to voice their feelings in a supportive atmosphere, creating a space for students' "healing-learning through the release of negative emotions" (Brown, 2006, p.112). NT! student Ross Albert recollects, There was a lot of pain. I wasn't the only one that had all of this pain and yet when we were sitting around laughing and talking you would think that they were okay, but really when you got to know (the students) there was a lot of hurt there. That was one of the things that I learned but I had to get past that before we could do anything" (Brown, 2006, p.112). The opportunity for student's to discuss personal suffering must be provided within on reserve academic institutions. This necessity will require additional educator training and support and every school should have counselors, knowledgeable about Indigenous issues and concerns, available to students. On reserve schools must be places where past assimilatory harms are recognized and Indigenous anguish validated so as to release the negative emotions and move beyond the legacies of the past. Aboriginal learning institutions must also include community members in the process of healing and learning. The Native Training Institute recognized that "for learning to occur healing is often necessary to address the multi generational trauma of colonization existent in Aboriginal students" (Brown, 2006, p. 107). Acknowledging the wounds of the past, it is evident that on reserve education must address community 16 healing. Although this process will look different among First Nations reserves, it must consider the hurt of each member of the tribe. Ray Barnhardt and Oscar Kawagley (1999) note: In education we tend to look for immediate solutions to problems that are often the product of long-term generational shifts, for which the solutions, too, must be understood at a multigenerationallevel (p.134). The effects of colonization and residential schools are intergenerational. The cycle of hurt does not stop with the abused, their offspring are linked with their pain. As such, support must not only be available to students but provided to their families as well. This is crucial. The vast experiences of children, youth, adults and elders must be regarded and education must extend into the community. On reserve schools must become community learning centers because "not only must the school program address the students per se, it must also reach out into the families, and into the economic and cultural life of the community" (Bopp, Bopp, & Lane, 1984, p.3). Indigenous schools must be the heart of the people as their future will be molded through Aboriginal education. Collective healing in our community of the pains of the past and present will shape the attitudes of the youth. They must understand their past and the context of their present to embark on a new vision of the future (Battiste, 2000, p.207). Collective healing entails including each member of the First Nations tribe and requires extensive community input. Thus, the entire village must be welcomed to participate in the healing process and to engage in redefining Indigenaity in the modem world. Many reserves are taking steps to include every community member in the learninglhealing process, gathering at the local school and holding talking circles for adults and elders. United, Aboriginal generations can embark on a journey together to 17 release harmful emotions and emerge from sorrow. Through traditional pedagogy, like the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, transformational education has the ability to build the capacity of First Nations communities by using healing and learning processes that strengthen their identities and expand their possibilities. Lee Brown (2006) describes the aspects involved in the Native Training Institute's traditional approach to healing: Elements of transformational healing through use of a cultural pedagogy ~ use of the Medicine Wheel as a model of holistic education ~ development and strengthening of identity, including the creation of positive self-esteem, self-concept, self-image, body awareness, and a sense of self-determination ~ development of competences relevant to the lives and employment of the students, including emotional competence ~ presence of Aboriginal knowledge including ceremonial and oral knowledge ~ acceptance, strengthening, and integration of Aboriginal values throughout the curriculum ~ presence of personal and community ideals in the curriculum ~ orientation of the curriculum toward a higher level of personal and community vision ~ integration of balance and harmony in the curricula that was reflected in the students' work, culture, and personal identities (p.IIS). Exploring the above features to healing, it becomes clear that curriculum plays a vital role if education is truly to be used as a vessel for healing the human spirit. Through acknowledging the wisdom of the elders and honouring ancestral approaches to Aboriginal education, transformational education can help with the renewal of individual learners as well as the revival of Indigenous culture. 18 COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATION THROUGH CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE CURRICULUM Community-based education encompasses several interwoven beliefs. An introduction to this concept of community-based education is that it "begins with people and their immediate reality. Above all, it allows them to become meaningfully involved in shaping their own futures through the schooL .. people renegotiate and reconstruct the ways in which a school relates to its community's interests" (Corson, 1999, p. 10). The founding facet to this view of education is the direct involvement of the local populace to the extent that the resident community members transfonn the schooling institution in such a way that it reflects regional knowledge, values and beliefs. Vema Kirkness describes this first fundamental step towards Indigenous education, "Our new "independence" education must begin with us, our people, our communities. It must celebrate our cultures, our history, the true account of the way it was, and the way it is. From there we can build on how it should be and how it will be" (Kirkness, 1998, p.ll). Thus, Indigenous education must begin with local decision-making regarding the direction of Aboriginal schooling. Chickasaw scholar Eber Hampton (1995), maintains the need for this local control in Indigenous education, Local control is a defining characteristic of Indian education, not just a philosophical or political good. There can be no true Indian education without Indian control. Anything else is white education applied to Indians. Indian control is dependent on a specific Indian community (p. 24). The requirement for local community control is explicit as numerous restrictions and limitations regarding Aboriginal education stem from foreign management dictating on 19 reserve schooling conditions (AFN, 1988; RCAP, 1996; BCHRC, 2001b). First Nations tribes must have the authority to put into place a community-based education which is consistent with traditional approaches to learning. The essence of Aboriginal education is explained by Gregory Cajete (1999), who reveals a curricular focus that is distinct in many ways from mainstream educational objectives: Indigenous education is an education that focuses on the core aspects of human biophilia. It is an education about community and spirit whose components include: the recognition of interdependence; the use of linguistic metaphors, art, and myth; a focus on local knowledge and direct experience with nature; orientation to place; and the discovery of "face, heart, and foundation" in the context of key social and environmental relationships (p.189). Many on reserve schools implement a government created syllabus wherein course content is dictated solely by the government. Further, the academic subject matter presented does not reflect Indigenous culture and ways of knowing (BCHRC, 2001b; RCAP, 1996). The Aboriginal community has also recognized that Indigenous culture cannot be effectively transmitted in an on reserve school that presents a foreign educational philosophy as this assimilationist learning environment puts their culture at risk. Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, co-creators of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network, discern "Indigenous views of the world and approaches to education have been brought into jeopardy with the spread of western social structures and institutionalized forms of cultural transmission" (Barnhardt and Kawagley 1999, p.117). Foreign learning institutions pose a threat to Indigenous society, notably these 20 schools deeply affected the self-identity of First Nations peoples through cultural omission. Alvesson and Willmott (2002) state: The reflexive construction of self-identity is assembled out of cultural raw material: language, symbols, sets of meanings, values, etc. that are derived from countless numbers of interactions with others and exposure to messages produced and distributed by agencies (schools, mass media) (p.626). These observations provide a clear picture, applied to the context of Indigenous schooling, of how public education can influence the construction of self-identity. First Nations children must attend schools which present foreign knowledge and beliefs, and disregard Indigenous wisdom, values and traditions. These conditions greatly obstruct the formation of a positive and distinct Indigenous self-identity in Aboriginal children. The First Nations community must be involved, included and respected in the teaching of future generations as the current educational practices do not clearly reflect the language, beliefs or values of the society in which it is operating. It is the task of the local Aboriginal communities to reshape these approaches to teaching to better fit Indigenous reality. Barnhardt and Kawagley (1999) assert that, When examining educational issues in indigenous settings, we must consider the cultural and historical context, particularly in terms of who is determining what the rules of engagement are to be, and how those rules are to be implemented. As indigenous people have begun to reassert their aboriginal rights to self-determination and self-government and assume control over various aspects of their lives, one of the first tasks they have faced has been to reorient the institutional infrastructures and practices that were established by their former overseers to make them more suitable to their needs as a people with their own worldview, identity, and history (p.138). It is clear that current educational practices must be scrutinized to identify incompatible teaching methodologies beginning with the present curriculum. Selected readings have contributed significantly to my study regarding First Nations curricular reform, 21 specifically these include the compilations of curricular theorists, matched with contributions from a variety of Indigenous scholars as well as the Assembly of First Nations. An analysis of curricular practices A critical examination of the current government created curriculum is necessary and alternatives sought in hopes that an improved syllabus can be followed that celebrates Indigenous history and integrates local First Nations culture and teachings. Curriculum theorist William F. Pinar offers this definition for institutional curriculum, "in one important sense, school curriculum is what older generations choose to tell younger generations. Whatever the school subject, the curriculum is historical, political, racial, gendered, phenomenological, autobiographical, aesthetic, theological, and international" (Pinar, 2004, p.186). At first glance, the educational plan seems valid and straightforward, the values, traditions and ways of thinking of one generation are compiled and the school system is charged with passing on this wisdom to future descendants. However, Pinar emphasizes that there are many aspects to curriculum and thus it becomes apparent to inquire how these facets are incorporated into the national curriculum as well as who had input in this process, as this filtered information will be passed on to generations of learners. It is important to recognize that, in the case of on reserve schooling, this circumstance involves a European generation projecting their knowledge and biases unto a generation of Indigenous learners. Marie Battiste explains, "Eurocentric knowledge, drawn from a limited patriarchal sample remains as distant today to women, Indigenous peoples, and cultural minorities as did the assimilationist 22 curricula of the boarding school days. For Indigenous peoples, our invisibility continues, while Eurocentric education perpetuates our psychic disequilibrium" (Battiste, 1998, p.21). This exclusionary custom permeates many on reserve educational settings as evident by examining mainstream curricula. Subjecting the curriculum to scrutiny reveals that not only does the conventional academic institution disregard Indigenous viewpoints, but it projects the illusion of European supremacy. The BC Human Rights Commission's Report (2001 b) reveals that: The curriculum does not accurately portray Canada's history with respect to Aboriginal people. Specifically, research shows that school curriculum in much of Canada is based on the assumption of European superiority. This assumption influences the selection of content that is exposed to our children (p.18). Sami scholar Rauna Kuokkanen explains how Indigenous epistemes remain unacknowledged in the public educational system through the hegemonic practices of society, as it "constructs and represents the interests of the dominant group(s) as the interests of everyone in society" (Kuokkanen, 2007, p. 71). Rauna explains that these views become accepted as universal thereby hindering the recognition of other epistemes or limiting them to a status inferior to Western doctrine (Kuokkanen, 2007). As a result, the cultural "other" is effectively regulated by omission, having been denied dialogue in educational discourse. This same curriculum is compulsory for government funded schools located on reserve in British Columbia; consequently, Aboriginal children are exposed to a viewpoint that does not take into account Indigenous perspectives but worse regards them as substandard. The harmful effects of this stance are apparent in the 23 academic hardships experienced by First Nations students. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples reports that, The majority of Aboriginal youth do not fInish high school. They leave with neither the credentials for jobs in the mainstream economy nor a grounding in their languages and cultures. They are very likely to have experienced the ignorance and hatred of racism, which leaves them profoundly demoralized or angered (RCAP, 1996). Although there are a variety of complex factors that also contribute to this situation, it is clear that Indigenous students are not successful in the current schooling system and curriculum plays a negative role in this. Chickasaw scholar Eber Hampton brought on the appreciation that graduation for any Aboriginal student is "a mark of human strength and resilience" as "Indian children face a daily struggle against attacks on their identity, their intelligence, their way of life, their essential worth. They must continually struggle to fmd self-worth, dignity, and freedom in being who they are" (Hampton, 1995, p.35). It is unmistakable that change is necessary as a unilateral curriculum is not appropriate for reserve schools that are immersed in a different culture. The danger of continuing with the current system is that students will not succeed fully in an environment that does not recognize Indigenaity as valid and appreciated. In fact, this cannot occur using the present narrow curriculum as William Pinar asserts "tendencies toward curriculum standardization mirror tendencies toward cultural homogenization" (Pinar, 2004, p.94). This statement clarifIes the motivation of First Nations leaders to insist on curricular transformation (AFN, 1988), as cultural homogenization is not an educational direction Indigenous people desire. Truly this situation must be resolved in order to recognize, respect and protect First Nations voice within the school system. This will involve rethinking the current curriculum, materials and resources, as well as teaching methods 24 and practices in the effort to pursue a healthier alternative for Indigenous learners. A critical scrutiny of the present educational system is necessary to identify what is not appropriate for the Aboriginal community. Cree educator Vema Kirkness (1998) maintains, We must begin by disestablishing many of our existing practices based on theories of the society that has dominated us for so many years. Then we must look within ourselves, within our communities and our nations to determine which values are important to us, the content of what should be learned, and how it should be learned. This new direction must relate to theories fIrmly based on the traditions of our people (p.ll). Creating a culturally safe and relevant school demands the deconstruction of culturally intolerant philosophy, in the pursuit of a more inclusive learning atmosphere. The new direction, a shift in curricular ideological values The demand for curricular transformation, by Indigenous people, for schools on reserve is evident and generally not contested by the general public. Because the majority of students attending band-controlled schools are Aboriginal, the Canadian populace is not directly affected by this demand for a culturally enriched curriculum. However, Canada' s full history in relation to Indigenous people has long been untold within the public school system. Of great consequence is the necessity for curricular reform in public schools in order to fully acknowledge Indigenous people, in connection with Canada's past, as well as recognize and respect Aboriginal views as unique, valid and equal. This need is important to mention but will not be explored within this paper as this subject continues to evoke great reflection and offers the opportunity for further research 25 on my part. Instead, a new direction for on reserve curriculum is sought; one that includes both Indigenous perspectives yet also considers the present mainstream curriculum. Curriculum theorist Dwayne Heubner (1999) provides insight into the curricular philosophy of the present school system with the concept of valued activity: The central notion of curricular thought can be that of 'valued activity' . All curricular workers attempt to identify and/or develop 'valued educational activity'. The most effective move from this central notion is the clarification of the value frameworks or systems which may be used to value educational activity ... they may be labeled technical, political, scientific, esthetic and ethical (p.l 06). These five values are reflective of the curriculum ideology present in institutional schooling. Huebner's value framework is summarized in Table 2: Technical Political Scientific Esthetic Ethical has a arises due to "produces has "symbolic considers the "means-ends the educator's new meaning" as well "encounter rationality "position of knowledge as "the element of between man and that power and with an psychical man" utilizing approaches control" used empirical distance" and "metaphysical and an economIc to influence basis" ''wholeness and perhaps religious model" others design" language" Table 2: Valued educational activity's framework (Adapted from Huebner, 1999, p.l06). Huebner points out that "current curricular ideology reflects, almost completely, a technical value system. It has a means-ends rationality that approaches an economic model" (Huebner, 1999, p.106). Curricular philosophy is deeply rooted in the values and goals of society, as Heubner (1999) explains: Technical valuing and economic rationality are valid and necessary modes of thought in curriculum. The school does serve a technical function in society by conserving, developing, and increasing human resources which are essential for the maintenance and improvement 26 of the society (p.l 07). Huebner emphasizes the reality of the existing curricular value system in schools, which places the greatest emphasis on a technical philosophy, accompanied by the political and scientific. This prominence reveals the extent to which the powers that be view these particular values as more beneficial to society. This notion is understandable as western civilization celebrates capitalism, this free enterprise system is supported and sustained through a means-end, business mode of thought; utilizing political and scientific value activities reinforces the means-ends rationality of trade and industry. As a result, the contributions of esthetic and ethical valued activities are minimal and of less regard, which may explain the "insignificance and inferior quality of much teaching today" (Huebner,1999,p.lll). Deeply rooted in local knowledge and connected with their natural surroundings, First Nations society values differ from Canadian society; thus, a more holistic curricular ideology is honoured. Gregory Cajete (1994) explains Indigenous educational epistemology: Historically [education] occurred in a holistic social context that developed the importance of each individual as a contributing member of the social group. Tribal education sustained a wholesome life process. It was an educational process that unfolded through mutual, reciprocal relationships between one's social group and the natural world. This relationship involved all dimensions of one's being, while providing both personal development and technical skills through participation in community life (p.26). It is clear, to non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal scholars alike, that the societal goals of Indigenous people are in contrast with the Canadian population. As such, a curricular ideology that heavily favors an economic system is in contrast with Indigenous ways of 27 life, as this business-orientated approach to education does not respect the collective but promotes financial growth often at the expensive of the afflicted individual and the exploited land. Most First Nations people who attend on reserve schools reside on their reservation, many of which are very isolated from Canadian cities or towns, and within these villages the focus on place and community is very strong. Hence, traditional education focuses on the tribe as well as their connections to the land in which they directly reside. However, traditional place-based teachings are not a part of the current curriculum as Gregory Cajete (1999) points out: Teaching about place .. .is not the intent of contemporary mainstream curricula, most of which are designed to condition students to view the natural world as a collection of objects that can be manipulated through science, technology, and human economic interests. Essentially, modem education conditions us for "consumer consciousness" which in turn supports the notion that land without modem human habitation is devoid of real value and is therefore "empty" territory that becomes valuable only when it is bought, sold, developed, and inhabited. In contrast, indigenous education is based on a recognition that human interactions with places give rise to and define cultures and community (p.193). It is clear that the conventional curriculum is inappropriate for Indigenous education given that Aboriginal peoples are less concerned about a global market directed approach to education as individualism, competition and consumerism are notions that are not as highly regarded in Aboriginal communities. Eber Hampton confirms this reasoning, ''the competitive success of the individual is an implicit value of Western schools and, as such, is in direct conflict with the Indian value of group success through individual achievement" (Hampton, 1995, p.21). Even though there is interaction between the societies, the value system of the Canadian populace is fundamentally different from that of Indigenous peoples, hence, a harmonizing curricular ideology must be sought for schools on reserve. Huebner offers an alternative to the current schooling practices, "the 28 proposition may be put forth that educational activity in classrooms will be richer and more meaningful if all five [value] categories are brought to bear" (Huebner, 1999, p.lll). Therefore, Aboriginal education should incorporate technical, political and scientific valued activities but as Huebner points out there is a profound advantage to integrating esthetic and ethical valuing; additionally, incorporating esthetic and ethical pursuits is emphasized by Indigenous scholars. There are recognized value systems for Aboriginal education; Ray Barnhardt and Vema Kirkness (1991) summarize the wisdom of Indigenous researcher Eber Hampton, who identified twelve values for Aboriginal education: o Spirituality - an appreciation for spiritual relationships. o Service - the purpose of education is to contribute to the people. o Diversity - Indian education must meet the standards of diverse tribes and communities. o Culture - the importance of culturally determined ways of thinking, communicating and living. o Tradition - continuity with tradition. o Respect - the relationship between the individual and the group recognized as mutually empowering. o History - appreciation of the facts of Indian history, including the loss of the continent and continuing racial and political oppression. o Relentlessness - commitment to the struggle for good schools for Indian children. o Vitality - recognition of the strength of Indian people and culture. o Conflict - understanding the dynamics and consequences of oppression. o Place - the importance of sense of place, land and territory. o Transformation - commitment to personal and societal change (p. 5). This list of educational standards provides insight into the priorities of Aboriginal peoples concerning education. There are parallels to Huebner's value system where esthetic and ethical categories are concerned. However, it is notable that the technical, political, and scientific values are not the predominant ideology in Indigenous education. Ultimately, a balance is optimal as Huebner confmns that simply focusing on a few values greatly 29 limits the instructional capacity of the educator in regards to the individual's holistic development (Huebner, 1999). Curricular ideology in on reserve schools must respect the Indigenous value systems; beyond this, educational content must be created that is more culturally responsive. The demand for culturally responsive content Huebner asserts that culture and society directly influence curriculum, "curricular specialists have proposed at least three major designs or foci for the curriculum ... the individual, the society, and the culture" (Huebner, 1999, pA4). This statement emphasizes for me that curriculum for schools on reserve should be revised in order to take into account the culture and society they are operating in, and must be immersed in culturally responsive content. Indeed, the Assembly of First Nations specifies the need for curricula that will "reinforce Indian identity" and "provide training necessary for making a good living in modem society" (NIB, 1972, p.3). It is important to instill Indigenous knowledge and traditions early as to provide a foundation for Aboriginal identity that is distinct and cherished. After the child has explored his or her Indigenous heritage and is firmly rooted in culture he or she should be encouraged to consider alternative ways of knowing, to engage with the world through different lenses. Huebner contends that viewing knowledge through different lenses will expand children's awareness about the world by enabling them to view it through wide-ranging perspectives, "[a] means of freeing the child from the enslaving possibilities of knowledge is to help the child approach the world through numerous screens or pairs of spectacles" (Huebner, 1999, pAl). Indigenous students must not be confined to learning 30 through the lens of the government but should be exposed to their traditional knowledge first, instilling cultural pride. With a strong foundational heritage, First Nations students can be introduced to alternative perspectives which will prepare them for participation in Canadian society while allowing them the freedom to maintain their cultural identity, an aspect that has been previously absent in the education of Indigenous youth. Huebner (1999) expands on the different ways of knowing and how they should be discovered: It is, perhaps, unwise to speak of science or social studies in the primary or intermediate grades. Rather the child is introduced to the ways of nature and the ways ofpeople .. .It is not only the scientist who explores the world of nature or people, and who expresses that which he finds. So does the poet, the musician, the artist, the dancer, the philosopher. As the child begins to recognize the values and uses of scientific ways of knowing and of poetic and artistic ways of knowing, then specialization may occur and the child may take on and polish the spectacles of the scientist, the artist, and the poet (p.42). Children must be able to engage their curiosity about the world around them, and this curiosity will be most felt within their immediate environment. As such, Aboriginal education must begin with an Indigenous foundation and then provide learners to wonder about other areas of study, highlighting the interconnectedness of the universe. Indigenous scholars recognize this situation, Barnhardt and Kawagley (1999) state that: To bring significance to learning in indigenous contexts, the explanations of natural phenomena should be cast first in Native terms to which students can relate, and then explained in western terms ... to illustrate how the modem explanation adds to the traditional understanding (and vice versa). All learning should start with what the student and community know and are using in everyday life. The Native student will become more motivated to learn when the subject matter is based on something useful and suitable to the livelihood of the community and is presented in a way that reflects the interconnectedness of all things (p.119). Truly, Indigenous education must begin immersed in the cultural milieu of the Aboriginal people. The necessity for this is best described in the following statement by Huebner 31 "knowledge and learning alone lead to manipulation and control-wonder and knowledge and learning lead to the possibility of faith and love" (Huebner, 1999, p.8). For students on reserve, this translates that Aboriginal children are encouraged to connect with their Indigenous heritage and learn about their people's knowledge and traditions, as this is their reality. As the students grow in age, their relationship with their community and culture matures; students can then wonder about others with self-respect and love for the world around. Marie Battiste states "the purpose of education is to transmit culture to new generations" (Battiste, 2000, p.196), and curriculum is the educational scaffold for imparting this knowledge and identity unto young learners. Thus, curriculum must be cultivated by the collective. James B. Macdonald explains the importance of social conditions in education "societies and cultures provide frameworks for the development of human beings. They teach the individual how to act, how to symbolize and conceptualize, and how to perceive himself and his environment" (Macdonald, 1999, p.19). Having been provided the opportunity to understand their surroundings, the students' bond with their society is formed, only then can Aboriginal students be presented with other ways of knowing to expand their worldviews. Hence, instead of learning about the outside world through the lens of institutionalized European superiority, Indigenous students can be encouraged to explore another population with a fondness for learning paired with cultural self-esteem. Huebner (1999) describes the benefits to this experience, By conversing with a variety of people who use somewhat different conceptual schemes, the individual is faced with the necessity of being 32 flexible in his own conceptualization of the world. By talking with the poet, playwright, artist, theologian, and scientist, he recognizes that no single knowledge system gives adequate form to all that man faces; but that each is a tool to be used effectively at certain times. Thus he is discouraged from the reification of a particular set of concepts and freer to use all of them (p.84). Equipped with a variety of worldviews, First Nations people can transform their relationships with the outside world as they are "free from the hardening of the categories which plagues the prejudiced individual" (Huebner, 1999, p.84). Through education, Aboriginal people can become empowered and strive to shape their new reality while maintaining cultural identity. In this manner a more positive relationship can be founded between the Indigenous community and Canadian society, without the influence of the narrow knowledge structures and negative power differentials present within the current schooling system. The Assembly of First Nations (1988) supports this notion maintaining: Strong cultural values, First Nations identity in students, and mainstream academic and technical education are not incompatible or contradictory, but in fact the former enhances one's capacity to deal with and master the latter. With a solid grounding in one's own culture and positive identity, students become much higher achievers in all areas of education and life (p.3). A syllabus of correlation Throughout education it is essential to foster student curiosity about the entire world, conveying all the different modes of thought, whether it is the scientist, poet, capitalist, naturist, or artist frame of reference. It is important not to place greater emphasis on a single perspective as to impede curiosity for the "other". Huebner (1999) 33 illustrates the current state of elementary curriculum and the consequences of this situation: It is, frequently, a program by which we filter out the child's curiosity toward and love for the world, and hence filter out the responsibility for it. We replace curiosity with a more or less objective, stereotyped, unenthusiastic understanding of the world and its people. Enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, love, all qualities which lead to responsibility, are too frequently considered dangerous emotions because we don't know how to help from them. We prefer the neat, well organized, and controlled response which we associate with the objective scientist (p.l1). Huebner indicates that filtering out a child's wonder for the interrelated world diminishes their responsibility towards all things. This situation is unacceptable as traditional Indigenous teachings emphasize the interconnection of the universe and stress accountability for one's actions with respect to the environment and other beings. Barnhardt and Kawagley (1999) maintain, For a Native student imbued with an indigenous, experientially grounded, holistic perspective, typical approaches to teaching can present an impediment to learning, to the extent that they focus on compartmentalized knowledge with little regard for how academic disciplines relate to one another or to the surrounding universe (p.120). There is a place within the educational context for objective scientific thought, equally so there is a place for emotional expression and exploring the relationships present in the universe. Similar to the need for a wide-ranging curricular ideology, it is essential for evenly balanced prominence amongst subject matter, too often the arts and humanities overlooked as legitimate topics of study. James Macdonald (1995) offers an explanation to this phenomenon, The humanities, the arts, literature, philosophy, and some aspects of social studies have either been downgraded because they cannot easily be included in the rhetoric of the ideology of achievement, or they have dehumanized themselves in order to specify bits and pieces of measurable substance and in the process have lost their unique potential of man (p.55). 34 The humanities promote the holistic development of students; this is a valuable, but often less-regarded, component of education. As Macdonald mentions, the arts cannot simply conform to the prominent technical value systems. Measurable objectives and tangible learning are conceptions of technical reasoning as teaching outcomes should be detectable to allow for assessment of knowledge. However, traditional academic growth, in the sense of standardized testing, is not the sole purpose of education. The Assembly of First Nations (1988) calls for a shift towards the humanities declaring that: A culturally appropriate and value-based approach to education must be developed. More conceptual and less analytical teaching methods should be employed; dialogue with less lecturing; creative thinking with less memory work; and hands on experiential methods not mere book learning need to be implemented (p.3). The direction sought for schools on reserve is one that moves away from the traditional technical methods of instruction towards the more esthetic and ethical framework that the humanities celebrate. This value shift must foster curiosity about the world through exploration, creativity and dialogue as to honour the Indigenous educational value priorities. Community-based education rooted in culturally responsive curriculum Community-based education is founded on local control and based on a supportive cultural environment for students; these fundamental conditions facilitate the creation and implementation of a learning format that is culturally-responsive. Presenting a curriculum, in the Aboriginal academic setting that is inclusive and relevant is a cornerstone for Indigenous education (Cajete, 1994; Hampton, 1995; Battiste, 2000; Smith, 2002; Barnhardt & Kawagley, 2005). This concept is reverberated during the 35 recent proceedings of the National Policy Roundtable on Aboriginal education in Kelowna as Henchey (2005) states: It is vital for the culture of learning that the school reflects the community, and that the community and its people see themselves reflected in the school. The community is a source of both knowledge and trust; elders are sources of knowledge, leaders in this culture of learning; parents must be welcome in the school, participate in the learning activities of the school and know their contributions are valued. This means that the school must have a culture or ethos that values Aboriginal culture, one that includes Aboriginal ideas, languages and rituals in its curriculum, and one that recognizes different ways oflearning in its practices (p. 23). Place-based learning is a concept that utilizes a culturally responsive curriculum, honouring a community-based approach to education. Place-based education is an alternate approach to learning that is culturally appropriate for First Nations society. Place-based methodology focuses on community experience and connects the learner with their local ecology. It is important to highlight that place-based teaching starts with the participation of community elders. Elders are the people that schools must reach out to first for input and direction regarding this culturally responsive mode of learning. Vema Kirkness outlines that, "If we sincerely believe that our traditions are important to us, we have no other recourse but to go to the elders. I firmly believe that we must know the past in order to understand the present so that we can plan, wisely, for the future" (Kirkness, 1998, p.13). The ancestral knowledge of Indigenous people was historically transmitted through direct community interactions involving the spoken word of elders. Place-based education provides a space for Elder participation in the academic setting as the curriculum is centered on local community knowledge. 36 Professor Gregory Smith (2002) describes this place-based approach to education by highlighting five key features: ~ Teachers and students turn to phenomena immediately around them as the foundation for curriculum development. Using these experiences as a base, they can then examine more distant and abstract knowledge from other places; ~ There is an emphasis on learning experiences that allow students to become the creators of knowledge rather than the consumers of knowledge created by others. This is what good graduate school education encourages, and there is no reason to deny younger students similar opportunities; ~ Students' questions and concerns playa central role in determining what is studied. Student ownership and engagement are much more likely to emerge when the students have had the chance to participate in the creation of their own learning agendas; ~ Teachers in such settings act as experienced guides, co-learners, and brokers of community resources and learning possibilities. Their expertise lies not so much in their stored knowledge -although this is important - as in their capacity to help students acquire the skills and dispositions of effective learners; ~ The wall between school and community becomes much more permeable and is crossed with frequency. Community members can take an active role in the classroom, and students can play an active role in the community (p.593). This place-based discourse amplifies the role of the immediate community and landscape in the teaching process as well as reinforcing an interactive approach to learning. This learning format is inclusive of cultural content, and provides a space for such things as spiritual dialogue, traditional storytelling and language immersion. Ray Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley explain the significance of place-based education for Indigenous peoples; "The importance of linking education to the 37 physical and cultural environment in which students and schools are situated has special significance in Indigenous settings, where people have acquired a deep and abiding sense of place and relationship to the land in which they have lived for millennia" (Barnhardt & Kawagley, 2005, p.19). Place-based education looks to regional ecology and historical connections to the land for the basis of its curricular focus. By recognizing the intricate relationships between humans and their environment, Aboriginal peoples acknowledge the interrelations present in the universe and as such understand that humans have a responsibility to respect and maintain the ecosystem as we depend on it for survival. As such Indigenous epistemes recognize that living life in a good way consists of more than human-human interactions. Tom Happynook, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, relates: When we talk about indigenous cultural practices we are in fact talking about responsibilities that have evolved into unwritten tribal laws over millennia. These responsibilities and laws are directly tied to nature and are a product of the slow integration of cultures within their environment and the ecosystems. Thus, the environment is not a place of divisions but rather a place of relations, a place where cultural diversity and biodiversity are not separate but in fact need each other" (Kuokkanen, 2007, p. 41). The discussion of collective relationships is a critical element that the present global, capitalist-directed focus to education fails to adequately address. The entire person must be educated and not confined to the limiting perspectives of the mainstream technical value system, which highlights an economic approach to learning while overlooking the emotional, spiritual and cultural elements. Indeed, the traditional teachings of the Medicine Wheel stress that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements are all equally essential in ''true learning" (Bopp, Bopp, Brown, & Lane, 1984, 38 p. 29). However, the current curriculum does not have room for such things as spirituality or human connections with animals and nature, all of which are integral parts of First Nations society. Huebner's words parallel this reality, "our habits do not include thinking about how the possibilities of the natural world intertwine with ours, or how we might carry on 'conversations' with non-human 'others'" (Huebner, 1999, p.409). Creating a curriculum that takes into account professional content standards for particular subjects yet integrates First Nations values and traditions, particularly the spiritual connection to the Earth, will enrich Aboriginal students' learning experiences. The Aboriginal education philosophy stresses that "education must be addressed culturally and holistically. Learning must be associated with spiritual, physical, and emotional growth, as well as academic growth" (AFN, 1988, p.3). The Indigenous community is in the healing process, thus a more wholesome education is needed that restores and strengthens the individual's soul. Vital to this process are two themes often omitted from public education, cultural and spiritual development. Ingrained within First Nations culture is the spiritual connection to one's place, as there is a sacred relationship between humans and the ocean, land, plants and animals (Cajete, 1994). The necessity of including spiritual elements within education Education has become a thing, a process removed form the ordinary ways ofliving in community. Lost is the awareness that education is the dialectic between individual and community. Lost is the awareness that educational content is an aspect of community life (Huebner, 1999, p.328). Huebner's words highlight the fact that education is rather detached from society; this is especially true of Aboriginal communities, which do not have authority over educational 39 practices. Schooling on reserve must be reflective of the community in which it is operating; as such, it is necessary that the subject matter present in Aboriginal villages be representative of Indigenous existence. The government has chosen to forgo the spiritual component of life in the educational setting; withdrawing from the exploration of life's meaning opting instead for dialogue concerning behavior and control (Huebner, 1999, p.340). This should not be the situation for Indigenous education, as the spiritual element is deeply rooted in Aboriginal culture (Hampton, 1995, p.19). It is important to acknowledge that "talk of the 'spirit' and the 'spiritual' in education need not, then, be God talk ... rather the talk is about lived reality, about experience and the possibility of experiencing" (Huebner, 1999, p.344). There are diverse religious beliefs among reservations, so spiritual in this context is not in connection with God but relates the Indigenous lived reality. Peter Knudtson and David Suzuki (1992) offer the following insight: Native wisdom tends to see the entire natural world as somehow alive and animated by a single, unifying life force, whatever its local Native name . .. It sees spirit, however one defmes that term, as dispersed throughout the cosmos or embodied in an inclusive, cosmos- sanctifying divine being. Spirit is not concentrated in a single, monotheistic Supreme Being . . . It regards the human obligation to maintain the balance and health of the natural world as a solemn spiritual duty that an individual must perform daily (p.13). Eber Hampton further asserts the importance of recognizing interrelated life-force within the universe "the fIrst standard of Indian education is spirituality. At its centre is respect for the spiritual relationships that exist between all things" (Hampton, 1995, p.19). These spiritual connections, between human beings and the land, animals and other humans, are not heavily focused on within the current schooling system. In fact, the curricular ideology limits the opportunity for discussing human correlations, as the concept of a 40 business approach to learning negates human relationships with others. The world economy generates profit at the expense of the earth, the animals and even through the exploitation of humans; consequently, the bond between humans and their surroundings is not treasured and respected, as such it is not a cooperative or sustainable one. However, in Indigenous society these connections are central to life's worth; Cajete points out that in Aboriginal culture "learning about the nature of the spirit in relationship to community and the environment was considered central to learning the full meaning oflife" (Cajete, 1984, p.44). There can be no question that the curricular philosophy, for schools on reserve, must be transformed as to include the spiritual element, and framed by ancestral wisdom through Elder accounts. Oral stories, a distinctive approach to transmitting culture and sacred beliefs Storytelling highlights the connections humans have with their surroundings; further, narratives about the relationships of humans with the earth and animals contain symbolic meanings that form Indigenous identity, linking the past with the future (Hampton, 1995). These symbols are similar to those of religious chronicles in that ''these are the symbols of the spirit and the spiritual and how life as lived is, and can be, informed, reformed, and transformed" (Huebner, 1999, p.34S). Stories encompassing moral values, relationships with land and animals, connection to elders and ancestors as well as transformation of the spirit are an integral part of Indigenous society (Hampton, 1999). This collection of knowledge is traditionally passed down orally and as such is specific to the community in such a way that a generic textbook is insufficient in communicating this wisdom. The community, in particular the elders, must be involved 41 in the exchange of sacred knowledge. This is a necessary requirement as reliance on text material for the transfer of valuable information is not enough. The importance of connecting the community to its sacred knowledge is described by Huebner (1999): The knowledge that comes from these histories, stories, myths, and poems can claim only as much truth a similar symbolic materials. Their sacredness does nor reside in the knowing that comes from encountering them or even in what they reveal. The sacredness resides in the community's allegiance to them and the place that they have in the life and history of the community. As narrative, historical, poetic, and mythical structures, they provide ways to think and talk about one's self, with others, from birth to death. They provide possibilities, to be chosen or rejected (p.347). The histories of Indigenous populations must be included in the academic setting, and introduced by community members who have the authority to communicate this wisdom. Sacred prayers, traditional songs and dances as well as artwork, which transmit this wisdom, must be honoured as necessary for the development of the soul as "internal development is part of being Indian and part of being spiritual" (Hampton, 1999, p.19). Indigenous people must be valued and recognized as legitimate educators of culture and the spirit; moreover, they must be welcomed into the learning environment as they hold the sacred knowledge and are vital in its transfer to future generations. A critical aspect of this communication is language as it plays a pivotal role in the meanings embedded within artwork, song, dance and stories. The power of historical recounts and oral tradition is evident in the words of anthropologist Keith Basso, "historical tales have the power to change people's ideas about themselves: to force them to admit to social failings, to dwell seriously on the significance of these lapses, and to resolve, it is hoped once and for all, not to repeat them" (Basso, 1987, p. 60). Oral narratives place the teachings in an experiential format as to fully engage the learner in an immediate 42 historical and ecological setting. In this way, the First Nations community can guide Aboriginalleamers towards a way of life in harmony with an Indigenous ethos. Students can identify with these stories and carry the legend's messages with them in their daily lives. Julie Cruickshank describes the words of Elder Angela Sidney of the Saint Elias Mountains in the Yukon Territory, "ancient narratives had helped her to 'live life like a story'" (Cruickshank, 2006, p.51). These traditional stories encompass more than simple life clinches, but draw connections beyond human-centered life lessons. Cruickshank reveals that the Elder's generational chronicles connect a "moral system that includes relationships with non-humans - animals and also features of landscape, like glaciers -the share characteristics of personhood" (Cruickshank, 2006, p.60). Traditional narratives celebrate a holistic approach to living as relationships between humans and mother earth are recognized and cherished. Therefore, the ethical framework of Aboriginal society is conveyed through customary spoken teachings that focus on correlations. In addition to public education, with it's technical value system, modem society poses additional challenges to traditional oral approaches to instruction. Cruickshank (2006) offers the perspective of Walter Benjamin, who asserts that increased reliance on technology for modes of communication creates a dangerous scenario for humanity. Benjamin's caution, Julie explains, is that "as communications technology proliferates ... information becomes fragmented and detached from the moral philosophical guidance" that is transmitted through oral dialogue, and thus "once interactive storytelling is replaced by mechanical communication ... human experience is devalued" (Cruickshank, 2006, p.64). Underscoring personal interaction in favor of virtual conversation is an 43 aspect of modem culture that is pervading society and in tum permeates school life. This reality is particularly detrimental for on reserve schools as Indigenous culture is deeply rooted in orality. Thus, place-based discourse offers an alternative to mainstream learning methodology as it offers a space for oral tradition and encourages local dialogue in which conversations regarding relationships to land, animals and ancestry can be explored and celebrated. This is vital as verbal communication and language are essential means to transmitting cultural knowledge of the world. Knudtson and Suzuki (1992) explain, The Native Mind tends to view human thought, feelings, and communication as inextricably intertwined with events and processes in the universe rather than as apart from them. Indeed, words themselves are considered spiritually potent, generative, and somehow engaged in the continuum of the cosmos, not neutral and disengaged from it. The vocabulary of Native knowledge is inherently gentle and accommodating toward nature rather than aggressive and manipulative (p.14). Language is a very important component within the educational setting. As such, the Indigenous learning environment must incorporate Aboriginal languages as First Nations lexis is at the heart of traditional storytelling, artwork, songs and culture. Expanding the language of instruction Language, within educational institutions, poses a barrier to engaging in discussion about emotion, culture and spiritual being. Huebner (1999) points out that: Language orientation is strongly established, embodied in educational architecture, materials, methods, organizations, and teacher education. Breaking out of that language is difficult, however, for the structures and processes which shape education -themselves derivatives of that language-force conversation into that technical mode (PA01). The present educational system is constrained through language, limiting the possibility for dialogue about culture and the spiritual, to a mechanical discourse for learning. This 44 technical education persists since the learning environment is shaped by this prescribed language as texts, instructional techniques, and the teaching institution reinforce an atmosphere of control. Within the classroom, educator's language of value centers around formal and technical matters, shifting from questions regarding value to ones involving objectives (Huebner, 1999). It is evident that an alternative form of verbal communication must be available to schools on reserve to allow for open conversation about Indigenous customs. The Assembly of First Nations (1972) expands on the importance of language in Aboriginal schooling, Language is the outward expression of an accumulation of learning and experience shared by a group of people over centuries of development. It is not simply a vocal symbol; it is a dynamic force which shapes the way a man looks at the world, his thinking about the world and his philosophy of life. Knowing his maternal language helps a man to know himself; being proud of his language helps a man to be proud ofhimself(p.14). Language is critical to the transmission of ancestral knowledge to future generations as well as instilling cultural pride. Hupacasath Elder Tat Tatoosh testifies "language gives us a strong sense of community" ("HFN", 2006, p.7). The spoken language of the local Indigenous tribe must also be present in the on reserve schools, as it is a necessary component in conveying the full meaning behind stories, artwork, dance and song. Many Aboriginal communities are experiencing loss of language and are demanding that schools promote Indigenous languages to help preserve First Nations identity. Mohawk scholar Christopher locks (1998) explores how language loss affects Indigenaity, Language loss is a threat to cultural survival in two phases: first, Indigenous knowledge, perceptions, and strategies encoded in the language are lost; second, knowledge, perceptions, and strategies dictated by the colonizing language and culture will attempt to fill the vacuum (p.230). 45 Aboriginal languages must be fostered within the educational context in order to preserve it as well as use it to exchange intergenerational knowledge. The Assembly of First Nations states "pre-school and primary school classes should be taught in the language of the community. Transition to English or French as a second language should be introduced only after the child has a strong grasp of his own language" (NIB, 1972, p.22). It is necessary that the Native tongue be employed as the language of instruction whenever possible. Community-based instruction allows for this to transpire within schools; however, for this endeavor to be effectively implemented resources must be available for educators to be properly trained and supported in this process. Community-based education requires the creation of a culturally responsive curriculum. In order for this to be achieved, current educational practices must be examined and a new syllabus prepared that is founded on cultural, spiritual and bilingual approaches to education. Educators perform an essential role in the implementation of this educational transformation. As such, extensive training must be provided for successful change to occur. 46 IMPLEMENATION OF INDIGENOUS EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES THROUGH ENHANCED EDUCATOR TRAINING AND SUPPORT Huebner explains that "the good teacher keeps in mind the individuality of each child and the societal context within which they live" (Huebner, 1999, p.45). Many on reserve schools employ mainly non-Aboriginal teachers and administrators (Taylor, 1995). It is my belief that most of these educators are individuals that are invested and supportive of First Nations education as the majority of reserves are isolated and the new environment can be challenging for newcomers. Thus, in order for these good educators to be knowledgeable about Aboriginal culture it is important that they be provided with further training as current teacher certification is insufficient (Taylor, 1995). Teachers need the opportunity to learn about the beliefs, traditions and value systems of Aboriginal society so that they can better understand the new environment they are in. Further, enhanced training in the educational philosophy of Indigenous education can help transform their teaching practices to reflect Aboriginal pedagogy. Indigenous scholar Jo-ann Archibald states, In traditional storytelling settings, the storyteller and listeners shared cultural knowledge and ways of making meaning from stories. Over the years, the formal schooling systems have not valued Aboriginal knowledge and oral traditions. Teachers have not learned to use Aboriginal stories in meaningful ways. (White, 2006, p.1 0). Providing the chance for educators to learn about their students' cultural background as well as customary teaching practices, such as storytelling, will offer insight into students' lives and help teachers better connect with the on reserve environment. However, in order for educators to learn about their First Nations students, ample training, resources and support must be provided. On-site cultural training programs need to be implemented that 47 include community members, in particular elders, as resource people for selecting educational content, teaching techniques, methods and approaches (NIB, 1972). The necessity of additional educator training is evident when examining teacher preparation programs. The government's influence on educator training greatly affects the schooling organization on reserve. The teaching methods, academic curriculum, teacher training and power structure of academic institutions are products of western culture and are regulated by the Ministry of Education. This hegemonic practice often goes unquestioned by non-Aboriginal educators working in on reserve schools since this situation may seem logical, as the government presumably knows how to best achieve society's educational goals. Teachers must be made aware of these circumstances, and have the opportunity to analyze and challenge present educational ideology. The need for this opportunity is brought to light in the following account. When conversing with a student teacher, at an on reserve school near my home community, the educator mentioned that many students struggle with Math and offered a solution. The teacher stated that the First Nations language and cultural classes should be canceled in favor of more math lessons, as arithmetic is more important. I inquired more important for who and why, and proposed that the students' struggles in math may be due to multiple complex factors such as lack of resources, learning disabilities, culturally insensitive curriculum as well as a distanced regard of school due to the residential legacy . The educator responded by maintaining that the math difficulties were a result of spending "too much time on cultural stuff". This discussion revealed to me that the on reserve educational setting was being judged from a 48 perspective that is, although vastly different from the Assembly of First Nations vision for learning, probably shared by many other people in western society. In fact, it is a societal perspective that is hegemonic and goes undisputed because we have not been taught to question our own cultures, only those of others. As John Taylor illustrates many non-Native teachers are uncomfortable with Indigenous curriculum, often excluding or glossing over the material, because they fmd it challenging to understand and relate to. He goes to state that most of these educators do not "see the value in the material because it was never part of their own training" (Taylor, 1995, p. 236). This view is most likely shaped by government sustained cognitive imperialism. Examining the government mandated curriculum, numeracy can be deemed important, as evident by the attention granted to it. However, local Aboriginal "cultural stuff' is omitted from this same government created syllabus and thus may be considered not as valuable, effectively marginalizing Indigenaity. Enhanced training, resources and support must be offered to educators to introduce them to the Aboriginal way of life and validate its importance. Exploring alternate perspectives With additional teacher training, educators will be challenged to undergo a process of personal transformation in hopes of embracing an alternative worldview. Fullan illustrates that a considerable educational change "consists of changes in beliefs, teaching style, and materials, which can come about only through a process of personal development in a social context" (Fullan, 2007, p.139). Teachers will be engaging in a unique social context on reserve and thereby alternate beliefs, values and knowledge will be present that differ from the Canadian context. As such, the on reserve community 49 should be heavily involved in the educator training process, as the First Nations local population is the best candidate for presenting their ways of viewing the world. During this community-led training, teachers will be called on to undergo reculturing. Fullan maintains that what is needed for this to occur is that conditions are set up so that "teachers come to question and change their beliefs and habits" (Fullan, 2007, p. 25). Examining one's own culture and belief system is critical when exploring another way of knowing. Indigenous scholar Michael Marker poses the question: "Can someone truly engage with another person's culture without a deep self-examination of their own culture?" (Marker, 2000, p.31). His inquiry highlights for me the need for educators to self-reflect on their beliefs in hopes of being able to fully partake in implementing an Indigenous cultural syllabus. This endeavor will be very demanding on teachers as there will be a lot of uncertainty, related to mismatched beliefs and values. Dwyer et ai. state, "instructional change can only proceed with a corresponding change in beliefs about instruction and learning. Teacher's beliefs may be best modified while they are in the thick of change, taking risks and facing uncertainty" (Dwyer et aI., 1991, p. 52). This uncertainty needs to be understood, addressed, supported and respected in order for change to be successful. Thus, educator training must provide an environment where teachers can think critically about current educational methodology and introduced to Indigenous teaching philosophy. Gregory Cajete (1994) states this discourse must be one that, brings to the surface the extent of the conditioning of modem educational processes that have been introjected into the deepest levels of [teachers'] consciousness ... Through the exploration of Indigenous education they learn how to demystify the techniques and orientations of modem education. This understanding allows them to use such education in accord with their needs and combine the best that it has to 50 offer with that of Indigenous orientations and knowledge. They cease to be recipients of modern education and become active participants and creators of their own education (p.220). Understanding and accepting alternate worldviews is the first step to implementing community-based education, as the meaning educators associate with this concept is critical to its implementation. Evans (1996) describes the importance of meaning in implementing a change to one's practice: Implementation depends crucially on the meaning the change has to those who must implement it. .. our response to change, particularly when it is imposed upon us, is determined by how we understand it, what it does to our attachments and beliefs, and how we can fit it into the sense we make of our world. This is crucial to our motivation; few of us will accept the losses and discontinuities of change unless the undertaking is meaningful to us (p.17). When implementing Indigenous pedagogy the demands on educators will be significant, so the meaning and motivation behind community-based education 'will play an important role in the success and sustainability of its implementation. Thus, teachers should be provided not only the information about Indigenous wisdom and approaches to teaching but given the opportunity to discover the importance of this new educational philosophy. This additional training is vital to better prepare teachers for the task of teaching a curriculum that is foreign to them and for the unique learning environment present in on reserve schools. An example of an approach to this supplementary educator training is the cross-cultural orientation program offered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where teachers spend time with community elders at an isolated village as part of their 51 coursework. University style methods of instruction are absent from this setting as elders engage the teachers in traditional activities (Barnhardt & Kawagley, 1999). The benefits of this approach are described by Barnhardt and Kawagley (1999): It isn't until about half-way through the week that teachers start recognizing that we are in a different realm. Until then they process the activities through the filters they bring with them, applying what they already know form previous outdoor "camping" experiences to make sense out of the new circumstances. It's when they begin to notice the discrepancies between what they think is happening and what actually happens that they realize there is more going on than they initially recognized. It is at that point, when people start questioning their own presuppositions that new insights begin to emerge. The elders and the other people from Minto who work with us have a remarkable capacity to open themselves up and draw people into their lives. Even teachers who are initially skeptical when they enter the program come out of it with a new set of lenses through which to view the world (p.7). This training allows educators to acquire a different perspective on how to see the world; further, it enables teachers to recognize the lens with which they may filter information through. Becoming conscious of alternative perceptions of the universe will help educators understand Indigenous reality. In addition, educators can come to acknowledge the value of a community-based approach to Indigenous education and be further encouraged to employ this new practice. The richness of local educators Additionally pressing is the need for more Aboriginal educators as they will "be more readily able to adapt to and accommodate the needs of First Nations children" (NIB, 1972, p.80). Indigenous educators local to the reservations possess cultural knowledge and local language enabling them to better convey traditional learnings. 52 Yup'ik teacher Nancy Sharp (1994) describes her experiences with education as a student and then as an instructor: My education has been a struggle .. .! was taught only in English ... At home, our family spoke fully in Yup'ik ... lfl had a question, I didn't have the words to really ask the teacher. I was considered a "D-" student. I wish instruction could have been in Yup'ik, too, so my education would have been more complete .. .! am qualified to teach in my own village where I have an understanding, better connections, and I can relate to where the students are ... But I still have to teach in English .. .!t was a struggle ... Now my story is different. I am teaching only in Yup'ik .. .! have a much better understanding of what I'm teaching and the students have a much better understanding of what they are learning (p.6-9). This narrative portrays the schooling experience that numerous Indigenous students encounter. Many communities do not have the resources in place to foster a setting where instruction is available in student's first language. It becomes exceedingly valuable for these communities to have Indigenous educators to advocate for and promote Aboriginal language. It is through the leadership ofthese individuals, with the support of the First Nations collective, that change will occur. An example of the importance of Aboriginal leaders and role models is the educational transformation of the Nisga'a people, who created their own school district, School District #92 (Nisga'a), the first of its kind in British Columbia. The progress of curricular development within this district is clear as their "Bilingual-Bicultural Program has evolved and grown as is befitting its importance to the Nisga'a way oflife" (McKay & McKay, 1987, p.65). This milestone achievement materialized as a result of several Nisga' a teachers collaborating with the band council to advocate for change. The Nisga'a experience can provide insight into the strategies employed, avenues explored as well as roadblocks encountered in their pursuit for educational change. What is notable about this situation is the requirement of local educators who petitioned for and created educational transformation. These Nisga'a 53 teachers resided in their home communities and remained with the local schooling organization, longer than many non-Aboriginal educators stay on reserve (Taylor, 1995). Thus, these educators were able to help generate and maintain Indigenous knowledge within the school system, creating a sustainable culturally responsive education. This example demonstrates the need for additional First Nations educators, as these teachers can assist in the creation and implementation of a traditional community-based approach to learning as well as uphold this innovation, given that these educators are likely to establish themselves within the on reserve school system as their roots reside in their home village. The implementation of Indigenous learning methodologies requires enhanced teacher training, resources and support for this educational transformation to be successful and sustainable. Further, teacher preparation must be guided by the community, expressly the elders, as First Nations education begins with the local tribe. Aboriginal educators playa unique and valuable role within the on reserve schooling system. These resident teachers can participate in the creation of culturally enriched learning materials, encourage and support other educators in the implementation of traditional teaching practices as well as sustain on reserve educational transformation. Revolutionizing Indigenous education will require great effort on those within the academic organization, especially educators. Teachers provide the educational foundation for schools, as such they must be provided with superior training, ample resources and continuous support in order for change to occur within the on reserve schooling system. 54 CONCLUSION Indigenous education must begin with an Indigenous ethos, as this frame of reference should shape the future direction of First Nations education. For this to occur, discussion with the local community is crucial, especially the elders, regarding educational decisions. The community's input, which has long been disregarded, is fundamental to the educational institution's capacity building potential. Changes must begin with the Indigenous voice and the Aboriginal community must be recognized and regarded in educational dialogue in hopes that a reform will be accomplished which leads to the Aboriginal populace becoming a valued, respected and contributing part of the on reserve school system, distinct and equal in their ways of knowing. Barnhardt and Kirkness (1991) maintain that the four R's: respect, relevance, reciprocity and responsibility are necessary components to a better education for Indigenous peoples. Keeping this wisdom in mind, educational reform can begin by establishing a nurturing learning environment conducive to these four R's and continuing on with implementing a culturally responsive curriculum. An improved course for Aboriginal learning is progressing in many on reserve communities seeking an alternative to mainstream schooling. On reserve schools must critique the current learning atmosphere and identify weaknesses in the present educational practices. From this space, the community can establish their own distinct educational philosophy. This movement is articulately stated by Ray Barnhardt and Vema Kirkness (1991), What First Nations people are seeking is not a lesser education, and not even an equal education, but rather a better education-55 ( an education that respects them for who they are, that is relevant to their view of the world, that offers reciprocity in their relationships with others, and that helps them exercise responsibility over their own lives (p.14). Aboriginal communities are aiming to use education as a way to revitalize their communities from the pains of the past. Transformational education through healing is a necessary aspect of on reserve schooling as an opportunity must be provided for the community to voice their harms and release the negative emotions associated with these tribulations. From this place, healing must be reinforced through validating and celebrating Indigenous culture. This means that an Indigenous approach to learning should be created and implemented. This endeavor requires curricular reform towards a culturally responsive or placed-based methodology. Gregory Cajete (1999) provides insight into the importance of this curricular shift: The relationship of indigenous peoples to sources of their life and the natural world is reflected in stories, metaphors, and images, and expressed in multiple ways through their arts, through their dance, and through their ways of community. These expressions present a window into a whole context of community, with people, plants, animals, and nature being mutually supportive and reciprocally dependent. Indigenous orientations to place, to ''that place that the people talk about," anticipate the evolution of a biophilic orientation to education (p.194). It is clear that First Nations stories, images, artwork, dance, song, language and local environment must encompass educational content. Community-based education, which is dependent on local control, fostered in a safe environment and founded on regional placed-based knowledge, is an educational initiative that presents one possible framework for on reserve schooling. As for any structural change in academia, advocates are essential to the process. Educators are central to the implementation of these culturally enhanced educational practices. In order to create better learning conditions 56 and expand educational possibilities, resources must be available. Specifically, expanded educator training and support should be a chief concern in the implementation of Indigenous educational approaches to learning. This training should reflect First Nations perspectives and aim to integrate teachers into the on reserve cultural environment. Further, local Aboriginal educators should be encouraged as these teachers are assets since they have first hand understanding of cultural knowledge and local language. The journey towards Indian control over Indian education will be multifarious; however, this vision is one that will be realized as Indigenous peoples are looking towards a future of possibility by recognizing the strength of their past. As George Clutesi expresses, "one's courage, grit, virtue and spirit stem from ancestral achievements. One is as strong as one's history" (Clutesi, 1990, p.169). 57 REFERENCES Ashforth, B.E., & Mael, F.A. (1998). The power of resistance. In R Kramer & M. Neale (Eds.), Power and influence in organizations. 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